13 Lessons From the Movie ‘Peaceful Warrior’

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pw2There are countless movies we could all think of that feature a great deal of truth, consciousness and even powerful messages. In fact in January of 2012 we actually started a list of these movies that has now grown to feature over 100 titles (SEE THE LIST HERE). One of the movies on that list, and one of my personal favorites is Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte. Based on a book written by Dan Millman, which was based on a true life story, Peaceful Warrior is a powerful movie experience that I more than recommend to all of you that have not seen it yet. As a nice supplementary piece to the film however I have decided to put together a list of lessons that I took from the film and would like to share with you all.

  1. Fear creates restlessness and contributes to a lack of peace within your current reality – Makes a lot of sense when you really think about it. Fear, no matter it’s trigger, takes you out of the moment by forcing you to focus on your physical and emotional reaction to it. How can we expect to be at peace with this moment if we can’t even truly look at it because we instead are run by the fear it seems to have created.
  2. Doing something for an end result makes it harder to accomplish – On the surface this may seem non-sensical since there are countless examples we can all think of where people let a desired end result motivate them throughout the entire process of trying to attain it. Why I still think this statement holds some validity is because the expectations of an end result can often discourage and downplay the process in getting there. Rather than setting an end result of losing 20 pounds in 1 month and then gauging our success on whether or not that was accomplished, wouldn’t it be easier to just choose to begin taking care of our bodies or working out and letting the results be what they are at whatever pace they occur.
  3. Old mentalities and past experience define our limitations – Who ever said that the highest you could jump was to barely touch the bottom of the mesh on your basketball net? Was it the set in stone voice of your heart/ soul? Or was it just what you have done the last few times you tried? Too often we let past results dictate what our bodies can and cannot do, rather than simply being in each attempt as a completely separate experience.
  4. Rushed/ busy mentality prevents us from experiencing the moment – We all lead busy lives. Lives that often result in us multi-tasking (eating on the go, talking while we work, etc.) This lesson simply reminds us to take some time to actually fully experience one thing at a time. No matter how mundane or complicated the task we might just be surprised by how much it has to offer when we fully give ourselves to it.
  5. Don’t run away from defeat, in fact stop evaluating everything as a win or a loss (success/ failure) – In the human experience we take something out of everything. It just seems to be a lot easier to value and enjoy what we take when it gets coupled with a favorable result. Imagine we didn’t evaluate all of our results and instead focused on what we took from the experience regardless.
  6. Thoughts don’t reveal anything about you – Thoughts are just thoughts, many of them arise automatically and can very easily be used to either falsely satisfy or beat yourself up. Rather than letting your thoughts run you, simply observe them for what they are, perhaps even take the time to see where they might have come from (what triggered them, what contributed to that view/ opinion.) We might just be surprised by how much of what we think of regularly is really quite useless and unfounded.
  7. There is never nothing going on – Boredom. We’ve all experienced it at times to varying degrees. The truth of the matter is even in those most boring of moments there is plenty going on. Next time you find yourself bored take the time to truly observe your surroundings, realize that your very existence alone is quite the thing to be going on, and see if anything in particular calls for you to get involved with.
  8. Society/ media/ others love to thrust limitations on us, they only become true if we accept them – People can say whatever they want and say that its based on whatever they choose to credit it to. It only becomes a true part of your reality if you truly accept it. Think about the countless number of people who have defied what we previously thought possible, imagine if they let our previous definition of it not being possible stop them from showing us otherwise.
  9. Everything has a purpose, it’s up to us to find it – Even the most difficult, challenging or emotionally engaging experiences in life have a greater purpose and servitude to our existence. It’s our choice whether we want to look internally and find it or continue to dwell on the outward experience it created.
  10. Death does not equal sad. Sad equals the fact that some people never live – A lot of people find a great deal of peace and strength in death, for many that is a lot more of a profound experience than what many of us call daily life.
  11. Don’t give up what you love, find love in what you do – The idea of giving up something that you love only stems from a disappointment in how it has worked out thus far. Rather than letting the past bury you, find the love in what you do and realize that no matter how it plays out it is a part of you.
  12. “What if I can’t do it?” That’s the future, throw it out – All we have and can impact is this moment. Why would we let thoughts about a future moment hold us back from doing something that in this moment we would like to do.
  13. Getting caught up in wants leads to nothing but suffering – Think about it. When we don’t get what we want we define it as a version of suffering. When we do get what we want we quickly suffer because we can’t hold onto it (it either slips from our grasp or loses its previous value shortly after we attain it.)

Whether all of these lessons were intended to be shared through the book/ film or not, they definitely stood out for me. Be sure to contribute any other lessons or favorite parts from the film in the comment section and also feel free to suggest any other particular movies that you found to be loaded with truth that you recommend for an upcoming article. You can also watch the official HD trailer for the movie here:

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  1. The full movie can be viewed on Youtube also: go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDNobJ-wmPI

  2. Andrew

    Everyone read the books. 😉
    Way of the peaceful warrior and sacred journey of the peaceful warrior.

    • Don’t forget The Journeys of Socrates. That’s a great book as well.

  3. I know everyone always says “the book is better” but it changed my life. The film did nothing for me.

  4. Quero ver o filme. Tem conteúdo.

  5. Maxybox

    I want to read the book, but this movie and any movie directed by Victor Salva should be boycotted, he is a paedophile released after only 3 years in prison and should not be allowed to live a normal life.

    • RawN

      It really doesn’t matter. Your purpose is to understand the message from the film. What he does in his life is his Karma, how you respond to it is yours. So just enjoy the movie, learn from it and move on! :) Peace.

      • Very well said!! Namaste

    • mj

      Did the media tell you that? I know almost nothing of this guy but if he creates movies with awareness, him being labeled as a paedophile could be a ploy to discredit him, as the case with Michael Jackson.

  6. As long as you get the message, it doesnt matter if its from the movie a book or youtube. Just understand what you can learn from either medium

  7. the movie could be truly inspiring, were it not for it’s director it makes me question the forces behind his motivations : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Salva


    • Oh god why

      Who was the director doesn’t matter. This film is based on a book… The director just controls who plays each role and this kind of trivial things…

  9. pierre dussault

    great post Mark!

  10. Ron

    and you really don’t believe his karma could be projected in the way he selected actors, directed the movie or any other direct involvements he had with the movie! That’s similar to saying the tides of the ocean don’t have anything to do with the lunar cycles!

  11. Ron

    bs! His character has the potential to influence the underlying message of the movie from a subtle influence to a great influence to an overwhelming influence and have an underlying or even possibly a very dominate role in the overall message of the movie! How can someone of questionable character be a director of a movie supposedly based on character? This would be an oxymoron of the highest value or degree! I was actually thinking about forwarding some of the positive notes on about the movie to some colleagues until I saw the directors questionable background! His background and the comments I just read are in direct conflict, a contradiction, or even, as mentioned earlier, an outright oxymoron!

  12. Jean

    “People who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” That line reminded me of quite a few people in my life. We can’t give up on them. I know we shouldn’t try to fix them, but they need to know someone thinks they’re worth the effort. In the process, we might even learn a few things about ourselves. The movie was very inspirational and taught me that there are no ordinary moments. Not to quote Hannah Montana, but life is really what you make it. You alone are in charge of your own destiny.


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