Western Dualistic Minds – 8 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

by Mark Votava

download (8)1. Led by Mystery

“None of us go into our spiritual maturity completely of our own accord, or by total free choice. We are led by Mystery…”

2. The first half of life

“Most of us are never told that we can set out from the known and the familiar to take on a further journey. Our institutions and our expectations, including our churches, are almost entirely configured to encourage, support, reward, and validate the tasks of the first half of life. Shocking and disappointing, but I think it is true. We are more struggling to survive than to thrive, more just ‘getting through’ or trying to get to the top than finding out what is really at the top or was already at the bottom…”

3. The rational mind is dualistic

“The merely rational mind is invariably dualistic, and divides the field of almost every moment between what it can presently understand and what it then deems ‘wrong’ or untrue. Because the rational mind cannot process love or suffering, for example, it tends to either avoid them, deny them, or blame somebody for them, when in fact they are the greatest spiritual teachers of all, if we but allow them.”

4. A well-disguised narcissist

“Basically, if you stay in the protected first half of life beyond its natural period, you become a well-disguised narcissist or an adult infant (who is also a narcissist!) – both of whom are often thought to be successful ‘good old boys’ by the mainstream culture…”

5. Off balance

“…you learn how to recover from falling by falling!… People who have never allowed themselves to fall are actually off balance, while not realizing it at all. That is why they are so hard to live with…”

6. Sacred wounds

“It has been acceptable for some time in America to remain ‘wound identified’ (that is, using one’s victimhood as one’s identity, one’s ticket to sympathy, and one’s excuse for not serving), instead of using the wound to ‘redeem the world,’ as we see in Jesus and many people who turn their wounds into sacred wounds that liberate both themselves and others.”

7. Western dualistic minds

“…very few Christians have been taught how to live both law and freedom at the same time. Our Western dualistic minds do not process paradoxes very well. Without a contemplative mind, we do not know how to hold creative tensions. We are better at rushing to judgment and demanding a complete resolution to things before we have learned what they have to teach us. This is not the way of wisdom, and it is the way people operate in the first half of life.”

8. Being comfortable with diversity

“Organized religion has not been known for its inclusiveness or for being very comfortable with diversity. Yet pluriformity, multiplicity, and diversity is the only world there is! It is rather amazing that we can miss, deny, or ignore what is in plain sight everywhere.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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