Discernment and Inner Knowing: Making Decisions for the Best
by Joycelin Dawes
This ground-breaking study of spiritual and secular discernment explores Quaker discernment – individual and decision-making in a group – through the eyes of Theory U, a secular framework for change. The book explains and applies the methods and visual map of ‘Theory U’ to shed light on Quaker practice. This form of ‘mutual irradiation’ between Quaker discernment and Theory U brings greater clarity and strength to Quaker discernment and shows the reader how the insights of Theory U might deepen their own discernment practice.
The book follows a Theory U cycle, through opening mind, heart and will to reach the deepest inner place from which we discern a way forward. It questions how we understand and interpret ‘making decisions for the best’. The second part of the book looks at how discernment is clarified then tested through designing action that puts it into practice.
This book grew out of research into discernment for an Eva Koch scholarship awarded to Joycelin in 2016 by Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham, UK
This fascinating, meticulously researched book is an essential addition to the library of any Meeting or Friend interested in exploring discernment by looking at it in a fresh way.
“This compelling book provides an original and insightful understanding of the art of discernment for the modern world in all its complexities. Joycelin Dawes explores the Quaker tradition and practice of discernment alongside modern secular leadership approaches of presencing and sensing. She offers an invaluable synthesis and makes a significant intellectual and practical contribution to the field of discernment and decision making for individuals, leaders and members of organisations. I cannot recommend it highly enough for its wisdom and insights.” Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE. Former Chief Executive of 157 Group, The Centre for Excellence in Leadership UK
“Joycelin Dawes’ book explores Quaker discernment in the context of ‘Theory U’, a model for understanding the flow of decision making. It helpfully illuminates Quaker discernment without turning it into an artificial or theoretical process but retaining the connection to deep spiritual experience that we as Friends are seeking and encounter when engage in discernment processes. This book will help Friends to better understand, practise and share Quaker discipline and the source from which we act.” Simon Best, Head of Learning, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
Website and blog: https://discernmentandinnerknowing.wordpress.com
Paperback / 130 pages / published 27 April 2017