In the first half of life, we are naturally preoccupied with establishing ourselves; climbing, achieving, and performing. But as we grow older and encounter challenges and mistakes, we need to see ourselves in a different and more life-giving way. This message of falling down - that is in fact moving upward - is the most resisted and counterintuitive of messages in the world's religions.
Falling Upward offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how those who have fallen down are the only ones who understand "up". We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right, and the disappointments of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys in the second half of life.
©2011 Richard Rohr (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC
"[P]rovocative." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] trustworthy guide to the spiritual life." (BlogCritics.org)
"Understanding the spiritual aspects of aging is as important as appreciating the systems and biological processes that age us. Richard Rohr has given us a perfect guide to what he calls the 'further journey,' a voyage into the mystery mystery and beauty of healthy spiritual maturity." (Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of the Dr. Oz Show)
In the genre of spirituality this book ranks only behind Thomas Merton. Rohr clearly has found guidance and deep inspiration from Merton. If you've read Merton, you know this is a very good thing indeed. The key to our happiness is contemplation and finding our true selves. This book will reveal that in an easy to follow manner. This book made me want to work harder toward a mindset of contemplation. I found myself rewinding and bookmarking more than any other audio book I have purchased. Once I stopped listening for the day, I wanted to sit and write my own thoughts and ideas about how I could apply these principles in my life. I do recommend that you don't try to "finish" this one quickly. Take your time and listen in 30-60 minute sections. Allowing yourself the time to contemplate and soak in the message.
One word of caution, you have to be open minded and ready to hear this message. If you can allow yourself to begin this process it will change everything. However, in our world today we are so "tribal" that we are not used to thinking this way. We identify so strongly by political party, religious denomination, and class - that seeing the world as all of God's creation isn't nearly as easy as we think. At least it wasn't for me (once I really analyzed myself) and I consider myself open minded. Once you "get it" the concept seems simple and essential to happiness. But everything around us tells us to think differently. A major concept of the book is to change our "either/or" view of the world to a "both/and" mentality. This is true wisdom. The older we get (I am 42) the more we realize there are no simple answers to our problems.
But don't think that Rohr bashes our youthful certainty and fervor. He does no such thing. He calls on the importance of parents to instill impulse control, rules, and structure for their children. He calls this early way of thinking: "building our container". So that once we reach maturity we can properly hold and understand what is really inside. Far too often we worship the containers in life: religious practice, strict adherence to rules, and high expectations. This book will teach you how to respect the containers while fundamentally changing how you view what is inside - your soul.
I sense it is an inspired writing about how to live out the second half of our life with an open heart and mind; to live with joy, gratitude and graciousness. In the book, Rohr confronted some of my first half of life thinking and gave me an explanation about what I am experiencing today. It has made me even more grateful for my life and where I am today in this aging process. I recommend it for anyone over 40 (I wish I would have read it then). I do not recommend it for those who are still entrenched in their first half of life thinking where there is an absence of curiosity and the presence of absolute certainty....about anything.
It may take a second "reading" before Rohr's teachings can be full absorbed and appreciated.
a critical compliment.
affirming my feeling of "necessary suffering"
His graceful, beautiful voice makes it almost no work to ingest.
The Mature Smile
Journey, maturity, forgiveness
Richard Rohr has a message of forgiveness and love for all people. A call to a journey into the second half of life.
When I selected this book, I had the impression from the summary that this is a new age spiritual book like those of Wayne Dyer or Eckhart Tolle. However, upon listening to it, I realised my mistake as references to God and quotations from the bible become more and more prevalent. The author then reveals that he was/is a catholic clergy and monk.
As I am not a Christian, I would not have selected this book if I known the leanings of the writer. Clever marketing at play I think. That said, I rather enjoyed this book and listened to the whole book in one sitting without once feeling overwhelm by it religious overtones.I like the open mindedness of the writer and his lack of arrogance.
If you are like me, not religious but open to other people's religion, I highly recommend the book 'Have a little faith' by Mitch Albon. It moved me to tears.
AudioBook Fan Extraordinaire
The best thing about this book is the way it can set your mind at ease. Have you been fretting and worrying over things like your salvation? Your behavior? Your attitude? Your ideal self vs. your real self? Let Father Rohr explain it all to you. It will be so much clearer. I'm so glad I let him in because things I had taken pains over, he eased up. Some of his quotes are memorable, such as from St. Augustine: "unity in essentials, freedom in non-essentials, charity in all things." It may be all I recall, but it is powerful.
This is a spiritual reflection on unlearning in the second half of life what we learned in the first half -- about achieving success, making something of ourselves, accomplishing whatever. Rohr invites us to go deeper, get wiser. It's a simple book in many ways, Easy to understand. Lots of food for thought, though.
95% for performance; 100%, or top of the list, for content.
I loved that the author was reading his own work. Hard to say what the most memorable moments were.
I am not sure Rohr could have done better, as his way of reading seemed ingrained. He often hesitated in places where a sentence should have flowed smoothly, and this interfered, in a mild way, with what he was trying to say, though only for a moment. However, his pauses made me think, and thinking is not necessarily a bad thing! In addition, Rohr's hesitations added a kind of charm. I loved that he read his own work and figured his hesitations were due to a slight discomfort with reading aloud, or perhaps due to a slight dyslexia.
If this were a story with a plot, I could answer this, but Rohr's book is not a story. The entire book moved me deeply and has had a very positive effect on my life.
Rohr's voice is restful and lends itself to contemplation and calm. I often listen to audio books when I can't sleep, and if a reader is too "wired" or intense, or if he or she speaks too fast, I don't listen. So I thank Mr. Rohr for both his amazing ideas and for his delivery, including his hesitations while reading.
Am already recommending this book to several friends. It puts things in perspective for all of us as we are met with difficulties, disappointments and griefs.
It provokes thought, offers healthy perspectives and helps one make important decisions about how to accept and grow from life's unexpected twists and turns.
This is my first introduction to Richard Rohr. He recently spoke in my city and over 1,200 people attended his lecture. His reading is conversational and pleasant.
Next to the Bible, which the author references frequently, this book provides great understanding and perspective for living completely into our second
The New Testament Book of James encourages readers to seek wisdom by asking God for it and God will grant the seeker what s/he is longing for. Richard Rohr's book provides insights into just how God goes about this process and how the seeker can join in to the inner work required. There is no required age for this kind of work; nor is there a time when the work is over. Richard Rohr brings his own hard work to the text and shows us the possibilities of the 'second half' of life, that is, the life beyond struggles with identity, ego, and angst. I am convinced that he has provided his readers with a more than adequate guide to this life, particularly because he addresses the difficult questions of suffering, meaninglessness, and loss of hope that first half of life leaves with many of us. This text joins some other well-worn books and scriptures that are 'go-to' texts for my journey.
"Genuinely insightful, but maybe patriarchal"
This book is about the change from the first to the second half of life. As I'm getting to be that old myself, it was very relevant to me. He outlines some very challenging ideas about the change of goals, in going beyond the "conatus essendi" - the struggle to establish identity, career, relationships etc. of the first half to the finding of our spiritual identity and purpose in the second. This includes some perception of the greater Whole, of which we are a part, and accepting the imperfections in ourselves and others. This is all great stuff!
Where I was less comfortable (and this may be a cultural difference), was Richard Rohr's references to becoming an "Elder", (like himself), and at times I found myself feeling patronised. There was an implication too, that those who failed to make this transition were forever doomed to remain in the immature "container" state... a modern form of Hell or Heaven going on for eternity. There was quite a bit of sneaking in of quaisi-Catholic doctrines like this.
However, overall, a very interesting audiobook.
"Falling Upwad in Love"
I don't agree with everything that Richard writes... but who cares! Rohr is a thinker and speaker that challenges the inner being to be more by wanting less. This countercultural stance uplifts the reader to believe in redemption. The second half of life theology may struggle to be rooted in classic theology; the biblical citations may be weak but the value and insights are magnificent. Narrated by the author, the book transports the listener to a place of encounter rarely visited by modern humans. Authentic, challenging and ultimately redeeming: bravo!
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