The five truths about life are based on Richard Rohr’s book called Adam’s Return. Basically, it is about the main theory behind the Men’s Rite of Passage he created after his intensive work with the Native American people and his work as a chaplain in a penitentiary in America. These truths serve primordially to destabilize the masculine ego. It serves to show to the ego he doesn’t have all the answers for life. Here they are:
Life is hard;
You are not in control;
Life is not about you;
You are not that important;
You are going to die.
As it is already noticeable, the Ego will never believe in any of above. The Ego will do whatever he can to convince one that life is easy, that you (or him) is in control, that life is about you (or him), that you (or him) is the most important person on Earth, and by the time you get old, the scientists will have discovered a medicine to live a thousand or more years - death will not be a reason for one to suffer. It is ridiculous, but nobody like to reflect deeply on this truths unless they face real pain, that always happens after a tragic event where one cannot fix or control, but to feel it and let be what is meant to be.
In the documentary called Absent , John Eldredge affirmed that people don’t want to grow up. People rather live their lives in a permanent teenage pop-culture influenced by gossip-magazines, than do the hard work. The hard work of asking “what can I learn from this suffering?”. People rather accept the feeling of guilt, and feel like a victim, than do ‘the hard work of changing the underlying illusion’ (Rohr, 2004, p.42) that can lead them to Authentic Self.
It is hard work because easily one will recognize right at the beginning that he is his own problem. Nobody enjoys accepting their own shit in public, or even in secret. In this point, the ego is an expert in all kinds of games to run away from such Sacred Acceptance that initiates one into the Path of Real Maturity.
Another great point about the initiation process is that most of them happen in Nature . A place where is greater than the Ego. In such place, the ego is found in an unfamiliar area, where he becomes weak and his voice loses power. It becomes easier for him to get out of the way, giving passage to the Soul, and empowering the Heart’s voice.
Parker Palmer said once that ‘the soul is shy and timid’ and only comes up when feels safe. When comes to the masculine soul, one can multiply that for three or four. That’s why a process of initiation is important into the men’s life. “It educates the emotional life, the inner world, the soul, which for some reason we don’t think needs education as the mind does. Once you can grow in this way, you have an inner pattern for ongoing growth throughout your whole life… Initiation is about being conscious, awake and alert” (Rohr, 2004, p.36).
These truths direct the human being toward the pain. It directs the human being toward the wound and the bleeding. That is why the first lesson is ‘life is hard’. It is through this lesson that one learn to listen, to wait and to hope. It is through the necessary suffering that one matures; goes to his consciousness, awakes and becomes alerted. Before, it could be said was like a zombie life: feeling nothing, unconscious of himself and in a state of unawakened, just going through life.
To read about The Men's Sacred Wound, click here.
To read about Men's Grief Work, click here.
Rohr, R. (2004). Adam’s return: the five promises of male initiation. Crossroad Publishing Company.
Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for men facing challenges in life. Click here to know more about his work . Or, please, continue reading this short article about the five hard truths about life.
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