The Mental Health of the Jedi Mind
Life Hacks For When Life Attacks
Unless you’re one of the very few people in the galaxy who hasn’t heard of, or even watched any of the Star Wars movies over the last 40 years, you’ll know what The Force is. That mythical thing that enables you to play mind tricks on unsuspecting storm troopers and get them to do whatever you wish, as well as being able to move things with your mind.
While entirely fictional, the enigmatic concept knowns as “The Force” is based on some very real principles. In the movie, Star Wars, the “Force” is often spoken of by members of a religious order called the Jedi. The warrior-priests of the Jedi Order served as the main proponents of what they believed to be the core concepts of The Force.
The concept and the order are fictional, but the principles by which the Jedi lived their lives are excellent guides to living one’s life, especially amidst all the chaos of the modern world. For as long as the “Dark Side” of The Force is equated not to evil but to negative influences in one’s life, the principles of the Jedi Code can easily be used to form a personal philosophy for living a good life, complete with a healthy mental attitude. Below you’ll find the core principles of the Jedi philosophy, and some ideas on how they can be adapted to the trials and tribulations of modern life.
There is no emotion; there is peace.
Being able to control one’s emotions was critical to a Jedi, as their tasks often required that they remain as objective as possible. Fear and anxiety can have negative effects on one’s decision-making, which in turn can wreak havoc on one’s life. By taking control of one’s stress and anxiety, separating it from the tasks that need to be done, you can effectively find better solutions to your problems than you would have if you let your anxiety affect your analysis of the situation. This concept does not advise denying one’s emotions, since doing so can result in more anxiety disorders and psychological issues than it solves. It merely says that people should let logic and analysis guide their decisions, not their feelings.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
The Jedi Order espoused the determined pursuit of knowledge. To support the quest for enlightenment, they built a grand library that contained volumes of information on various topics and disciplines that were necessary to educate and train a Jedi. They also shared that knowledge, to better enlighten the same people they were attempting to protect. Many problems with anxiety and phobias can be alleviated if people just took the time to understand things. A little knowledge can help someone overcome the fear and anxiety that one encounters when exposed to a totally alien culture. In some cases, anxiety disorders can also be overcome simply by equipping one’s mind with sufficient knowledge about the source of the anxiety, thus allowing a person to better understand and face the problem.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
Similar to the first principle, the Jedi believed that being too passionate about something was dangerous, as it could cloud one’s judgment and objectivity. For people in their position, objectivity was critical in nearly all situations. The same can be said of pretty much anyone in the modern world. Emotions and passion can cloud our ability to make good decisions, as well as have an adverse effect on our ability to recognize our mistakes and correct them to avert further damage. Being calm amidst the face of an impossible bureaucracy can go a long way to keeping one’s state of mental health stable and far away from “going postal.” As long as you don’t let your stress and anxiety build up by dwelling on the negative,then your mind is serene and you can then make better decisions and take a clearer look at what is going on in one’s life.
There is no death, there is only The Force.
The Jedi believed that when someone dies, they become one with The Force. This allowed them to see death not as a negative event, but merely a transition that one was inevitably going to get past. Adapting this to modern life, negative events can be portrayed as the “death” the philosophy mentions, with “The Force” acting as a metaphor for life itself. In other words, it is basically stating that, regardless of all the negative events in one’s life, regardless of all the fear and anxiety, the nausea induced by corporate and familial duties, there is still life itself. To use one metaphor to explain another, if something bad comes your way, take some time out to stop and smell the roses. Your entire life will not be dictated by one car crash or an unfair termination. Life goes on and moves on, and so should you.
Taking all of the above principles into account, it is difficult to see how they could fail to lead to a better state of mind, even amidst the chaos of modern life. That is, if they are followed like a personal philosophy and not taken as mere guidelines. Besides, if one espouses the opposite of the above principles, one is liable to burn out rather quickly.