I had a great ‘trip’ late last week, watching Episodes IV-VI of Star Wars. I was 5 years old in 1977 when I saw episode IV.
The other day, something hit me hard and fast – the really helpful message…
I’ve been trying to bring myself to write this entry since then and have been holding off with the fear of how (cliché) it might sound to get all sentimentally philosophical about my emotional work and Star Wars movies (roll my eyes and scoff a little)…
You know what?! Who cares. Take it or leave it. Whatever helps me to get out of 43 years of unhealthy patterning and self-sabotage will be brilliant. And it’s probably brilliantly helpful for someone else out there too.
The world we interact with treats good and bad as though they are separate things, mutually exclusive…like we can only have one or the other…and like we are defined by very few if not one gesture, decision, story in our lives. And fighting bad or pursuing good are portrayed as endeavors that have a definite outcome, like once we prove we are good, there is no more proving to be done, or once we have ‘defeated’ bad, there is no more work to be done. And there are a lot of ‘supposed to’s’ in life. Like things “are supposed to feel better” than they do…and that person “was not supposed to do that to me…”. We live in this painful place between what things are supposed to be like, what people are supposed to be or do for us, what we are supposed to have accomplished…that there is always a better something out there that we haven’t achieved yet or that has not been given to us.
The scene in Star Wars…can’t remember if is was The Empire Strikes Back…? when Luke goes back to Yoda and Yoda says that “you must go back and face your father” — it kind banged me over the head like a nerf bat.
We are faced with and carry around our good and our bad all the time, every moment, and we ALSO carry the answer to our biggest questions about our good and bad experiences every moment. How crazy is it that “the bad” which we usually see as separate or foreign to us can be as close to us as our own mother or father…?! (Don’t I know it…). The fact is that ‘the dark side’ is always there to be faced. The dark side is not just in those ‘testy’ people in our lives…it is in ourselves. Just like Luke said, “I can’t do that, I cannot face my own father” (he meant in a duel with the possibility of death). The dark side is in Luke in the moment where he does not believe that he has the ‘good’ (or the bad) in him to battle the ‘bad’ (to kill or ‘defeat’ his own father). And what we all expect in the movie, as in life, is a big life or death fight, right?!
Yes, Luke must face his Dad, but he must “battle” his own fear of being the son of evil, his own fear of not having it in him to beat evil, a father who perhaps does not love him, the fear that loving someone makes you weak. It does not occur to him that one can face evil with good until he gets there and realizes that it was not that he was not brave enough, or strong enough, it was that it hadn’t occurred to him that what he already had in him was enough. The desire to be a good man, the feeling he had that his father was not completely turned to the dark side. He had to trust. He had to trust that he could give what he wanted to give and not what ‘the Emperor’ wanted from him. He had to change the game. And wow, he changed the game. Vader only lost an arm because Luke fought to save his own worthy life, even from his own father. And then Vader chucked the Emperor to his death.
And we thought that the battle was only between the Empire and the Jedi…
The dark side is always there to be faced. But have I asked myself where the darkness resides, really?
Have I asked myself what I am missing when I rush into or even try to avoid a situation out of panic, fear, or feelings of threat, anger, defensiveness?
What have I missed when my focus is on what the ‘other’ expects of me? What have I dismissed, or overlooked that is the key to my entire situation? What can I trust about what I know or how I feel that changes the game others are trying to play with me?
Life is about facing the dark side. The dark side of my mind. Facing it with the energy that is me, the natural energy that resides in me that is meant to give and receive life. There is no break from the dark side. But there is also never a break from the beautiful underlying ability to care about what happens to me and what happens to others.
What is the way…not to ‘defeat the darkness’, but to share and spread the light?
Decide which you’d like and then trust yourself to give it what you’ve got…because we may be inundated with scary dark things, but we are also inundated with Light. The battle takes a completely different form when I realize that I am fighting for good, not fighting to eradicate bad.
Best Wishes for Discovering the Warmth and Power of the Light.