This one is dedicated to one of the best Jedi I know, because I stole this idea from her.
The following is attributed to Confucius: “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” Bear in mind, this is Confucius, who does not have a reputation for levity. Why? Why is dancing a key?
I think it has to do with joy. I think it has to do with Lightness.
I am not discussing the light and dark dichotomy that sometimes consumes us. The shining Paladins of Justice that spend an altogether absurd amount of time waiting for the light to gleam audibly off their teeth, or the equally cartoonish villains rubbing their hands together in a mélange of bitter and gleeful bwa-ha-ha: who needs either? And the edgy Grey that is just too cool to pick a side, and you can tell because of his rebellious stubble, he’s not safe either. This is not about lumens, but pounds. And drag.
Back to Confucius. What makes a great dancer? I don’t mean professional dancers. I mean that person at a wedding who is having a better time than you. They move without a bit of self-importance. That guy gets a sword! Awkward guy in the corner? No sword for him.
Confucius might have been suggesting, among other things, that you can’t handle the heavy stuff until you, yourself, can be light.
Or not. I don’t speak 5th century Mandarin and he’s dead. It’s hard to say.
The Dokkodo, or "The Way of Walking Alone," was written by Musashi Miyamoto one week before his death. He was not renowned as a master of the one-liner in the period of his life preceding the writing of this text. Still, even he managed the following: “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” It’s line four, so he clearly wanted you to know pretty early on.
I might repurpose this line to say, ‘think lightly of yourself and deeply of the Jedi path.” The path should be taken seriously. You, me, us, on the other hand? We’re all just bozos on the bus. Wavy Gravy said so, so take it up with him.
How much drama do we see, create, or help along? How many proclamations and categorical statements does our community generate on a daily basis? Spoiler: you don’t have enough fingers and toes. How often do we hear the following:
and D means you're of the Dark Side! Now, we will
argue for days over what each of the words might mean.
We will begin with ‘the.’
And when we say it, we are very serious. But not about the work of Jedi. Just about ourselves.
I am not suggesting that we become a community of jokers. Except for Jestor, but he called it first. There is nothing wrong with sincerity. And a little gravitas never hurt anybody. But we might consider lightening up.
There’s a Goldilocks principle at work here. Treat it like a joke and it will be. Hold it gently, with an open mind and a sense of humor, and it can be extremely rewarding. Take it too seriously and you become a caricature. You make a joke of it, whether you meant to or not. The road to fanaticism is paved with dead senses of humor.
If you are nodding your head knowingly, pointing a mental finger at someone, I’m talking about you. If you have no idea what I mean, I’m talking about you. If you find this notion offensive to your dignity, I’m talking about you. I am also talking about me, so settle down, because I take myself way too seriously all the time.
Maybe, what a Jedi need really needs is a lightsaber in her hand, the code in her heart, and her tongue firmly in cheek. The Jedi path is not a joke. But I need to be honest about how easy it is to be self-righteous, and that if I am sincere in my efforts then I will make lots of mistakes. And I need to be okay with that because there is no shame in stumbling as you grow. Maybe it will be good to laugh aloud about it.
Musashi killed a lot of people. I mean, a lot. His virtues are well-cataloged, but an easy laugh was not listed among them. Still, I think he might agree with me on this.
Or, he might beat me to death with an oar. It’s hard to say.