The Gospel of Yoda | What Star Wars if Trying to Tell You | Skylight

The Gospel of Yoda | What Star Wars is Trying to Tell You | Skylight spiritual wellness

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If you’re the type of person who wishes they could wield the force like Luke Skywalker, then this very under appreciated moment in the Empire Strikes Back is for you. Behind the outward manifestations of the force, which oddly enough incorporates a lot of jumping,

There is an individual requirement of facing your own fear. And whether you wield it in anger or overcome it through mastery. Here you have Yoda, a master of the Force who understood the unseen connections of life. And me, a kid who loves Star Wars, who believed these connections existed in this life and wanted to understand them as much as I could. So obviously, I loved Yoda. Yoda had gained an understanding of a power far larger than any person or organization. He wasn’t a zealot or dogmatic. He had become the best version of himself. His small stature and simple attire did not prevent him from comprehending an eternal force, a power so great that it influenced the lives of every single character in the Star Wars universe, whether they knew it or not. But every one of these moments of power on display feel empty without understanding their basis. Consider this moment between Luke and Darth Vader. A seemingly obvious battle of good versus evil, but Darth Vader himself acknowledges the reality of Luke’s ability to control his fear in order to control the force.

You have learned much, young one. You have controlled your fear.

Sound familiar? But wait, how come Darth Vader, the guy who loves long distance strangling and stopping blast or fire with his bare hands, also gets to have access to the Force? That should feel wrong. So let’s go back to Yoda, who understood the Force and its paradoxical nature. Yoda could lift X wings, turn into a spinning ball of death, and even take on Emperor Palpatine himself. But he was a frail looking curmudgeon who failed to foresee destruction, a master of the force who could not prevent the Jeta order’s downfall, and who barely managed to train the last of his kind while in self exile. Yoda’s opposite, Darth Vader, previously an akin of Sky walker, also faced a great deal of fear while learning how to control the force. But as we know, allowed his fear to overtake him and become someone else entirely. I find this paradox to be very fitting to this life. I believe in God, despite the harshness and fear that is too common in daily life, feeling connected to more even if I cannot show it to you. And that’s not a matter of what you do or don’t do, but who you become in the process.

You cannot become what you’re not willing to do, or put in much simpler terms.

Do or do not. There is no try.

But often, we are more like Luke stuck in some swamp with no sign of something better. And behind that feeling is our fear of what we must face. Afraid to leave our familiar but flawed world in pursuit of something greater, afraid to trust another because they do not meet our expectations, afraid that we have failed in our own life as despair sets in. I recently stumbled across this older interview with George Lucas on what motivated his creation of the force.

George Lucas created the idea of the force to speak about what spirituality and faith really are when they’re taken out of the structure of organized religion.

I put the force into the movies in order to try to awaken a certain spirituality in young people. More a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system.

Star Wars strips away cultural context to get at something universal about spirituality. Instead of using words like good and evil, we can talk about the light and dark sides of the force.

I see Star Wars as taking all of the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern, more easily accessible construct that people can grab onto to accept the fact that there is a greater mystery out there.

This mystery that Lucas speaks to is what I love about the Force, especially as portrayed in the original trilogy. It’s about finding your own link to a greater whole and listening to it. To be clear, I did not grasp all of this as a kid, but my feelings for a greater connection to the fabric of life and duty remain the same now, many years later. Even as my ability to understand and convey it have hopefully improved. Not unlike the older Luke in the Last Jezebel, as he had seen so much, he’d accomplished so much, but now had what assuredly felt like little to show for it. But hey, free milk. When you remove the dogmas we often associate with religion and simplify the core tenets of belief, it is chock full of acknowledging the pain we face in this life, to take care of one another, and to acknowledge a power greater than ourselves than we can comprehend. If that feels like a stretch, consider how Yoder describes the force to the ever impatient Luke.

For my ally is the force and the power of our ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. It’s energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Luminous beings we are. What an incredible line. That we are more than just this, more than what we have been, or even what we are now. Given Luke and Yoda’s journey, I love their final moment together in Last Jeddie, and how it captures what I believe is a process of seeking fulfillment. Luke, having tried to burn the Jeddie temple, stops himself. Only for Yoda to arrive to finish the job. Along with the last vestige of what Luke desperately clung to of preserving the order. And now it was dead. Yoda, knowing his old friend, reminds Luke to unlearn what he has learned, like he had many years ago. Luke needed to remember what all of this was about. Luke had learned so much about the force, but it is here that he finally lets go of fear. Through the force, he overcomes the worst creation of his fears personified in Kylo Ren. Luke faces his final fear and it can no longer hurt him. And in so doing, he again sees the bigger picture.

 

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