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Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Monday, September 9, 2013 8:08 am EDT

Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life. However, what looks like falling down to many can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, our demise and/or failures and imperfections are not a loss but somehow actually a gain and all can look to their elders to see how it is in this second half where people achieve true spiritual fullness.

FALLING UPWARD: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Father Richard Rhor helps people understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have gone “down” are the only ones who understand “up.” Those who have somehow fallen, and fallen well, are the only ones who can grow spiritually and not misuse “up”. He describes what “up” (in the second half of life) will look like and could look like.

Many, if not most, people and institutions remain in “the first half of life” forever, preoccupied with establishing their identity, climbing, achieving, and performing. If you knew there was a further journey, wouldn't you choose to do the "first half" quite differently? The further journey involves challenges, mistakes, loss of control, even "necessary suffering," because that is how we grow.

“The soul has many secrets, and one of the best-kept ones is that the way up is actually on the way down. It is in the moments when we believed we’ve ‘fallen’ is when the real spiritual break-throughs occurs. I wrote this book to help those reverse their thinking, and to stop trying to strive for perfection because that can’t be achieved – to grow up we must pass through the darkness, it is there that we can find our true light.”

This message of falling down and in fact moving up is the most counterintuitive message in most of the world religions, including and most especially Christianity. We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.

FALLING UPWARD teaches us not be afraid of our failures or moving closer to the end of our time on this earth. Instead, it is an opportunity to further spiritually evolve and to experience real spiritual growth.


Mike Onorato, 201-748-6361
Associate Director - Publicity

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