This is a profound book – I urge you to read it!  Life is a journey home towards a deeper, wiser, happier simplicity – what he calls the second half of life – but not everybody gets there.

It’s the kind of book that I want to quote in its entirety!

But here is an excerpt:

There is a gravitas in the second half of life, but it is now held up by a deeper lightness, or ‘okayness’. Our mature years are characterised by a kind of bright sadness and a sober happiness… There is still darkness in the second half of life – in fact maybe even more.  But there is now a changed capacity to hold it creatively and with less anxiety…

In the second half of life one has less and less need or interest in eliminating the negative or fearful, making again those old rash judgements, holding on to old hurts or feeling any need to punish other people. Your superiority complexes have gradually departed in all directions.  You do not fight these things anymore; they have just shown themselves too many times to be useless, ego based, counter-productive and often entirely wrong.  You learn to positively ignore and withdraw your energy from evil or stupid things rather than fight them directly.

You fight things only when you are directly called and equipped to do so.  We all become a well-disguised mirror image of anything that we fight too long or too directly. That which we oppose determines the energy and frames the questions after a while.  You lose all your inner freedom…

The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better…

Such inner brightness ends up being a much better and longer-lasting alternative to any war, anger, violence, or ideology could ever be.  All you have to do is meet one such shining person and you know that she or he is surely the goal of humanity and the delight of God.

(This extract is taken from Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr with kind permission of SPCK)

Advertisements