Sunday, December 20, 2009

Way of the Peaceful Dan Millman

December 2009:

The book: Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman
Place: Jill's house
Refreshments: Peppermint Martinis, roasted red pepper and goat cheese pie thing, spinach pie, shrimp, crab dip, little cheescakes, and of course wine. Yum to all.

This was Jill's pick, and the first book we have read like this in book club. It was a different kind of read for us, but it sparked alot of discussion.

If you have never read this book, in a few sentences or less, it is about one man's journey to enlightenment, and a better way of life. He meets this strange guru/mentor/hallucination named Socrates, who teaches him how to become more in touch with his natural self and life lessons , such as living and experiencing the moment for what it is, that there are no ordinary moments, and that there are no accidents. My favorite line/quote is "Only the supremely wise and the ignorant do not alter."

We all had many questions for each other- is this just Dan's journey, or would this path work for us too? Was Socrates merely the result of a brain touched by the hallucinogenic drugs of the 1960s, or was he really a spiritual ambassador? And really, how did he jump onto the building like that? Alyssa asked if it was possible to really just live in the moment, without a plan for the future or thinking ahead. I am not sure anyone really answered her or not; I do believe it is possible to live entirely in the present, but I don't think it is necessarily responsible or wise. This makes me think of the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper plays all summer long, and does not prepare for winter, while the ant works hard, storing food for the long cold months to come. When winter finally does arrive, the grasshopper begins to starve to death, and asks the ant for a handout. The ant slams the door in his face, leaving the grasshopper to die.

I think this is a little uncharitable of the ant personally- sure, the grasshopper should have worked instead of singing and dancing and making fun of the ant, but the ant still could have shown pity to the grasshopper. Maybe this is because Billy and I often compare ourselves to the grasshopper; we like to enjoy ourselves and live for today. Our New Year's Resolution this year actually is to plan at least a little for our future, to become more antlike and less grasshopperesque.

So, my opinion on that question is obviously still up in the air.

My opinion on the book is that you should read it- if not for the writing style, which was not all that great, read it for the message and to see for yourself what you think. It is a spiritual book, that is supposed to change lives. None of really felt our lives were changed by reading the book, but we were glad we read it.

We are reading Stealing Buddha's Dinner for January- this sounds like another very interesting book, and I can't wait to start reading it.

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