MILLMAN, DAN. "WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR".
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How novel helps individual reach self-awareness & understand mind-body connection.... More...
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How novel helps individual reach self-awareness & understand mind-body connection.
This study will examine how Dan Millman's Way of the Peaceful Warrior helps an individual be more in touch with and understand himself or herself more. The study will also consider how the book helps one to understand the connection between the mind and the body, and the role of such a connection in self-awareness. Dan tells the story of his own life and his enlightenment, his awakening to himself and the reality of the world. The first step in discovering what is real in oneself and in the world is to discover what is not real: Raised by loving parents in a secure environment, I was later to win the World Trampoline Championship in London, travel through Europe, and receive many honors. Life brought rewards, but no lasting peace or satisfaction. Now I realize
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The study will also consider how the book helps one to understand theconnection between the mind and the body, and the role of such a connectionin self-awareness. . I looked at my arms, with the same result. The wind gusted again, and a lone bird soared by (2 9). Way of the Peaceful Warrior. . What Socrates teaches is perspective. There are many roads to the discovery of theselessons, but Millman chooses the Eastern way, the way with the self at thecenter. For now, I can only say that death is a transformation---perhaps a bit more radical than puberty, . If one only meditates, he will beseparated from his body. What you need to stay on the right track . but nothing to get particularly upset about. The point is to envision the big picture, so thatwhat is important is seen as important, and what is not important will berevealed as unimportant: A meditation technique is not the whole of the warrior's way. Even more importantly, when he tries to bring Socrates back in someform, he finds that death has been transcended indeed by the old man. Socrates---along with a woman named Joy, whom heeventually marries---will be the means whereby Dan achieves his awakeningto the deeper truth of himself and life. . Socrates explains: Dan, there are things you don't understand yet. . He discovers that the apparent division between the mind andthe body, between oneself and others, is an illusion. Socrates says he can't really put into words the nature of the"map," and suddenly Dan is propelled into another realm, not one ofillusion but one of consciousness. Haven't you been "unhappy" at celebrations for example? . My work is done, but you still have work to do. is a special map that covers the entire terrain you will explore (85). Dan meets an old man in a gas station, whom he names Socrates becauseof his mysterious wisdom. Now I realize that I had, in a sense, been sleeping all those years and just dreaming I was awake (11). Socrates and Joy teach Dan "how to live---that there were specificdisciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I couldawaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life" (11). He discovers that everything isconsciousness. . Again, the basic lessons Dan learns in this book are that he is hisown best teacher, and that everything is consciousness. . . Of course, the lesson that Dan finally learns, the wisdom, thecompassion and humor, the connection between body and mind, are all insideof him where they have been all along. Such a life isreferred to as the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. To Dan,death is a horrible event because it is the end of the body, and, as far ashe knows, the end of the individual. Dan tells the story of his own life and his enlightenment, hisawakening to himself and the reality of the world. The first step indiscovering what is real in oneself and in the world is to discover what isnot real: Raised by loving parents in a secure environment, I was later to win the World Trampoline Championship in London, travel through Europe, and receive many honors. You are the spiritual being you've been waiting for (211). Whenthose illusions are gone, the self remains, as Millman writes in his "FinalNotes": I'm not special; we all have our "Socrates." He's your higher self. You will live an ordinary life, learning how to remain ordinary in a troubled world to which, in a sense, you no longer belong. At that moment that consciousness begins to decrease,he has let his ego become the center of his attention, rather thancontinuing to focus on the big picture: I learned the meaning of attention---it is the intentional channeling of my awareness. If one is only in his body, hewill be separated from his higher self. One important lesson learned by Dan is the lesson of death. Remain ordinary, and you can be useful to others (2 5). He discovers that"awareness is how the human being experiences the light of consciousness"(86). . . Tiburon, California: H.J.Kramer, 1984.----------------------- 7 Your "upset" at the ruined picnic and your "happiness" when the sun reappeared were the product of your thoughts. These lessons leadto the realization that the so-called dualistic division between the mindand the body is an illusion, and that the only way to be in state of highconsciousness to be alert and pay attention to the big picture, the big mapof all reality, not just the limited reality of the ego. As he says to Socrates at the death ofa friend, "he's gone!" (137). . . . A lifeof experience in these lessons is what is required before one can truly saythat one "knows" oneself. The person who does not know about theworkings of his own mind is like a person being unaware that his actionsare caused by a marionette pulling on strings attached to his limbs. It is obvious, then, that your mind, not other people or your surroundings, is the source of your moods (65). One learns who one is by forgetting who one is---by caring aboutothers' suffering and dedicating oneself to easing that suffering throughpassing on the lessons of spiritual awakening gained from one's teacher,such as Socrates and Dan have done. , thus reaping only fragmented benefits of training. For all the mystery of Socrates'teaching, all the "magic" and paradox, the teaching comes down to the basicbuilding blocks of meaning in human life---the building blocks of wisdom,compassion and humor. In any moment you can ask, "What would my high self do?" and you'll know the right course. Life brought rewards, but no lasting peace or satisfaction. So be guided by the best that's within you. Trust yourself; trust the process that is your life. You will write and you will teach. If you fail to understand the complete picture, you might be deluded . . They had nothing to do with the actual events. Of course, as Socrates points out, this merely a temporary visionwhich excites Dan and convinces him he is fully enlightened now and has"graduated." But a vision is not enough experience to change a personcompletely, and besides, this vision occurs only halfway through the book,so Dan will have to go through many other spiritual adventures before beingable to realize that he is himself the spiritual being he is searching for. The lessons taught in this book are not easy lessons, and not lessonswhich can be learned quickly. All Socrates or any other guru cando is to help one eliminate, slowly, one by one, all the illusions thatseparate one from one self, that separate one's mind from one's body. When it happens, it happens. I became wholly light. The warrior neither seeks nor flees from death (138). This study will examine how Dan Millman's Way of the Peaceful Warriorhelps an individual be more in touch with and understand himself or herselfmore. . The spiritual path is vitallyimportant, but this does not mean that it is a gloomy or depressing or darkjourney. WhenDan is upset by changes in the weather, Socrates instructs him as to thereality of the mind's influence on the body and its emotional responses: The rain was a perfectly lawful display of nature. I looked at my legs; they filled with warm, radiant light, disappearing into brightness. Of course, again, it is one thing to be told a lesson in words, andanother thing to experience that lesson one's own life. We cannot know ifDan will meet his death as Socrates did, but we do know that Dan handledSocrates' death as a warrior should. Socrates stresses to Dan that the way of the warrior involves aseparation from attachments of normal life, but it also requires aconnection through compassion with the people who live such a normal life: Now it's up to you. The Eastern approach to truth first of all has to do with becomingaware of the workings of the mind. . The basic spiritual lessons Socrates tries to impart to Dan are farfrom abstract or mysterious or mystical---they are the lessons of wisdom,compassion and humor. Finally, I realized the process of real meditation--- to expand awareness, to direct attention, to ultimately surrender to the Light of Consciousness (86). Hecalls on Socrates after his death: In that moment, a warm breeze caressed my face, mussed my hair, and a falling leaf slapped my cheek as it floated down from the elm. To the contrary, Socrates understands that the life of the spiritis as much play as work. BibliographyMillman, Dan. In other words, when a human being begins to lose some of hisconsciousness, that means that he is no longer paying complete attention toconsciousness itself. Of course, in the tradition of famous gurus in literature---CarlosCasteneda's Don Juan is another---Dan's Socrates resorts to different sortsof "magic" when he runs up against a brick wall in the consciousness of hisstudent. Nothing is deadlier to the awakening of the spiritthan a self which takes itself too seriously, and we see this lessonrepeated over and over in Millman's book. . I threw my head back, laughing with delight, and looked up through the elm's outstretched branches. I felt my body again, as a hollow vessel. They are lessons that take a lifetime tolearn and understand and make a part of one's like from day to day. It's just one of the body's changes.
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