I love Star Wars. George Lucas helped define the sci-fi movie genre and had a hand in shaping several generations idea of popular entertainment. Now we have another group of kids growing up to the same loveable characters via Disney. I mean, have you seen baby Yoda, how could you not love that face. Add in smugglers, resistance fighters, fuzzy little aliens, epic battles, true love, and it’s no wonder why we all give a head nod to the series every May 4th. That being said, Lucas put a great deal of thought into the wisdom that laces these stories. Take note of the caption beneath the picture of Yoda.
YODA SCHOOLS LUKE ON DETERMINATION
For those of you unfamiliar with the first installment I’ll recant. A young Skywalker was about to attempt to lift his spaceship from a swamp after weeks of training how to use the force. He had learned how to stack rocks on top of one another and make them levitate. You would think he would be excited to try a larger object, but like many of us he was hesitant. “I’ll try,” he said as he walked with his head down. Of course, Master Yoda’s response is iconic-
“Do, or do not, there is no try.”
-Now Master Yoda dropped this gem on Skywalker knowing his apprentice was going to fail to lift his cruiser from the swamp. He read his demeanor and knew the young man already felt beaten down. The point he was gently trying to make is simple: defeat begins and ends in the mind. See, the only limitations that matter are the ones we give ourselves. If we are to unlock our potential and free our minds from whatever habits and beliefs may shackle us we must believe we can be freed. Don’t say “I’ll try” knowing you should be saying “I will.”
QUI-GON JINN TEACHES MINDFULLNESS
Another iconic moment comes before a young Anakin Skywalker embarks on his mystical journey to become a Jedi. He urges the child to always be mindful and watch the here and now. The boy is a slave destined to spend his life being beaten, manipulated and let down. It would be easy for him to slide into a dark place and see himself as less than. The Jedi Knights were definitely the wise men of the saga so Qui-Gon Jinn knew exactly what to say-
“Your focus determines your reality.”
-By living in the present moment and focusing on what we can control we keep ourselves from being overwhelmed by the things we can’t. The only real responsibility we have is how we respond to what life throws at us. Playing through future scenarios or feeding our fears from past mistakes won’t bring us any tranquility in the here and now. No. It’s by focusing on what is right and good and cultivating an attitude of gratitude for the very life in our lungs that we find peace.
OBI-WAN REMINDS HIS PUPIL OF TRUE POWER
One of my absolute favorite scenes is when Darth Vader fights Obi-Wan at the end of A New Hope. Vader knows he is the stronger and more powerful of the two as does his counterpart. What Vader failed to realize is that ideas aren’t so easy to kill. Right before he delivers the death blow old Ben Kenobi drops a gem-
“Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”
-He then stops defending himself and allows Darth Vader to slaughter him right where he stands. This event leads Luke Skywalker to complete his training and eventually defeat Darth Vader freeing the galaxy from the tyranny of the Galactic Empire.
See, in that moment he died an individual with the singular purpose of standing up to injustice. In doing so he was cut down and became a sort of battle cry for others to join the resistance. Clearly Obi-Wan understood the power of ideals far outweighed his skill as a Jedi Master. His failure in that skirmish planted the seeds for others success.
How many times have our own failures taught us valuable lessons?
What ideals do we value? Are they greater than our personal desires?
Oh, I’m a huge dork. I’m also dedicated to the path of inner transformation so I consider it all joy when I get to blend the two worlds. This was really fun to write and I genuinely hope it gave you a bit of perspective into the philosophy behind the movies. May the fourth be with you.