Excerpts from Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
The world’s a puzzle, no need to make sense out it.
Understanding is the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect. It leads to knowledge. Realization is three-dimensional – a simultaneous comprehension of head, heart, and instinct. It comes only from direct experience.
Life is a mystery.
Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.
You had better reconsider your “importances” if you are to have even a chance of becoming a warrior.
To see where something leads, it’s best to wait until you reach the end.
I’ve always believed that we have to find our own paths in life. No one can tell another how to live.
Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change, free from pain, free from obligations of life and death. But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.
First you need to understand where your thoughts come from, how they arise in the first place. For example, you have a cold now; its physical symptoms tell you when your body needs to rebalance itself, to restore its proper relationship with sunlight, fresh air, simple food. Just so, stressful thoughts reflect a conflict with reality. Stress happens when the mind resists what is.
Silence is the warrior’s art – and meditation is his sword. With it, you’ll cut through your illusions. But understand this: the sword’s usefulness depends upon the swordsman. If you don’t know how to use the weapon properly, it can be dangerous, deluding, or useless tool. Meditation can initially help you to relax. You may put your ‘sword’ on display, proudly show it to friends. The gleam of this sword distracts many meditators until they abandon it to seek other esoteric techniques. In contrast, the warrior uses the sword of meditation with skill and understanding. With it, he cuts the mind to ribbons, slashing through thoughts to reveal their lack of substance. This is the warrior’s way of meditation. And this is how you must learn to attack the knots of your mind. Until one day you transcend your need for any weapon at all.
Consciousness is not in the body; the body is in Consciousness. And you are that Consciousness – not the phantom mind that troubles you so. You are the body, but you are everything else, too. The body of Consciousness; never born; never dies; only changes. The mind – your ego, personal beliefs, history, and identity – is all that ends at death.
I am defined by the universe not this station.
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.
“How terrible,” sympathized the neighbors. “What bad luck.”
“Who knows whether it is bad luck or good luck,” the farmer replied.
A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.
“What wonderful luck!” said the neighbors.
“Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” answered the old man.
The next day, the son, trying to tame one of the horses, fell and broke his leg.
“How terrible. What bad luck!”
“Bad luck? Good luck?”
The army came to all the farms to take the young men for war, but the farmer’s son was of no use to them, so he was spared.
Everything has a purpose, it’s for you to make the best use of it. There are no accidents. Everything is a lesson. Trust your life. Everything has a purpose.
To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.
You don’t need to control emotion. Emotions are natural, like passing weather. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes sorrow and anger. Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.
First, he gives his complete attention to what he does; second, love is one of the primary ingredients in everything he makes. It has a sweet after-taste.
The final words the Buddha spoke to his disciples. Just do your best.
The breath is the bridge between mind and body, feeling, and doing. Balanced, natural breathing brings you back to the present moment.
In a small fishing village in Japan, there lived a young unmarried woman who gave birth to a child. Her parents felt disgraced and demanded to know the identity of the father. Afraid, she refused to tell them. The fisherman she loved had told her, secretly, that he was going off to seek his fortune and would return to marry her. In desperation, she named Hakuin, a monk who lived in the hills, as the father. Outraged, the parents took the infant girl up to his door, pounded until he opened it, and handed him the baby, saying, “This child is yours; you must care for it!” “Is that so?” Hakuin said, taking the child in his arms, waving good-bye to the parents. A year passed and the real father returned to marry the woman. At once they went to Hakuin to beg for the return of the child. “We must have our daughter,” they said. “Is that so?” said Hakuin, handing the child to them.
Is that so?
When you sit, sit; when you stand, stand; whatever you do, don’t wobble. Once you make your choice, do it with all your spirit. Don’t be like the preacher who thought about praying while making love to his wife, and thought about making love to his wife while praying.
Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.
“Did you mourn your son when he was born?” “No of course not,” the despondent woman replied. “Well then, you need not mourn for him now. He has only returned to the same place, his original home, before he was ever born.” “Maybe he’s gone, maybe not.”
Death is not sad; the sad thing is that most people don’t really live at all.
Beneath all our apparent differences we share the same human needs and fears; we’re all on the same path together, guiding one another. And this understanding brings compassion.
There are no ordinary moments.
House Rules reveal that you can control your efforts, not outcomes. Do your best; let God handle the rest.
Finally I saw through the clouds. I saw that I had never learned how to enjoy life, only how to achieve. All my life I had been busy seeking happiness, not finding it.
Happiness = Satisfaction/Desires
You are rich if you have enough money to satisfy all your desires. So there are two ways to be rich: You earn, inherit, borrow, beg, or steal enough money to meet all your desires; or, you cultivate a simple lifestyle of few desires; that way you always have enough money. A peaceful warrior has the insight and discipline to choose the simple way – to know the difference between needs and wants. We have few basic needs but endless wants. Full attention to every moment is my pleasure. Attention costs no money; your only investment is training.
Therefore, I am quite wealthy.
The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.
The time is now and the place is here.
You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you expect or hope for. There have never been past warriors, nor will there be future ones. The warrior is here, now. Your sorrow, your fear and anger, regret and guilt, your envy and plans and cravings live only in the past, or in the future.
You acted angry in the present moment. Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. Its only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.
The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability – to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is the warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.
Better to live until you die. I am a warrior, so my way is action. I am a teacher, so I teach by example. Some day you may teach others as I have taught you – then you’ll understand the words are not enough; you, too must teach by example what you’ve realized through experience.
Embody what you teach, and teach only what you have embodied.
Wake up! If you knew for certain that you had a terminal illness – if you had little time left to live – you would waste precious little of it! Well, I’m telling you, you do have a terminal illness: It’s called birth. You don’t have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.
A fool is happy when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline – above all else I have taught you. Happiness is not just something you feel – it is who you are.
This is the final task, and it goes on forever. Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love and do what you will.
I didn’t speak much, but I laughed often, because every time I looked around – at the earth, the sky, the sun, the trees, the lakes, the streams – I realized that it was all Me – that no separation existed at all.
All these years I had grown up, struggling to “be a somebody.” Talk about backward! I had been a somebody in a fearful mind and a mortal body.
Everything comes alive with death. This is the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.
There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor, and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life; just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, you are already free!
Socrates hadn’t come, because he had never left. He was only changed. He was the elm above my head; he was the clouds and the bird and the wind. They would always be my teachers, my friends.
Two monks, one old, one very young, walked along a muddy path in a rain forest, on their way back to a monastery in Japan. They came upon a lovely woman who stood helplessly at the edge of a muddy, fast-flowing stream. Seeing her predicament, the older monk swept her up in his arms and carried her across. She smiled at him, her arms around his neck, until he put her gently down on the other side. Thanking him, she bowed, and the monks continued on their way in silence. As they neared the monastery gates, the younger monk could no longer contain himself. “How could you carry a beautiful woman in your arms? Such behavior does not seem proper for a priest.” The old monk looked at his companion, replying, “I left her back there. Are you still carrying her?”