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The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (Classic Edition) [Paperback]

M. Scott Peck
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

By melding love, science and religion into a primer on personal growth, M. Scott Peck launched his highly successful writing and lecturing career with this book. Even to this day, Peck remains at the forefront of spiritual psychology as a result of The Road Less Travelled. In the era of I'm OK, You're OK, Peck was courageous enough to suggest that "life is difficult" and personal growth is a "complex, arduous and lifelong task". His willingness to expose his own life stories as well as to share the intimate stories of his anonymous therapy clients creates a compelling and heartfelt narrative. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"A brilliant self-help book, which I found genuinely inspiring...I love this book, it's my spiritual refuge and I'm certain everyone will find something to console them within these pages." (Boy George, Sunday Express)

Book Description

One of the most widely recognised personal development classics in the world

From the Publisher

The Ten Million Copy Bestseller --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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

£6.99

Popular Psychology

www.randomhouse.co.uk

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

A graduate of both Harvard University and Case Western Reserve, Dr Peck served in the Army Medical Corps from 1963 to 1972 and had a private practice in psychiatry from 1972 to 1983. He also devoted much of his time and financial resources to the work of the Foundation for Community Encouragement, a nonprofit organization which he and his wife, Lily, helped found in 1984. His bestselling books include The Road Less Travelled and Beyond, A World Waiting to Be Born, and What Return Can I Make? Dr Peck died in 2005.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

At the age of thirteen I went away from home to Phillips Exeter Academy, a boy's preparatory school of the very highest reputation, to which my brother had gone before me. I knew that I was fortunate to be going there, because attendance at Exeter was part of a well defined pattern that would lead me to one of the best Ivy League colleges and from there into the highest echelons of the Establishment, whose doors would be wide open to me on account of my educational background. I felt extremely lucky to have been born the child of well-to-do parents who could afford `the best education that money could buy,' and I had a great sense of security which came from being a part of what was so obviously a proper pattern. The only problem was that almost immediately after starting Exeter I became miserably unhappy. The reasons for my unhappiness were totally obscure to me then and are still quite profoundly mysterious to me today. I just did not seem to fit. I didn't seem to fit with the faculty, the students, the courses, the architecture, the social life, the total environment. Yet there seemed nothing to do other than to try to make the best of it and try to mold my imperfections so that I could fit more comfortably into this pattern that had been laid out for me and that was so obviously the right pattern. And try I did for two and a half years. Yet daily my life appeared more meaningless and I felt more wretched. The last year I did little but sleep, for only in sleep could I find any comfort. In retrospect I think perhaps in my sleep I was resting and unconsciously preparing myself for the leap I was about to take. I took it when I returned home for spring vacation of my third year and announced that I was not going to return to school. My father said, `But you can't quit - it's the best education money can buy. Don't you realize what you'd be throwing away?'

`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.

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