The Universe is my way.
Courage is my shadow.
Love is my torch.
Peace is my refuge.
The Earth is my school.
Daily Life is my arena.
Action is my secret.
Now is my lesson.
Impossibility is my stimulus.
Pain is my warning.
Work is my blessing.
Balance is my temper.
Evolution is my purpose.
Perfection is my destiny.

 ~ The Peaceful Warrior’s Creed
The term peaceful warrior seems a contradiction — how can one be both peaceful and a warrior? Renowned warriors from every culture, in spite of their violent image, have demonstrated qualities of courage, commitment, and inner strength; yet few had a peaceful heart. The peacemakers of history have shown qualities of loving-kindness and compassion; yet only a few possessed a warrior’s spirit. The peaceful warrior combines both courage and love — a warrior’s spirit with a peaceful heart.
Temei nosce (“Know thyself”)

 ~ The heart of the peaceful warrior’s way~
And so we begin our quest….


Everyday life is our spiritual school. As we see our reflection more clearly in the mirror of daily life, we will come to know and accept ourselves as never before. As we learn from the natural consequences of our actions, we’ll find the wisdom necessary to progress on the path of personal and spiritual growth.

The path of spiritual practice leads upward, through the harrowing gauntlet of human experience to the peaks of our potential. On this journey we encounter Twelve Gateways. Their purpose: evolution. Their arena: everyday life. Their secret: action. And their time: now. The Twelve Gateways are not a destination; they are a process, an ongoing journey. The end of one journey is the beginning of another. Practice is the catalyst of change. Sacred practice forms a bridge between heaven and earth, between flesh and spirit, that transmutes each day, each moment. This is our training, our destiny. And always be assured of this — every journey begins with but a single step.

These gateways apply to each and all of us. No matter how different our appearances, experiences, talents, cultures, and beliefs, we share in a common quest for meaning — no one is exempt, no one excluded. Taken together, the Twelve Gateways provide a direct path to our hidden promise, a way to reconnect with our soul’s deepest yearnings. As we travel through these gateways, expect to find an expanded sense of purpose, toward the summit of human experience, where we can live the spiritual truths at the heart of our existence. As we take this journey, we have the opportunity to reflect upon our past, consider our future, while living fully in the present.

The First Gateway ~ Discover Our Worth: Opening to Life
The Second Gateway ~ Reclaim Our Will: The Power to Change
The Third Gateway ~ Invigorate Our Body: A Foundation for Life
The Fourth Gateway ~ Manage Our Wealth: Sufficiency and Spiritual Practice
The Fifth Gateway ~ Tame Our Mind: Inner Peace and Simple Reality
The Sixth Gateway ~ Trust Our Intuition: Accessing Inner Guidance
The Seventh Gateway ~ Accept Our Emotions: The Center of the Cyclone
The Eighth Gateway ~ Face Our Fears: Living as Peaceful Warriors
The Ninth Gateway ~ Illuminate Our Shadow: Cultivating Compassion and Authenticity
The Tenth Gateway ~ Embrace Our Sexuality: Celebrating Life
The Eleventh Gateway ~ Awaken Our Heart: The Healing Power of Love
The Twelfth Gateway ~ Serve Our World: Completing the Circle of Life

Time is a surging river, bringing change to each and all. Cultures come and go; the face of the world changes. Humanity moves forward, accelerating, evolving, toward higher consciousness and open hearts. All of us experience personal evolution and destiny. But no one is an island; each of us influences those around us. By awakening, one becomes a spark that sets others aflame. The individual touches the community, his family and friends; the community touches the region; the region touches the nation; the nation touches the world. Individual change precedes global change. Every one of us counts; each of us contributes to the beauty of the whole. We change the world by changing ourselves. And if we do nothing more than offer a smile to a stranger or utter a kind word to someone in need, we make a difference. As we learn the lessons of the Twelve Gateways, we will see a shift of awareness that will transform everything within humanity’s sphere. Enlightened civilizations appear only when enough individuals behave in enlightened ways. We are just beginning to see the dawn of our destiny.

The practice of these Twelve Gateways, which is the practice of enlightenment, the practice of life, is a cycle without end, like the changing seasons. We will pass through each gateway not once but many times, each time learning more, until practice becomes play, and play becomes life, and life becomes illumined. As we travel the winding paths ahead, remember our sense of humor, our sense of perspective, our simple humanity. Ultimately, nothing can hinder us on our quest, because nothing is stronger than the human spirit that connects us all. We are seeds of what is to come, stretching upward, reaching to the Light. Above all, be gentle with ourselves.


Within the mystery of our existence, the universe operates according to spiritual laws as real as the law of gravity and as constant as the turning of the heavens. Woven into the fabric of existence, reflecting the primal intelligence of the universe, these laws of Spirit direct the mechanics of the universe — the movements of flowers reaching toward the sun and waves thundering to the shore. They govern the movements of the Earth, the cycle of the seasons, and the forces of nature. To their strain, even the galaxies dance.

The laws of Spirit point to the innate order and intelligence of the universe. They transcend concepts, customs, and beliefs. Constant as the movement of the planets, they apply not only to the mechanics of nature, but to every aspect of existence. They can guide us through the shallows and reefs of our lives the way the stars and compass guided ancient mariners on their course. Certain laws have special relevance to the practical affairs of human life. The books and teachings of religion touch upon these great truths. These laws form a blueprint for human evolution — eternal principles that are the bedrock of our daily experience. The laws of Spirit belong to each and all of us. They are found within our own hearts and at the heart of every religion, moral system, and spiritual tradition. These laws can change every aspect of our evolving, multi-faceted lives. A peaceful warrior lives intimately with them, and from their essence is distilled what is respectfully referred to as “the House Rules.” Simply put, these simple, powerful truths make life work, and can be said to be the “keys” to the Twelve Gateways.

The Law of Balance ~ Finding the Middle Way
The Law of Choices ~ Reclaiming Our Power
The Law of Process ~ Taking Life Step-by-Step
The Law of Presence ~ Living in the Moment
The Law of Compassion ~ Awakening Our Humanity
The Law of Faith ~ Trusting in Spirit
The Law of Expectation ~ Expanding Our Reality
The Law of Integrity ~ Living Our Truth
The Law of Action ~ Moving into Life
The Law of Cycles ~ Dancing to Nature’s Song
The Law of Surrender ~ Embracing a Higher Will
The Law of Unity ~ Remembering Our Connection

Thus, as we continue our life’s odyssey, we carry with us nature’s codes to translate the cryptic map to inner peace and hidden potential — opening portals to a deeper sense of meaning, connection, and harmony with all of creation. These laws come from deep inside us, a vast storehouse of intuitive wisdom; they are the alchemy that transmutes the baser elements of our lives — the fears, confusion, concerns, and difficulties we encounter — into the gold of freedom and clarity, serenity and joy. They are the steppingstones to our human destiny and what lies beyond. Those who follow the laws prosper and find fulfillment; those who ignore or resist them meet consequences that instruct them on their journey of awakening, so they can one day find peace in the light of higher understanding. We don’t have to remember these laws; we only have to live them, and they will change our lives.


Purposeful living embraces both reason and truth. Reason provides clear aims, while faith teaches us to trust the process of our lives. The “House Rules” presented here — distilled lessons from the school of life — provide reliable strategies for living on purpose. The House is Life, the Tao, the Universe, Reality; the Rules are universal or guiding principles. They are not rote formulas, but flexible reminders. All in all, one comes across them as partially hidden signposts marking the “way of the peaceful warrior.”

House Rule #1: Earth is a school and daily life is our classroom.
House Rule #2: Our teachers appear in many forms.
House Rule #3: We learn best through direct experience.
House Rule #4: Failures are the steppingstones to success.
House Rule #5: Lessons reappear until we learn them.
House Rule #6: If we don’t learn easy lessons, they get harder.
House Rule #7: Consequences teach better than concepts.
House Rule #8: Only action brings ideas to life.
House Rule #9: We can control efforts, not outcomes.
House Rule #10: Timing is everything.
House Rule #11: What goes around, comes around.
House Rule #12: Little things can make a big difference.
House Rule #13: Play to your strengths.
House Rule #14: To transform your life, change your expectations.
House Rule #15: Judge with compassion.
House Rule #16: Simplicity has power.
House Rule #17: Life develops what it demands.
House Rule #18: Every choice leads to wisdom.
House Rule #19: God helps those who help themselves.
House Rule #20: We each have inner guidance.
House Rule #21: Balancing the body is the first, most primary, spiritual practice.
House Rule #22: Life moves in cycles; all things change.
House Rule #23: Life is a series of moments.
House Rule #24: Be gentle with yourself; trust the process of your life.
House Rule #25: Kindness completes our lives; we are in this together.

~ adapted excerpts from Dan Millman’s Everyday Enlightenment:  The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth; The Laws of Spirit: Simple, Powerful Truths for Making Life Work; Living on Purpose: Straight Answers to Life’s Tough Questions; and Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives


The Essence ~

Peaceful warriors have the patience to wait
until the mire settles and the waters clear.
They remain unmoving until the right time,
so the right action arises by itself.
They do not seek fulfillment, but wait with open arms
to welcome all things.
Ready to use all situations, wasting nothing,
they embody the Light.

Peaceful warriors have three great treasures:
simplicity, patience, and compassion.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
they return to the source of Being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
they live in harmony with the way things are.
Compassionate towards themselves,
they make peace with the world.

Some may call this teaching nonsense;
others may call it lofty and impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And for those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has deep roots.

Adapted from a poem by Lao-Tzu


“Athletes practice their athletics; musicians practice their music; artists practice their art.  The peaceful warrior practices everything.  That is the secret of the Way, and it makes all the difference.”

Sergei Ivanov — known simply to many peaceful warriors as Socrates

by ~ Vernon Amaro~

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