02 March 2011

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

Since I got my Kindle, Amazon instant ebook delivered has pushed me to buy (and read) more books. Way of the Peaceful Warrior was recommended to me by a friend (thanks, Phil!) and I devoured it in just 3 days, so much I enjoyed it (and so little it allowed me to sleep if I just would let it go).

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

Way of the Peaceful Warrior has a novel format, but is in reality a self-biography of the author Dan Millman (and it is not hidden or anything, the main character is Dan Millman). Basically the novel tells the story when Dan was in the university and randomly met an old man which he called Socrates. Socrates is a very special and intriguing man and Dan starts being mentored by him in the way of the peaceful warrior.

The above paragraph is a dry description of the book and might make you think of “uff, yet another self-help book, give me a break, Sergio”. But the book is much more than that, it shows a whole philosophy of living every moment as unique moments, the secret of unreasonable happiness (happiness without reason), about life, the universe and everything. And it does in a pretty compelling way.

If you read Castañeda, you might recognize Socrates clearly as a Nagual, but surprisingly much more accessible than the enigmatic “ask the wind” or whatever shamanistic BS Castañeda’s Nagual would throw on the poor student. The book depicts Dan’s journey on the way of the peaceful warrior, but not to the peaceful warrior (that actually makes sense, believe me). While searching for happiness outside and never finding, then suddenly realizing what true happiness is and how useless is to struggle to find it. In the end, Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a book that teaches people how to live a fulfilling and joyful life, without the common tricks of “it is easy to do be happy” and “5 clear steps to happiness”. It is not easy and it is not a destination, it is a path. There is no "achieving" a peaceful warrior. It is forever the way that makes the warrior (and vice-versa). The book is enlightening, inspiring, emotional and, indeed, may change lives. But only if you go through the way yourself. If not, than it is just like any other good book.

I had been acting lethargic; Socrates suddenly grabbed me and shook me. “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, 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 be at all.”

Then, once you read it, I hope you can answer these questions:
-          Where are you?
-          What time is it?

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