There Are No Ordinary Moments: The Life of a Peaceful Warrior

This article is a Guest Post contributed by Larry Coleman, author of The Shepherd Boy of New York City

Some of us are book lovers, some of us are movie lovers, and then there are those of us that are both. Although I fit the last category, I have never read Dan Millman’s book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior; but that didn’t stop me from being totally blown away by the 2006 movie which was based up his bestselling novel.

Peaceful Warrior (Widescreen), starring Nick Nolte, Amy Smart and Scott Mechlowicz, ranks among my all time favorite inspirational/spiritual movies. In order to keep this blog from sounding like a movie review, let’s just say the movie version of the book is about finding and embracing your inner guide, the guru in you.

Dan’s inner guide in the movie is an old gas station attendant aptly named, Socrates. Socrates main objective in the movie is to get Dan, a world class gymnast who has a sustained a career ending injury, to think outside the box, to live life in the moment, to forget about his perceived limitations and to embrace the world of paradox. Dan has to learn how to do all this on his own because no one can, or will, help him to do it. After all, a gymnast who shatters his femur in a motorcycle accident is a long shot to get back in the game and has no realistic chance of returning to something he loves—or does he?

In the movie, Socrates is a mystical teacher who only appears to Dan and Joy and a couple other people who show up for gas, Joy is another one of Socrates protégés; besides these two main characters, none of the other gymnast can see him. It’s sort of like the scene in which Jesus is driven into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The devil takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple to show him all the kingdoms of the world in order to seduce him into to worshiping him. In reality, it’s not that Jesus and the Devil are flying over Jerusalem in bodily form, but the meeting takes place in consciousness. The character, Socrates, is much like that—we don’t know if he’s real or a figment in Dan’s imagination—it’s a beautiful piece of writing and directing, and a treat for the movie watcher.

The beauty of the Peaceful Warrior is hidden in the dialogue, and Socrates is full of little one-liners that stay with the movie watcher long after the closing credits. Here are a few of them:

“You can live your whole lifetime without being awake.

“There’s no higher purpose than to offer service.”

“People are afraid of what’s inside and that’s the only place they’re going to find what they need.

“There are no ordinary moments.” (a quote from Dan)

“A warrior doesn’t give up on what he loves. He finds the love in what he does.”

Socrates to Dan: “That’s the difference between you and me: You practice gymnastic, I practice everything. A warrior is not about perfection, or victory, or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability.”

“I want you to stop gathering information from outside yourself, and start gathering it from the inside.”

“How do you know I’m not your intuition speaking to you right now?

The Peaceful Warrior is truly inspiring film. I’ve seen it a couple of times and I think I’ll watch it again. It’s important to vulnerable enough to accept wisdom from wherever it may come. Perhaps, that’s my intuition speaking to me right now.

This article is a Guest Post written by Larry Coleman, author of The Shepherd Boy of New York City

You can purchase Peaceful Warrior on DVD on Amazon by Clicking Here .


  1. I was turned on to the book about 15 years ago and it radically changed me (as the subtitle implies). I highly recommend picking up a copy and giving it a go. There are some other insights that were left out of the flick.
    I thought the movie was a good interpretation.
    Be well

  2. Electra Ford says:

    Hi Matt,

    I just watched this film and really enjoyed it. When Dan was on the ledge fighting with himself and released his attachment to his ego – the way he identified himself – it was great to see how he was able to consistently get better at being in the present moment.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

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