Leaving the Familiar – 7 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

by Mark Votava

download (8)1. Leaving the familiar

“The very first sign of a potential hero’s journey is that he or she must leave home, the familiar, which is something that may not always occur to someone in the first half of life. (In fact many people have not left home by their thirties today, and most never leave the familiar at all!) If you have spent many years building your particular tower of success and self-importance – your personal ‘salvation project,’ as Thomas Merton called it – or have successfully constructed your own superior ethnic group, religion, or ‘house,’ you won’t want to leave it. (Now that many people have second, third, and fourth houses, it makes me wonder how they can ever leave home.)”

2. No trouble with the exceptions

“Jesus had no trouble with the exceptions, whether they were prostitutes, drunkards, Samaritans, lepers, Gentiles, tax collectors, or wayward sheep. He ate with outsiders regularly, to the chagrin of the church stalwarts, who always love their version of order over any compassion toward the exceptions. Just the existence of a single mentally challenged or mentally ill person should make us change any of our theories about the necessity of some kind of correct thinking as the definition of ‘salvation.’ Yet we have a history of excluding and torturing people who do not ‘think’ like us.”

3. To leave one’s particular comfort zone in life

“There is no practical or compelling reason to leave one’s present comfort zone in life. Why should you or would you? Frankly, none of us do unless and until we have to…”

4. Any attempt to plan or engineer your own enlightenment

“Any attempt to engineer or plan your own enlightenment is doomed to failure because it will be ego driven. You will see only what you have already decided to look for, and you cannot see what you are not ready or told to look for. So failure and humiliation force you to look where you would never otherwise…” 

5. If you do not do the first half of life well

“If you do not do the first half of life well, you have almost no ability to rise up from the stumbling stone. You just stay down and defeated, or you waste your time kicking against the goad…  In much of urban and Western civilization today, with no proper tragic sense of life, we try to believe that it is all upward and onward – and by ourselves. It works for so few, and it cannot serve us well in the long run – because it is not true. It is an inherently win-lose game, and more and more people find themselves on the losing side…”

6. In the realm of freedom

“Love only happens in the realm of freedom.”

7. True spirituality

“True spirituality is always a deep ‘co-operating’ between two. True spirituality is a kind of synergy in which both parties give and both parties receive to create one shared truth and joy.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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