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.
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!
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.’
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.
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.
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!
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.”