Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior, talks about how its message is still relevant today.
1. Over 10 years have passed since the publication of your hugely popular Way of the Peaceful Warrior. How is its message relevant today?
I’ve aimed to remind readers about life’s higher promise, purpose, and potential. Woven into the stories are essential life skills like the power of constructive action in the present moment. With the pace of change accelerating, these perspectives about what we’re doing here—and what we’re here to do—remain both timely and timeless.
2. Martial arts play a significant part in your books. How does that training relate to greater life mastery?
Unlike modern sports and games, where winning or losing points is at stake, the martial arts grew from a lineage of life and death. Many martial arts have become ways or paths to focus the mind and relax the body. Some have evolved into spiritual disciplines and metaphors for living, teaching practitioners to go with the flow of life rather than merely resist it.
3. You describe your character Socrates as an archetype of a mentor. Do you consider yourself a mentor or a student?
The circumstances of my life compelled me to develop my skills and character, shifting my identity and role from student to teacher. But I’ve never ignored the need to remain a student, as well. In a broader sense, we’re all students, but we also teach by our example.
4. How does the search for your life’s purpose relate to one’s spirituality?
The word spiritual refers to the transcendent—that which inspires, uplifts, even liberates us: in the simplest terms, life’s Big Picture. In my view, we’re all on a spiritual quest, seeking to understand our larger purpose here, even as we address the duties of daily life.
5. What does being a peaceful warrior mean to you?
My old mentor once said, “I call myself a peaceful warrior because the most important battles are on the inside.” In my view, we’re all peaceful warriors in training—striving to live with a peaceful heart, but also drawing on a warrior’s spirit in times of need—learning to overcome self-doubt, to flow with waves of change, to trust the process of life unfolding.