December 22, 2008

Jedi Philosophy: Serenity




"Above all things, a Jedi Master was serene - never overruled by strong emotion."

Serene, (adj) - marked by or suggestive of utter calm or unruffled repose or quietude, clear and free of storms or unpleasant change; shining bright and steady.

A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones. (Proverbs 14:29-31)

I awoke this morning pondering the idea of serenity. What does it mean to be serene…can I possibly achieve that?

In my desire to live by Scripture, I am driven to challenge Jedi philosophy with the tenets of my faith. In thinking about strong emotions, I am reminded of the character of our Master.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 145:8)

We are told to have self-control of our emotions, and to think before acting.

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29)

I strive to be one who is self-controlled and I want great understanding; I pray for wisdom daily, to be sure. It is an easy task when dutifully going about the mundane, but the true test begins when challenged with difficult or irritating situations. How is one to remember to be self-controlled when being pushed to temper? I am left with only my strength of mind and will to command myself to hold my tongue and let the emotion pass. I have to admit, I am not always successful with this endeavor. However, in my limited successes, I have marveled at the results of a softly spoken, well-chosen word.

I feel like I am undoing a lifetime of habit in this area. My parents were wonderful and loving, however modeled behavior that strongly suggested that the one with the loudest voice wins. Emotions were freely expressed, both good and not-so-good. It has taken me many years (and lots of prayer!) to temper my own emotions and the knee-jerk reaction to just say them aloud.

In conclusion, I agree with this tenet of Jedi thought. I will strive for serenity and for self-control of the strong emotions that rip through my mind at times. I absolutely see no conflict between this and the mandate of HaShem.

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