“Mommy, I’m going to hold it (an olive wood holding cross used for prayer) on my heart so I can learn to use the Force.”
“Aw,” says Mommy (knowing Joe means the Force, but has in mind its representing the love of God because we talk that way in our house, my spiritual kookiness pervading everything). “That’s so sweet.”
Says Joe, “I want it to make things pick up when I don’t want to pick them up.”
“Oh, I don’t think the cross will help you with that, but it will help you use the power of love.”
“Can it make you do cartwheels?”
“Well, maybe, but you can take gymnastics for that if you want.”
“I wanna take Force lessons.”
Well, Joe, so do I. Synchronistically my husband and I had just been talking about instituting Mindfulness practice into our household to help the whole family – with anxiety, with moodiness, with staying present, paying attention, and getting things done. This Star Wars conversation the other night sealed the deal.
Just last week we were watching A New Hope, the boys and I, and Joe (while watching the scene where Yoda demonstrates using the Force to lift Luke’s X-Wing Fighter out of the swamp) asked me if the Force was real. I said, “Of course, it is.” He said, “Really?” I said, “Really.”
Jesus used it, after all. And Jesus told us again and again that we have it in us, too. We can heal the sick, transform lives and make the blind to see. We have it in us. And, Like Anakin Skywalker, we have the potential to let grief, pain, jealousy, fear, anger and more take us on a dark journey of using our power to do harm. As Yoda says in the newer Star Wars Trilogy, “The fear of loss leads to the dark side.”
I think Mindfulness practice is a great way to begin Force lessons. Without the ability to be fully present, to concentrate all of our energy into one moment – past, present and future – our intentions, prayers and vision won’t have much force, good or bad. Monastics of old led a life of balance that allowed plenty of time for study, prayer and Sabbath. Time to allow the Force to coalesce, to crystallize. They cultivated it inside the monastery walls and we might not have survived these centuries if not for their prayers.
But this new century brings a new calling. In our wild and fast-paced culture we must train as Jedi, not under shelter, but while changing diapers, breaking up fights, managing organizations, paying bills, cleaning, cooking, coloring our hair, dressing sharply for work…
So let’s begin our Force lessons, with the intention of using them to make the world a more whole and healthier place. Tomorrow I’m going to buy I book I’ve known about for some time, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hahn. Over the years I have put much energy into my own spiritual journey and in helping to guide the spiritual journeys of adults in my church and dream work community. It’s time I got back to basics and started in my own home. I’ll let you know how it goes.