I was born into a very fortunate time. Star Wars Episodes IV-VI had already made a significant impact on the world of cinema, as well as the social ideals of a generation. Much like the several fantasy stories told before, Star Wars told the tale of the war between good and evil, of hope and fear, and of light and darkness. There were heroes, villains, wizards, sorcerers, pirates, and knights with glowing swords made of plasma!!!- *Excuse me a second… There is no emotion, there is peace.*
Sorry about that. Anyway, as I was saying…
-Star wars made up everything that I was drawn to as a child. My brothers and I had many of the toys, and nearly every day they would transport my whimsical young mind to the sands of Tatooine, the frozen wasteland of Hoth, the Jungles of Endor, and into the trenches and depths of the Death Stars. When I wasn’t on my imaginary adventures, I had often sat down to watch the movies over and over again. Without a doubt, the Star Wars movies rank as the most watched movies of my life.
As we all change over time, so does our perspective. In the transformative years of my adolescence, what began as a love for my favorite adventure tale started to take on new meaning in my life. One more philosophical in nature. I was drawn to the mysteries of The Force.
The Force is the perfect metaphor for the human psyche, and the universal interconnection of all, in its purest form. As sentient beings, we hold the very powers of creation and destruction within our grips. Every action that we take sends a ripple that affects the course of our history. It is because we have this power that we need to learn to temper it. The ability to change thought into action is one that should never be taken likely.
In the Star Wars Universe, the Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice throughout the galaxy. They strive to live with The Force as their ally, and if needs be, they train themselves to call upon it to push back all who threaten to destabilize the delicate balance of The Force. The aspects of the Living Force exploited by wielder’s of The Dark Side; anger, fear, jealousy, and aggression; are well known to them, and they know that the only way to overcome these destructive emotions is to temper them with wisdom, knowledge, and most of all, personal discipline. By being aware of the presence of the Dark Side, and by using the power of The Light Side, they are tasked with casting out the extraneous presence of darkness; not only throughout the galaxy, but within themselves, as well. Only by restoring this balance can peace be maintained.
Awareness of one’s emotional pitfalls is the first step to being an agent of The Light Side. Trying to overcome The Dark Side in my own life has been one of the hardest tasks of which I have ever undergone. There are many times where my life is in balance, and it is during these times that I become more productive. I am more content with my existence, more responsible in my duties, more caring to those around me, and more capable of reacting rationally when something doesn’t go right. However, there are many times still that The Dark Side threatens my balance.
There are those days where everything bad that can happen seems to do so all at once. These are the days which are supposed to be the trials in our life, but there are some days where I fail utterly. Being overcome by external stimuli is the emotional equivalent of being backed into a corner. When this happens, our natural instincts are those of fight or flight. This will express itself in two ways for me; either anger or depression.
As the fight reaction implies, it is a basic impulse to lash out with anger at those who are adding the pressure on you, and sometimes even transferring that anger onto bystanders. If left unchecked, anger can lead to aggression, and that is where it can truly become dangerous. On the other hand, if I should exhibit the flight reaction, then I just tend to withdraw into myself, and I am left with crippling depression. With some, depression can lead them down a very dangerous path which may lead to the taking of their own life. The more that I am aware of, and the earlier I can detect, when these emotional responses are starting, the better chances that I have to not succumbing to them, and negatively effecting those around me. Hurting those around you permanently imprints itself in their lives and memories. It may even be the cause of sending others down the dark path, as well. Your actions ripple throughout time and space. For as Master Yoda once said;
“Once you head down the path of The Dark Side, forever it will dominate your destiny. Consume you it will.”
The Jedi teach that the only way to be able to overcome The Dark Side (i.e. baser emotional responses) is through development of enough self-control and discipline to quiet the natural mind for that of higher reasoning. While nature tells you to fight or flee, the Jedi teach you to extend a hand.
These are qualities essential to living a full and stable life within yourself, and with those who’s lines cross with your’s. I strive to do this every day because a Jedi’s trails do not end with knighthood. They come every day, and the more a Jedi attunes themselves to The Force, the greater the temptations of The Dark Side, and it is a Jedi’s discipline that keeps them on their selfless path. As for myself, I know I can always do better because The Force is with me, and I am one with The Force.