"Listen to the Force - it calls to you."
I had a friend come to stay at my home recently. She suffers from obsessive compulsive disorders, and to be honest, I was amazed by how many trials she must have overcome in order to get to Belgium from the UK. She was coming on a pilgrimage, to see Gillian Anderson, "Scully" from the X-Files at a local Comic Con. She wanted nothing more than to say "Thank you" to her, for inspiring her as a young girl to get into science. My friend was so focussed on her goal, I'm not sure she realised how many of her fears she had overcome in making that journey.
When we have a goal, and a purpose in mind, it can be much easier for us to overcome our difficulties. But what about those times when it seems our desires are fulfilled, and we have no real goals to speak of?
Sometimes it can seem as though we are worn out by simply going through the motions of daily living. We're in the position of being well educated, well fed, functioning members of society, with a reliable network of friends. We've "got it made", and yet it still feels as though there is something missing...
Ray had carved out her niche on Jakku. It wasn't an entirely comfortable existence, but she was ready to go back to the grind, even after meeting Han and Chewie and, I think, developing a soft spot for Finn. Maz's words turned out to be very wise though: "Dear child! The longing you seek is not behind you, it is in front of you."
Her task, given in the quote from Maz here in the title, was to open her ears and listen - really listen - to the Force. I think it is our task as Jedi too. Everything is there in the Force, and it can be frightening to share other people's lives. We can be afraid to watch the news, and to hear about the suffering of others for which we personally have no solution. It can be overwhelming to realise the pressure our Earth is under, to sustain our lifestyles. The voices crying out to be heard may be very close to us. It may even be our own voices that we need to hear.
By listening, we establish a connection, and show solidarity through the suffering. Sometimes we have to strain ourselves to hear that voice, as it is so very quiet. It takes effort. But that effort can help us find the courage to overcome our desires to simply remain on Jakku. We can be inspired to change. I have been surprised by the number of ways in which this act of listening has been transformative in my own life. It can destroy our fetishes for the rules we have written, about how we, or they, "ought" to be. It can demolish our pride, or eliminate the anger we have felt towards a person we are now coming to better understand. In that close and careful listening, we are also able to bring dignity and respect to the other person, and break the bonds that have been tying them down.
That connection of friendship can then empower that person to overcome their own problems too. It's hard work, and a long road, but it creates a win-win situation, and I think we can all rejoice in that.