January 7, 2009

Jedi Philosophy: Self-Mastery

At the conclusion of my second reading of the fabulous Star Wars book, Clone Wars - Wild Space (by Karen Miller), I find myself still pondering the depth of wisdom in the presented Jedi philosophy. I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to be trained from so young that you couldn't remember in the ways of self-discipline, meditation, wisdom, sacrifice and service. Nothing in our world, much less our western culture, comes even close.

"A Jedi youngling in the Temple is taught many things. First among them is this: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Beware the dark side, Jedi. And the second lesson goes: Mastery of self is the only mastery that matters."

Mastery. Was I taught mastery of anything?...much less of self. The concept of self-discipline and self-control is definitely a religious thought that I was unaware of in my youth. To be honest, the thought never occurred to me until well into my twenties - pretty amazing. To think that you don't have to ride the roller coaster of emotion, letting all witness your ride, was completely foreign to me. By the time I desired this attribute, habits were in place that have proven difficult to break. Now in my forties, I still struggle to hold my composure in certain situations, although I would like to think that I have made progress in my pursuit.

The only way to work on this desired skill, unfortunately, is in times of turmoil. To keep my head while being verbally attacked, challenged or pushed is among the most difficult things I have attempted to date. I have found the lack of modeling of this behavior has been limiting, as well. Not too many people in my life have displayed the type of admirable self-control or self-discipline that I am seeking. Mostly, what I have seen, are people that display secretive behavior and call it self-control. I still believe that you can be forthright in your opinions and stands, and still maintain control...at least I'm hoping that is the case.

"Control your thoughts, control your feelings. Focus on the moment, don't let your mind stray..."

An admirable goal, to be sure.

No comments: