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The Craft of the Warrior Paperback – December 23, 2005
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About the Author
Robert Spencer is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher, certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and psychotherapist. He lives near Boise, Idaho.
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Top Customer Reviews
Many others have traversed this same territory, and the author is a student of various paths, and so he presents a synthesis of some of the threads he has encountered: Carlos Castaneda and the Toltecs, Dan Millman, Shambhala, G.I. Gurdjieff, the Feldenkrais method, A Course in Miracles, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming are his main sources, alongside his personal experience as a psychotherapist.
The result is a very useful and well-organized distillation of the ways and means to personal power -- power over self, as opposed to power over others. People familiar with any of the above sources will find similar concepts here, but presented in a very straightforward format (as opposed to some of the storytelling styles of some of the sources). The seeking of personal power is, after all, a very practical pursuit, not something limited to stories about people who have had supernatural experiences or extraordinary teachers.
The warrior's way represents simply the most effective and efficient way of living in the world: with minimization of energy waste and maximization of available resources, achieved through honing the self down to a fine point by relentless self-examination and action. It requires discipline, nonattachment, compassion, and surrender of self to be truly free, and these things are available to anyone. Spencer's book makes this all the more clear in his drawing from many sources, showing that, truly, truth and opportunities for gaining power can be found almost anywhere you look.
All in all, a most lucid presentation and thorough description of what is expected of a person on the warrior's path. I would also recommend A Toltec Path, by Ken Eagle Feather.
Spencer's thesis is that a new myth is emerging in which people are embracing a life of conscious living where they forge a destiny based on real choice, freed from desire, the fear of death, and other limiting beliefs and practices that the author considers self-defeating or even self-destructive.
The life philosophy within the pages is an interesting and occasionally confusing fusion of Carlos Castaneda's Mesoamerican shamanism, Dan Millman's contribution to the human potential movement, G. I. Gurdjieff's esoteric Christianity, and Chögyam Trungpa's Tibetan Buddhism. Added into the mix are insights from the disicplines of the Feldenkrais Method and Nuero-Linguistic Programming.
Especially helpful to the researcher is a rich collection of footnotes and a comprehensive index which can act as a springboard for further reading and insight.
However, for this particular reviewer, Spencer's choice of models leaves the reader questioning the supposed superiority of mystical warriorship as a viable lifestyle.
It is a proven fact that Castaneda's travels with don Juan are fictitious with one investigator proving through library records that when Castaneda was theoretically having peyote experiences with don Juan, he was actually doing research in the library about such experiences. Castaneda's later bizarre behavior with the Three Witches (his three live-in lovers), the suicide of one of his protégés, and his promotion of the dubious practice of Tensegrity leaves one wishing Spencer had found a true mystical warrior that was closer to what one sees as a warrior ideal.
One fares even worse with Chögyam Trungpa whose own followers freely admit was an alcoholic and surprisingly, for a Buddhist monk, very sexually active with many women throughout his life. Unless mystical warriorship is simply reduced to "If it feels good, do it," and "The end justifies the means," this particular researcher will simply continue with the writings of John Eldredge and even Stephen Covey where warriorship (conscious living) means the ability to embrace nobility and power in following external and objective true north principles.
However, one fares better with Dan Millman (though his autobiographical book is by his own admission a fictional account and his beloved and mystically powerful teacher Socrates never existed). One also fares better with G. I. Gurdjieff who appears to be by all definitions a true mystic with some intriguing insights such as the Enneagram. For this particular reviewer, it appears that Gurdjieff will require further research.
Bottom line is that there is some merit to Spencer's work taking into consideration his models for men living conscious lives merely deal with human beings in all their frailty. A little agnosticism on the part of the reader appears to be in order.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a increasing awareness in our present moments.Read more
I can't think of any other way to open up your mind to the vastness of the world we live in.