In the Star Wars films, the Jedi are powerful individuals who uphold peace and justice in the galaxy by wielding the Force (an energy field created by all living things). Aside from being skillful warriors, the Jedi are revered for their calm demeanor, wisdom, and patience.
The good news is that the Jedi way of life is something we can adopt in our own everyday lives — you don’t even need telepathic skills or wear a robe to do so! Find out how below:
- Resolve conflicts peacefully.
“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” — Yoda
Even though they are skilled with lightsabers, the Jedi are first and foremost peacekeeping, philosopher-warriors who espoused fighting as a last resort. “In Episodes 7, 8, and 9, we never saw Yoda with a lightsaber,” points out yogi Lasse Holopainen, founder of Urban Ashram Yoga in the Philippines (www.urbansharamyoga.com). “Seek to achieve your goals without having to go into conflict.”
- Widen your perspectives.
“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our own point of view.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi
Actions are neutral; it’s only when we start labelling them as good or bad that we start reacting to them positively or negatively,” says psychologist Luis Villarroel, founder of Kintsugi-Psy (www.kintsugi-psy.com). “Just because we make a mistake does not mean we are failures.” By looking at things from another point of view (i.e. treating mistakes as a learning opportunity), we can manage our reactions better and avoid getting overwhelmed by negative feelings.
- Strive for balance.
“Only the Sith deals in absolutes.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi
Black and white thinking are rarely ever true. For instance, the light side of the Force is made up of admirable qualities like harmony, rationality, peace, and order; on the other hand, the dark side comprises passion, chaos, and emotions. But even the traits of the dark side are not wholly bad.“If we have no emotions, we won’t be able to express our feelings which can be unhealthy. If we don’t have passion, we won’t feel excitement, which we need to be able to achieve goals,” Luis points out. “And finally, if we did not have chaos, we would not have ‘good accidents’ like the invention of penicillin.”
- Be mindful.
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” — Yoda
“The Force is this gift of energy that people manifest and feel everyday,” says Lasse. “The problem is most of us don’t use this living energy in a constructive or directed way. Instead of being in control, we let ourselves get swept away and stressed by other people’s Forces.”
One way to stay present and balanced is to have a mindfulness practice, such as meditation, martial arts, yoga, or ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement). “When you keep your mind still, you are fully in the Force and become its tuned instrument, instead of something that is syncopated and not in tune,” advises Lasse.
- Manage your anxieties.
“Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.” — Yoda
When Anakin had a vision of Padme dying, he became so obsessed with preventing it that he inadvertently ended up making it come true. “When we let anxiety overwhelm us and start thinking ‘I will fail’ or ‘I am doomed’ it can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, defined as a prediction or expectation coming true simply because the person believes it will and the person’s resulting behaviors align to fulfill the belief,” says Luis.
- Don’t expect things you haven’t earned.
“This is outrageous! It’s unfair! How can you be on the council and not be a master?!” — Anakin
“What ultimately destroyed Anakin was that he felt he was owed something, that he should have been a Jedi Master, etcetera etcetera, and Emperor Palpatine used that to turn him to the dark side,” says Lasse. “So avoid future suffering by not having too many expectations and attachments.”
- Learn to let go.
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” — Yoda
Realize that thoughts and feelings are not facts. “Just because we feel something doesn’t automatically mean it’s true. Just because we think of these things doesn’t mean they will come true. Instead, live in the present moment and appreciate what it has to offer,” suggests Luis.
- Leave a legacy you can be proud of.
“If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi
Even if we pass away, our actions and ideals live on. “What we teach other people and how we affect them will live on into the future,” shares Luis. Similarly, instead of focusing on the loss of a loved one, focus on the good things about them. “Just because they are gone does not mean that what they did or what their lives had meant was gone. Celebrate that,” adds Luis.
Ultimately, living like a Jedi is about learning and controlling yourself. “The goal is to be mindful, to do the right things, to live a life that inflicts the least harm on others, that looks after collective good rather than individual good,” says Lasse. “It’s a practice; there is never a moment that you are absolutely a Jedi; you must constantly work for it until there comes a time that the moments you are not become less along the way.”