Peaceful Warrior

Questions contributed by Dan Millman - June 9, 2010

QFL: What are the core questions which you ask yourself when writing and teaching the concepts illustrated in the Way of the Peaceful Warrior?

DM: Rather than asking or creating questions as a direct strategy, sometimes questions just arise in me - sending me into a new direction. On reflection, some of my books have in fact resulted from a question. For example, my book EVERYDAY ENLIGHTENMENT: The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth did result from a question that occurred to me: "What is/comprises personal growth?" What surprises me, looking back, is not that I asked this (natural) question, but that the answers came fairly quickly. From where? I do not know.


QFL: What core questions would you suggest that other people ask themselves to be able to more fully engage in the moment?

DM:  There is one question that I ask myself, and recommend to others, especially in times of challenge, difficulty or trouble, when I/we might tend to resist the experience. Given that stress arises when the mind resists what is, I ask myself:"How is this perfect?"  or I might say or think it in different phrasing, such as,"How might this be perfect?"  Or, "In what way might this be perfect?"  It opens the space to consider the innate perfection of life unfolding (whether or not according to our hopes, plans, or desires.) 

I also recommend that people experiment with various approaches to living (including "engaging in the moment") and then see what occurs. We learn through action and consequence (both 'positive' and 'negative'). Show up. Pay attention. Do your best. Don't be attached to outcomes (since we can't control those). But notice outcomes and learn from them. You know that you've learned something when your actions change (or become more refined).


QFL: Overall, what questions do you believe that people should ask themselves to make our world a happier and healthier culture?

DM: I would offer the same response to this question, as to the previous question.


QFL: What were your primary questions that started you on your life's journey and path, eventually leading to concepts within The Way of the Peaceful Warrior?

DM: Any questions I list would be from this present moment, projected onto the past, since I do not recall actually having specific questions (such as "Where is happiness?" or "What is truth?") appear in my mind to send me seeking or researching. It was more a process followed by the non-dualists of India ("neti neti" / "not this, not this") a process of disillusion with conventional seeking, that sent me on a search for understanding and the transcendent "truth that sets us free."


QFL: What questions were you asking yourself that attracted you to Socrates and your other teachers of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior?

DM: In this case, it was not a matter of asking deep, conscious or specific philosophical questions, but rather just living my life and paying attention to what was going on. It was not so much a mental process as a natural urge to understand how to live well (whatever that meant) and then a quest to do that. It is ongoing. As to what "attracted me" to Socrates and to other teachers on my journey will have to remain a mystery. That old saying, "When the student is ready..." really means (in my view), that when the student is paying attention, the teacher appears everywhere.


QFL: What questions do you continue to ask yourself that help define your current training and practice to more completely engage in each moment?

DM: I would say that my process for personal development is about realizing "the good" in something, and then doing it. When a friend gave me a book that extolled the benefits (to health, the environment, and in terms of ethical behavior) of not eating meat (supporting that industry and practice) it made sense to me. And when something makes sense to me, I do it. This doesn't mean I then presume it is best for everyone else; each of us must make our own decisions not about what is "right," but about what is right for us. Back to the specifics of your question. Like a simple, healthful vegetarian diet (for me), the idea of focusing attention more on the present moment (than on the past or future) seemed right and clear to me, so it became a natural part of my focus a practice of daily life.

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