Quotes from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

M. Scott Peck ·  316 pages

Rating: (71K votes)


“Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“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 know 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.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Human beings are poor examiners, subject to superstition, bias, prejudice, and a PROFOUND tendency to see what they want to see rather than what is really there.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truely loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present. ...Conversely, it is not only possible but necessary for a loving person to avoid acting on feelings of love.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Consciousness and Healing

To proceed very far through the desert, you must be willing to meet existential suffering and work it through. In order to do this, the attitude toward pain has to change. This happens when we accept the fact that everything that happens to us has been designed for our spiritual growth.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion - through the fact that for that someone (or for ourself) we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Dependency may appear to be love because it is a force that causes people to fiercely attach themselves to one another. But in actuality it is not love; it is a form of antilove. It has its genesis in a parental failure to love and it perpetuates the failure. It seeks to receive rather than to give. It nourishes infantilism rather than growth. It works to trap and constrict rather than to liberate. Ultimately it destroys rather than builds relationships, and it destroys rather than builds people.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Once we truly know 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.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Falling in love is not an act of will. It is not a conscious choice. No matter how open to or eager for it we may be, the experience may still elude us. Contrarily, the experience may capture us at times when we are definitely not seeking it, when it is inconvenient and undesirable. We are as likely to fall in love with someone with whom we are obviously ill matched as with someone more suitable. Indeed, we may not even like or admire the object of our passion, yet, try as we might, we may not be able to fall in love with a person whom we deeply respect and with whom a deep relationship would be in all ways desirable. This is not to say that the experience of falling in love is immune to discipline. Psychiatrists, for instance, frequently fall in love with their patients, just as their patients fall in love with them, yet out of duty to the patient and their role they are usually able to abort the collapse of their ego boundaries and give up the patient as a romantic object. The struggle and suffering of the discipline involved may be enormous. But discipline and will can only control the experience; they cannot create it. We can choose how to respond to the experience of falling in love, but we cannot choose the experience itself.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Of all the misconceptions about love the most powerful and pervasive is the belief that "falling in love" is love or at least one of the manifestations of love. It is a potent misconception, because falling in love is subjectively experienced in a very powerful fashion as an experience of love. When a person falls in love what he or she certainly feels is "I love him" or "I love her."
But two problems are immediately apparent. The first is that the experience of falling in love is specifically a sex-linked erotic experience. We do not fall in love with our children even though we may love them very deeply. We do not fall in love with our friends of the same sex-unless we are homosexually oriented-even though we may care for them greatly. We fall in love only when we are consciously or unconsciously sexually motivated. The second problem is that the experience of falling in love is invariably temporary. No matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough. This is not to say that we invariably cease loving the person with whom we fell in love. But it is to say that the feeling of ecstatic lovingness that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes. The honeymoon always ends. The bloom of romance always fades.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and wisdom.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand but ultimately they are indistinguishable.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Move out or grow in any dimension and pain as well as joy will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost. While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be. But many do not want to make this effort. Some stop making it by the end of adolescence. Their maps are small and sketchy, their views of the world narrow and misleading. By the end of middle age most people have given up the effort. They feel certain that their maps are complete and their Weltanschauung is correct (indeed, even sacrosanct), and they are no longer interested in new information. It is as if they are tired. Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Love always requires courage and involves risk.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“We cannot solve life's problems except by solving them.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Genuine love not only respects the individuality of the other but actually cultivates it, even at the risk of separation or loss. The ultimate goal of life remains the spiritual growth of the individual, the solitary journey to peaks that can be climbed only alone.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“This inclination to ignore problems is once again a simple manifestation of an unwillingness to delay gratification. Confronting problems is, as I have said, painful. To willingly confront a problem early, before we are forced to confront it by circumstances, means to put aside something pleasant or less painful for something more painful. It is choosing to suffer now in the hope of future gratification rather than choosing to continue present gratification in the hope that future suffering will not be necessary.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“The act of loving is an act of self-evolution even when the purpose of the act is someone else's growth.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“We cannot be a source for strength unless we nurture our own strength.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“It is not selfishness or unselfishness that distinguishes love from non-love; it is the aim of the action.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


“It is lonely behind these boundaries. Some people-particularly those whom psychiatrists call schizoid-because of unpleasant, traumatizing experiences in childhood, perceive the world outside of themselves as unredeemably dangerous, hostile, confusing and unnurturing. Such people feel their boundaries to be protecting and comforting and find a sense of safety in their loneliness. But most of us feel our loneliness to be painful and yearn to escape from behind the walls of our individual identities to a condition in which we can be more unified with the world outside of ourselves. The experience of falling in love allows us this escapetemporarily. The essence of the phenomenon of falling in love is a sudden collapse of a section of an individual's ego boundaries, permitting one to merge his or her identity with that of another person. The sudden release of oneself from oneself, the explosive pouring out of oneself into the beloved, and the dramatic surcease of loneliness accompanying this collapse of ego boundaries is experienced by most of us as ecstatic. We and our beloved are one! Loneliness is no more!

In some respects (but certainly not in all) the act of falling in love is an act of regression. The experience of merging with the loved one has in it echoes from the time when we were merged with our mothers in infancy. Along with the merging we also reexperience the sense of omnipotence which we had to give up in our journey out of childhood. All things seem possible! United with our beloved we feel we can conquer all obstacles. We believe that the strength of our love will cause the forces of opposition to bow down in submission and melt away into the darkness. All problems will be overcome. The future will be all light. The unreality of these feelings when we have fallen in love is essentially the same as the unreality of the two-year-old who feels itself to be king of the family and the world with power unlimited.

Just as reality intrudes upon the two-year-old's fantasy of omnipotence so does reality intrude upon the fantastic unity of the couple who have fallen in love. Sooner or later, in response to the problems of daily living, individual will reasserts itself. He wants to have sex; she doesn't. She wants to go to the movies; he doesn't. He wants to put money in the bank; she wants a dishwasher. She wants to talk about her job; he wants to talk about his. She doesn't like his friends; he doesn't like hers. So both of them, in the privacy of their hearts, begin to come to the sickening realization that they are not one with the beloved, that the beloved has and will continue to have his or her own desires, tastes, prejudices and timing different from the other's. One by one, gradually or suddenly, the ego boundaries snap back into place; gradually or suddenly, they fall out of love. Once again they are two separate individuals. At this point they begin either to dissolve the ties of their relationship or to initiate the work of real loving.”
― M. Scott Peck, quote from The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


About the author

M. Scott Peck
Born place: in New York City, The United States
Born date May 23, 1936
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