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 that I had, in a sense, been sleeping all those years and just dreaming I was awake (11).
Dan meets an old man in a gas station, whom he names Socrates because of his mysterious wisdom. Socrates---along with a woman named Joy, whom he eventually marries---will be the means whereby Dan achieves his awakening to the deeper truth of himself and life.
Socrates and Joy teach Dan "how to live---that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life" (11). Such a life is referred to as the Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
Of course, the lesson that Dan finally learns, the wisdom, the compassion and humor, the connection between body and mind, are all inside of him where they have been all along. All Socrates or any other guru can do is to help one eliminate, slowly, one by one, all the illusions that separate one from one self, that separate one's mind from one's body. When those illusions are gone, the self remains, as Millman writes in his "Final Notes":
I'm not special; we all have our "Socrates." He's your higher self. So be guided by the best that's within you. In any momen...