Why Your Life Sucks and Reasons Why You’re Not Farther Along in your Journey

It’s been over a year since I was given the book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. I started reading it last February and it took me ten months to finish. The book is 315 pages and usually, I can read a book of the same length in about a month. Not this book.


The Road Less Traveled was not a book that I was able to read straight through, and not because it wasn’t an interesting book. In fact, it is one the most insightful books I’ve ever read. It was reflective, thought-provoking and challenging. It caused me to look at my areas of growth, held a mirror to broken places, and forced me to look at myself wholly.


After two months, I still hadn’t made it through the 2nd section of the book and there are only four sections. After reading something that was difficult to process I would put it down, refusing to look at what was being reflected. I would pick up other books, welcoming the energy of pleasantries and niceties.


I didn’t like that this book was making me feel uncomfortable. The hardest chapter for me to get through was the section on “Love.” In this section, Peck writes about love in a way that is insightful and divine. He believed the sole purpose of love is for our spiritual growth and that love cannot exist without conflict.


He defined love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”


He says, “there is a traditional concept that [relationships] should be conflict-free…Such relationships are superficial and intimacy-avoiding and are either unsuccessful or shallow.”


Where there is no conflict there is no growth.


Though the chapter on love was hard, it was the chapter on grace that struck a chord. According to Peck, the greatest conflict we experience as human beings is between our will and God’s, what he calls “Grace.”Peck points to discipline, love, and grace as the
road to healing.


Peck suggests that laziness is the original sin and that it is what keeps us from reaching new levels of spiritual growth. He believes that the primary goal of spiritual evolution is to experience our oneness with God. He writes about grace being the element of our human experience that moves us forward. According to Peck, the belief in an external source of Power keeps us in unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Refusing to accept grace keeps us from accepting responsibility over our life and is what creates separation from God.


Although we recognize the importance of God’s will to grow, we do not accept responsibility in the process for our growth. Peck believed that we have a resistance to grace, making excuses for why we can’t move forward even when we feel stuck.


We can’t move further along if we can’t identify what is keeping us stagnant. Peck offers up these
life lessons to teach us just how to move forward on the road less traveled:

 

  1. You’re lazy. Peck believed laziness was the original sin and that it prevents us from moving further along in our journeys. Where is there room for growth? Identify areas where you can improve in your life and be active about making the changes as you see fit.

  2. You are in denial about your laziness. If you can’t identify areas of growth, you are in denial. Peck believed that as human beings we lack awareness of our own laziness and choose to instead turn a blind eye to it. Hold yourself accountable. We are all works in progress. Be in progress.

  3. You refuse to do anything different. Change your mindset. Old ways of thinking will continue to produce the same results. In the Road Less Traveled, Peck writes about the evolution of consciousness and the levels of awareness that exist. Do one thing a day that scares you.

  4. You don’t want to change and make excuses. Although we recognize the importance of the will to grow, we do not accept responsibility for our involvement in the process of our growth. Peck believed we have a resistance to grace, making excuses for why we can’t move forward even though we feel stuck.

  5. You lack discipline. All theory and no action leaves you were you are. Peck thought we resisted grace between we refused to listen to “ the God within.” This leads us to a more difficult road where we dispel more energy trying to fill our own cups instead of allowing God to fill them for us.

  6. You don’t have an accountability partner. Peck devoted an entire section to love and it’s importance for the journey of life. He defined love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” If you can’t hold yourself accountable, connect with someone who can. The road less traveled awaits you.

 

Have you read any books that were challenging or transformative? I’d love to hear about books that have inspired you.

 

M. Scott Peck was a psychologist and published the New York Times best-seller The Road Less Traveled in 1978. His theories and insight on spiritual development are innovative and have pioneered the field of psychology and psychiatry.

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