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Monday, May 2, 2016

Star Wars, the Force, & YOU

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become America’s highest grossing film, and is moving at light speed to being the highest grossing film worldwide, too. 
The franchise has featured Yoda, one of my all-time favorite spiritual cinema characters. This gnome-like lookalike could have been called Yoga, as he esoterically taught Luke Skywalker about consciousness and its latent abilities. The pint-sized 800-year-old guru showed Luke many latent superhuman abilities: telepathy, clairvoyance and psycho kinesis. What’s more, Luke learns how to influence the minds of and intuit the feelings of others, and even levitate. In battle, he senses his opponent’s moves, and can engage in combat for hours without getting fatigued. Like the X-Man Wolverine, he can heal physical injuries, and quickly at that. 

George Lucas & Yogi Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras, written by Yogi Patanjali some 1600 years ago, records similar skills that can be developed through sanyama, Sanskrit for subtle intention from consciousness settled in the steadiness in the Transcendent.

The Jedi Knight Luke must kill his evil father Anakin (Darth Vader), who’s so seduced by the Force’s dark side, that he lives behind a black mask, becoming more machine than man. Obi-Wan taught Luke that Jedis “were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.”

Luke’s killing of his father echoes what the Bhagavad Gita’s military hero Arjuna had to do to his cousins and uncles, who were spreading evil throughout the land. Arjuna is encouraged to justly kill out of dharma, or purpose, in society to protect it from evil. Luke must do the same, and succeeds in destroying his evil father in the series’ third film.
Yoda, teaching his Jedi disciple the power of commitment, says, “Do or don’t do. There’s no trying.” 

He’s about results, not efforts or wishy-washy waffling. But he’s not just teaching commitment, he’s also teaching conscious use of language. He doesn’t want the word “try” entering into Luke’s consciousness or pass through his mouth as speech. 

The Force

“May the Force be with you,” the saga reminds us. The Force actually always is with you. It’s only your unconscious thoughts, speech, and action that make it appear as if you’re disconnected from it. Since the Force pervades our being, not having it be with you is much like a fish not having water be with it. Not only does the Force pervade our being; it is our being, but that insight dawns only in the highest state of consciousness. When you live consciously connected to the Force life flows like a river, and the Universe works to fulfill your desires. As Luke’s other teacher—Obi-Wan Kenobi—tells him, “The Force obeys your commands.”

To Obi-Wan, the Force “surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” Like the Tao, an interpenetration of light and dark forces, it has a light side and a dark. Yoda teaches Luke that he’ll know the difference between the Light and the Dark sides of it when he is “calm, at peace.” He adds: 
“For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us…You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you…me…the tree…the rock…everywhere! Yes, even between the land and the ship!”
Yoda also added, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” This is the temptation that Luke’s father Anakin Skywalker succumbed to.
Yoda’s teaching is reminiscent of Krishna’s teaching in the Bhagavad Gita. As Krishna said, 
“These bodies are known to have an end; the dweller in the body is eternal, imperishable, infinite, Therefore, O Bharata, fight!” (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi translation)

It’s obvious that Lucas intended Star Wars to be a political, military, and spiritual saga. He read some 50 books on religion preparing for his tale. His greatest influence him was mythologist Joseph Campbell, especially his A Hero with a Thousand Faces. As Lucas said, “The stories I found most interesting are stories of Zen education or the Zen master teaching a pupil how to transcend physical prowess into some kind of mental process. That’s what all the training sequences are about.”

Cary is life coach specializing in helping people create breakthroughs in their finances, careers, relationships, and sense of purpose. Be sure to visit carybayer.com.