There’s no you left to do it. Its only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”, “Don’t let anybody or anything, least of all your own thoughts, draw you out of the present.”. Despite his overachievement in academics and athletics, Dan feels a strange void in his striving. Drawing parallels with Seneca’s meditations on the preciousness of time, many of us live like we’ll be here forever. His progress, as for many of us, wasn’t linear, but rather beset by challenge, struggle and doubt. Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a part-fictional, part-autobiographical book based upon the early life of the author Dan Millman. Dan begins to meet Socrates on a regular basis, and is interested in his philosophy. Dan witnesses his own death: his body decomposes and even the landscape changes, over thousands of years. For those that want to supplement the full text (which should be read first IMHO), a movie depicting the novel has also been made, which was released in 2006. If the blind man realises he can see, has the world changed?”, “As long as you tread the way, you are a warrior. This is perhaps one of my favourite quotes in the whole book. Hopefully, you’ve got a good snapshot of the book from this Way of the Peaceful Warrior summary. You don’t have more than a few years left. But all is not as it seems, with Socrates revealing hidden knowledge and abilities that pique the curiosity of the precocious young athlete. A thunderstorms breaks out and the two go inside a cave. Like Dan, it’s easy to become caught up with chasing recognition, finding our passion or crafting the perfect career. The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”. Dan becomes besotted with Socrates's other protegé, a mysterious girl named Joy, who keeps turning up, unpredictably. Way of the Peaceful Warrior Summary. And here’s the lesson that presence really teaches. © 2020 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. Despairing, he finally sells all his possessions and heads off into the mountains, determined to find happiness. It doesn’t matter what you do, only how well you do it.”, “The warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love.”. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Dan, returning from the vision, sees the truth that nothing can possibly matter. “Meditation is the act of directing attention to expand your awareness and thus consciousness.”, “Meditation consists of two simultaneous processes. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. He follows Socrates' instructions to meditate, eat a super-healthy diet, develop attentiveness, and maintain an inner calm regardless of circumstances. A few weeks later, Dan suffers an accident, where his right leg is badly fractured. It is something you either are, in this moment, or it is something you are not. He travels around the world for six years, learning new physical teachings, but is unable to find peace. And as we’ve discussed elsewhere about becoming systems, rather than results driven, Socrates had the following advice. It’s incredibly common, as we’re bombarded with the perfectly crafted social media feeds of the rich and famous, that we chase the notion of success on a material plane. Many of us cling to our thoughts and beliefs and confuse them with who we really are. This is freedom from suffering, from fear, from mind. Socrates reminds Dan of his teachings and that he must be happy without any reason. “Sitting meditation is the beginners’ practice. Recognizing both sides, you become realistic and responsible for your actions. Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman is based on real events from his own life. Summaries. When thoughts touch the present, they dissolve.”. The dry concepts of the mind obscure your direct perception.”. Do not abandon your warriorship to search for it. That is how you cut free of the mind.”. I would continue to do what was necessary to live in the everyday world but on my own conditions. Socrates arrives and accelerates Dan's healing process. Eventually, you will learn to meditate in every action. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast. And reminiscent of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates had the following to say, “All the peoples of the world are trapped within the cave of their own minds. Socrates and Dan return home. Surprised that he could move so quickly, Dan strikes up a conversation with the old man, and calls him Socrates. Then you can love, and do what you will.”, “Feelings change. “When you begin transcendental training, focusing your best efforts, without attachment to outcomes, you will understand the peaceful warrior’s way.”. Socrates sets his rash apprentice an intensive training regimen designed to reveal his true nature, a path to enlightenment which would become known as the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. “Are you paying attention to your standing, walking, thoughts? An unreasonably happy man, I learned, can grate on people’s nerves.”, “Beneath all our apparent differences we share the same human needs and fears. On a fundamental level, Dan sees the truth in Socrates’ words. The story tells of a chance meeting with a service station attendant who becomes a spiritual teacher to the young gymnast, Dan Millman. To achieve this Socrates emphasises the importance of sharpening his attention through meditation, a hugely beneficial practice that can yield tremendous benefits. The way itself creates the warrior.”. – Incorporates Buddhist philosophy into the character’s spiritual journey The fiction format of the novel serves to magnify the impact of the lessons contained within, allowing us to envision our own personal transformation whilst tapping into our deep, primal urge for immersive storytelling. One particular night, Dan heads out to an all night gas station, where he meets the same old man from his dreams. Let’s begin this Way of the Peaceful Warrior summary with the main themes of the book, including the most memorable quotes. Dan marries Linda, but the marriage fails. Dan graduates and Socrates decides to part ways with him, as Dan must travel his path on his own. The truth is, so many of us are playing a persistent movie in our minds, either reliving an invented past or predicting a fictional future. Dan Millman has it all: good grades, a shot at the Olympic team on the rings and girls lining up for the handsome Berkely college athlete all teams mates look up to with envy. Socrates begins his initiation, by showing Dan visions of his whole life; his purpose; the world and "re arranges" the young man's mind. Our mind lures us out of the present by shifting our thinking to the past or future, a risk we must always be willing to mitigate with our attention. A warrior is happy without reason. You’ve become bored with things because they only exist as names to you. The book initially had only modest sales, before Hal Kramer came out of retirement to republish the book, from the H. J. Kramer imprint of New World Library. To do, there is a do-er, a self-conscious someone performing. Remember, the time is now and the place is here.”. His leg is all smashed up, and we're not sure if he'll ever be back to gymnastics. You can change fear and sorrow to anger and anger to action.”, “You don’t need to control emotion. The story follows Dan when he was a junior in college in the 1960s, outlining the details of his daily life as a student at … Be happy, without a reason in the world. “Words, symbols, concepts. The story begins when Dan experiences a series of nightmares, where he is in a dark lane. It all happens in the 1960s; Dan is a college gymnastics star, who continues to do well in all fields except one. “I had finally released my expectation that the world should fulfil me; with that, my disappointments had vanished. Like this? A warrior is as a warrior does.”, “I saw the futility of trying to live up to anyone’s expectations, including my own. “You cannot attain happiness, it attains you, but only after you surrender everything else.”, “A warrior is not something you become. Dan finds this transition extremely difficult and starts his transformation in denial that he’s the servant of his mind. “A peaceful warrior has the insight and discipline to choose the simple way – to know the difference between needs and wants. Act happy. Next, Socrates begins to train Dan physically, making him run, correcting his poise and breath, practice tai chi, meditation and aikido and refine his gymnastics. Way of the Peaceful Warrior is part-autobiographical, part-fictional bestseller, which since its first publication in 1980, appeared on many top-books lists.Dan Millman is in the spotlight, a junior at the University of California – Berkeley, who seems successful and happy. And for those of us who suffer from indecisiveness, there is hope. Blending fact and fiction, Dan Millman recounts his days training as a college gymnast in his bid to become a World Champion, along with all the hardships he faced. But there's a problem. Socrates surprises Dan by showing up in the mountains. So, thanks to Dan, his gymnastics team wins the 1968 national collegiate championship. Not the most subtle name in world. To do or not to do.”, “It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to avoid mistakes with a tiny spirit.”, Often we continually question our actions with thought. Socrates, with lectures and the ability to give Dan visions, teaches the young man that the mind is the source of his dissatisfaction, and that to become truly happy, he must stop trying to figure the world out and instead learn the difficult discipline of living in the moment, healthy and free. The book has been a bestseller in many countries since its first publication in 1980. The story tells of a chance meeting with a service station attendant who becomes a spiritual teacher to the young gymnast, Dan Millman. And this is a common theme throughout the book. Finally though, it’s only our actions that truly count…, “Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. But by this time, Dan has learned from Socrates that achievements aren't the route to happiness. Dan straddles the fence between Socrates' philosophy and conventional wisdom for a few months, feeling alienated from his classmates and gymnastics team. Happiness is not just something you feel. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. It would be remiss not to mention the theme of surrender in this Way of the Peaceful Warrior summary. Finally, your awareness will pierce deeply into your body and into the world. “Every infant lives in a bright garden where everything is sensed directly, without the veils of thought – free of beliefs, interpretation and judgements.”, “The birth of the mind is the death of the senses.”. Finally free from his mind, Dan dances blissfully with Socrates. “Any unconscious, compulsive ritual is a problem, but specific activities are both good and bad. Socrates tells Dan that he is almost near to his goal. No one does. As long as we remain present and conscious of our choices, making the decision is not what matters, but rather taking concerted action. But I remained unchanged throughout the ages. And rather than constantly noticing what we lack in life and expecting every need to be met, it’s only when we release expectation that we can finally achieve peace.