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Golf and the Spirit: Lessons for the Journey

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Overview

In Golf and the Spirit, M. Scott Peck writes a book for beginners and masters alike - and even for nongolfers. It goes beyond mechanics to explore the deeper issues, ways of successfully managing the emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of this most wonderful, maddening, deflating, and inspiring game. Playing side by side with M. Scott Peck on an imaginary course of his own design - complete with illustrations of each hole - you will come to see the profound truths in this seemingly simple game. ...
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1999. Same ISBN. 8 cassette tapes (in excellent condition) in original holding case. Read by Michael Kramer. Very good and solid set. NOT X-Library. Case is solid, some normal ... shelf-wear. Ship promptly with USPS tracking. [1-23-10 d] AB [}5-08-12| d] + BN 12/06/12 + H/-A Read more Show Less

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Overview

In Golf and the Spirit, M. Scott Peck writes a book for beginners and masters alike - and even for nongolfers. It goes beyond mechanics to explore the deeper issues, ways of successfully managing the emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of this most wonderful, maddening, deflating, and inspiring game. Playing side by side with M. Scott Peck on an imaginary course of his own design - complete with illustrations of each hole - you will come to see the profound truths in this seemingly simple game. Appreciate that life is not linear. Come to understand your own anger and how to heal that which gets in your way. Accept the gifts of humility. Appreciate kenosis, the process by which the self empties itself of self. Benefit from teachers. Know that in weakness often there is strength. Realize that to experience the blessings of golf and life fully, you must accept the divinity that underlies all things.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Golf is a source of spiritual growth and inspiration for Peck (The Road Less Traveled), so he guides listeners along his own imaginary golf course to explain how the game can become a spiritual discipline. Peck has a pleasant voice and reads his own text in a clear, convincing style. He walks listeners through a round of golf that focuses on the game's physical challenges for the first nine holes and emphasizes the psychospiritual challenges of the game on the back nine. Methodically plodding across a fantasy course may not appeal to the nongolfer and may sound simplistic to an avid practitioner, but Peck offers a thoughtful way to discuss intriguing topics such as anger, humility, practice, and paradox. He also doesn't forget the golfer's mantra of "relax, swing easy, keep your head down, and follow through." This should be a popular title for any spirituality or self-help collection.--Susan Dunman, Murray State Univ., KY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736645751
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

M. Scott Peck, M.D., is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including The Road Less Traveled, which has spent more than ten years on the Times list and is arguably the most influential spiritual book of modern times. He and his wife, Lily, live in northern Connecticut and have been the recipients of several awards for peacemaking.
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Read an Excerpt

THE FRONT NINE

Once there was a man of limited imagination who considered the progress of life to be straightforward.

HOLE 1
SETTING THE SCENE
To the proverbial man from Mars, golf would seem the most linear of all human activities. For example, it is the only common game I know where the player with the lowest score wins. The whole point, apparently, is to get the ball from here (a tee) to there (a hole in a green) as directly as possible. Generally, it is obvious that the straighter the passage of that little ball from the tee to the hole, the fewer times the player will have to hit it and, hence, the greater her or his sense of accomplishment. Then the golfer will move on to the tee of the next allotted space of terrain (or "hole") and repeat the same linear process all over again. And again. And again.

A few practicing human golfers actually do envision the game in this manner. Usually they are male. They are the "chargers." They advance directly along the course, their eyes only on the hole ahead, plowing forward with maximum speed, as if driven by a mule. They are generally not having much fun. They are also often not playing very well, either.

This is because the reality--unlike the appearance--is that golf is probably the most nonlinear pastime on the face of the earth. This book is devoted to that reality. Consequently, it will be the most nonlinear book I've ever written. For those of you who have trouble tolerating anything that isn't clearly straightforward, I suggest you stop now. Throw in the towel. Quit. And don't look for much from golf.

This is not a "how to" book. You will read herein almost nothing about how to grip agolf club properly, and very little about how to swing one. Or hit from a downhill lie. Or get out of a sand trap with dignity. Moreover, my lawyers have firmly advised me not to give you any guarantee whatsoever that anything I have to say will improve your game by a single stroke.

This is a "how not to" book.

Human beings have amazingly different personalities. Why this is so--to what degree it is a fact of nature (genes) or nurture (how their parents raised them)--even as an experienced psychiatrist, I don't have the foggiest idea. In any case, certain people--like the pros--seem almost to have been born to play golf well. Others have personalities that make them bound to play the game poorly.

Learning how to play golf with the slightest decency or pleasure has been for me a continual battle against my own personality. This is what has made me an expert. I am an expert on how not to play golf.

Why, you may naturally wonder, would anyone spend an enormous amount of time and money "playing" at something he will never be very good at, something that may often be humiliating? Ah, there you have it. The answer is in the question: I play golf precisely because it is humiliating. While I don't enjoy being humiliated, I do need it.

There's another word for what golfers go through that's even stronger than humiliation: mortification. It is derived from mors, the Latin word for "death," as is the term mortician for "undertaker." To be mortified is to feel so humiliated that you would rather bury yourself deep in the nearest sand trap than ever show your face on a golf course again.

In the good (or not so good) old days, certain Roman Catholic monks and nuns and a few others used to practice mortification as a discipline. They defined it as the discipline of "daily dying." Some of their techniques, such as wearing hair shirts, self-flagellation, and floor licking, were indeed masochistic. Yet I believe they were onto something--something we have generally forgotten but still very much need.

They practiced mortification deliberately in order to learn humility. Another word in theology gets more to the heart of the matter: kenosis. Kenosis is defined as "the process of the self emptying itself of self." In doing battle on the golf course against my own personality--against my ego, if you will--I am attempting to practice kenosis: getting myself out of my own way. It is what spiritual growth is all about.

In this book there will eventually be much more about kenosis, this struggle of self against self. For the moment let it suffice to say that, among other reasons, I play golf because it is for me a highly useful spiritual discipline. Indeed, given the fact that it is so humiliating, I doubt I could play it at all unless I envisioned it as a spiritual discipline. And I am suggesting that you too might want to regard the game in this light.

So what you have here from me is yet one more "spiritual growth" book.

And while there are no guarantees, reading it might just enable you to take a dozen strokes or more off your score. Or at least persist in your attempt to do so. And for some of you, even to take up the game as a beginner.

What's so wrong with my personality that I need to empty myself of parts of it? My anger, just for starters. I am a very determined person. That's not all to the bad, but I tend to get very angry when things don't go just my way.

Things like golf balls.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Hole 1 Setting the Scene 3
Hole 2 Taking Up the Game 17
Hole 3 Penalties and Perfection 33
Hole 4 Flight, Freedom, and Power 49
Hole 5 Human Nature 65
Hole 6 The Invisible 85
Hole 7 Deftness 101
Hole 8 Paradox 117
Hole 9 Climate and Perspective 133
Hole 10 Teaching and Learning 149
Hole 11 Time 165
Hole 12 Civility 183
Hole 13 Competition 201
Hole 14 The Human Condition 219
Hole 15 Golf and Sexuality 239
Hole 16 Remembering 259
Hole 17 In the Flow 275
Hole 18 God 291
Hole 19 Closure 303
Index 315
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 1999

    Insights for everyone.

    This is the first M. Scott Peck book that I've read; the book is easy to read yet full of profound ideas explained in simple terms to help one understand how much more we all have in common than most of us realize. His view of God and religion is on target without being fanatical about having to belong to one religion or another.

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