I’m learning so much from this book Adam’s Return by Richard Rohr about what it means to be initiated as a man. Initiation is something that the American culture hasn’t followed like the rest of the cultures around the world.
I wonder how life would be different in America if we could only claim to be men if we had passed through the rites of initiation?
Richard Rohr spent some years of his life researching the different initiation paths of men in cultures around the world and this is the five essential messages of initiation:
1. Life is hard.
2. You are not that important.
3. Your life is not about you.
4. You are not in control.
5. You are going to die.
He points out that they are all negative and that might be shocking or hard for our culture to accept. We strive to make life as comfortable as possible and this creates a false self and a false reality. This striving keeps us from becoming men.
Life is hard. Once we accept that simple truth, our one true self will be able to emerge from the depths. We wont be in a constant search of how to make life easier, a search that leaves you empty and dry.
You are not that important. We were designed as small people in a huge universe, once we can accept that we will realize that our selfish desires really don’t lead us anywhere. It’s the starting point for servant leadership.
Your life is not about you. There is so much more purpose in your life than to just revolve around yourself. Again, we selfishly design our lives to cater to our flesh. You were designed with a higher purpose than self.
You are not in control. Rohr says, “Nature is the one place we will release our control and not get too angry.” We try to control every aspect of our lives. I’ve caught myself trying to control my failures. If we release that control and learn dependence our lives would begin to flow from the Spirit.
You are going to die.
Rohr states, “The true self is not needy, easily offended or hurt. [The true self] is content, low level peace and happiness and now and then pure joy. It knows that all is ok – despite it all.”
I’m searching for my true self;
I’ve found him a few times.
Rohr says, “Pain is an entranceway.” Once we can look at death as a way to sacred life, we can learn what it means to be a man.
John 12:24, “The grain of wheat had to die or it remained just a grain of wheat – but if it died, it would bear much fruit.”