In any case, the peaceful warrior doesn’t act without thinking, or think without acting.
He was aware that our emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and memories all create tendencies within us to behave in certain ways. For example, if we’re feeling sad or angry or afraid, or just plain bad about ourselves, we tend to behave differently than we’d behave if we were feeling happy and confident.
True teachers welcome disagreement and questions.
When you become fully responsible for your life, you can become fully human; once you become human, you may discover what it means to be a warrior.
Once we take responsibility for what we do and say (no matter what thoughts or feelings arise), we reach a new stage of personal evolution.
Eventually we all learn the inevitability of change and the wisdom of flexibility and acceptance, since nothing stays the same. Until then, we resist, and such resistance creates stress, suffering, and pain. But pain generates learning. We’ve all experienced physical, emotional, and mental pain — many times, adversity has left us a little stronger, wiser, and more compassionate. As the existential writer Albert Camus wrote, “In the midst of winter I discovered within me an invincible summer.” Our souls make the greatest strides in the face of difficulty: a bankruptcy, a divorce, an illness, an injury, a death in the family. Such challenges forge our characters and temper our spirits — for our highest good and learning.
Awareness of the problem is the beginning of the solution.
If we compare our lives to a movie, there are times — maybe even lifetimes — when we view ourselves as bit players or stand-ins, waiting for a person or circumstance to dictate what we should do next. We don’t act; we only react. I needed the reminder that I could become the director, screenwriter, and star of my movie — my life. We can transform our lives by playing a bigger role.
The peaceful warrior is invisible to all but those who can recognize a certain twinkle in the eye, a sense of energy, clarity, and balance. This sense of discernment develops over time as a natural result of inner work.
The only way we can “change our past” is to change our behavior in the present, because the present will soon become our past. We also shape our future by the actions we take right now. Now is the warrior’s moment, and this is a warrior’s realization: No matter what we’re thinking or feeling — whether we’re sad or motivated, shy or assertive, confident or full of doubt — the quality of our lives will always depend, in large part, on what we do today. Today is the doorway to the future; today we build the foundation for what follows.
Albert Einstein once observed, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking which created them.”
We do not remember days; we remember moments. Life is a series of moments. And no matter what our opinions or beliefs, it remains a universal truth that the quality of each moment determines the quality of our lives. Most of our dissatisfaction and disappointment stem from thoughts about past or future. The past or the future may overwhelm us, but we can always handle what’s in front of us right now. We can control only what we do in this present moment, and the quality of our moments becomes the quality of our lives.
Sometimes we have to fall to rise again — we have to surrender to triumph, let go to hold on, and allow ourselves to be broken to finally heal.
When we’re insulated, protected, and comfortable, we have no incentive or reason to change.
Reaching a dead end can bring new life, because we’re forced to ask bigger questions and to look for larger truths.
Dan Millman — Wisdom of the Peaceful Warrior (pp. 22-150)
There was simply too many good quotes to choose from in this book! For that reason, I had to thumb through the book and pick out a handful of my favorite parts. That is what you just read.
Years ago, when I first read Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, I was astonished by the story. It’s part fiction, part memoir, and all truth. Everything about that book caused me to take a second look at the way I was living my life. So, naturally, when Wisdom of the Peaceful Warrior came out I was happy to purchase and read that as well. (Peaceful Warrior was also made into a movie)
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “We are all looking for someone who will make us do what we can.” We could all do better. You know it. I know it. We all know it. But something holds us back and causes us to settle for less than we were designed to live. Why? Eventually, if we’re lucky, someone comes along who asks us what in the hell we’re doing with our lives. We don’t like it at first—it actually pisses us off, quite frankly—but then the nagging questions crash onto our consciousness day after day until we begin to ask ourselves the same question: what the hell am I doing with my life?
If we’re willing to ask ourselves some tough questions, then and only then will we be open enough to receive some tough answers. If we fail to ask ourselves tough questions, then we will spend our entire existence spinning our wheels in the pig sty we call our lives. Oh sure, the tough questions scare the socks off us, that’s why they’re “tough” questions. If they were easy questions, they wouldn’t scare us.
“I needed the reminder that I could become the director, screenwriter, and star of my movie — my life. We can transform our lives by playing a bigger role.”
A few years ago my coworker sat me down and asked me some very tough questions about my life. He asked me why I was still working at my current job if I wanted to be a counselor. He basically asked me why I was wasting my life doing something I despised when I could be doing something that I loved and made a difference in the world at the same time. He then asked me why I would consider wasting my gifts and talents for another decade when I could be using them to help change the world.
The thing is, I had been contemplating the exact same things my coworker brought up. I had been wrestling with all the same questions he proposed to me that day. I wholeheartedly believe when you need to hear a particular message, the Universe will put that message on the lips of the most unforeseen individuals. Lucky for me, that message was coming from the lips of someone I already admired and respected—so I paid attention.
I took the next week off and wrestled with myself. I wrote, meditated, prayed, walked, and wrestled some more. And then, I made up my mind what I would do with the rest of my life. I would spend the days I have left on this earth becoming the best counselor, writer, and speaker that I could possibly be. That meant my first step was to apply for a Master’s in Counseling.
Now, two years later, I’m planning to start my internship and I’m learning like crazy in the process. Before long, I will be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and then I will be pursuing the next steps of my life yet to be determined.
Sometimes we realize we aren’t living our best lives and thankfully someone comes along to point it out. We get so caught up in our own personal dramas that we forget we each have a destiny written on our hearts that we are here to achieve.
The old saying goes something like this, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it.” Conversely, because I aim high with my life, I am certain to hit something of value—even if it’s not what I originally thought when the journey started.
Have a blessed day.
Peace and Love,