About 15 years or so ago, way back when I was in college, my theater profession assigned us The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman to read. I remember liking it a lot and when I later found myself in the local used bookshop, I looked around for other books by the author. The store has a copy of The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation. It was only about six dollars so I decided to get it. Coming in at just 110 pages, I figured it would be a quick read. Turns out…not so much.
I mean, it doesn’t take all that long to read, but there’s a lot of wisdom packed into this tiny little book. And just about every year or sometimes every other year, I reread it, cover to cover. Each time, I always find both an old lesson that I needed reminding of and something new that hits me. It’s told by the narrator and his experience with going on a mountain hike one morning and running into a sage who takes him on a journey through the mountains over the course of a few days, explaining and demonstrating the many laws of spirit.
This time around, as I usually am, I was taken by the chapter on the Law of Choices. This chapter and the opening interaction between the narrator and the sage have stayed with me for many years and I often thing about it when I’m trying to make a choice:
The trail widened and split into three paths. “You lead for a while,” said the sage.
“But I don’t know where we’re going.”
She looked at me and smiled. “An interesting belief, Traveler, but I think you’ve always known where you were going, whether or not you were aware of it. So, which path will you choose?”
“Does it make any difference?”
“Ultimately? Not at all,” she replied. “In the end, all paths lead to the same destination. But one of these paths may lead into a green valley, another to a rocky peak, and a third into a dark woods. You can’t be sure where each trail leads; still, you must make a choice.”
I smiled at her. “I get the feeling you’re making some kind of point.”
“Choose your path; then we’ll talk.”
“Okay. Let’s go this way,” I said, pointing.
“Well?” she said as if she hadn’t heard me. “Are you going to choose?”
“I already did. I picked the center path.”
Again she spoke as if deaf to my voice. “Our time together is limited, Traveler. I suggest you make your choice so we can be on our way.”
“But I…” Suddenly I understood and began walking the center path.
“Just so! The Law of Choices tells us that decisions are not made with words, but with actions.”
The other chapter that stood out to me this time was the Law of Action, or moving into life. This passage especially, hit home:
“But how does one overcome inertia?”
“By acknowledging three fundamental realities,” she replied. “First, by accepting our humanity and our physical presence in the world; second, by realizing that no one is going to live for us and that we only grow stronger from our own efforts; and third, by accepting that action may entail discomfort – and then getting on with it!
We no longer have the luxury of waiting until we feel safe and secure, inspired or motivated – until fear or doubt is looking the other way. We can no longer wait for someone to give us permission to act.”
This is a message I’ve needed to hear, as I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. It’s time to move forward and I am the only person who can do that. I do, thankfully, have some wonderful people to assist me and offer some live guidance, too. But I am the only one who can make choices as to what I’m going to do with my life.
Overall, I find it to be a very soothing book that helps me get back on track in life when I’m feeling a little lost and disconnected. I can’t wait to see what I discover the next time I read it.