Still 5 more Lessons of Wisdom from the Peaceful Warrior

Peaceful Warrior doesn’t seem to stop amazing me everytime I watch it. Depending on what state of mind you are in, this movie presents you different insights from the wonderful dialogue delivery and scenes depicted in the movie. For me, this movie is much more than just a movie, it is a piece of art – a wonderfully scripted and executed version of the book – The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Start Looking Inside for Answers
Traditionally we have always looked for answers to our questions in the outside world. We do so by seeking knowledge, advice, different tools, technologies and products from the outside world. But after a momentarily phase of satisfaction, we tend to come to the same questions sooner or later. This movie, at various different points, depicts that the answers to the most difficult of our questions actually lie inside, which is very difficult and confronting for most of us to believe. But if we start seeking inside and getting present to everything in a totally new way, we can be amazed by the things we discover. I guess this power we get from the inside is the same stuff highlighted by different religions and philosophers and spiritual leaders, albeit in very different ways.

Keep a Good Sense of Humor about Ourself
A wonderful strength to have is to keep a good sense of humor, especially about ourselves. Many times we end up taking our lives too seriously in the quest of goals and achievements, and miss a lot of fun and happiness in the process. Having a good sense of humor about ourselves certainly helps take things lightly and not let them become stress or tension. If we can laugh at ourselves, we can blunt out the edges of jokes targeted at us, and everyone can have some good fun. Life is too short to take yourself too seriously, and if you can be the reason for some good laughs, you should be proud you are proving helpful in providing others a few moments of happiness.

When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him. —Thomas Szasz

When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him. —Thomas Szasz

If you Get what you Want, You Suffer. If you Don’t, you still Suffer
The biggest lie we say to ourselves is – “If I get this result, or achieve that goal, I will be happy.” When we tie our happiness to the outcome of our goals, like most humans do, we suffer when we don’t get what we want. But even if we get what we want, we still suffer, because then there are bigger goals and milestones waiting as time moves on. Time doesn’t stop at the instant where we won something and are jubilant, and since time always moves on, we can’t hold on to that victory. The whole cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Life is beautiful in its surprises and unpredictability. We can never predict what is going to happen or not, but if we tie ourselves to ONE goal or result, we will miss all other unexpected results and joys life will throw in the way. Being in a space of being ‘not sure‘ what to find will allow us to welcome everything that comes our way. And this is a fact, whether we accept it or not. It is true that we will never have control over what happens to us in the future. It is the JOURNEY what brings us happiness, not the DESTINATION.

Life is about Absolute Vulnerability
This movie depicts wonderfully that true courage lies not in victory or perfection, but in absolute vulnerability. The ability to step out of our comfort zones and get into zones where we are fully vulnerable will decide how alive we feel in every moment. It is also very often called as ‘living on the edge‘ when we are aware of every step and every breath we take with our full attention without letting the unnecessary clutter of the past and the future getting in the way. And it needs courage to live life like that, and can lead to a truly amazing experience of life, rather than just living for results and achievements.

There is No Starting or Stopping, Only Doing
When Socrates asks Dan to resume his training after the accident, Dan had no clue how was that even possible, or where to start? To this Socrates said, “There is no starting or stopping, only doing.” The only thing we have, and will always have, is “right now“. Everything else we think we have or aspire to have is just an illusion. Right NOW, this moment is the only reality, and in this reality there is no starting or stopping, but only doing. If we can pay all attention to our doing and throw out everything else in our mind, we can achieve a new level of performance in what we are actually doing and will most likely end up producing amazing results.

Observe and Learn instead of Watching and Studying

Have you ever felt that you are zipping past through life in such a hurry that you don’t even get the time to enjoy the journey? Have you ever rushed to your destination amid traffic and the person you went to meet asks you “Did you notice the amazing new park they build along the way?” And you have no idea about the road, the different buildings you passed by or the different people around you while you were on the way.

This is how most of us are in life. Too busy in reaching the destination that we miss the journey altogether. We would not remember even the smallest things about the journey, forget about enjoying the ride!! But why so? Obviously our eyes were open and on the road the whole way? So we watched everything that was along the way, but we can’t remember a thing. Maybe our mind was so occupied in other things that we missed the beauty of that moment. We were just watching and not observing.

Another way of being is to live fully in the moment and observing. So the next time you are driving through traffic, observe the trees on the road beside you, observe the cloud pattern above you and listen to the birds chirping and making a pattern overhead. Observe people around you, and you might see a young couple walking hand in hand, or a kid playing with his mom in the car next to you, or the conductor issuing tickets to passengers in the bus ahead of you.

Where are you living your life?

Where are you living your life?

We normally don’t do this because it seems like a futile exercise. What will we gain from it? There doesn’t seem to be anything ‘productive‘ about it. But sometimes sitting peacefully and observing is all we need to clear our mind of all the unnecessary thoughts of our daily life. It is more like getting out of our own body and watching people pass through their life as we do mostly. We will observe our rationalizations, our reasons, and a reflection of ourself in the people around us. We will realize how small issues and thoughts control us over the period of a day. How small problems turn into big frustrations and how we become driven by them instead of letting them go? Just by observing and doing nothing, we can see our problems in a totally different perspective.

The same goes for reading and studying. We are packed with so much information these days as there are news, articles and videos coming along our way every second. Many of us are studying very hard to clear that exam or to get that dream job. We might even be doing an extra evening or distance learning course with our work. The purpose of education is learning, but often it gets limited to reading and studying and we miss the most important part – learning. I believe that the biggest teacher is life, and that there is no need to go to college or attend lectures or read books if you really want to learn. In the world around us, there are many examples of such people. Every second of our life, every person we meet can teach us something. But only if we are open to learn from all such opportunities.

It can make a lot of difference in our days if we observe instead of watching, and learn instead of studying or reading. For example, we take the same steps of stairs every day to reach our doorstep, and we watch it daily. Maybe we have seen it hundreds of times. But how many of us can tell how many stairs are there till the door? If we really stay open to the inputs received by our senses (and not just our vision), we can let in a lot more than we do now. But we walk around with dark glasses on our eyes and headphones in our ears and miss everything this beautiful world has to offer. And then we go out seeking the same beauty or knowledge in books.

In the next few days and weeks, observe and be aware of your senses and I bet you will be surprised to see the difference it makes to the quality of your life.