“The Force in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was described by the character Obi-Wan Kenobi as “an energy field created by all living things.” And here we have our first meeting of myth with reality. If such an energy field exists, it has so far eluded all attempts to objectively detect, or measure it. As real life Jedi, we understand that the events and feats pictured on the movie screen are fictional. However like all other myths it is a fiction that can inspire.
In the cinematic mythology of Star Wars, it is the knowledge of the Force that gives a Jedi their power. Jedi “power” seems to be depicted as feats of great speed or dexterity, telekinesis, and an influence on the “weak minded.” These powers lie clearly in the realm of fiction. What Jedi powers are available to us in the real world? The answer are the positive mental and emotional attributes of the Jedi characters. Such attributes as calmness, balance, selflessness, compassion, bravery, wisdom, mindfulness, and a plethora of others.
So if a cosmic energy field is a product of the imagination, what can we draw upon for our power? We can inculcate and cultivate the positive mental attributes of the mythological Jedi. If we do not want tread in the realm of the mystical, the Force is there for us, right within our own human potential to shape ourselves into better human beings. This is an active process, and one that takes work. When one finds themselves in a stressful situation, it may benefit them to take a moment and make an adjustment to their attitude. Mindfully composing oneself to act and respond in the manner of a Jedi of quality. In fact, the cultivation of these positive mental traits can serve us well in day to day activities such as purchasing groceries or interacting with friends and family (or just as importantly, interacting with strangers).
It has been my experience that when I seek within myself instead of trusting an external agency for strength, I can find it. Sometimes I have been pushed to my absolute limit before finding the “light” within, but the strength that I can draw upon when I really dig astounds and amazes me.
My path differs from many others in that I see the Force as an internal, rather than external phenomena. This is not to say that there isn’t an energy that permeates the universe, but so far if there is, it cannot be objectively detected or measured. If I am honest, my interpretation of the Force as an internal phenomena is just as subjective, but it has had demonstrable benefit and utility for me.
There is another aspect to the Force that Obi-Wan tells us about in that scene in the first Star Wars film. It “binds the galaxy together.” All beings, and all things are interconnected and interdependent on one another. This connection can be seen as an external aspect of the Force. This connection can be a channel for selflessness and compassion, two fundamental aspects of living your life as a Jedi. It facilitates harmony when you encounter chaos, and cultivates a mindfulness that we are all in this life together, and that altruism is always in our own best interest.
I am sure there is more I have yet to learn from the mythological imagery of the Force. It is a study I do not think will ever end. The Jedi Path has no destination. It is a path of constant self-improvement and refinement. All aspects of the path, including our understanding of the Force is something that if one practices sincerely, will evolve over time. I look forward to someday meeting others that have a different perspective, and perhaps you, reader have something to teach me.