From the Publisher
From the Back Cover
'perfect new year reading for these spiritually searching times' Independent on Sunday
The New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
Confronting and solving problems is a painful process which most of us attempt to avoid. And the very avoidance 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 practising 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 recognise true compatibility, how to distinguish dependency from love, how to become one's own person, and how to be a more sensitive parent.
'Magnificent...This is not just a book but a spontaneous act of generosity written by an author who leans towards the reader for the purpose of sharing something larger than himself' Washington Post
'sound advice on how to build a happy life' Daily Mail
0 09 972740 4
www.randomhouse.co.uk--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
`I know it's a good school,' I replied, `but I'm not going back.'
`Why can't you adjust to it, make another go of it?' my parents asked.
`I don't know,' I answered, feeling totally inadequate. `I don't even know why I hate it so. But I hate it and I'm not going back.'
`Well, what are you going to do, then? Since you seem to want to play so loose with your future, just what is it you plan to do?'
Again I miserably replied, `I don't know. All I know is I'm not going back there.'
My parents were understandably alarmed and took me forthwith to a psychiatrist, who stated that I was depressed and recommended a month's hospitalization, giving me a day to decide whether or not this was what I wanted. That night was the only time I ever considered suicide. Entering a psychiatric hospital seemed quite appropriate to me. I was, as the psychiatrist said, depressed. My brother had adjusted to Exeter; why couldn't I? I knew that my difficulty in adjusting was entirely my fault, and I felt totally inadequate, incompetent and worthless. Worse, I believed that I was probably insane. Had not my father said, `You must be crazy to throw away such a good education'? If I returned to Exeter I would be returning to all that was safe, secure, right, proper, constructive, proven and known. Yet it was not me. In the depths of my being I knew it was not my path. But what was my path?
If I did not return, all that lay ahead was unknown, undetermined, unsafe, insecure, unsanctified, unpredictable. Anyone who would take such a path must be mad. I was terrified. But then, at the moment of my greatest despair, from my unconscious there came a sequence of words, like a strange disembodied oracle from a voice that was not mine: `The only real security in life lies in relishing life's insecurity.' Even if it meant being crazy and out of step with all that seemed holy, I had decided to be me. I rested. In the morning I went to see the psychiatrist again and told him that I would never return to Exeter but that I was ready to enter his hospital. I had taken the leap into the unknown. I had taken my destiny into my own hands.
The process of growing up usually occurs very gradually, with multiple little leaps into the unknown, such as when an eight-year-old boy first takes the risk of riding his bike down to the country store all by himself or a fifteen-year- old goes out on his or her first date. If you doubt that these represent real risks, then you cannot remember the anxiety involved. If you observe even the healthiest of children you will see not only an eagerness to risk new and adult activities but also, side by side, a reluctance, a shrinking back, a clinging to the safe and familiar, a holding on to dependency and childhood. Moreover, on more or less subtle levels, you can find this same ambivalence in an adult, including yourself, with the elderly particularly tending to cling to the old, known and familiar. Almost daily at the age of forty I am presented with subtle opportunities to risk doing things differently, opportunities to grow. I am still growing up, and not as fast as I might. Among all the little leaps we might take, there are also some enormous ones, as when by leaving school I was also forsaking a whole pattern of life and values according to which I had been raised.
Many never take any of these potential enormous leaps, and consequently many do not ever really grow up at all.