Let’s go back to Richard Rohr and his wisdom from Falling Upward.
We haven’t talked about the title of the book yet.
Isn’t that odd? Don’t we usually fall DOWN?
Except when we fall UP. 🤓
The primary thesis of the book is that life involves FALLS. A lot of them. Period.
In fact, Richard tells us that it’s our resistance to what he calls “necessary suffering” that leads to most of our UNNECESSARY suffering.
With the right spiritual attitude, we KNOW that our growth requires challenges.
Richard tells us: “The soul has many secrets. They are only revealed to those who want them, and are never completely forced upon us. One of the best-kept secrets, and yet one hidden in plain sight, is that the way up is the way down. Or, if you prefer, the way down is the way up. This pattern is obvious in all of nature, from the very change of the seasons and substances on this earth, to the six hundred million tons of hydrogen the sun burns every day to light and warm our earth, and even to the metabolic laws of dieting or fasting. The down-up pattern is constant, too, in mythology, in stories like that of Persephone, who must descend into the underworld and marry Hades for spring to be reborn.”
He continues by saying: “In legends and literature, sacrifice of something to achieve something else is almost the only pattern. Dr. Faust has to sell his soul to the devil to achieve power and knowledge; Sleeping Beauty must sleep for a hundred years before she can receive the prince’s kiss. In Scripture, we see that the wrestling and wounding of Jacob are necessary for Jacob to become Israel (Genesis 32:26-32), and the death and resurrection of Jesus are necessary to create Christianity. The loss and renewal pattern is so constant and ubiquitous that it should hardly be called a secret at all.”
Want to move “UP” to the higher path of the soul? Get ready to go “DOWN.”
Enter: The title of the book and Richard’s incessant theme that, for whatever Mysterious reason, the way UP is DOWN. We need to die to our small self to be born into the best version of ourselves. We need to embrace the “necessary suffering” of our lives as we “fall” “upward.”
As Richard says: “Normally a job, fortune, or reputation has to be lost, a death has to be suffered, a house has to be flooded, or a disease has to be endured. The pattern in fact is so clear that one has to work rather hard, or be intellectually lazy, to miss the continual lesson.”
And… “It is not that suffering or failure might happen, or that it will only happen if you are bad (which is that religious people often think), or that it will happen to the unfortunate, or to a few in other places, or that you can somehow by cleverness or righteousness avoid it. No, it will happen, and to you! Losing, failing, falling, sin, and the suffering that comes from those experiences—all of this is a necessary and even good part of the human journey.”
We’ve got some good news and some bad news.
Bad news: You WILL face hardships. Pain. Suffering.
Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Good news: It’s not because something’s wrong with you per se. It’s because you’re HUMAN.
And… If we want to become the most Divinely inspired (screwed-in light bulb!) versions of ourselves, we need to quit ignoring the pain and/or trying to numb it via compulsive distraction and/or addictive behavior.
We need to embrace the reality of what Richard calls “necessary suffering” and allow it to awaken our humble commitment to something bigger than ourselves as we listen to our souls.
Let’s do that.