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The Way Up is The Way Down

To continue on from last week’s book recommendation: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr; I was struck by Rohr’s exploration of how we spend our first half of life trying feverishly to avoid pain, suffering and “sin”. As if we tend to believe it is somehow avoidable, that we have the control to build our containers strong enough to avoid it all together. It made me think back to my early objectives in life, which were precisely as Rohr describes as building a strong container and identity - to “survive successfully”. 

“Life, if we are honest about it, is made up of many failings and fallings, amidst all of our hopeful growing and achieving. Those failings and fallings must be there for a purpose, a purpose that neither culture nor church has fully understood. Most of us find all failure bewildering, but it does not have to be.” 

Rohr explains that passing beyond the first stage of life and moving into our spiritual maturity, rarely happens on our own accord. We tend to be seduced into it by curiosity and mystery, or through suffering and failures. If we were to fully accept and honor the statement, “The way up is the way down”, we wouldn’t be blinded by fear of failures or setbacks but instead see that pendulum moving up and down is just a necessary stage of our journey. This concept is immeasurably powerful. Imagine instead of reinforcing our first half of life tendencies - of creating more rigidity in our identities, higher walls in our containers and more complex schemes of false security - we encouraged failure, expected or even welcoming suffering because we KNOW that it is a necessary stage of life. And in experiencing that messy, raw and difficult stage, we are then met with the possibility of a new freedom. 

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” - Scott Peck

Let us embrace the wisdom of life.

The Way

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