Good books don’t get old. Or stale. Trivia does curdle. Or goes right off. But some of the books that I treasure most and refer to most often seem as fresh as dew and were literally written two or three thousand years ago. I don’t want to be asked what I am writing next when my newest book Seeking the Sacred has been in the world just a few months. I am still working on it! I’m teaching from it, talking about it, pursuing further the ideas that interest me most…and welcoming your reading of it, your conversations and your comments.
Here are some of the reviews, another kind of readers’ conversation. For surely that is what a good book is: a deep conversation about what matters most?
“Seeking the Sacred is like a chalice of wisdom. It overflows with inspired and inspiring quotes and teachings…Through it all is Stephanie Dowrick’s distinct voice…her empathy for how hard the journey is shines alongside her belief that the sacred can illuminate the way home.… While Seeking the Sacred is about personal transformation, it is a political, even polemical work… a rallying cry that to save the planet we must shed our spiritual and cultural provincialism…” Claire Scobie, Sydney Morning Herald
“[Dowrick] makes the point that a sacred life ultimately rests on how you behave, rather than the ideology you espouse. Seeking the Sacred is beautifully written and extraordinarily insightful. Stephanie Dowrick voices our doubts and questions, and skilfully outlines the truths that address them, providing invaluable guidance and inspiration for the reader. I think this is her best book so far.” Rosamund Burton, Good Reading (A “five star” review)
“[Dowrick] argues that a return to a belief in the sacredness of existence would provide a solution to social ills as well as personal ennui…Her God is a protean God and she is more than happy to share Him with anyone else who might be seeking a spiritual path…Dowrick is a gentle teacher and writer who illustrates her ideas with personal anecdotes and a broad range of multi-disciplinary references.” Dianne Dempsey, The Age (Melbourne)
“Dowrick’s definition of the sacred doesn’t necessarily include a conventional God or organised religion – it depends on the individual, in whom she places the capacity to be humane and responsible and identify with Being. If this seems mystical, Dowrick’s aim is to demystify, to be practical. In one sense, Seeking the Sacred is a self-help book. We all have short comings, but we should ‘be guided by what is most healing and least harmful’.” Barbara Baker, Courier Mail
“Stephanie [Dowrick] believes that great changes need to come about at this time, not through religious or political institutions, but through us as individuals making crucial changes in our attitudes and behaviours, through opening to our spiritual as well as human natures, and supporting and encouraging one another to do so… her hope for the book is that each reader will be encouraged to value his or her own life in a new way and to value others as well. To my mind she has been successful, as Seeking the Sacred offers great insight, inspiration and wisdom whatever your spiritual path.” Nova Magazine
“A joyful, intelligent and compassionate work.” Liz Graham, Australian Yoga Journal
“Seeking the Sacred is a powerful new book from the bestselling author of Choosing Happiness. The opening sentence, ‘Our search for the sacred may be as individual as our fingerprints’, immediately inspires contemplation. As an experienced psychotherapist and more recently an inter-faith minister, Stephanie Dowrick conveys a clear message that life is sacred. She asserts that the fundamental desire for the majority of the world’s people, no matter what their belief system, is profoundly similar: people want to feel safe and be adequately fed and sheltered. But we also want to feel that our existence has a purpose and that we are an element of a greater whole…. [T]his book centers on five major themes: reverence, identity, love, ‘do no harm’ and transformation. Dowrick argues that understanding these themes and how they translate into everyday life can radically change our perspective on the world and how we treat others. Seeking the Sacred can be confronting reading, presenting Western culture as primarily self-absorbed and with an endemic need to blame others for the world’s ills. But it is also inspirational and promotes personal insight. Dowrick has written a thought-provoking book that will resonate with readers of any religious, cultural or philosophical background.” Kevin Mark, Australian Bookseller & Publisher, (A “5 star” review)
In Seeking the Sacred, best-selling writer and interfaith minister Stephanie Dowrick fuses a moving spiritual memoir with a deeply-felt inquiry into the nature of spiritual life. Courageous and original, she asks the most difficult questions with enormous heart and intelligence. Through stories of transformative and hard-won faith–her own and that of many others–Stephanie Dowrick has written a book that is, itself, a spiritual pilgrimage. This is an intimate book, and a powerfully encouraging one, and I finished it braver than when I began. Joyce Kornblatt, author of A Reason for Wings
“[Dowrick] has given a voice to many of us in the contemporary world for whom the spiritual path is marked more by questioning than infallible answers sent down from above. She sacralizes this search [and] her description of spirituality is, I would suggest, distinctly of our time… [She] is unashamed to make a stand for wonder and the incredible gift of living. Like so many thinkers before her, she recognises that until we respect ourselves and begin to reflect this respect in our behaviour toward others, we are diminished as individuals and as a society…I can’t recommend the book highly enough.” Walter Mason, author of Destination Saigon
“I felt bathed in warmth and compassion, soothed and reassured as Stephanie Dowrick became my companion, walking me through the five themes of reverence, identity, love, ‘Do no harm’, and transformation. She understands the power of intention rather than perfection, and encourages the seeker’s efforts. Yet she can be very direct and fiery about principles that are not negotiable. She says in the section ‘Do No Harm’: ‘In all our encounters we have a choice to leave the person better or worse off for their time in our company.’ Certainly I feel I’ve been left much better off while reading this book, lovingly supported, and reminded of the most important spiritual principles and that effortless connection to all spiritual traditions and living beings. Thank you, Stephanie, for a book that is beautiful, broad and strong.” Dr Juliet Batten, author of Dancing with the Seasons
Seeking the Sacred is the most profound book for those of us who are exploring in the deepest way through our lives the reality that we are ‘spiritual beings on a human path’. …I have cried and laughed and shared the stories and teachings from this book during the past few days with so many friends and family…It’s a mirror of our inclusive spiritual journeys reaching across many different paths and so needed in the time in our world. Reverend Hilary Star, Auckland, NZ
Seeking the Sacred is widely available in bookstores. It is also available on line via http://stephaniedowrick.seekbooks.com.au/