THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED : A New Psychology Of Love, Traditional Values, And Spiritual Growth (AJ-02)M. Scott Peck
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How To Live A More Fulfilling Life By Practicing Discipline & Developing A Better Understanding Of Love, Religion & Grace
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The Road Less Traveled is a spiritual classic, combining scientific and religious views to help you grow by confronting and solving your problems through discipline, love and grace. It is a personal and professional account of how you can live a more fulfilling life by practicing discipline and developing a better understanding of love, religion and grace.
Certain pathways in life are less traveled because they’re more challenging, but, in this case, the path to enlightenment is also far more rewarding. Find out what steps you can take to grow and become a more balanced person.
Great Quote :
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Confronting and solving problems is a painful process which most of us attempt to avoid. Avoiding resolution results in greater pain and an inability to grow both mentally and spiritually. Drawing heavily on his own professional experience, Dr M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, suggests ways in which facing our difficulties – and suffering through the changes – can enable us to reach a higher level of self-understanding.
He discusses the nature of loving relationships: how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become one’s own person and how to be a more sensitive parent. Using his experience from counseling many clients throughout his career, he lays out a recipe for a fulfilled life that’s based on self-discipline, love, spirituality, and a mysterious force he calls grace.
Mastering these is essential to maintain personal growth, he suggests, which in turn is key to a happy existence. Here are 3 lessons from the first three categories he discusses:
✔ Stay open to change your perspective of reality at any moment.
✔ The action of loving is much more important than the feeling, which is fleeting.
✔ We’re all religious, because religion is nothing more than a distinct perception of the world.
This is a book that can show you how to embrace reality and yet achieve serenity and a richer existence. Hugely influential, it has now sold over ten million copies – and has changed many people’s lives round the globe. It may change yours. Perhaps no book in this generation has had a more profound impact on our intellectual and spiritual lives than The Road Less Traveled.
With sales of more than seven million copies in the United States and Canada, and translations into more than twenty-three languages, it has made publishing history, with more than ten years on the New York Times bestseller list.
Written in a voice that is timeless in its message of understanding, The Road Less Traveled continues to help us explore the very nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life. It helps us learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.
Recognizing that, as in the famous opening line of his book, “Life is difficult” and that the journey to spiritual growth is a long one, Dr. Peck never bullies his readers, but rather guides them gently through the hard and often painful process of change toward a higher level of self-understanding.
In a nutshell: Once you admit that life is difficult, the fact is no longer of great consequence. Once you accept responsibility, you can make better choices. Famously beginning with the words ‘Life is difficult’, The Road Less Traveled covers such gloomy topics as the myth of romantic love, evil, mental illness and the author’s psychological and spiritual crises. Its premise is that once we know the worst, we are free to see what is beyond it. It is inspirational but in an old-fashioned way, putting self-discipline at the top of the list of values for a good life.
Peck is a conventionally trained psychotherapist, but has been influential in the movement to have psychology recognise the stages of spiritual growth. He sees the great feature of our times as being the reconciliation of the scientific and the spiritual world views. The Road Less Traveled is his attempt to bridge the gap further, and it has clearly been successful.
Self-control is the essence of Peck’s brand of self-help. He says: ‘Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems.’ Someone who can delay gratification has the key to psychological maturity, whereas impulsiveness is a mental habit that, in denying opportunities to experience pain, creates neuroses. Most large problems are the result of not facing up to earlier, smaller problems, of failing to be ‘dedicated to the truth’. The great mistake most people make is believing that problems will go away of their own accord.
This lack of responsibility will damage us in other ways. Our culture puts freedom on a pedestal yet people have a natural willingness to embrace political authoritarianism and give up their personal power. Discipline is not only about ‘growing up’ in terms of accepting reality, but in the appreciation of the tremendous range of choices that exist.
The road and its rewards :
One of the book’s great insights is how few people choose the spiritual path. Peck observes that people in psychotherapy often have little taste for the power that comes with genuine mental health. Life on autopilot is preferable to any major challenge. The Road Less Traveled is rich with stories of real people. Some demonstrate the transformation of a life; in others people refuse to change or cannot be bothered. Rather than the horror of a mental illness, Peck says, most of us have to deal with the straightforward anguish of missed opportunities.
Why, when the rewards are so great? The road less travelled is rockier than the regular highway of life on which people seem happy enough. The rewards of spiritual life are enormous, says Peck: peace of mind and freedom from real worry that most people never imagine is possible.
Nevertheless, deepened spirituality also brings responsibility as we move from spiritual childhood to adulthood. Spiritual timidity and laziness result in a limited existence; discipline opens the door to limitlessness in our experience of life.
Love is a decision :
What is the fuel on the road less travelled? Love. Peck is at his best discussing this thing that cannot be adequately defined. There is a tendency to think of love as effortless. It may be mysterious but it is also effortful; love is a decision, says Peck. Anyone can fall in love but not everyone can decide to love.
We may never control love’s onset but we may, with discipline, remain in charge of our response. Once these ‘muscles’ of love have been used, they tend to stay, increasing our power to channel love in the most life-giving and appropriate way.
This book strikes a great balance between science and religion, declaring neither superior to the other, which is likely a big part of its allure. Besides discipline, love and spirituality, Peck also describes grace as a mysterious force of positive growth in our lives.
It universally adds serendipity in ways we can’t quite explain and thus comes as close to a miracle as it gets.
A good read for everyone who leans heavily towards either side of the science-religion spectrum.
Review From Publishers Weekly :
Psychotherapy is all things to all people in this mega-selling pop-psychology watershed, which features a new introduction by the author in this 25th anniversary edition. His agenda in this tome, which was first published in 1978 but didn’t become a bestseller until 1983, is to reconcile the psychoanalytic tradition with the conflicting cultural currents roiling the 70s.
In the spirit of Me-Decade individualism and libertinism, he celebrates self-actualization as life’s highest purpose and flirts with the notions of open marriage and therapeutic sex between patient and analyst. But because he is attuned to the nascent conservative backlash against the therapeutic worldview, Peck also cites Gospel passages, recruits psychotherapy to the cause of traditional religion (he even convinces a patient to sign up for divinity school) and insists that problems must be overcome through suffering, discipline and hard work (with a therapist.)
Often departing from the cerebral and rationalistic bent of Freudian discourse for a mystical, Jungian tone more compatible with New Age spirituality, Peck writes of psychotherapy as an exercise in “love” and “spiritual growth,” asserts that “our unconscious is God” and affirms his belief in miracles, reincarnation and telepathy.
Peck’s synthesis of such clashing elements (he even throws in a little thermodynamics) is held together by a warm and lucid discussion of psychiatric principles and moving accounts of his own patients’ struggles and breakthroughs.
Harmonizing psychoanalysis and spirituality, Christ and Buddha, Calvinist work ethic and interminable talking cures, this book is a touchstone of our contemporary religion-therapeutic culture.
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