Forced into Listening to Yoda
“Luminous beings are we.” ~ Yoda
Star Wars geek I am not. I love the first movie from the late-1970s, and I enjoyed some of the following ones, but I’m not focused on the force, Jedi, or the dark side. I do, however, know the dark side exists—and not just in relation to Star Wars. My son is a Star Wars geek. The three-foot-tall Darth Vader in my front room is proof. I humor his Star Wars adoration about as well as he humors my gardening passion. I watched the trailer for Star Wars, The Force Awakens (which will be released December 18), and I admit that some aspects of it are keen. In turn, he will view my latest orchid blooms or show up when I call aloud, “Come and look at this” flower, plant, shrub, tree.
I sit in front of a computer for my job, so when I’m done for the day, I avoid looking at most things on a screen; that is, until he says, “Watch this!” I’ll pause my activity and view a trailer, preview, short video, or movie clip. I try to be patient with fighting scenes, light sabers flashing, and injuries inflicted, but I get antsy and often ask, “How long will this last?” or “When will this be over?”
When a scene involves Yoda, however, because he’s powerful, yet gentle and wise, I pay attention and stop glancing at the second hand on my watch, anxious for whatever I’m viewing to end. Last night’s “Watch this!” was a scene from The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars geeks know the scene well, because it’s the one in which Yoda says there is no “try.” You either do something or you don’t. The words are well known and often shared, but that quote wasn’t what got my attention.
In the scene (as best as my non-Star Wars brain remembers), Luke Skywalker doubts his abilities and receives the “there is no try” directive. Later, to further point out how we place limitations on ourselves, Yoda says, “Luminous beings are we.” Those words grabbed me and held me to the point that I stopped watching and wrote them down.
I don’t think of myself as a “luminous being,” but if Yoda says I am, I can accept that. I don’t often consider the people with whom I interact “luminous beings,” but if Yoda says they are, I can accept that as well. I might even go beyond acceptance.
Yoda’s words so impressed me that I imagined myself as a luminous being. I pictured light surrounding and emanating from me. I went further and pictured the same light emanating from others. In my day-to-day interactions, I don’t try to be luminous, but perhaps that is a worthy goal. When I imagine myself as luminous, I see myself kinder, more understanding, and certainly wiser, maybe even a bit like Yoda. I spent several hours in an airport earlier this week and far too few folks exhibited luminosity. Most were hurried, harried, and intent on where they were going and how they would get there, even if only to the end of the security lines. I even sensed some animosity. (Not from everyone, mind you; see That Annoying Toddler Kicking Your Seat.) Luminosity was not the focus of most people.
I try to be courteous and friendly in my relationships, but I don’t consider myself luminous, nor do I consider the person holding the “Will work for food” sign luminous. Maybe that’s because someone holding such a sign has had experiences that dimmed their luminosity. I’ve had several experiences that dimmed mine. But sensing someone—myself included—as a luminous being changes my perception. As I consider the possibility of luminous beings, I want to encourage the concept in myself and others. In all my actions, speech, and written words, I can at least have an intention of luminosity rather than seeing, sharing, and focusing on anything dark. The dark side is present in each of us, myself included, but visualizing, encouraging, and spreading luminosity will awaken and bring forth the core of the word lumen’s Latin meaning—it will bring light. I need not try to force this acceptance and visualization. I can simply notice it and consider what Yoda says: “Luminous beings are we.”