Lindsey Chapman's Travel Blog

Book Review: The Road Less Traveled
January 31, 2011, 2:42 am
Filed under: Chile | Tags: , , , ,

Travelers are always seeking a road less traveled. Sometimes you travel to embrace new challenges.  Other times you travel to escape current ones. Either way, the act of journeying to another place lends itself to finding truth. It takes you away from your day-to-day routine, and forces you to ask yourself hard questions.

I recently read The Road Less Traveled by psychiatrist and M.D.M. Scott Peck. The book is broken up into four main parts: discipline, love, personal growth and religion, and grace. Regarding personal spiritual growth, Peck shares some pretty incredible insights about how to achieve it. His main premise is that pain and suffering in life should be welcomed because you cannot achieve spiritual growth without it.  They go hand in hand. “We must always consider our personal discomfort relatively unimportant and indeed even welcome it in the service of the search for truth. Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs,” he states. Sometimes you may resist the truth because it’s not what you expected or were hoping for, but achieving balanced mental health is seeking and recognizing that it is, in fact, truth nonetheless.

He also says, “If your goal is to avoid pain and escape suffering I advise you not to seek higher levels of consciousness or spiritual evolution. You cannot achieve them without suffering. Then why desire to evolve at all, you may ask. If you ask this question, perhaps you do not know enough joy.” I think the average traveler can relate to this point in some form or another.

But perhaps my biggest takeway from the book was related to love. In a philosophy I’ve gathered for myself, I’ve realized that love is not the dependency of “needing” someone or something. Love is wanting someone to flourish as an individual so much that you are willing to do anything within your power to aid them in their person growth and development, no matter the cost. Even at the cost of your own happiness.

Talk about a selfless love. From living and volunteering here in Chile, it’s something I’m aware of everyday.