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Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life [Paperback]

Richard Rohr
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

16 Aug 2012
In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr offers a new way of understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how our failing can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from timehonoured myths, heroic poems, great thinkers, and sacred religious texts, the author explores the two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed, or 'gone down' are the only ones who understand 'up' We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. With rare insight, Rohr takes us on a journey to give us an understanding of how the heartbreaks, disappointments and first loves of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half of life has in store for us

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (16 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281068917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281068913
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 12.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'I thank God for Richard Rohr's sage-like presence in our culture: I honestly don't know where I'd be without it.' --Brian Draper

'This is classic Rohr - prophetic, wise and clear!' --The Good Book Stall

From the Inside Flap

In the first half of life, we are naturally and rightly preoccupied with establishing our identity—climbing, achieving, and performing. But those concerns will not serve us as we grow older and begin to embark on a further journey, one that involves challenges, mistakes, loss of control, broader horizons, and necessary suffering that actually shocks us out of our prior comfort zone. Eventually, 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, including and most especially Christianity. In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr—the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation—offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life′s mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from time–honored myths, heroic poems, great thinkers, and sacred religious texts, the author explores the two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. With rare insight, Rohr takes us on a journey to give us an understanding of how the heartbreaks, disappointments, and first loves of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half of life has in store for us. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By K. Z. Sobol TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Richard Rohr splits the spiritual journey of life into two, the ego-centric first half of life and the soul-centric second half of life. You do not need to be chronologically middle-aged to read this book, but he suggests that your thirties are as early as you will likely be ready for the move into the second half of life (although it can happen) and many people do not make the change until much later, if at all.

The book is very easy to read in terms of the tone and flow of the text, but despite its relatively short length, it took me quite some time as I really needed time to process the philosophical concepts and wisdom on offer.

This really is the most wonderful text for Christians and others seeking spiritual maturity. Having said that, I think that Christians will be best able to grasp some of his reflections, due to the frequent quotes of the Bible and references to the teachings of Jesus.

He sums up the reactions of readers very succinctly, "For some of you, my quoting Jesus is the only way you will trust me; for others, it gives you more reasons to mistrust me, but I have to take both risks. If I dared to present all of these ideas simply as my ideas, or because they match modern psychology or old mythology, I would be dishonest. Jesus for me always clinches the deal, and I sometimes wonder why I did not listen to him in the first place."

Having said that, there are quotes from all sorts of teachings and literature and he casts his net wide for inspiration. Examples range from Buddhism to AA, from Homer to Carl Jung.
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle arguments to help your spiritual journey 10 July 2011
By R T VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This has been a difficult review to write - because this is a book that can not be rushed. I often can finish a book at two sittings but this one got under the skin and has taken a while to read through to honestly comment on.

What we have is a series of paradoxes which Richard lets you ponder as he offers thoughts, some quite tangential and the need for personal change; to appreciate that true gain is spiritual not material. It is not written in a fervent evangelistic way whatsoever but in a quiet, almost unassuming amassing of idea after idea that created ripples of thought in my mind and made me think. The process could not be hurried.

It compares the two `halves' of life but note these are not to be seen as mathematical halves but life formation and then living it to the full. The example of Helen Keller mentioned on p 154 shows that the first `half' can be over fairly rapidly - if you let it.

There are quotes from myths, poets, psychiatrists and other thinkers as well as from the bible. There are no gimmicks, no hard sell. In fact that would be the very antithesis of Richard Rohr's approach which I found refreshingly understated. It is really all down to us, as individuals to make the changes, no simple solutions or magic formulae but a succession of gentle encouragements to take the risks. The Christian angle was subtle and draws on material from many contributors.

I would recommend it for those facing a crisis of confidence or even just at a point where they need to re-examine their priorities. Richard describes his journey as a Pilgrim's progress, though the shadows that re-enforce our personal self deceptions and the need to meet the problems of life in all its tragic senses: identity, life transitions, perfectionism, religion as against true belief, suffering and so on.

There is a useful index and brief notes together with a bibliography.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life, fullness and depth! 6 July 2011
By J. DOUGLAS VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Father Richard Rohr's book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, is a helpful volume that brings into focus a perspective that the second half of life is not fully about death but about living a more generative life. The thesis of Richard Rohr's latest book is that spiritual maturity comes only after we've lived with the rules and the categories and the knowledge that are necessary to the formation of a self - and then asked ourselves some version of "is that all there is?" Written in a conversational style, Rohr argues at the outset that we are a "first-half- of- life culture" largely concerned about surviving successfully." He then goes on to outline a perspective using both classical literature, some Freudian and Jungian Psychology, as well Biblical passages, in which he suggests that down can be a way up.

Thirteen chapters in length, Rohr begins by describing some of the characteristics of the first half of life and the downside of staying in a first half mentality. He cogently argues that poor work done in the first half affects the ability to live well in the second half. He speaks of, in chapter three, a key early chapter, of "discharging your loyal soldier" or one's ego as he argues that "The first battles solidify the ego and create a stalwart loyal solider; the second battles defeat the ego because God always wins." After addressing the issues with living a "first half life" he moves into a presentation of "necessary suffering" in life that includes "shadow work" or dealing with that part of our inner life that must be dealt with as part of life in the second half which Rohr calls "falling upward."

Now one of the questions I began to ask as I read toward the end of the book was, "What are some of the hallmarks of the second half of life?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
challenging and helpful
Published 6 days ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Rohr is proof that the answer to bad religion is not no...
A wonderful book to keep on the bedside table. Rohr bases his gentle and kind book on Jung's "two halves of life". Read more
Published 13 days ago by billd
5.0 out of 5 stars very thought-provoking
This book explains really well the difference between youthful expectation and mature attitudes. I find the author very perceptive in his observations. Read more
Published 18 days ago by E L. Parry
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
As usual this is another brilliant book from Richard Rohr - so much of this has resonated with me and I am going to read it again
Published 22 days ago by Kevin Toner
4.0 out of 5 stars Good view based on experience
I enjoyed this. Don't go into looking for 'right/wrong' solutions (tip: there aren't any) but relax into some interesting observations. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alan
1.0 out of 5 stars Reading before a conference
A thoughtful examination of life at its different stages and what to do after you have achieved some of the milestones
Published 1 month ago by Peter Sims
5.0 out of 5 stars Falling Upward - a great book
It is clearly written with a mature spiritual outlook and refers to poets I love such as T S Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins who write with such depth on mystical themes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rosemary Orr
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
This is a book which has to be read carefully as the first time you do read it you miss quite a lot. I have re-read quite a bit to fully understand(I hope) as I went along. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Jean Hallsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformational, Affirmational, a Pearl of Great Worth!
'When the student is ready the teacher arrives'... My student days are every day, my teachers arrive occasionally. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gavin Cargill
4.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating read
We all need to invest in our souls for later life, so this is a helpful guide for the spiritual life.
Published 3 months ago by David P.
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