Simple Ways: Towards the Sacred
by Gunilla Norris

BlueBridge, 2008. ISBN 978-1-933346-11-3.
Reviewed by Susan Wittig Albert
Posted on 01/19/2009

Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration

We live in a world that threatens us with its complexity and contradictions. Now, more than ever, we need a spirituality of the everyday, the ordinary, the simple. That's what teacher and writer Gunilla Norris offers us in Simple Ways, a book of meditations that begins with what is most intimate and personal in our lives—our bodies, our dwellings—and moves outward, acknowledging the things we care for and the gifts we have been given.

Prayer and meditation, Norris teaches, is a "natural condition of questioning, of openhearted wondering," and each of her meditations invites us to ponder, leading us toward full and open experience, without preconceptions or prepared answers. What does it mean to be embodied? she asks. How do we "dwell"? How can we learn to care—deeply care—for the few things that are most necessary to our lives? How can we begin to be fully and profoundly grateful for the gifts we are given? Each meditation explores these questions in ways that seem simple and yet, in the tradition of the best spiritual teachers, opens up the deepest complexities of the human spirit.

Luminous, enlightening, and wise, this is a book for all faiths, and for all those moments in our lives when we feel most faithless, when we doubt. "God is a word we use," Norris says, "and we think we know what it means. But, in truth, God is always far beyond our understanding. We can only know God by unknowing. We can only offer our willingness and our wonder."

Simple Ways is a book for which we can only say "Thank you."

Gunilla Norris is a writer, meditation teacher, and psychotherapist in private practice. This is her fifth book.

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