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Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life | [Richard Rohr]

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

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".
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"[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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    William Copper Hill, VA, United States 02-24-13
    William Copper Hill, VA, United States 02-24-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Life Changing Once You Are Ready"
    Where does Falling Upward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fr. Ed Jansen Marriottsville MD 04-12-13
    Fr. Ed Jansen Marriottsville MD 04-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gracious living"
    What did you love best about Falling Upward?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    It may take a second "reading" before Rohr's teachings can be full absorbed and appreciated.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    thomas garden grove, ca, United States 01-07-13
    thomas garden grove, ca, United States 01-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Necessary Insight"
    If you could sum up Falling Upward in three words, what would they be?

    a critical compliment.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Falling Upward?

    affirming my feeling of "necessary suffering"


    What does Richard Rohr bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His graceful, beautiful voice makes it almost no work to ingest.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Mature Smile


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan H. Bingham Emmaus, PA 06-04-12
    Susan H. Bingham Emmaus, PA 06-04-12
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    "Falling Upward Audio"
    Where does Falling Upward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    95% for performance; 100%, or top of the list, for content.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Falling Upward?

    I loved that the author was reading his own work. Hard to say what the most memorable moments were.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leong Melbourne, Australia 11-30-12
    Leong Melbourne, Australia 11-30-12
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    "A little devious"

    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.

    15 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Comeaux Lafayette, LA USA 09-24-13
    J. Comeaux Lafayette, LA USA 09-24-13 Member Since 2011

    AudioBook Fan Extraordinaire

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    "A soft-spoken priest with some sage advice"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Ann St. Louis, MO, USA 06-13-13
    Mary Ann St. Louis, MO, USA 06-13-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Not just aging but getting wiser"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob C Central NJ 04-23-12
    Bob C Central NJ 04-23-12

    an e-reader

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    "A message of comfort"
    If you could sum up Falling Upward in three words, what would they be?

    Journey, maturity, forgiveness


    What about Richard Rohr’s performance did you like?

    Richard Rohr has a message of forgiveness and love for all people. A call to a journey into the second half of life.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Roswell, GA, United States 01-30-12
    Sue Roswell, GA, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Profound book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Richard Rohr’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Next to the Bible, which the author references frequently, this book provides great understanding and perspective for living completely into our second

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Mark Wells Greenville, SC USA 09-03-14
    J. Mark Wells Greenville, SC USA 09-03-14

    newcovyouthpastor

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    "I almost gave up on Christianity until I read this"
    Any additional comments?

    I was on the brink of giving up on Christianity altogether—completely exhausted and frustrated with the restrictive and exclusive nature of the traditional Church. I was angry, repulsed and often felt cheated by the church. Metaphorically, I felt entrapped by the shell I had been incubated in, and I had to get out. The day after a major meltdown, when I told my wife I was through with God and through with the Church, I called my life coach who had gone through the same experience, and he recommended this book. Wether it was just timing, or timeless truth, I do not know, but I have never been so thankful for a book in my entire life. This book spoke to my sufferings in my personal life over the last 4 years, and to my spiritual frustrations with the Church. It was like a guide on life's journey as Rohr talks about in his book. It gave me an appreciation for the Traditional Church in my life, and yet freed me from it at the same time. It gave me a deeper understanding of God's love in all stages of life, and the need to keep moving in my Faith. I've never felt the kind of peace, joy and love from God as I do after hearing this. Rohr's understanding of scripture (and literature!! Which I loved as an English Major) was extraordinary, exciting and enlightening. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but I will also say that no one will get as much out of this as those who are questioning the traditional Church or have reached a spiritual roadblock in their life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 23 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Jim Vaughan
    Malvern, UK
    10/10/12
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nimmi Hutnik
    6/1/14
    Overall
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    "Wisdom for the Over 50s"
    Where does Falling Upward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This books ranks first among the audiobooks I have listened to so far.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Richard Rohr shares profound wisdom about the challenges of growing older. Whilst integrating the suffering associated with physical decline and loss of all kinds, Rohr points to people who radiate a 'bright sadness' . These people are naturally elders in our community, mentors for people in the first half of life. The message is that loss happens, by the very nature of life itself. We can stopping rueing our losses and step into a new freedom: the freedom of being totally ordinary. People who are able to allow this to happen with grace, learn to risk more and to trust the fall. This is what falling upward means: the trustful knowledge that we are falling into the everlasting arms of God.Rohr talks about the second half of life as being done to us: we move from the driver's seat into the passenger's seat, yet with the freedom and the ability to whispers suggestions to the Driver.It is a comfortable place of choiceless choice.We must do what we must do.We cannot not do what we must do. Our only choice is the choice to enter into the second half of life: to fall upward.


    What about Richard Rohr’s performance did you like?

    Very soothing, calm voice: like a morning balm.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    THE EVERLASTING ARMS


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miles
    Northampton, United Kingdom
    4/12/13
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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