All of these qualities work together to spread love and happiness while also promoting greater harmony within myself and with others.
I’ve been doing a lot of delving into various works lately - both fictional and not - and spent a greater amount of time reflecting on the self, particularly with a focus on the topic of love. I’ve been reading books about chakras and self-improvement, about the Force and the Light, and about many other topics. And no matter how disparate these subjects are, I have tried to approach them with a few central questions floating in my mind: How can I learn to better love myself? How can I better love others?
I’ve considered my relationships with others and pondered how each one - no matter how small or how important - has played an integral part in shaping who I am. I’ve been taking a holistic viewpoint in all of my endeavors, which means factoring in each and every part of myself and my daily experience and seeing how they all fit together.
One of the things that I have been exploring lately is the nature of the Force and the Jedi Code. It’s no accident that I chose to cosplay a Jedi; I saw a bit of myself reflected beneath the archetype of the brown-cloaked warrior and peacekeeper. Because of this, it’s not enough for me to treat the Jedi Order and their principles as fictional artifacts, meant to entertain the masses and to distract the mind. I feel that it’s something worth taking seriously, because by doing so, I can extract true bits of wisdom from the fictional realm that can be applied to my own life and my own understanding.
The first precept of the Jedi Code states, “There is no emotion, there is peace.” To some extent, I agree with this precept, but only a partial level. To draw on the words of Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements:
“The problem with most people is that they lose control of their emotions. It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the emotion. When we lose control we say things that we don’t want to say, and we do things that we don’t want to do. That is why it is so important to be impeccable with our word and to become a spiritual warrior. We must learn to control the emotions so we have enough personal power to change our fear-based agreements, to escape from hell, and create our own personal heaven…. The warrior has control. Not control over another human, but control over one’s own emotions, control over one’s own self. It is when we lose control that we repress the emotions, not when we are in control.”
Thus, peace can be found not by eliminating emotion, as the Jedi Code suggests, but by keeping a firm mastery over our emotions. It is only when we allow that control to slip that we hurt ourselves and those around us. Hurt leads to anger. Anger leads to blindness. Blindness leads to further suffering and self-destruction.
One of the key mistakes of the old Jedi Order stems from an adherence of the first precept of the Code. To deny all emotion is to deny love. Love, in my opinion, is utterly essential for a full existence. I do not speak solely of romantic love, but of a whole spectrum of feeling, similar to the Greeks’ four conceptions of love: love of the self, love of family, love of friends, love of others. Without some understanding and acceptance of love, it becomes difficult to serve others, much less yourself. When we deny love, the world is seems hopeless and purposeless. We get caught up in ourselves and in our mistakes. We do not forgive ourselves and we do not forgive others. Without love, we breed hate and darkness in the world.
To quote Anodea Judith’s The Wheels of Life:
"Love is a unifying force - it draws things together, and keeps them in a relationship. From this unity, we can touch an underlying continuity that allows our separate parts to be held in relationship to something larger…. A binding force allows something to hold together long enough to evolve its patterns to deeper and more cohesive states. Love allows change and freedom, but keeps coherence at the center."
Love is what connects people despite our differences. Love allows us to relate and to learn. It allows us to help others. When we love, it’s not just is that benefits, but the world as a whole.—-
I know that there’s more to be gained than what I have written here. I feel like I’m on the edge of an epiphany right now. Perhaps with time and more study and more reflection, I can see just how all the pieces come together.
It doesn’t matter if you’re my friend, my family, my partner, or my coworker. It doesn’t matter what our relationship is.
You all bring something special into my life, and I love each and everyone of you for it. They’re different kinds of loves, but they’re all important and unique. For my connection with you is unlike any other.
And I love you for that. I love you for who you are.