Litany Against Fear
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Yoda’s advice to Luke
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side”
There is no doubt that there is much that can cause us fear in the world today. To name a few things:
There is a worldwide pandemic from which 1.9 million people have died
There is strife, violence, and widespread mistrust
There is oppression, depression and suppression
And I can’t help but ask myself, where would a Jedi be at this moment? We spend a great deal of our lives and training and learning about how to deal with fear. We can theorize about it. We can even handle it in small and narrow doses. How do we expand this out to be able to handle what seems to be a wide spread fog of fear?
There are three pillars said to undergird the Jedi. They are: The Force, Knowledge and Wisdom. Fictional Jedi are said to have started their morning meditating on the Three Pillars. I would consider that step one. Starting your day with the right frame of mind. What would you say to yourself to get into the right frame of mind? How would you do it? Let’s examine each of the pillars in turn:
“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together”-Obi Wan Kenobi
What does that mean for you?
For me it means that we are all expressions of the Force. Whether we are Jedi or not, human or not. There is a commonality that binds us: The Force is moving through us and through whoever we see as “them”.
I’m not suggesting there are no “bad” people or “evil” people or that individuals do not do bad or evil things. History is rife with the depravity of the human race. What I am suggesting is that we behave like Luke in Episode 6. Use the Force, and our understanding thereof to sense and see that there is still good in people and in the world. It may not be our role to pull it out of them, or help them realize it, but that is what the Force, and our faith therein is for. If the Force can work through us then it can work through others as well. How can we do that?
What we allow our senses is energy. If we allow negative energy to enter into our sense gates we will have a negative disposition, our thoughts will tend towards the negative, our words will tend towards the negative and our actions will tend toward the negative. But if we allow positive energy to enter us, our disposition is positive, words positive, thoughts positive and actions positive.
Whether or not you agree with the account extant in the Celestine Prophecy, its explanation of energy is something to be pondered. I read the work early in my studies and have found that it has stuck with me since.
Whatever we decide to do, we need knowledge before we do it. We need self knowledge (what about me, my understanding, my role might cause me to do this?) As Thich Nhat Hanh says “you always have time for one in-breath and one out-breath” Mindful awareness of what you are doing is essential. We have the propensity to follow the prevailing narrative for “our side”. Why? I can’t answer that for you. Only digging deep into why you are doing what you are doing can answer that.
We need to know what is in our control and to what extent. This requires research. Many of the tools at our disposal we leave on the table simply because we are unaware they exist or don’t employ them to their fullest. If we have fully researched what we have available, we are more able to deal with the fear.
Secondly, we need to consider how we are getting our information and from what sources and with what frequency. We should be informed but not inundated. We may even be “inflamed” by information. Sometimes that is by design. We have time to breathe before we act and decide on the best course of action given the circumstances. Regardless of the reasons behind the actions, we are ultimately in control of how we act.
Self discipline: the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Self discipline is using that compass, whether it is a code of ethics, or a creed, or a set of beliefs in order to deal with situations outside of the norm that would cause us to abandon our commitments to ourselves, others and the Force. I could never decide what that will be for you, but hopefully you will spend your time here reflecting on what you want yours to be. My hope is that by the end of your training you will have a firm grip on your role as a Jedi and that includes how you will handle fear.
May the Force be with you.