Stumbling Toward the Buddha by Dawn Downey is a collection of interconnected essays about finding “enlightenment” in the modern world. Refreshingly honest, and filled with self-deprecating humor, Downey is not afraid to admit her faults, as well as delve into her painful past, to fully understand herself and the world around her.Though the book is touted as more of a memoir than self-help book, it could be said to be even more effective than the usual self-help tome because of Downey’s humor and insight. Downey is expert at pointing out human foibles, especially as it relates to spiritual development. She doesn’t merely spout a string of positive messages – she looks deeply at herself and her past to truly understand her best way forward. It should help the reader as she helps herself.
At times, the book reads like fiction, as Downey’s voice has the poetic eloquence of a fictional character. Far from this giving the book a feeling of unreality, it makes her prose, and her message, all the more endearing. Her stories will make you laugh, cry, sometimes squirm, and feel wiser by book’s end. For those on a spiritual path, or really just trying to be the best person you can be, Stumbling Toward the Buddha is a heartwarming, helpful, and most of all, entertaining account of being a spiritual person in this complicated modern world.
5 stars! I appreciated the humor in Stumbling Toward the Buddha: Stories about Tripping over My Principles on the Road to Transformation by Dawn Downey. I am on a spiritual journey and was intrigued to read what was suggested in the pages of this book. I wasn't prepared for the humor and the fact that the book basically made fun of all of the aspects that make us human, aspects that so many spiritual books tell us to get rid of. Like the compulsion to shop. Or that we feel better if we own nice things. Our jealous tendencies. The fact that we really don't want nice things to happen to other people (because we want them to happen to us, instead). Reading all of this and having someone say it in a loud, honest, in your face kind of way was very refreshing and surprising, but in a very nice way.
I also loved the personalized stories within this book. I think other readers will really relate to the stories the author shares about her own issues in giving up what so many self help books say we have to give up in order to achieve bliss, peace and long term happiness. The fact that she can so honestly admit that she was jealous, and wanted to shop and buy things, and not love her neighbor made me feel like I am not the only person struggling with some of these issues and I think readers will appreciate that.
Deborah Shouse, author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey
Walk into Dawn Downey’s Stumbling Toward the Buddha and be prepared to feast on her imagery, revel in her imaginative outlook on life and ponder her hard-won truths. With her honest insights, her wicked and ready sense of humor and her ability to visually capture the details of her journey, she invites readers to reflect upon their own life’s journeys. She manages to write about complicated issues and emotions in a droll and compassionate way. Each essay is both memorable and meaningful. Hurray for Dawn Downey and for her challenges and foibles—if she were perfect or less open and courageous, we wouldn’t have this marvelous book.
Brenda Miller, author of The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World
In a voice that is both authentic and wry, Dawn Downey sits down with her readers to have an honest conversation about how a spiritual life really manifests in the day-to-day world. Through this delightful collection of linked essays, we come to understand—and recognize—how we all stumble through our lives, trying to maintain some modicum of dignity and grace. Bravo for this enchanting new voice in the pantheon of spiritual writing.