I’ve been enjoying the Clone Wars TV series. The CGI series. It’s a pity they don’t take The Force concept just one step further. They are almost there. In the series, things happen, things go wrong and then ofc things happen to save the day. Many times some of the Jedi are forced to disobey orders to prevent disaster. They end up in seemingly hopeless situations only for something highly unusual to occur which gives them a way out.
A Master says to their apprentice: “Don’t worry, Trust The Force, it will reveal a solution. Just be patient and pay attention. When we don’t know what to do we look to The Force for direction. It reveals a Path in many ways. We simply have to be observant.”
“But how exactly Master?”
“In the details of our lives,” the Master says, “In the details of our surroundings, in what is happening, what is going on. In what we do and what others do. In nature, in the weather. In everything. The Force is in all things, and it will use whatever is most Appropriate to assist us and get our attention.”
“But I am looking Master,’ the young apprentice protests, “I only see what I always see.”
“Patience, my young Padawan, Patience. The Force will reveal itself when needed. In the meantime make sure that you have done all you can do. A Jedi relies on themselves first. While you do, look for what is unusual. What grabs your attention in an uncommon way. The Force will show itself in some kind of inexplicable happening. Something that cannot be explained away by ordinary means. That is how we know it is The Force. We know because The Force is not an ordinary force.”
“But they were connected to what had been on your mind,” the Master finishes.
“Yes!!” the apprentices says, “How did you know?” Then realizes what has been asked. “Of course, you are a Jedi.”
“This aspect of The Force does not need a Master to access, my Padawan. It is available to anyone. It has been around long before the Jedi existed. It was commonly used and then all but forgotten.”
“How could something so wonderful be forgotten?” the puzzled apprentice asks.
“It was relied upon too much,” The Master says, providing opportunity for the apprentice to put it together.
The Apprentice thinks about this. “People came to rely on it exclusively and stopped learning for themselves?”
“You are learning my young Padawan, you are learning,” the Master smiles affectionately. “Do not forget that this aspect of The Force is available to everyone.”
“And what else?” the Master asks. “What else in this aspect is important.”
“I am not sure exactly Master. I do know we are all connected to The Force.”
“Yes, more than connected…” the Master prompts
“The Force is in all of us. We too are a part of The Force. It’s all connected. Is that it Master?”
“Indeed Padawan, indeed. That is important to remember. We are all a part of The Force, and The Force is a part of all of us. That is the connection. That is why when The Force makes itself known to us it is always connected to what is going on inside us. It is always connected.”
“That is so Padawan, but do not make the mistake that is so commonly made. The mistake that led to The Force being forgotten. What else?”
“The Force is more than us, greater than us.”
“What else? What is the trap.”
“We have to become more than The Force?”
The Master smiles, “That is an interesting way of putting it. Not exactly, but almost. Not more than, but as independent as possible. Think of The Force as for emergency use only. Why is this important Padawan? What was one of the first things you were taught concerning The Force?”
“Energy! It takes energy to use The Force.”
“Very good. Where is the flaw in the thinking Padawan. As Jedi we are taught to think precisely. But in this case we are discussing The Force as it applies to everyone. So think as a non-Jedi. What needs to be avoided when thinking about The Force?”
The Master glances sternly at the Padawan. “A Jedi never says ‘uhh,’ even when thinking as a non-Jedi.”
“Take your time when thinking Padawan. It always seems longer on the inside than it actually is to others.”
The Padawan considers the question: “What causes problems when it comes to how one thought about The Force? What about using The Force…”
“That’s it!” the Padawan says excited. “We can’t think of the Force as something to use.”
“How do we think about The Force?”
“Yes Padawan. The Force is there to Assist us,” the Master says. “That is very very important to remember. “What is it assisting us with?”
“With Living,” the Padawan says immediately, then reconsiders and continues, “That is correct Master, I believe, but that’s not all. For Jedi it is yes. For Jedi living is learning, always.” The apprentice quotes one of the Jedi teachers: “No Jedi ever stops learning. A Master is merely a Jedi who has learned how to learn. For Everyone, The Force assists with our learning.”
“It is our focus as Jedi,” says the Master, “We have that luxury. But what of non-Jedi who do not.? That is our focus here. As Jedi we serve. We serve everyone. And as servants we need to know how best to serve. Do you understand that apprentice?”
“Yes Master. The quickest way to undo all we have learned is through arrogance and conceit. There cannot be an arrogant and conceited Jedi.”
“That is so. We have to be on guard against those enemies at all times. It would be arrogant and conceited to assume we could ever be immune to their danger.”
“It is difficult Master. The way of the Jedi is not easy.”
“Humility gets easier and easier the more we learn. The more we know the more we know how much we don’t know.” The Master smiles, “But back to our lesson. You will be asked about The Force, often. It is the most asked question. What exactly is The Force? It is difficult to explain. The Jedi focus on explaining instead how The Force is part of everyone’s life.”
“I see,” says the apprentice, “Avoiding misperceptions of The Force is important.”
“Yes, as is furthering understanding about it. Especially when it comes to how to make The Force a part of one’s life, Jedi and non-Jedi alike.”
“What you said Master, that is important….’make The Force part of one’s life.’ Make, not use.”
“Good Padawan, you are learning to pay fine attention. When it comes to The Force there are many subtleties.”
“Master, when it comes to The Force, what is the single most important thing to remember? For Jedi and non-Jedi?”
“That is the question Padawan, very good, that is the essential question.”
“I think I understand Master. What is the difference between help and assist, they seem to be the same thing?”
“That is the problem, they seem to be, but the difference is huge. When we are helped someone else is doing what is needed, or most of it. When we are assisted, it is us that is doing most of what is needed. We are the ones that always need to be the ones doing what is needed for ourselves. The moment we give up that privilege to anyone or anything we are lost. Do you see the difference Padawan?”
The Master thought for a moment. “This is important, so I will say it another way….When we think of being helped their is a tendency to think of ourselves as helpless. We we look for assistance we are acknowledging our current limitations. We can only be assisted if we are already doing something. We can be helped if we are doing nothing. The Force helps those that help themselves.”
“Yes Master. It is about taking responsibility for our lives.”
“Good Padawan, good. When it comes to using The Force in our lives we have to always remember that The Force *Assists* us. Always it Assists us. The moment we start to think of The Force as helping us we start to give over control of our lives. That is how The Force came to be lost. The Force came to be seen as something else, something that was seen as providing all the answers, or something that would help us no matter what we did. It became to be seen as something that could do everything *for* us, and that was a big mistake. The Force came to be relied upon as a source of everything and self-reliance was neglected. Since The Force can only Assist our learning and growth, if we stop learning and growing, there is no assistance.”
“The Force became lost because of simple misunderstanding,” the apprentice says troubled. “That is a shame.”
“Indeed. It is part of the Jedi way to make sure it does not become lost again. Now explain back to me Padawan what we have been discussing, as you have been taught to do, so I can be sure you understand.”
“Take your time, in your own words, or any words, other than mine,” The Master smiles.
The apprentice concentrates, wanting to bring all the relevant points to bear. “I would say:…. “
The Master adds, “We use The Force by using its Assistance, not by using The Force itself. A small but critical understanding. It is always us therefore that is doing it all. The Force only comes into things when we are stuck, when we have done all that we can do for ourselves.”
“That clears up much. Thank you Master. Now I would say…..”
A group of citizens has gathered and are approaching the Master and apprentice. They have their children with them. “Tell us how to use The Force Jedi,” One of the citizens say, interrupting the apprentice, “We heard you say anyone can use The Force.”
The Master smiles and steps closer to the group,”Yes, anyone can use the Assistance of The Force. The Force only Assists, that is the most important thing to remember about The Force. Think of The Force as a Super-Parent,” The Master smiles again. “As parents, what happens if you do everything for your children?”
“They don’t learn.”
“They become lazy.”
“They don’t think for themselves.”
“They end up spoiled.”
“Yes exactly,” the Master says. “It is exactly the same with The Force. That is why The Force only ever Assists us. We have to be doing and making an effort ourselves.”
“The Force helps those who help themselves. I heard that said,” one of the citizens mutters.
One of the children says, “Doesn’t seem like much help then if we have to do it all ourselves.”
The Master addresses the child, “A good point. When we learn, what do we learn?”
“What we don’t know?”
“Yes, and how do we know what we don’t know?” the Master asks of the entire group. “There is so much we don’t yet know, how do we know what would be most needed?” They are met with silence. The Master looks at the apprentice.
The apprentice adopting a suitably humble attitude asks, “From The Force?”
“Yes!!” the Master says enthusiastically. “This is where The Force makes the world of difference. The Force is everything and connected to everything, and that includes each and every one of you. So what The Force reveals to us is connected to what is to come and to what we need to know and learn. Think of The Force as the signposts at the crossroads of life. Or think of The Force as our Navigator. A Navigator guiding us to Independence and Freedom. Isn’t that what we want most, for ourselves and for our children? The ability to survive and evolve in any situation? The Force is the Navigator on that Path that is special to each one of us. Everyone’s Path is special and unique to them alone, and The Force assists us in traveling that path.”
“That’s all fine and well but how exactly do we know when The Force is assisting us?” the child asks.
“Just knowing The Force is a possibility is the first step. You don’t have to believe in The Force. All that’s needed is to be open to the possibility that it can. When we are open to that possibility, it allows us to see when The Force makes itself known. The simplest way to to think about how exactly The Force makes itself known to us is Magic. Whenever The Force makes itself known it seems as if something Magical has happened. Something that would ordinarily be impossible. Something that does not fit in the normal world. Something highly unusual. Something that we cannot ignore. It may only be something small, something no-one else notices, but we do.”
The Master looks at the faces of the citizens, “I’ll bet all of you have experienced something like this at least once. Something that you cannot explain, something you cannot forget.” The citizens looked reluctant. Some nod. It was evident they had had such experiences, but were confused by them.
“I see most of you have had such experiences but do not know what they mean or what to do with them. Don’t be concerned. The Force makes itself known to us for many reasons. One of them is simply to let us know it exists. Once we know we start to pay attention. Then we start to see the connections. The Force is connected to everything, remember that, past present and future. And since we are a part of the present what is going on inside us matters a great deal. We too are a part of The Force.” The Master considers these words.
“To keep it simple, simply think of those magical occurrences as clues. Clues to the mystery of what we need to learn or know. The Force doesn’t use words, it uses symbols. it uses what is meaningful to each individual at that time in their lives. All we have to do is pay attention to the magic and to what is going on inside of us. Then it soon becomes clear with a bit of thinking about it. We have to make that effort to figure out the mystery of what we need to learn and know. It’s not difficult usually. We simply have to do it. It’s like The Force wants to make sure we get it by seeing us work it out for ourselves. Remember, it is Assisting us. Trying to get us to know and think for ourselves. So we can be independent and free.”
The Master looks at the apprentice. “Tell me what you have learned from what I have said.”
The Apprentice has anticipated the question, but still takes time in answering. “All we have to know is that The Force is there to assist us to learn. It reveals its assistance through what seems like magic, what we can’t explain. But if we pay attention to it as a mystery and figure out what it means to us personally then it’s easy to learn. And that’s how we use The Force.”
“Yes,” the Master says simply, addressing the citizens, making sure to include the children, “Does that make sense to everyone?”
“Sort of,” one of the citizens says. “I am going to have to think about this.”
“It’s not simple is it?” another asks.
“No it isn’t,” the Master said. “And in a way is has to be that way, doesn’t it?” Looking at the child that had spoken up earlier, the Master asks, “Why?”
“If it was too simple we’d stop thinking,” the child intuitively says.
“Exactly so. And what would be wrong with that?” the Master asks the group.
An old woman speaks up. “We’d never understand,” she says.
‘Exactly so,” the Master repeated. “And again, what would be so wrong about that?” The group turns to look to the old woman expectantly.
The old woman looks at each one in the group with a sober expression before finally saying, “Without understanding there is no Appreciation.”
“Yes. There is much to Appreciate when it comes to The Force,” the Master says. The more we connect the more there is to know and learn. We have been discussing how to get started with The Force. And what we have discussed is more than enough. But it isn’t all there is.” The Master favours the group with a huge grin and bows, “Good Day to you all citizens. May The Force be with you all.”
When they are out of earshot the apprentice asks, “Master, how else does The Force affect our lives?”
“Circumstances,” the Master replies. “Remember, *everything* is connected to The Force. Everything is affected by it and influenced by it. So rightly speaking *All* circumstances are expressions of The Force. And since we are a part of The Force, our circumstances reflect us through The Force.” The Master stops and regards the apprentice, “Think carefully about what I have just said my Padawan. It is not a simple statement. There are many far-reaching implications.”
The Master, thoughtful, continues, expounding on the overall topic. “Once one starts to pay attention it is amazing how this intuitive understanding of how the world works is inherent in so much. We all kind of know it, but sadly we don’t have it in full consciousness. Sadly we fail to maximise this magnificent and super useful mechanism. It doesn’t just apply to dire situations ofc, it applies to any circumstance. Particularly those that involve learning. And really, when we think about it, all situations involve learning.”
“All that’s needed is simply an Awareness of this mechanism, and observation. Paying Attention to the world around us with that focus in mind. Then we see so much more. Then we have so much more to use and to go by. Then we have so many more options. The question is why do we ignore what we intuitively know? What we accept in movies and literature as commonplace and obvious, yet don’t apply in our own lives?”
“Are we really that egotistical that we can’t accept that there could be information and options out there that do not come from us? Are we scared of looking silly? This doesn’t seem to be a problem in movies and stories, why in our personal application?”
[Pop quiz, answer as quickly as possible: What is the gender of the Master and of the apprentice?
All the elements are already there in the Star Wars stories. What I find fascinating is how these elements are actually in many stories. Not overtly, but subtly. The hero gets into trouble and all seems hopeless, but then something happens, something unexpected, and seemingly improbable, that gives the hero that small chance they need.
The Force may not exist in our lives the way it does in Star Wars, but there is nonetheless a Force in play. One we can indeed use. It is more subtle and requires us to partake and do our part.
It’s just as well the Force from Star Wars does not exist entirely in the form is does there. The havoc from a planet full of egomaniacs with power would be extreme. That kind of power and ability obviously requires responsibility, judgement, selflessness, long-term perspective, discipline, control of emotions etc. But what if the Force was indeed available to us in the way we are now. How would it have to work?]
The Padawan asks earnestly, “How would The Force work for those not familiar with it, like on worlds who have not heard of it?”
The Master smiles, thinking carefully, “By being subtle. By assisting. By giving clues and hints, suggestions and direction. Since we need to learn, The Force would have to take that into account. It would Force us, since it’s The Force, to learn those qualities. It would Force us to think, to figure things out. It would provide what we need and leave the rest up to us. To use The Force one of course has to have the character of a Jedi. And if one doesn’t, well, then The Force is going to help by making us work a little bit, by making us think and learn and figure stuff out from those clues and hints and suggestions it provides. The Force will force us to have Character if we are to partake of it.”
“We can’t just expect the Force to do everything for us. If we don’t learn to think we won’t ever learn to want appropriately. If we don’t learn to be self-reliant and sensible how are we ever going to be able to enjoy ourselves. If we are crappy inside no amount of The Force at our disposal will ever be able to get rid of that truth, and we will never be able to be fully happy. Lack of character is the path to the dark side.”
“The Force forces us to have good character. It assists us with what we need, truly need. That is the awesomeness of The Force, when we become One with it. When we do that, pay attention to it, understand that it’s all about us learning, all about us finding solutions and direction in our lives, and always doing what involves learning, well, then things are easy. Just like for the Jedi that use the Force, that have become One with the Force, it becomes a power in our lives. Just in a slightly different way, but not a less magical way. One might say, in an even more magical way.”
“And may you be with The Force,” the master updates.
[More tales of the Master and Apprentice to come. 🙂 ]