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By Richard Rohr

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Additional resources for AARP Falling Upward. A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Example text

Instead of settling into quiet later years, Odysseus knows that he must heed the prophecy he has already received, but half forgotten, from the blind seer Teiresias and leave home once again. It is his fate, required by the gods. This new journey has no detailed description, only a few very telling images. , before we began to fully understand and speak about the second-half-of-life journey, whether Homer simply intuited that there had to be something more, as Greek literature often did. … When you get home you will take your revenge on these suitors of your wife; and after you have killed them by force or fraud in your own house, you must take a well-made oar and carry it on and on, till you come to a country where the people have never heard of the sea and do not even mix salt with their food, nor do they know anything about ships, and oars that are as the wings of a ship.

We belong to a Mystery far grander than our little selves and our little time. Great storytellers and spiritual teachers always know this. Remember, the opposite of rational is not always irrational, but it can also be transrational or bigger than the rational mind can process; things like love, death, suffering, God, and infinity are transrational experiences. Both myth and mature religion understand this. The transrational has the capacity to keep us inside an open system and a larger horizon so that the soul, the heart, and the mind do not close down inside of small and constricted space.

It can operate as a sort of blueprint for what we want to say. Just remember this much consciously: the whole story is set in the matrix of seeking to find home and then to return there, and thus refining and defining what home really is. Home is both the beginning and the end. Home is not a sentimental concept at all, but an inner compass and a North Star at the same time. It is a metaphor for the soul. And yes, my female readers, it is an old male story and reflects issues from that side of the gender divide.

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