This book could as easily be named “one book on Love” or “one book on religion.” It is deeply formative for facing the truth of how people work, get along, and experience reality and the divine. It is M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled.
I think of this book as a psychologist’s Mere Christianity. Both serve as an “autobiography of thought,” tracing the intellectual process that brought the writer to faith. The Road Less Traveled was written as Peck was on the cusp of conversion. He is simultaneously a top notch scientist and openminded mystic, using both to understand the soul.
The book deals with the realities of life. It talks about how we learn, how we love, how what passes as love is usually hurtful, and how we come to the divine. The opening words give you a taste of the combination of profound and personal.
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 see 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.
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share.
Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them?
Like The Divine Conspiracy, The Road Less Traveled is an almost yearly book for me. If you read one book to learn about how people work, read The Road Less Traveled.