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Publisher's Summary

In the first half of life, we are naturally preoccupied with establishing ourselves; climbing, achieving, and performing. But as we grow older and encounter challenges and mistakes, 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.
Falling Upward offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how those who have fallen down are the only ones who understand "up". We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right, and the disappointments of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys in the second half of life.
©2011 Richard Rohr (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"[P]rovocative." ( Publishers Weekly)
"[A] trustworthy guide to the spiritual life." (
"Understanding the spiritual aspects of aging is as important as appreciating the systems and biological processes that age us. Richard Rohr has given us a perfect guide to what he calls the 'further journey,' a voyage into the mystery mystery and beauty of healthy spiritual maturity." (Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of the Dr. Oz Show)
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Customer Reviews

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By J. Mark Wells on 09-03-14

I almost gave up on Christianity until I read this

Any additional comments?

I was on the brink of giving up on Christianity altogether—completely exhausted and frustrated with the restrictive and exclusive nature of the traditional Church. I was angry, repulsed and often felt cheated by the church. Metaphorically, I felt entrapped by the shell I had been incubated in, and I had to get out. The day after a major meltdown, when I told my wife I was through with God and through with the Church, I called my life coach who had gone through the same experience, and he recommended this book. Wether it was just timing, or timeless truth, I do not know, but I have never been so thankful for a book in my entire life. This book spoke to my sufferings in my personal life over the last 4 years, and to my spiritual frustrations with the Church. It was like a guide on life's journey as Rohr talks about in his book. It gave me an appreciation for the Traditional Church in my life, and yet freed me from it at the same time. It gave me a deeper understanding of God's love in all stages of life, and the need to keep moving in my Faith. I've never felt the kind of peace, joy and love from God as I do after hearing this. Rohr's understanding of scripture (and literature!! Which I loved as an English Major) was extraordinary, exciting and enlightening. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but I will also say that no one will get as much out of this as those who are questioning the traditional Church or have reached a spiritual roadblock in their life.

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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

By William on 02-24-13

Life Changing Once You Are Ready

Where does Falling Upward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the genre of spirituality this book ranks only behind Thomas Merton. Rohr clearly has found guidance and deep inspiration from Merton. If you've read Merton, you know this is a very good thing indeed. The key to our happiness is contemplation and finding our true selves. This book will reveal that in an easy to follow manner. This book made me want to work harder toward a mindset of contemplation. I found myself rewinding and bookmarking more than any other audio book I have purchased. Once I stopped listening for the day, I wanted to sit and write my own thoughts and ideas about how I could apply these principles in my life. I do recommend that you don't try to "finish" this one quickly. Take your time and listen in 30-60 minute sections. Allowing yourself the time to contemplate and soak in the message.

One word of caution, you have to be open minded and ready to hear this message. If you can allow yourself to begin this process it will change everything. However, in our world today we are so "tribal" that we are not used to thinking this way. We identify so strongly by political party, religious denomination, and class - that seeing the world as all of God's creation isn't nearly as easy as we think. At least it wasn't for me (once I really analyzed myself) and I consider myself open minded. Once you "get it" the concept seems simple and essential to happiness. But everything around us tells us to think differently. A major concept of the book is to change our "either/or" view of the world to a "both/and" mentality. This is true wisdom. The older we get (I am 42) the more we realize there are no simple answers to our problems.

But don't think that Rohr bashes our youthful certainty and fervor. He does no such thing. He calls on the importance of parents to instill impulse control, rules, and structure for their children. He calls this early way of thinking: "building our container". So that once we reach maturity we can properly hold and understand what is really inside. Far too often we worship the containers in life: religious practice, strict adherence to rules, and high expectations. This book will teach you how to respect the containers while fundamentally changing how you view what is inside - your soul.

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27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Nimmi Hutnik on 06-01-14

Wisdom for the Over 50s

Where does Falling Upward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This books ranks first among the audiobooks I have listened to so far.

What did you like best about this story?

Richard Rohr shares profound wisdom about the challenges of growing older. Whilst integrating the suffering associated with physical decline and loss of all kinds, Rohr points to people who radiate a 'bright sadness' . These people are naturally elders in our community, mentors for people in the first half of life. The message is that loss happens, by the very nature of life itself. We can stopping rueing our losses and step into a new freedom: the freedom of being totally ordinary. People who are able to allow this to happen with grace, learn to risk more and to trust the fall. This is what falling upward means: the trustful knowledge that we are falling into the everlasting arms of God.Rohr talks about the second half of life as being done to us: we move from the driver's seat into the passenger's seat, yet with the freedom and the ability to whispers suggestions to the Driver.It is a comfortable place of choiceless choice.We must do what we must do.We cannot not do what we must do. Our only choice is the choice to enter into the second half of life: to fall upward.

What about Richard Rohr’s performance did you like?

Very soothing, calm voice: like a morning balm.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?


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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Miles on 04-12-13

Falling Upwad in Love

I don't agree with everything that Richard writes... but who cares! Rohr is a thinker and speaker that challenges the inner being to be more by wanting less. This countercultural stance uplifts the reader to believe in redemption. The second half of life theology may struggle to be rooted in classic theology; the biblical citations may be weak but the value and insights are magnificent. Narrated by the author, the book transports the listener to a place of encounter rarely visited by modern humans. Authentic, challenging and ultimately redeeming: bravo!

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