Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Quote: “The world out there,” he said, waving his arm across the horizon, “is a school, Dan. Life is the only real teacher. It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfillment, then elderly people would all be happy, enlightened masters. But the lessons of experience are hidden. I can help you learn from experience to see the world clearly.”

This is a book that changes lives and turns its readers into much better versions of themselves. By better, I mean that the reader is taken on a journey of self-discovery and we learn, with Dan, what is truly important in life and how we can find fulfillment, contentment and inner peace.

‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ is a book that I have had to buy several copies of over the years as when I lend it to friends, it rarely ever comes back, as it is always re-lent to others. A great book that deserves multiple readings over time as it has layers and layers of wisdom that are revealed only when we are able to understand them for ourselves.

Life can be full of suffering and pain

Quote: “If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.”

Society teaches us how to be good consumers and to value material success above all else, however as we learn through this book, there are things in life more precious than material belongings. Many things that we take for granted, or even ignore, are crucial to enable us to fully participate and enjoy this life experience. For example, how many of us are actually aware of our thought processes, or our breathing? Both are vitally important in regard to our overall well-being and satisfaction with life. However, so many of us spend our time worrying about ‘will he like my new dress,’ ‘what if her parents don’t like me,’ and what’s for dinner tonight?’

‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ is a book that shows us how it is our mind that is the source of our dissatisfaction and helps us to become free of attachments to the unimportant stuff so that we may begin to lead a peaceful, happy, and fulfilling life. But be warned, it is not an easy path to follow!

Material possessions done bring lasting happiness

Quote: “Life brought rewards, but no lasting peace or satisfaction.”

‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ was first published in 1980 and is a semi-autobiographical book based on the college years of its author, Dan Millman. The book begins with Dan, who is a star gymnast, good-looking, fit, and healthy student feeling like his life is falling apart from the inside. As successful as he appears to be on the outside, he is overwhelmed by the fear of death and wakes each night drenched with sweat due to nightmares. He also dreams of a mysterious white-haired old man who he believes will be able to provide solutions to his problems.

The book revolves around the life-lessons provided to Dan after he has a chance meeting in a gas station late one night with the mysterious night attendant, who turns out to be the man from his dreams. The old man won’t reveal his name, so Dan ends up calling him Socrates. ‘Soc’, for short, becomes a mentor to Dan, teaching him some very powerful life lessons that enable Dan to re-prioritize his life so that he transforms from a fearful boy into a ‘Peaceful warrior.’

Lose your mind to come to your senses

Quote: “You have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.”

A peaceful Warrior is someone who has left his ego behind and is able to see life for what it is: a series of events that are occurring and then react to those events appropriately to achieve a beneficial outcome for all involved.

This level of understanding can only be realized when we are living in the present moment and can grasp that we are all part of a much larger holistic system which encompasses all living things. This is why Socrates continues to impress upon Dan the importance of remaining rooted in what is happening here and now so that he can deepen his connection to the untold beauty and possibilities that every moment hold.

Our world is absolutely amazing and the complexity of life is mind-blowing. But how many of us actually take a moment to notice the intricate dance that nature continually provides for our entertainment? Socrates teaches Dan another very important lesson: “There are no ordinary moments!” There is always so much going on, but most of us are too engrossed with the repetitive self-limiting thoughts that are constantly inside of our heads that are taking our focus away from the joy that being present brings.

The only time is now

Quote: “Where are you? … HERE. What time is it? … NOW. What are you? … THIS MOMENT.”

Soc explains that our problems exist in either the past or the future and within the present moment we actually have nothing to worry about. The POWER of NOW is such an important concept that many books have recently been written about it. This is because the present moment is the only time we can live in. Our past has gone and the future never arrives. We are always in an eternal moment and it is in this moment that we will find solutions to all of our problems. Remaining in the present provides a sense of peace and wellbeing that cannot be experienced when thinking about the past or future.

Peace is having a focused mind

Quote: “Furthermore, the best performers had the quietest minds during their moment of truth… For the first time, I realized why I loved gymnastics so. It gave me a blessed respite from my noisy mind. When I was swinging and somersaulting, nothing else mattered. When my body was active, my mind rested in the moments of silence.”

Dan, like most of us, grew up believing that to be successful and have a great life he would need to achieve a list of goals that he set for himself. However, as time went on he began to realize that even when you achieve your goals you are not likely to be fulfilled or satisfied!

Socrates teaches that we can never be happy if our happiness is dependent on stuff that is going on external to ourselves. His message is that true and lasting peace and happiness can only come from within ourselves. However, the events happening in our external world are important as they provide us with the necessary friction that strengthens our spirit, meaning that it is our life journey that is creating our path to happiness, or not!

it's the journey that is important, not the destination

Quote: “The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.”

So knowing this, you can begin now to enjoy more of the journey. Why put your happiness aside for when you achieve your goals? Just be happy, NOW! It’s a choice and we all have the power to make it now. We do not even need a reason to be happy- just be happy!

If you do need a reason to be happy, you could go here to get a copy of this book now to begin the ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ journey for yourself.

If anyone has read this book, I would love to hear what you thought about it, and if you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Shared with the hope of making the world a better place one soul at a time.

Love and respect


A few more inspirational quotes from the book:

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

“A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.”

“You can live a whole lifetime never being awake.”

“Knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Knowledge is knowing — wisdom is doing.”

About Andrew

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  1. Hey Andrew,
    I really like your review – Brilliant, brilliant. I read the book when it first came out. And have had many dramas of my own making since…
    Now I experience daily ‘freedom’ of being & connecting with my young dog, being & connecting with nature & the mind, body, soul aspects of myself.
    Your review has made me feel that it would be beneficial for me to read the book again.
    Go well in journey

    1. Hey Honor. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post. It is much appreciated 🙂 I think it was you who probably first told me about this book, and I am very grateful for that and all the other wisdom and support that you have imparted in the many years since. I’m happy to hear that your daily life involves freedom and connection to the higher aspects of body, mind, and soul.
      Lots of love to you,

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Now that sounds like a great book to read! At a certain age, unless you are born wise, you will probably lose your mind with all the wild and varied seeming nightmares life has in its ‘wonderful’ list for you. Hard to feel like you are not being singled out, but really, it is just the bud inside your mind growing out from its dark shell of paranoid thoughts.

    The wonderful thing about nightmares is that you will learn to ‘see’ them as unreal and only as powerful as you believe them to be so. No more. It ain’t rocket science. Just stop granting people and situations a nightmarish glare to them and then you will see they all have one thing in common:- they are seeking ‘something’ from you but perhaps in a primitive like way that you may find threatening.

    Better just realize all situations and people who cry out in anger is just them asking for help in disguise. They may not know it but that anger is pure fear of abandonment in a world that appears to not care for them. So, look differently on people, even when they are shouting and threatening, and don’t use past events as your reference point to deal but only in the moment see them as they are and tell them to shut up winging! Haha, it works sometimes 🙂 .

    Point is, don’t fall for the invitation to fight for that is a call to darkness leading unto oblivion for your mind. That is a very isolated place and believe dear reader – you don’t want to venture there… that is the place where all those who can’t forgive end up.

    Thanks Andrew – I love shooting the breeze when it comes to great books like way of the peaceful warrior. I read so many books like this in my teens and in my life because I was a little tormented by the seemingly cruel random nature of this experience called ‘life’, which I feel is somewhat of a misnomer, for how can ‘life’ die? So, we must conclude, ‘life’ as we perceive in the now from an aberrated viewpoint, is a decent into madness and amnesia of truths that are so simple, once remembered, we could why how we could have ever suffered a single moment in our lives.

    Keep up the amazing work here Andrew 🙂 .

    1. He Philip. Thanks for a very insightful/aware comment on life in general. Yes, life’s truths, when revealed, are so simple. It is only through our rational minds that we make life such a struggle. However, it does not need to be this way. As you say, we never really suffer anything at any time, and it is just our thoughts that make any suffering seem real. Suffering is a result of being disconnected from our true spiritual nature, and this is ok as if we were aware of how powerful we really are, we would not gain anything from the experience of being ‘alive’ here on earth in this human body. Let’s play the game of life just for the fun of it and revel in the unique experiences that we can have while being on this earth plane of existence.
      Cheers mate! Have a great life 🙂

  3. This book sounds like a good read. I normally go for romances but I’d take a break just to see what this book is about!

    1. Hi Ashley. You are in luck, as there is a romance in this book as well. I won’t spoil it by giving you too many details, but after many dramas, there is a happy ending 🙂

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