Peaceful Warrior – Asleep with your eyes open?
"You can be awake and still be sleeping"
This is the principle Socrates, the mysterious gas station attendant, rests on as he trains Dan to find his Way. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
Socrates, amiably referred to as Soc, is no ordinary teacher and guide. The gas station attendant fuels cars and Dan's rage-to-be-healed. All with peace in his heart, peace in his intention and the gift of wisdom for a lifetime.
I had the joy of meeting one of my favourite authors last week, Dan Millman. Author of “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”. Delighting me with his new book, “The Hidden School”, now gracing my moments and days.
The friendship and Hero's journey between Soc and Dan shares many gold nuggets for us.
"I've spent a lifetime losing my mind"...to wake up.... is the next paradoxical message Soc delivers to Dan.
A message to the angry young man in Dan who just wants his answers and he wants them NOW. Without effort and without a mindset that will help him appreciate it. That is, if he wants to truly apply those answers to better his life.
Dan, the aspiring Peaceful Warrior in this case, is an Olympic gymnast. He's dissatisfied with his life, restless and agitated. He can't figure out why. But he senses there's a call to 'more'. A call to 'something' greater, deeper, more fulfilling than the emptiness he's walking in now.
His nightmares have him break out in sweats. Bolting upright, awake and gasping for air. A midnight jog becomes his antidote.
Little did he know the attendant at the only open gas station, Socrates, becomes his wake up call. His teacher waking him up from being asleep with his eyes open.
We all do it.
We all go about our day, task to task, event to event, mindless conversation to mindless conversation. Asleep with our eyes open.
Some moments are truly awake. Engaged with focus. Attentive with presence. Exchanging with our true selves, authentically. Some moments. Wouldn't it be great if we could make those 'some moments' EVERY moment?
Dan agrees to be mentored by Soc. After several gruelling weeks of mundane activities, of apparently simple and offensive tasks requested by Soc, Dan loses it. His emotion gets the better of him, he hurls insults to Soc about Soc's apparent underachievement and his ego has him step on his grandiose soap box again. He missed the point. He fails the first quest.
The quest to "lose your mind" and find your moment. That moment of centredness. That moment of presence. The kind of mindful presence that's useful when training to lose your mind! Attentive, easy flowing presence that comes with the surrender of your mind. Attentive presence that lights up the essence of any situation, and every moment within it, with such sharp clarity, aliveness and ease. Sounds easy to do. Many struggle to 'lose their mind" with the grace and enlightenment it contains.
As a psychologist and psychic why would I espouse "losing your mind"?
It's usually my job to help people connect with their mind, to work it better, to know in its true energetic form & function. We'll come back to this.
Dan returns to his 'old life'. His usual way of doing things. It’s familiar. It’s habitual. It’s seemingly easy. It'd be great if it wasn't for the fact he was actually expecting his life to be different. So he does the usual insanity - expecting a change but doing things the same way he's always done them. Do what you've always done, get what you've always got.
Disconnecting himself so much from that call that prodded him, the sleeping nightmares give way to a waking nightmare. A femur breaking motorcycle accident. There goes his Olympics dream. Don't worry, no spoilers on this! Now though, Dan is truly listening again.
He initially wasn't prepared to "lose his mind" the easier way with Soc. So now he's losing his mind the hard way. Through rehab for a shattered femur and shattered Olympic dreams. Will he surrender to the Way of the Peaceful Warrior this time?
What's with "Losing our mind" the Peaceful Warrior Way?
It's more about releasing the rigid attachment with the identity, the thoughts, the emotions, that our mind DICTATES to be 'you'. The 'person' that our ego says, "this is who I am". The "who I am" with attitude, ego and limitation. The "who I am" that becomes the lemming, the robot, the mindless doer. The undisciplined thinker and ping pong feeler. The person who is "asleep with their eyes open".
Losing our mind is letting go of our RIGID attitude or approach to living. Not to life as such, but to living. Everyday living. Losing our mind is surrendering from our unhealthy lemming ego. And doing so in a healthy, disciplined way while maintaining connection with our ego. We don't ignore our ego. We keep its antics in the light of our observation. Our Peaceful Warrior observation.
Training up not only your body, but connecting with your mind in an attentive, lighthearted, easygoing manner. Surrender the attitude, ego and lemming within your mind and create observer SPACE. Space for the immensely alive and vibrant ENERGY that each moment contains. An energy that gives you MORE energy, DEEPER presence and SATISFYING fulfillment.
The space and energy that Soc describes as "There's never nothing going on!"
It takes the disciplined presence of the Peaceful Warrior to awaken that innate spark of continuous presence within. It takes losing your mind with perceptive observation to stay connected with that ever present spark in everyday moments. It takes focused surrender (quite the paradoxical wisdom there) to truly and wholeheartedly awaken with your eyes open.
Nightmares become productive dreams and pragmatic prophecy.
Moments come alive. Living becomes meaningful as life takes on new dimensions. Familiar AND new dimensions! Paradox again.
Practice, consistent practice, has Dan experience the other principle Socrates leads him toward. Albeit a frustrated, attitude riddled Dan. But the Peaceful Warrior in Soc continues to guide his apprentice there nonetheless.....the principle that "There are no ordinary moments".
Soc will challenge you with love. Soc will love you with hard truths full of wisdom. Soc will entertain you.
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is an awakening journey. Having read the book twice and watched the movie countless times, I keep awakening deeper to more of my own aliveness. I highly recommend the book and the movie, in that order!
I guess I knew I embraced the practice and embodied the Way of the Peaceful Warrior when my client addressed his email to me with a "Hey Soc". I sat staring at that greeting.
Letting my ego mind get me all grandiose and riddled with an "I'm so good" attitude, watching it go all egotistical. Simultaneously training me to lose my mind, see PAST my grandiose ego and paradoxically, wholeheartedly RECEIVE the compliment that acknowledged my essence.
To simply enjoy that this was no ordinary moment. That I managed to wholeheartedly connect with my authenticity and my client saw it. A simple reference to the Peaceful Warrior IN me. Thank you.
This will keep me kindly disciplined, consistent and in practice to "lose my mind" everyday. To practice being truly awake with my eyes open and walk my truth.
What helps you do that? What nudges you to practice losing your ego mind, with focused surrender and to see that your moments are no ordinary moments?! What practice awakens you every day, with ease and presence, to the aliveness of your moments?
How do you like to connect with your Peaceful Warrior?
If you would like to search for your Way of your Peaceful Warrior, the path of easygoing surrender and aliveness in the moments aligned with your divine gifts, consider a Foundation Soul Blueprint reading. More information is available here.
Here's to your Soulful Living, Elizabeth Celi