A Way of Knowing is about small things and little occasions, the smells, colours, sounds, the looking, perceiving, thinking, remembering of our lives and the love that makes them significant. In a mix of poems, stories and material suitable for private or public reflection the book explores our knowing and our unknowing. It celebrates the validity of all experience, singing the creation and resting in the beauty of silence.
The Buddha was once asked, ‘What makes a person holy?’ He replied, ‘Every hour is divided into a certain number of seconds and every second into a certain number of fractions. Anyone who is able to be totally present in each fraction of a second is holy.’ There is nothing common about common life – it takes an awakened sense to see what is mysterious in each ordinary moment, to ponder in our hearts, to really see people and things – not our preconceptions of them.
Sharing the story of who we are and what we have seen, listening to the stories of others, using our imagination fully, these are amongst the greatest things we can do in our time on earth. Imagination matters. It helps us see clearly things as they are and as they could be. It makes the particular universal.
A way of being and placing,
seeing and naming,
that holds the intensity
of the moment,
playing the music of dailyness
through all remembering:
a way of knowing,
a way to the intelligence
of the heart.
Joy Mead is a member of the Iona Community and the author of The One Loaf, A Telling Place, Making Peace in Practice and Poetry, Where Are the Altars? and Words and Wonderings. She leads creative writing groups, and has been involved in development education and justice and peace work.
Joy Mead is a poet of great sensitivity and subtlety. She is a deeply religious poet, without being a Religious Poet, if you know what I mean. Genuine spirituality is located in the material, in the embodied: that seems to be how our God works. Joy Mead's spirituality is grounded in the depths of so-called ‘ordinary’ life – the extraordinary life. That's why she is one of my favourite poets.
Ron Ferguson, author and award-winning journalist