Wow.  Just Wow.  There is a very short list of books I’ve read through my entire life where I could say ‘This book changed my life’.  The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman is one of those books.

I’m high strung, I have a lot of responsibilities, I work 10+ hours a day (not including making dinner, cleaning the house, working out, etc), and it seems like everything stressed me out.  Advice like ‘just relax, just let it go’ seemed more like a slogan for a hippie shop than a way to guide my life.

I decided to give the book a try and I set down my work-related ‘100 habits of successful people’ and many others just like it to read ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’

I’m not going to lie, at first I had a hard time getting behind it.  It frustrated me.  The old man, in my opinion, had lost touch with reality. This is stupid… I’m speed reading it now…

And then something happened. The book was coming to an end and I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t have any type of ‘epiphany’ or anything, I just — connected with the characters and wanted more.  And then, all of a sudden at the end, with no warning, the whole purpose of the book — and life — hit me.  It hit me hard, and I had tears in my eyes.  Right at that moment it put everything into perspective for me.

Now, that doesn’t mean I haven’t lost that perspective here and there, but I always come back to the baseline, because now I know what’s important.  I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend reading this book. And keep it nearby to read more than once when you need it.

You’ll find this resonates with everyone.  If you stress because of ANYTHING.  If you have anxiety caused by ANYTHING.  If you feel lost in the world for whatever reason, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!

Here’s what I underlined from the book:

  1. Wake up! If you knew for certain 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 Dan 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 at all.
  2. Socrates, you have shown me the futility of searching, but what about the way of the peaceful warrior? Isn’t that a path? A search?  He laughed with a delight and shook me by my shoulders ‘After all this time, you finally come up with a juicy question.  But the answer is right in front of your nose.  All along I have shown you the way of the peaceful warrior, not the way TO the peaceful warrior, as long as you tread the way, you are the warrior.  (seriously, this point here changed my life)
  3. Where are you? Here.  What time is it? Now. Listen to me, stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for.  There have never been past warriors, nor will there be future ones, either. The warrior is here, now.  Your sorrow, your fear, and anger, regret and guilt, your envy, plans, and cravings life only in the past or the future.  (again… BOOM… huge impact on me)
  4. Story of the Monks– One monk helps a woman across a stream.  When they arrive home the younger monk says ‘How could you carry such a beautiful woman in your arms? Such behavior doesn’t seem proper for a priest” The old monk replied “I left her back there.  Are you still carrying her?”
  5. Your business is not to ‘get somewhere’ it is to be here — living fully in the present.

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