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I am always on the prowl for books with a self-help theme and a philosophical approach. Most of the time these are non-fiction books; however, sometimes they can also be a fiction story, which is exactly what this book (Way of the peaceful warrior: a book that changes lives by Dan Millman) is all about. Surprisingly, this esoteric book turned out to be a unique approach to living a full and meaningful life.

The author (Dan Millman) relates a personal mystical experience and a meeting with a man who Dan calls Socrates or Soc for short. Dan is in college at the time and is also world champion gymnast athlete and one night when he could not sleep he wound up at a small all-night gas station. This is where he meets a man working the night shift who becomes his philosophical and spiritual mentor.

The unique and original approaches to learning about what is really important in life are the lessons Dan is taught in sometimes subtle and unusual ways. The numerous conversations and feedback between Dan and Socrates makes this 217 page soft cover an interesting read. I had heard about this book some time ago but did not read it until recently. There also was a movie made based upon this book.

This book is organized into three books. Book one covers “the winds of change.” Book two is about “the warrior’s training.” The final book (3) is about the final search and the gate opens. There is also information about the movie being made from the book.

Even though I enjoyed reading this book I have some disagreements with some of the esoteric approaches in this book; nevertheless, I felt it was good enough to give 5 stars.

Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Zen Poetry Moments: Haiku and Senryu for special occasions).
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on November 19, 2016
I’ve waited too long to give this book a review. It is a book I have already read two times and will read again soon. More about mindset, and I love how the author gives you a journey as if it were you (well it was him) from being a “untamed” mind, into someone who has the discipline to “control their life and outlook”. So many of us are sitting back waiting for things to come to us, and complaining about our lives.

Wish more people would read this book, on a regular basis I think of myself in the shoes of the main character in the book and try to develop my mindset to be more in control and positive of the situation.
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on August 14, 2016
Almost a whimsical introduction to the academic and theological field of 'mindfulness,' a concept as ancient as Buddhism and as modern as modern cognitive psychology.
It has lots of moments that are pop culture and pop psychology but those are overshadowed by the powerful presentation of the concepts and the moments of valuable story-telling.
A good, formidable, worthwhile read, especially if you're the kind of person who likes to play at reflection and 'light' philosophy.
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on March 31, 2017
"You've learned body control and even some mind control, but your heart has not yet opened. Your goal is not invulnerability, but vulnerability - to the the world, to life, and therefore, to the Presence you felt." (p. 184)

"Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive." (p.30)

I read this book right before Brene Brown's Daring Greatly and Barbara Fredrickson's Love 2.0. Each book is centered on opening ourselves up to the possibility of more: showing up, getting engaged and being ready to grow and learn. I have vastly benefitted from these works the confirm that a spiritual practice is required for true success. See Wooden for the best known definition of success.
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on March 17, 2017
Entertaining and super enlightening. Millman has a way of storytelling that keeps your interest and makes you feel like you are right in the middle of the story as if it were real-life. I had heard about the movie and watched it first. I personally enjoyed it and then when I told a friend about it, he got a serious look on his face and said, "You HAVE to read the book. It changed my life." I knew he meant it. The subtitle "A Book That Changes Lives," is true. It's just a magical book. You must check it out.
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on August 3, 2012
I can always tell when I have found a good book because either I finish the book in 24 hours of reading time OR my hand develops a mind of its own and begins systematically highlighting the important contents of the book.

When I encounter a book that I do BOTH . . . then I know I have found a GREAT book worthy of typing up the important points that are in colorful highlighting. Since I see most people are giving positive reviews and I'm one to read the 5 and 1 star reviews to assist in making my choices, I have decided to paste the points that I highlighted in the book and those of you who find the information interesting and would like to read it in full context can buy the book.

Terms and Reminders from "Way of the Peaceful Warrior"

Body Wisdom - Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body.

Understanding - the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect. It leads to knowledge.

Realization - the three-dimensional, simultaneous comprehension of head, heart and instinct; comes from direct experience.

Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demand right action if knowledge is to come alive.

You have to cleanse your body of tension, free your mind of stagnant beliefs and open your heart to loving-kindness.

The best performers have the quietest minds during their moment of truth.

Dis-illusion - is literally a `freeing from illusion'.

In your habitual quest for achievement and entertainment, you avoid the fundamental source of your suffering.

Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free change, free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.

Life is not suffering; it's just that you will suffer it, rather than enjoy it, until you let go of your mind's attachments and just go for the ride freely, no matter what happens.

Brain - directs the body, stores information and plays with that information. The brain's abstract processes are `the intellect'.

Brain and Mind are not the same. The brain is real, the mind is not.

Mind - an illusory reflection of cerebral fidgeting. It is all the random, uncontrolled thoughts that bubble into awareness from the subconscious. An obstruction; an aggravation; a kind of an evolutionary mistake in the human being; a primal weakness in the human experiment. I have no use for the mind.

Consciousness is not mind; awareness is not mind; attention is not mind.

When you can't stop thinking of that math problem or phone number, or when troubling thoughts and memories arise without your intent, it's not your brain working, but your mind wandering.

Your mind - not other people or your surroundings - is the source of your moods.
Observing how you become angry when you notice that another is not the least bit upset.

Stressful thoughts reflect a conflict with reality. Stress happens when the mind resists what is.

The thoughts that assail you are actually created by you.

Stop taking yourself so seriously.

When you are in trouble, let go of your thoughts to see through your mind.

Silence is the warrior's art - and meditation is his sword.

The highest purpose of the human body is to become a clear channel for this light - so that its brightness can dissolve all obstructions, all knots, all resistance.

Attention - the intentional channeling of awareness.

Real Meditation - to expand awareness; to direct attention; to ultimately surrender to the light of consciousness.

Meditation consists of two simultaneous processes:
1. Insight - paying attention to what is arising.
2. Surrender - letting go of attachment to arising thoughts.
This is how you cut free of the mind.

Relax and stop acting so serious! (Do you see a pattern here?)

You still believe that you are your thoughts and defend them as if they were treasures. Your stubborn illusions are a sinking ship. Let them go while there's still time.

Consciousness is not in the body; the body is in Consciousness. You are that Consciousness.

Body - is Consciousness; never born; never dies; only changes.

Mind - your ego, personal beliefs, history and identity - is all that ends at death.

Sitting meditation is the beginner's practice. Eventually, you will learn to meditate in every action. Sitting serves as a ceremony, a time to practice balance, ease, and divine detachment. Master the ritual before you expand the same insight and surrender fully into daily life.

Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.

Food:
First, give your complete attention to what you are making.
Second, love is one of the primary ingredients in everything you make.

Purifying, regenerative practices are essential.

You'll need to refine every human function - moving, sleeping, breathing, thinking, feeling - and eating. Of all the human activities, eating is one of the most important to stabilize first.

That means your good habits must become so strong that they dissolve those which are not useful.

Eat only what is wholesome and eat only as much as you need.

The pleasure from eating is more than the taste of the food and the feeling of a full belly. Learn to enjoy the entire process - the hunger beforehand, the careful preparation, setting an attractive table, chewing, breathing, smelling, tasting, swallowing, and the feeling of lightness and energy after the meal. When you pay attention to all elements of the process, you'll begin to appreciate simple meals.

Avoid foods that contain refined sugar, refined flour and meat as well as coffee, alcohol, tobacco, or any other drugs.

Focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Breakfast: fresh fruit meal with occasional yogurt.
Lunch: your main meal should be a raw salad, baked or steamed potato and wholegrain bread or cooked grains.
Dinner: should be a raw salad and, on occasion, lightly steamed vegetables. Make good use of raw, unsalted seeds and nuts at every meal.

Find your thrills in fresh air, fresh food, fresh water, fresh awareness and sunshine.

Let feelings flow; then let them go.

Any unconscious, compulsive ritual is a problem. But specific activities are both bad and good; every action has its price, and its pleasures. Recognize both sides; then you can make the warrior's free and conscious choice - to do or not to do. Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.

My actions are conscious, spontaneous, intentional and complete.

There are no ordinary moments! Treat every moment as special, worthy of your full attention.

Satori - a Zen concept; occurs when attention rest in the present moment, when the body is alert, sensitive, relaxed and the emotions are open and free.

Your task is to expand this clarity into your daily life. Satori must become your everyday reality. Satori is your key to the gate.

Meditating an action is different from doing it. To do, there is a doer, a self-conscious `someone' performing. When you meditate an action, you've already released attachment to the outcomes. There's no `you' left to do it. You become what you do, so your action is free, spontaneous, without ambition, inhibition or fear.

The master dedicates his training to life.

House Rules reveal that you can control your efforts, not outcomes. Do your best; let God handle the rest.

The birth of the mind is the death of the senses.

Jesus of Nazareth once said you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The dry concepts of the mind obscure your direct perception.

You have to `lose your mind' before you can come to your senses.

There are two ways to be rich:
1) You earn, inherit, borrow, beg or steal enough money to meet all your desires; or
2) 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.

The secret of happiness is found in developing the capacity to enjoy less.

There is the way of the peaceful warrior and the way to the peaceful warrior. As long as you tread the way, you are a warrior. The way is now; it always has been.

A fool is `happy' when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That's what makes happiness the ultimate discipline. Happiness is not just something you feel - it is who you are. Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all, remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.
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on August 28, 2009
Many people who read this book find themselves changed, even subtly, by the lessons within. I took it a step further. I am consciously applying these lessons and philosophies to my life.
A little background.
I'm 26, in the military, have an injured knee the doctors say will never recover fully and will hurt for the rest of my life, a failed marriage under my belt already, hate my job, find most of my coworkers intolerable, out of shape, diagnosed with anxiety, depression, insomnia.... the list goes on.
I read this book two weeks ago.
In that time, I have learned to be happy. I have learned to appreciate the world around me. Started getting along with my coworkers, mended old friendships that were crumbling, my knee is almost fully recovered after a year of chronic pain, my eating is better, I am sleeping better, waking up easier, and every day is a good day. Nothing AROUND me has changed. Only how I react to it. It's not always easy. Things still bother me. I still get angry, or sad. But now, it passes faster and I return to what has become my natural state. Happiness. Peace.
This book can change your life if you let it. It tells you how, if you will listen. Some of the book is fictional. Dan Millman has never made any secrets about the fact that he embellished to make it a more interesting read, and to really get across how amazing Socrates was. This is OK.
Because frankly, it doesn't matter whether it is all a complete historical autobiography or not. The LESSONS are real, and the teacher was real. I do not believe there is anyone on earth who cannot find some benefit from learning the way of the Peaceful Warrior.
Read this book. Let it simmer in your thoughts. Let it guide you to the Way. And then, my friends... travel with us! Life is amazing if you will let it be!
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on June 4, 2007
I definitely enjoyed reading this book and its many different insights. I'm a notoriously slow reader and the pages still flew by.....but I actually think I went too fast. If you do decide to read this book, I would highly recommend taking a deep breath after 30 or so pages just to sit back and soak in the story and its meaning. There really are a lot of concepts thrown to you at once and it only makes sense to take the time to understand their impact. There's no doubt I will read this again (I'm going through the sequel right now) and will make it a point to slow down a bit.

There were some parts of the book that really hit home for me and others that seems a little "bit much", but, overall, I thought the presentation was done well. Near the end of the book I was a little bit diappointed at how fast the author decribes his life events after college; I guess I was just expecting more meaningful discussion about what he went through. (EDIT: Some of the "holes" are filled in by his other books)

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation just to compare how Millman's Socate's character translates to the big screen. The most important question I ask myself after I read this book is: "Do I feel that it made an impact (big or small) in my life?" I would definitely say "yes" just for mere idea that past and future are simply subtle barriers that can impede our progress today.
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on February 2, 2017
This is one of the must-reads of the self-awareness and empowerment movement. It is the story of a champion college athlete who stumbles across a man who teaches him the tai-chi principle of non-resistance: Don't fight what comes your way, use it. The story spends much of the time in a reality most of us don’t live in very often, if at all, so accept what you want and see the rest as teaching stories. But it's a fascinating and informing story in any event.
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on May 22, 2017
Millmans book is a how to on living life while eating right and dealing with daily nonsense. Simple stuff that can be taught, just read

This guy is a guru for living an active life. Thanks Dan, my need to strangle people has been brought to a minimum!
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