Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Towards Spiritual Growth

Simon and Schuster, 02/01/1998 - 252 páginas
Further Along the Road Less Traveled takes the lectures of Dr. Peck and presents his profound insights into the issues that confront and challenge all of us today: spirituality, forgiveness, relationships, and growing up. In this aid for living less simplistically, you will learn not to look for the easy answers but to think multidimensionally. You will learn to reach for the "ultimate step," which brings you face to face with your personal spirituality. It will be this that helps you appreciate the complexity that is life.
Continue the journey of personal and spiritual growth with this wise and insightful book.

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Review: Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Towards Spiritual Growth

Procura do Utilizador  - Sadie - Goodreads

This book along with "How to Win Friends and Influence People" are not my favored style of reading but I have vowed to read them. Apparently they are two of the most famous motivational books since the 80's. Ler crítica na íntegra

Páginas seleccionadas


TWO Blame and Forgiveness
THREE The Issue of Death and Meaning
FOUR The Taste for Mystery
FIVE SelfLove versus SelfEsteem
SIX Mythology and Human Nature
SEVEN Spirituality and Human Nature
The Sacred Disease
NINE The Role of Religion in Spiritual Growth
TEN Matter and Spirit
Symboline of Diaboline?
TWELVE Sexuality and Spirituality
Psychiatrys Predicament
Direitos de autor

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Palavras e frases frequentes

Acerca do autor (1998)

Chapter 1

Consciousness and the Problem of Pain

All my life I used to wonder what I would become when grew up. Then, about seven years ago, I realized that I never was going to grow up -- that growing is an ever ongoing process. So I asked myself, "Well, Scotty, what is it that you''ve become thus far?" And as soon as I asked that question, I realized, to my absolute horror, that what I have become is an evangelist. An evangelist is the last thing on earth I ever thought I would become. And it''s probably the last thing on earth you ever wanted to encounter.

The word "evangelist" carries the worst possible associations and probably brings to your mind the image of a manicured and coiffed preacher in a two-thousand-dollar suit, his gold-ringed fingers gripping a leatherette-covered Bible as he shouts at the top of his lungs: "Save me, Jee-sus!"

Fear not. I don''t mean to suggest that I have become that kind of evangelist. I am using the word "evangelist" in its original sense -- the bringer of good news. But I must warn you, I am also the bringer of bad news. I am an evangelist who brings good news and bad news.

If you are anything like me, you are into delaying gratification, so when you are asked, "Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?" you answer, "Well, the bad news first, please." So let me get the bad news over with: I don''t know anything.

It might seem odd that an evangelist, a "bringer of truth," would confess so readily that he doesn''t know anything. But the real truth of the matter is that you don''t know anything either. None of us does. We dwell in a profoundly mysterious universe.

Evangelists are also supposed to bring "glad tidings of comfort and joy." The other piece of bad news is that I am going to be talking about the journey through life, and in so doing I cannot avoid talking about pain. Pain is simply a part of being human and it has been so since the Garden of Eden.

The story of the Garden of Eden is, of course, a myth. But like other myths, it is an embodiment of truth. And among the many truthful things the myth of the Garden of Eden tells us is how we human beings evolved into consciousness.

When we ate the apple from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we became conscious, and having become conscious, we immediately became self-conscious. That was how Cod recognized that we had eaten the apple -- we were suddenly modest and shy. So one of the things this myth tells us is that it is human to be shy.

I have had the opportunity, through my career as a psychiatrist and more recently as an author and lecturer, to meet a great number of wonderful, deep-thinking people, and I have never met such a person who was not basically shy. A few of them had not thought of themselves as shy, but as we talked about it, they came to realize that they were in fact shy. And the very few people I have met who were not shy were people who had been damaged in some way, who had lost some of their humanity.

It is human to be shy, and we became shy in the Garden of Eden when we became self-conscious. When this happened to us, we became conscious of ourselves as separate entities. We lost that sense of oneness with nature, with the rest of the universe. And this loss of the sense of oneness with the rest of creation is symbolized by our banishment from Paradise.


When we were banished from Paradise, we were banished forever. We can never go back to Eden. If you remember the story, the way is barred by cherubims and a flaming sword.

We cannot go back. We can only go forward.

To go back to Eden would be like trying to return to our mother''s womb, to infancy. Since we cannot go back to the womb or infancy, we must grow up. We can only go forward through the desert of life, making our way painfully over parched and barren ground into increasingly deeper levels of consciousness.

This is an extremely important truth because a great deal of human psychopathology, including the abuse of drugs, arises out of the attempt to get back to Eden. At cocktail parties we tend to need at least that one drink to help diminish our self-consciousness, to diminish our shyness. It works, right? And if we get Just the right amount of alcohol or Just the right amount of pot or coke or some combination thereof, for a few minutes or a few hours we may regain temporarily that lost sense of oneness with the universe. We may recapture that deliciously warm and fuzzy sense of being one with nature once again.

Of course, the feeling never lasts very long and the price usually isn''t worth it. So the myth is true. We really cannot go back to Eden. We must go forward through the desert. But that journey is hard and consciousness often painful. And so most people stop their journey as quickly as they can. They find what looks like a safe place, burrow into the sand, and stay there rather than go forward through the painful desert, which is filled with cactuses and thorns and sharp rocks.

Even if most people have been taught at one time or another that "those things that hurt, instruct" (to borrow Benjamin Franklin''s phrase), the education of the desert is so painful that they discontinue it as early as they can.

Senility is not just a biological disorder. It can also be a manifestation of a refusal to grow up, a psychological disorder preventable by anyone who embarks on a lifetime pattern of psychospiritual growth. Those who stop learning and growing early in their lives and stop changing and become fixed often lapse into what is sometimes called their "second childhood." They become whiny and demanding and self-centered. But this isn''t because they have entered their second childhood. They have never left their first, and the veneer of adulthood is worn thin, revealing the emotional child that lurks underneath.

We psychotherapists know that most people who look like adults are actually emotional children walking around in adult''s clothing. And we know this not because the people that come to us are more immature than most. On the contrary, those who come to psychotherapy with genuine intent to grow are those relative few who are called out of immaturity, who are no longer willing to tolerate their own childishness, although they may not yet see the way out. The rest of the population never manages to fully grow up, and perhaps it is for this reason that they hate so to talk about growing old.

Back in January of 1980, soon after I wrote The Road Less Traveled, which in many ways is a book about growing up, I was being driven around to a number of TV and radio stations on a promotional tour by a cabdriver in Washington, D.C. After the second or third station, he said, "Hey man, whatja doin''?"

So I told him that I was promoting a book, and he asked, "What''s it about?"

I went into this intellectual bit about how it was an integration of psychiatry and religion. After about thirty seconds he commented, "Well, it sounds to me like it''s about getting your shit together."

0 That man had the gift of discernment. So at the next TV talk show I went to, I asked if I could tell that story.

They said no. Thinking that they objected to the word "shit," I offered to say "stuff" instead. But they still said no.

People just don''t want to talk about real maturation. It is too painful.


If I am willing to talk about pain, it does not mean I am some kind of masochist. On the contrary. I see absolutely no virtue whatsoever in unconstructive suffering. If I have a headache, the very first thing I do is go to the kitchen and get myself two superstrength, uncapsulized Tylenols. I see absolutely no virtue in an ordinary tension headache.

But there is such a thing as constructive suffering. And the difference between unconstructive suffering and constructive suffering is one of the most important things to learn in dealing with the pain of growing up. Unconstructive suffering, like headaches, is something you ought to get rid of. Constructive suffering you ought to bear and work through.

I prefer to use the terms "neurotic suffering" and "existential suffering," and here is an example of how I make that distinction. You may remember that about forty years ago, when Freud''s theories first filtered down to the intelligentsia and were misinterpreted -- as so often happens -- there was a whole bunch of avant-garde parents who, having learned that guilt feelings could have something to do with neuroses, resolved that they were going to raise guilt-free children. What an awful thing to try to do to a child!

Our jails are filled with people who are there precisely because they do not have any guilt, or do not have enough guilt. We need a certain amount of guilt in order to exist in society. And that''s what I call existential guilt.

I hasten to stress, however, that too much guilt, rather than enhancing our existence, impedes it. This is neurotic guilt. It is like walking around a golf course with eighty-seven clubs in your bag instead of fourteen, which is the number needed to play optimal golf. It''s just so much excess baggage, and you ought to get rid of it as quickly as possible. If that means going into psychotherapy, then you should do that. Neurotic guilt is unnecessary, and it only impedes your journey through the desert.

This is true not only of guilt, but also of other forms of emotional suffering, like anxiety, for example, which can be either existential or neurotic. And the trick is to determine which is which

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