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FROM THE PREFACE

I want to tell you a true story. A long time ago, I set out on a quest for meaning in the modern world. In the years that followed, I evolved from a youthful athlete to an elder teacher of practical (some say spiritual) life skills. The events and experiences unfolded as I describe them — not metaphorically or in a parallel dimension but in the stormy arena of daily life.
 For decades now, in my books and presentations, I’ve described an approach to living with a peaceful heart and a warrior’s spirit. This open path, accessible to anyone, evolved from decades of training in gymnastics and martial arts, and with guides I met along the way. Insight emerged only after lengthy periods of preparation, course corrections, and humbling wake-up calls.
  While many authors and role models have inspired me, four mentors had the greatest impact on my life and work. I’ll identify them by name in Part Two, but here I refer to them by the archetypal roles they played in our encounters:
  The Professor: A Bolivian scientist-mystic who created a school whose curriculum contained a global heritage of spiritual practices progressively leading to enlightenment.
  The Guru: An American-born spiritual master whose radical teachings transcended existing techniques, but whose later behaviors left lessons of a different kind.
  The Warrior-Priest: A martial artist, metaphysician, healer, and charismatic spiritual rascal who rescued souls and opened doors to my future career and calling.
  The Sage: A devotee of reality whose paradoxical teaching — simple yet difficult, practical yet idealistic — brought a new clarity rooted in present action.
  My first two mentors, the Professor and the Guru, would inspire me to write Way of the Peaceful Warrior, while the Warrior-Priest and the Sage would influence all that followed. Each of them had their gifts and blind spots. They appeared within a vast field of other teachers, gurus, and spiritual authorities, some benign, others dangerous or deluded. It wasn’t always easy to discern one type from the other. The circumstance that attracted me to each mentor, and why I eventually moved on, provide the substance of my story…

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