Floating More Comfortably – 5 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

by Mark Votava

download (8)1. Floating more comfortably

“It is very rare to really absorb the Gospel or wisdom thinking in the first half of life, so we settle for ‘answers’ and organizations, and build the whole structure around such non-answer answers… You end up denying the first and deeper river for the sake of the small river that everybody happens to be floating on. In fact, you just try to improve the barges, boats, and bridges on this small upper river so that people can float more comfortably…”

2. The negative, the mysterious, the scary, and the problematic

“In the first half of life, the negative, the mysterious, the scary, and the problematic are always exported elsewhere…”

3. Failure and suffering

“Failure and suffering are the great equalizers and levelers among humans. Success is just the opposite. Communities and commitment can form around suffering much more than around how wonderful or superior we are… There is a strange and even wonderful communion in real human pain, actually much more than in joy, which is too often manufactured and passing. In one sense, pain’s effects are not passing, and pain is less commonly manufactured. Thus it is a more honest doorway into lasting communion than even happiness.”

4. Worshipping the status quo

“If change and growth are not programed into your spirituality, if there are not serious warnings about the blinding nature of fear and fanaticism, your religion will always end up worshipping the status quo and protecting your present ego position and personal advantage – as if it were God!… This resistance to change is so common, in fact that it is almost what we expect from religious people, who tend to love the past more than the future or the present. All we can conclude is that much of organized religion is itself living inside of first-half-of-life issues, which usually coincides with where most people are in any culture. We all receive and pass on what our people are prepared to hear, and most people are not ‘early adopters.’ Yet even the intelligence of animals is determined by their ability to change and adjust their behavior in response to new circumstances. Those who do not become extinct.”

5. Falling or dying

“When you are in the first half of life, you cannot see any kind of falling or dying as even possible, much less as necessary or good. (Those who have never gone up, like the poor and the marginalized, may actually have a spiritual head start, according to Jesus!) But normally we need a few good successes to give us some ego structure and self-confidence, and to get us going. God mercifully hides thoughts of dying from the young, but unfortunately we then hide it from ourselves till the later years finally force it into our consciousness. Earnest Becker said some years ago that it is not love but ‘the denial of death’ that might well make the world go round. What if he is right?”

Which quote do you like the best?

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