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A Panda's Journey
Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives
Click on Dan’s name above to go to his website & learn more about him. (Also can scroll down to go straight to the 5 life-changing takeaways if you’d like).
Growing wise through personal and spiritual experiences, this story follows a World Champion Gymnast, Dan, who seemed to “have it all” in the eyes of society. Even though he had everything he desired in the physical realm, he was still not happy.
I think many people can relate to this^. We get what we think we want and then find out that it doesn’t bring lasting fulfillment. We hear about rich & famous people committing suicide, although many people often desire that famous/rich life. Dan is still alive & well today, but he went through many struggles to be able to live life beyond his ego.
“I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ay,” said Drake in his popular song “God’s Plan.”
Everyone feels bad at times, no matter how much ‘success’ they have in this world. And it’s okay to feel bad, even though the media only portrays happy people having a good time. Remember that what you see on tv usually isn’t an accurate example of real life. You can check out an article I wrote on accepting our feelings by Clicking Here.
Anyway, one night, while Dan was still in college, he went to a gas station after waking up in the middle of the night. He met a unique old man who he named Socrates later on. (“Socrates” never told Dan his real name).
Socrates became Dan’s guru/mentor/teacher. Helping to enlighten Dan, Socrates teaches him many things throughout the book that ultimately opens Dan’s mind and allows him to awaken; to be happy now without a reason. Like many people in the World today, Dan was living through his ego before he met Socrates. He pursued worldly pleasures & accomplishments only to find out that those “fulfilling” moments don’t last. Led by his teacher, Socrates, Dan is able to experience life beyond his ego, and live in peace.
The “living in peace” phrase just created another thought through me; we always say Rest in Peace when someone dies, but why don’t we ever say Live in Peace when we are living??
Way of the Peaceful Warrior was one of the first books that had a big impact on my life. I read it for the first time when I was around the age of 19, and have continued to read it again & again.
After I finished reading this book for the first time it immediately became my favorite book, and remains my favorite to this day. It opened up my mind to new ideas & a different way of viewing & living life. Way of the Peaceful Warrior has helped me live joyfully in the present moment, to be happy now without reason, to focus on things that really matter, to take action instead of dwelling in thought, to live non-judgmentally, & to live life in love.
I do not always remain in this state of bliss, but when I accept my feelings & situations as they are, this brings me peace. I shared this earlier, but click here if you’d like to read an article on this.
The author, Dan Millan, said he wrote this book “to inspire, uplift, and to remind readers of life’s bigger picture & higher promise.” This book definitely inspired me & gave me more insight into the bigger picture of life.
“Be happy now, without reason, or you’ll never be happy.”
~I truly believe that this book should be read throughout schools all around the world. The ideas & ways of thinking this book explains could benefit the education system & our future tremendously~
In this post I will summarize some of the main points of the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I will discuss how I have been using what I’ve learned from this book, will provide you with many of my favorite quotes from the book that relate to each takeaway & I’ve added some thought provoking quotes from the book at the end. Thank you for reading & Enjoy!
**I also want to encourage you to not just read this, but to put these ideas into practice. Ask yourself, “How can I apply this to my life?” These life-changing ideas need to be more than just read. Be patient when practicing these, & continue to remind yourself of these ideas throughout your days for them to become second nature.**
Why waste half your life doing things you don’t enjoy doing if you have an opportunity to do something you enjoy?
Happiness happens now, in this present moment. The future never really comes, the future only happens as another present moment.
Here are great quotes from the book that can open your eyes to being happy now, without reason:
* “‘What do I do then, now? Where do I go from here?’ Dan asked Socrates.
‘Who cares?’ He yelled gleefully. ‘A fool is ‘happy’ when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline—above all else I have taught you.’”
“Reality never matched their dreams; happiness was just around the corner — a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind.”
“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!”
“Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.”
“You Don’t need a reason to be happy. If you do that reason can be taken away.”
“And so I awoke to reality, free of any meaning or any search. What could there possibly be to search for? All of Socrate’s words had come alive with my death. This was the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.”
“Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will.”
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
“My name doesn’t matter; neither does yours. What is important is what lies beyond names and beyond questions.”
“The birth of the mind is the death of the senses”
^^ I’ve been realizing this more & more lately that we are most alive when we are not dwelling in thoughts. We can take time to have rational thoughts, but take some time to meditate in nothingness. Let go of your thoughts by focusing on your external environment. Tap into your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel? Try to do this for at least a few minutes.
When you are only in your mind, thinking, you are never fully in the present moment. Practice focusing your attention to things outside of you.
* “Satori is the warrior’s state of being; it occurs at the moment when the mind is free of thought, pure awareness; the body is active, sensitive, relaxed; and the emotions are open and free.”
“Remember, every-moment satori.”
“The warrior is Here, Now.”
“You have to ‘lose your mind’ before you can come to your senses.”
“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. The warrior is here, now. Your sorrow, your fear & anger, regret & guilt, your envy and plans and cravings live only in the past, or in the future.”
“Your business is not to ‘get somewhere’ — it is to be here.
“You have been immortal since before you were born and will be long after the body dissolves. The body is Consciousness; never born; never dies; only changes. The mind — your ego, personal beliefs, history, and identity — is all that ends at death.”
^^This quote reminds me of the philosophy stoicism. I wrote a post about it that you can check out by Clicking Here.
“You now see everything through a veil of associations about things, projected over a direct, simple awareness. You’ve ‘seen it all before’; it’s like watching a movie for the twentieth time. You see only memories of things, so you become bored. Boredom, you see, is fundamental non-awareness of life; boredom is awareness, trapped in the mind. You’ll have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.”
“You’ve become bored to things because they exist only as names to you. The dry concepts of mind obscure your direct perception.”
“Like most people, you’ve been taught to gather information from outside yourself; from books, magazines, experts. Like this car, you open up and let the facts pour in. Sometimes the information is premium and sometimes it’s low octane. You buy your knowledge at the current market rates, much like you buy gasoline. Like this gas tank, you are overflowing with preconceptions; full of useless knowledge. You hold many facts and opinions, yet know little of yourself. Before you can learn, you’ll have to first empty your tank.”
“Your thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.”
Don’t believe everything you think; I have heard this phrase many times & it relates to this idea.
We can’t always control what we think, but we do have control of our actions.
Yes, try to think positive & focus on the best, but don’t try to force thoughts away. Embrace them; let it come & then let them go like clouds passing by.
“You don’t need to control emotion,” Socrates said. “Emotions are natural, like passing weather. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes sorrow or anger. Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.”
“Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. A warrior is as a warrior does.”
“. . Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. It’s only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”
Paying attention is also an action, and one of the most important actions:
“A Zen student asked his roshi the most important element of Zen. The roshi replied, ‘Attention.’
‘Yes, thank you,’ the student replied. ‘But can you tell me the second most important element?’ And the roshi replied, ‘Attention.’”
Practice paying attention.
“Ultimately you will learn to meditate your every action.”
“Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.”
“Full attention to every moment is my desire and my pleasure. Attention costs no money; your only investment is training.”
* “Experts devote their life to training. Masters devote their training to life.”
“I’ve tried to show you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is the warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.”
* “Everyone tells you what’s good for you. they don’t want you to find your own answers. they want you to believe theirs.”
* “‘Why worry? Better to live until you die. I am a warrior; my way is action,’ Socrates said. ‘I am a teacher, I teach by example. Someday you too may teach others as I have shown you—then you’ll understand that words are not enough; you too must teach by example, and only what you’ve realized through your own experience.’”
“The World out there, is a school, Dan. Life is the only real teacher. It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfillment, then elderly people would all be happy, enlightened masters…
..But the lessons of experience are hidden. I can help you learn from experience to see the world clearly, and clarity is something you desperately need right now. Your intuition knows this is true, but your mind rebels; you’ve experienced much, but you’ve learned little.”
“Think of death as a transformation — a bit more radical than puberty, but nothing to get particularly upset about.”
“Death is not sad; the sad thing is that most people don’t really live at all.”
“Where are you? Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.”
“You fear death and crave survival. You want Forever, you desire Eternity. In your deluded belief that you are this ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘soul,’ you find the escape clause in your contract with mortality.”
“Wake up! If you knew for certain that you had a terminal illness – if you had precious little time left to make use of your life and consider who you are, you’d not waste time on self-indulgence or fear, lethargy or ambition. You do have a terminal illness – it is death. Be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.”
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed these book notes as much as I enjoyed the book. I think many people can relate to this incredible story.
Let us be happy now, without reason, and we will live our best life.
You can purchase The Way of the Peaceful Warrior book from Amazon by clicking here if you’d like.
* “So I’m a fool, huh?” Says Millman. Socrates responds with, “We’re all fools together. It’s just that a few people know it; others don’t.”
“Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of 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.”
“Enlightenment is not an attainment, it is a realization. And when you wake up, everything changes and nothing changes.”
“How do you know you haven’t been asleep your whole life? How do you know you’re not asleep right now?”
“Understanding is the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect. It leads to knowledge. Realization is three-dimensional — a simultaneous comprehension of head, heart, and instinct. It comes only from direct experience.”
“Focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.”
“Embody what you teach, and teach only what you have embodied.”
“Stress happens when the mind resists what is.”
“There are no ordinary moments!”
*Story about a younger traveler, Milarepa who has been seeking enlightenment everywhere. He eventually sees an old man carrying a heavy sack down a mountain & thinks the man knows the answer to his question…
Milarepa says, “‘Old man, please tell me what you know. What is enlightenment?’ The old man smiled at him for a moment, and swung the heavy burden off his shoulders, and stood straight.
‘Yes, I see!’ Cried Milarepa. ‘My everlasting gratitude. But please, one question more. What is after enlightenment?’
Smiling again, the old man picked up the sack once again, slung it over his shoulders, steadied his burden, and continued on his way.”
I had to read this story^ a few times before I understood it. I hope you can see it.
“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.”
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.”
“Reading the future is based on a realistic perception of the present. Don’t be concerned about seeing the future until you can clearly see the present.”
“Meditating an action is different from doing it. To do, there must be a doer, a self-conscious someone performing. But when you meditate an action, you’ve already released all thoughts, even the thought of, ‘I.’ There’s no ‘you’ left to do it. In forgetting yourself, you become what you do, so your action is free, spontaneous, without ambition, inhibition, or fear.’”
I hope you enjoyed the quotes as well as the summary! Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice! Start today, ask “How can I apply these ideas to my daily life?” Let these ideas sink in to who you are.
I also recommend reading Dan’s second & third books in the Peaceful Warrior trilogy. (Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior & The Hidden School) which you can purchase from Amazon if you’d like by clicking on their title.
Get the books from a library or buy them; either way it will be worth your while! I read both & thoroughly enjoyed them.
Happy Reading! I wish you well on your journey toward becoming a Peaceful Warrior.
The first time I remember wanting to be an actor was after watching Jim Carrey starring in the movie, The Mask. I watched it on VHS! Do you remember those?
I enjoyed watching Jim in his many roles as I was growing up, and so he was one of the first people that gave me inspiration to become an actor.
But after getting a little older, I realized that “no-one” can actually become an actor..right? Wrong. If no-one could become an actor, how are there actors? ..“Because they are born into it” or because they “got lucky,” is what many people say.. Oh.
That is the mindset when you grow up in a small town that is 2,000+ miles away from Los Angeles.
So I continued living my life as a kid with little responsibilities, focusing on school, athletics, friends and family….and catching crayfish
I’m on the right side holding the crayfish above Peter’s head. Thank you Ginny for the picture!
The older I got, the more people asked what I wanted to do with my life, because that’s what happens when we get older right.
I never really had a good answer for them. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I think that most people don’t know what they want to do so they just choose a generic field to study and then they follow through with it. They end up living a 9-5 life that they don’t really enjoy so that they can spend their money on a house that is used for sleeping and a car used for driving to work.
Alan Watts says “That’s just stupid to live like that. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.”
After two years of being undeclared in college, I literally had to choose a major, so I chose Sports Administration with a Business minor. I thought, “Well I like sports so I’ll try this.” Throughout the next years when I got closer to graduating, the thoughts of what I want to do with my life came to me again.
I thought, “I think I would really like to be an actor.” But not knowing how I could become an actor was a big obstacle for me. Philosopher Alan Watts inspired me in his video “What if Money Was No Object?”
After listening to many of Watt’s speeches, as well as reading and listening to Ram Dass, Dan Millman, Dale Carnegie, Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss & John Lee Dumas, I really knew that I didn’t want to work a 7-3, or 8-4, or 9-5 job that I did not enjoy going to for the next 30-40 years of my life so that I can retire and “be happy.”
(Recent inspiration from: Marcus Aurelius, Eckhart Tolle, Mark Manson, Ryan Holiday, Tony Robbins, Derek Sivers).
So even after knowing I didn’t want to have that 8 hour a day job at somewhere I don’t enjoy, I thought it would be a good idea to get my Masters in Education to become a teacher.
School was never that hard for me, but there were definitely some overwhelming times while I was getting my Masters Degree. I had the end goal in mind, of getting this degree, so I knew that I was going to get things done whether I felt like it or not.
Anyway right before I began my Master’s Program, there was a movie to be filmed on my Universities Campus (I.U.P.). That movie was Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and 50 Cent, directed by Antoine Fuqua.
When I found out about this, I asked myself, “How can I get involved with this movie?” So I googled information about the movie and found that they were looking for people to play as extras in the movie. I went to an audition for the movie, they asked some questions, took some pictures and I was on my way.
I didn’t receive a call for weeks, and the movie began filming so I thought that I was not going to get a call.
But one day, I was working as a Sports Information employee in the building where Southpaw was being filmed, the K.C.A.C in I.U.P. and I went to a bathroom. As I was at the urinal, a man came into the bathroom and went to a urinal nearby (there were only 2 or 3 urinals). So I struck up a conversation, asking him if he was involved with the movie. He responded by telling me that he was the director.
It was Antoine Fuqua! The man who directed Training Day with Denzel Washington.
Anyway, I asked him if he needed any help with the movie and that I would work for free. He asked if I would like to be an actor. And I jokingly said, “Well I have the face right?” We both laughed after we washed our hands and were exiting the bathroom. Once outside the bathroom he called someone over. They came over and he told them to get my information down and put me in the movie.
I got a call the next day to be a character as a press/media journalist for the movie during the boxing scenes. I got paid and also got to personally meet 50 Cent, while being in the vicinity of Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams.
Anyone who has worked on a movie set knows that they are long days, usually between 10-14 hours of work, with a lot of chill time in between shooting scenes. It’s not for everyone, but I loved it.
I had met another actor on set who told me about an agency he was with in Pittsburgh who frequently sent out casting notices, so I got involved with them after working in this film.
They helped me get into two more huge movies and two tv shows.
The movies were: Concussion & Love The Coopers.
I played a NFL Employee in the movie Concussion and a Diner Patron in Love the Coopers.
The TV shows were: Banshee & Mindhunter.
I played an amish protestor as well as a news reporter in the show Banshee (did multiple episodes), and I played a police officer in Mindhunter.
I recently got into a commercial & a paid student film that I will talk about shortly.
Each set is a unique and wonderful experience. There is no set that is exactly like the next, which makes acting exciting. It’s also fun when you get to meet some pretty famous people and work with them.
While I was working as a police officer on the set of Mindhunter (which is on Netflix), I was able to meet and shake the hand of David Fincher, the director who also directed Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and many more.
David Fincher was awesome. Everyone respected him on the set and he directed with a confident and knowing vision. I was also able to talk a bunch with the two main characters, Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany. They both were very nice to everyone on set and I could tell they were having fun while being serious about their work.
The food on big sets is also delicious.
Anyway, that all began in 2014 during the filming of Southpaw, which aired the next year in 2015.
The year is now 2018. I moved to Colorado in 2017 and landed an Acting Teacher job in my fifth month of living here. I was a full time teacher in PA before coming to CO & substitute teaching every day. I have a local agent, I filmed a real estate commercial in January that is now airing locally, and did a paid student film this past November which I had a blast doing! That crew was so fun to work with.
I had an audition today, April 4th, that I think went really well, and I have another audition tomorrow.
A long time ago I had a dream of being an actor. As a child I had a belief that it was possible to become a paid actor, until I grew up and found out that “no-one” becomes an actor.
I’m here to tell you that it’s possible.
Feel free to message me if you have any questions about acting or how to get involved. If you want to talk about the movies or shows I’ve been in, message me, & I’d love to hear about your acting stories! Comment below or email me at Kthompson7814@gmail.com.
Crazy that I’ve already been in Colorado for a month. Time goes by fast when you’re living life to the fullest! —My car ride seemed like it took a whole month to get here; although it was less than 24 hours. Anyway here is what I have been up to the past few weeks:
During my third week in Denver I moved into my new apartment! No more sleeping on a couch. The hot tub and pool at the apartment complex were some big deciding factors, even though they are being renovated currently and I haven’t used them yet! So I moved all my stuff into the apartment, chatted with the new roommates-they are super chill and awesome. I also went to an orientation for substitute teaching after hours of paperwork to get there. I was outside most of the week really just hanging out with friends and enjoying the week before I started teaching. The weekend was fun, and then I began teaching during my 4th week here.
Monday I taught at a pretty rough school. I have previously been working with juvenile delinquents so I thought that teaching at all these schools would be a breeze…not so much. I taught freshman Biology that Monday and these freshman definitely challenged me and tested my patience but I made it through the day. Tuesday I taught a French middle school class. They were filled with sooo much energy-The classroom got loud, so I got a little loud back. Wednesday was amazing! I worked as a physical education teacher and the school does “team teaching” where some teachers work together for the lessons. This made classes very easy and the day flew by. Thursday as a middle school math teacher was okay; some classes were great and some weren’t. Friday I was a math teacher at the school I was at on Monday so I was ready for chaos, but since it was a different class with different students it wasn’t bad. Only one class was out of pocket. Substitute teachers experience all sorts of interesting situations throughout the day, and I was already beginning to experience these things. Overall it was a decent first week of teaching.
My 5th week and 2nd week of teaching here…This week was a lot better than last week as far as teaching goes. Monday I taught gym at an Elementary school and it was awesome. I got to play basketball and other sports with the students as we jammed out to music. Tuesday and Wednesday I was a floater. They needed me as a 4th grade teacher on Tuesday-I was not the happiest about this, but I do what they need me to do. The kids were crazy. Wednesday was okay. I taught another loud group of students, but I did get to leave early so that was awesome. I went to a park after school and played some football with a friend. Thursday was the best day of the week for teaching!! I was a high school gym teacher and the students listened and behaved so well. I was at a great school and I got to run and workout with students in each class. The teacher I was subbing for had a prep period at the end of the day so I got to leave a little early again! Good times. Friday was a good day too. I was a math teacher at a pretty good school and some of the kids had really funny jokes. I laughed a lot during the first period class.
A few things I have learned while working with students: Be patient, listen, and from the start make sure they know what rules and expectations they should follow.
In my free time I have been reading, writing, playing Fifa with friends, going to parks, working out, and I bought a new laptop!
“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something greater than you, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.”
80° weather and sunny, I can definitely enjoy this…At least for the next few days until the weather dropped to the 40’s on Friday. Anyway, this second week consisted of searching for a room and applying to jobs. I checked out multiple places and some were more interesting than others.
The first house I looked at had gun signs all over the outside of it, stating that violators will be shot. Interesting.. The people who lived there were from Georgia so maybe they were just used to trying to scare people with guns and gun signs. The guy who was showing me the house, who was around my age, asked me, “since you are a teacher how will you work during the summer? I don’t like people hanging out at the house.” Wow, that’s weird, maybe I won’t! So I definitely was not choosing to live there. The second house was even more interesting. I arrived in the evening, and to begin I’d like to say that we are all unique in our own ways; the world would be boring if we were all the same. The people at this second house were just different from me. They had animal bones and satanic figures throughout the house. They did seem like really nice people, but I don’t want to be in a satanic environment. So that was a no. My friend Kory came with me to the third house, which I visited on a different day than the other two. Marijuana is very normal in Colorado so it wasn’t surprising to see that in the third house… But the cocaine and rolled up $2 bills were a little surprising. There were scarface posters in each room and also a big flat screen TV in each room!! Haha, yes, even the bathroom! Ask Kory for the video of the bathroom TV if you’d like. Also the room I was looking at had been shot up by the owner. The girl showing me the room said that her boyfriend liked to shoot the wall sometimes and that he comes home at random times throughout the night. Gangster. It’s very interesting seeing multiple ways of life. It’s like, what makes someone do what they do? It’s cool though, because like I said, the world would be super boring if everyone was the same. I appreciate all the differences, but I know what sort of people I want to surround myself with. “If you hang out with 5 millionaires you are bound to be the 6th.” The people we surround ourselves with have a tremendous impact on our lives. Anyway I checked out a couple more rooms. I had emailed about 40 different people on craigslist to view each room. We have to persevere in this world to get what we want.
The next two rooms I checked out were actually great! The people seemed nice, considerate, and down to earth. I accepted the room at the last place I checked out. I look forward to having my own room and not sleeping on a couch!
I hope you enjoyed this second week’s adventures. Please like, share and possibly leave a comment in the blog. Click the follow Coach T link on the right if you would like to receive an email each time I post a blog! If you have questions or would like to know more, let me know! All feedback is appreciated.