With Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashing all kinds of box office records, it’s certainly a GREAT time to be a Star Wars fan. And the three of us certainly are!
The Star Wars franchise has had such a huge effect on us, we wanted to pay homage to it ModernMonks style. So while we were re-watching the first 6 movies in preparation for Episode 7, we took some notes!
Just the other day we were chillin’ with our friend Chewie…
…and he definitely gave us a wookie stamp of approval!
All laser firing, force wielding, and wookie howling aside, there are still many factors that make the Star Wars universe so special. One of which are the lessons learned by each character throughout their journeys.
But what makes these life lessons so special is that we, as fans, get to go on the journey and learn with our favorite characters! It’s just one of the many ways we become immersed in this beloved universe.
And these life lessons make for some great advice in our own lives.
Below are 15 of our favorite lessons that we can all keep in mind for our own lives. Who knows, you may just become a full fledged force user if you apply them well enough!
From Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
1. “Don’t center on your anxieties […] Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.”
Qui-Gon to Obi-Wan:
OW: I have a bad feeling about this.
QG: Don’t enter on your anxities Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.
OW: But Master, Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.
QG: But not at the expense of the moment.
There’s really 2 great points here:
- Stay in the present moment. The only thing going on IS the present. And by not paying attention to that, you’re taking away from what you could be experiencing now. You’re not living an engaged, mindful, and aware life. You’re probably thinking, day dreaming, browsing the internet instead of actively engaging with your surroundings and people you’re with.
Of course there’s no problem with day dreaming or browsing the web, but there should be a time and place for that. And if your thoughts really need that much attention where it’s taking you out of the present moment, you should probably look into taking up a basic meditation routine to learn control and mindfulness over your thoughts. It’s important to take care of that mental health too!
- Obi-Wan counters with a great point, “…I should be mindful of the future.” Yes, you should. But how do you do that and be present? Well, to some extent you can’t ALWAYS be present.
The past and future are equally as important.
That’s one thing we feel a lot of people miss when they’re learning to be in the now. We learn from analyzing the past and we set goals and give ourselves direction and determination by planning for the future.
But again, Qui-Gon nails it, “But not at the expense of the [present] moment.”
There’s a harmony to where you’re putting your focus. Analyzing the past and planning for the future need to be given its time so it doesn’t detract when you should be involved in the present.
Obi-Wan is clearly on an important mission, which is the exact time he should be in the moment. All planning and analyzing should have taken place in preparation, so when he’s there, he can execute his plan with full attention to the moment.
By not doing so, he’s not as aware as he could have been, leaving himself vulnerable. And that’s EXACTLY what Qui-Gon meant by being mindful of the future NOT at the expense of the moment.
2. “Your focus determines your reality.”
Qui-Gon to Anikan:
QG: Your focus determines your reality.
In our day jobs, the three of us do a lot of teaching and we see a lot of different strengths and challenges different people face. And let’s just say mental focus is definitely something we can all stand to learn a bit more of!
Our lives are so cluttered with noise, technology, marketing ads, life demands, etc. that it’s so easy to lose focus on what we are doing. And even if we can focus, our stamina to do so only lasts so long!
Learning to place your focus on the present and clear your mind of clutter (journaling can help you with that) are important skills to learn.
Now, this whole point really makes sense following #1. Keep your focus in the present, and that will be your reality. Put your focus elsewhere and that becomes your new reality for that time.
The real challenge (after learning “how to” and building some stamina) is learning what to put your focus on. Then you can truly become a jedi master of YOUR reality.
3. “Fear is the path to the dark side…”
Yoda to Anikan:
Y: Fear is the path to the dark side; fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.
Fear shuts us down. It’s necessary in some ways, as it does keep us alive, but fear (and its many symptoms) inhibits us from learning, challenging ourselves, and growing.
We all know to embrace life with love. Well ironically, anger isn’t the opposite of love…it’s fear.
Now over time our response to fear makes us angry. You start to get angry at whatever is making you afraid, which overtime builds to intense levels of anger, at which point you start hating whatever it is that made you afraid in the first place.
To find control and safety again, we lash out/deal with/take care of whatever it was that caused us fear in an (usually) aggressive way. This only causes more suffering and spreads more fear into the world.
It’s very much like the phrase, those who were bullied become bullies themselves.
So embrace your fears and really look at what’s bothering you. Learn from it and try to counter it by embracing that fact. Take power over your fears from the very beginning before you turn to the dark side and spread suffering!
From Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
4. “Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden.”
Anikan to Padme:
A: Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden.
This one isn’t so much a lesson in what to do, but more in what NOT to do.
The jedi have a very strict code to keep themselves focused on the protection of peace and justice. To do their job well, they deprive themselves to keep their character as moral and neutral as possible.
This isn’t unlike some religions and philosophies today.
But here’s the problem…that’s not in harmony either, as honorable as it might seem! It’s probably the biggest flaw in the jedi order.
What happens when you deprive yourself for so long? At some point, it controls you. It manifests itself in your subconscious, because you’re always fighting it. In some ways, it’s always taking a portion of your focus, causing you to never be fully present.
And at the very least, it takes constant control to keep in check. That’s energy better spent elsewhere!
The jedi order might have been around for much longer if they taught a better harmony. Anikan might have learned better skills and would have never gone dark side. He could have learned to work through his emotions and desires instead of suppressing a beast so loud it drove him to do horrible things (poor younglings…).
And on that point, you can’t let your attachments control you either. Harmony must be found.
It shouldn’t be about forbidding and depriving yourself, but it also shouldn’t be about giving in and losing control either.
Instead of forbidding attachment and possession, learn to work WITH it. Learn to become mindful over your desires. Learn to separate what YOU would do with what’s RIGHT to do.
That’s self-mastery. That’s control. Not deprivation.
From Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
5. “Death is a natural part of life.”
Yoda to Anikan:
Y: Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the fore. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed that is.
This one is pretty straightforward. Death can be a hard thing, particularly when you love someone or something so much. But it IS a natural part of life.
We’ve had enough experiences throughout our life and research, and had conversations with other people who have as well, to believe that life does continue after death. This is a huge topic that we can’t fully jump into in this post…
…But from this perspective, knowing life continues on helps provide comfort that death isn’t the end. In many ways we all “transform into the force” and continue on. So don’t say, “good bye.” Just say, “see you soon.”
As for the part about mourning and missing them? Well, just see #4 above. Silly Jedi! It’s all about harmony.
From Episode 4: A New Hope
6. “The force is […] an energy field created by all living things.”
Obi-Wan to Luke:
OW: The force is what gives a jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.
After years of studying Chi Kung (Chi Gong, qi gong, etc.) and researching the practices of internal martial arts, we wanted to include this one because it perfectly captures what the idea of Chi is!
There’s a lot to be said about bio-energy, chi, prana, etc. (different names, same thing!) and what’s possible through studying this energy.
But what’s really cool is that it is a sort of energy field that binds us all together! And someone who does study it learns to let it flow through them and sense it around all things, just like a Jedi would!
7. “…there’s no such thing as luck.”
Obi-Wan to Han:
OW: In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.
We know there might seem like times where you just got lucky. But there’s no such thing as luck. At least not from our perspective!
Luck, coincidences, happen stances, are all there for a reason. Embrace these things!
A teacher once told us, “luck is really when opportunity meets preparation.” We love this quote because it really captures what’s going on.
Look at Hollywood actors trying to catch their “big break.” They meet someone at the right place at the right time…
A prepared actor can fully take advantage of that opportunity and have it pay off. Someone who isn’t prepared won’t be able to take advantage of that opportunity the same way. It has nothing to do with luck!
8. “Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them.”
Obi-Wan to Luke:
OW: Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them.
We’re visual creatures, that’s for certain!
And we’re stuck in a very logical society where “seeing is believing”.
Faith and beliefs aside, there’s still something to be said for, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
There’s so much more to life than what we can perceive with our own eyes. Whether that’s a belief you have, the nuances of someone’s character, the sound of birds chirping in the morning, or the smell of a finely cooked meal.
We might be very visual creatures, but that doesn’t mean we should trust our eyes to explain and experience everything that goes on in this world!
9. “Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”
Obi-Wan to the group:
OW: Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?
Oh, Obi-Wan. You wise old fool! Oh wait…
All jokes aside, this is such a great reminder to take charge of your life and be your own leader.
Work with and learn from others, particularly those with more experience than you. We’re all students and always growing!
But don’t be a follower. There’s a fine line.
A student thinks for themselves, examining new information/lessons/experiences/wisdom with their own instincts and feelings causing them to grow and form their own thoughts and opinions.
A follower blindly follows, accepting everything as fact just because it was said that way and then claiming that as their belief.
Form your own beliefs. Be the leader of your own life. Work with others and learn. Don’t be the fool who follows, because sometimes even a great teacher can be foolish.
From Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back
10. Believing is succeeding.
Yoda to Luke:
L: I don’t; I don’t believe it!
Y: That is why you fail.
We can be our own worst enemy. Our beliefs can help us succeed and reach new heights, or they can be the greatest obstacles that prevent us from achieving our accomplishments.
Sometimes we even limit ourselves before we even try.
Like in #2, our focus determines our reality. If your focus is on the fact you don’t believe something or you can’t do it, then that will be your reality. And that is why you fail.
Instead, find that self-confidence. Give it a go. Put your focus and effort into something, and be on your own team! Try supporting yourself instead fighting yourself.
11. “Do…or do not. There is no try.”
Yoda to Luke:
L: Alright, I’ll give it a try.
Y: No! Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.
Spoiler alert…it’s not actually about trying.
It’s about allowing.
Fully allow yourself to do whatever it is you do!
If you succeed, you succeed. Congratulations! If not, congratulations anyways! You found one way NOT to do it. Do…or do not.
When we try we’re taking on a limited mindset. We’re taking on the mindset that we’ll probably fail, but will give it a go anyways.
Like #10, when we try we “don’t believe it” and that is “why [we] fail.”
Instead, allow yourself to do it. Allow the results to be whatever they are, and allow yourself to do it again.
It’s about allowing the cyclical process of learning, but without the self-limiting beliefs or self-judgment we sometimes put on ourselves when we fail (or worse, before we even begin).
12. “You must learn control!”
Yoda to Luke:
Y: Control, control! You must learn control!
This one is a bit more complicated. It’s a lesson about the harmony of experiencing vs. controlling.
Let’s actually use the scene as our example.
Luke is at a point in his training where he’s experiencing the force and letting it flow through him. He’s connected to it all at this point, but has no control over it. He’s unable to influence it to obey his commands.
It’s a big metaphor for life!
We’re here to learn, grow, and experience things. But we also have our own dreams and aspirations we want to fulfill!
All too often we find ourselves on either extreme:
We’re either here just experiencing life, letting it be what it is, but lack any sort of determination or will power to accomplish things.
Or we’re here trying to pack more things into our schedule, controlling every minute detail, so that we accomplish our goals as thorough as possible.
Just remember, a Jedi needs to connect to the flow of the force first and then learn to control it. It’s a delicate combination of the two that gives the Jedi success.
And it’s that same combination that will give you success in life. For those of you in control, try experiencing the flow of life a bit more. For those of you already hooked on the experience, try influencing it!
13. “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Yoda to Luke:
Y: You must unlearn what you have learned.
We’re living in the age of information. Technology has made it where everything is just a quick Google search away.
But our minds are already so full that when we go to learn something new, we’re already near capacity!
Chances are, we’ve already read a bunch of articles and formed opinions on it before we’ve even been taught.
We must learn to let go of all that knowledge. Not in the sense of “deleting” it from your mind, but in the sense of letting it take second to the new experiences ahead.
From Episode 6: Return of the Jedi
14. Why we should confront our challenges.
Leia to Luke:
Leia: But, why must you confront him?
Luke: Because, there is good in him. I felt it!
At present, our world seems like there’s a lot going wrong in it. Climate change is a big thing, there’s mass shootings all over the United States, governments are struggling to meet the needs of their people.
But Luke reminds us why we confront our collective challenges. There’s still good in the world. There’s people out there who are making a difference.
When we all confront our challenges, we’re spreading that belief in something better. And it’s because of that belief the world will actually change into a better place.
15. “…many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.”
Obi-Wan to Luke:
L: A certain point of view?
OW: Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
The world is a big place and there are many different beliefs, cultures, and experiences out there.
Instead of fighting each other over who’s belief is right or wrong, let’s just remember that it all depends on your point of view.
Your point of view is yours, and yours only. Therefore your personal truths are your also.
Instead of comparing our personal truths, let’s explore, experience, and understand each other.
Let’s strive to look at the core of all of our personal truths, and find the universal truths hidden beneath it all.
Because while it seems we only have our own point of view…we actually have each other and the same truths that bind us all together in a much greater way that we always realize.
The Saga Continues
That’s it for this article! There’s lots of deep points that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of.
That’s why Star Wars is like a religion to some die hard fans!
Now we get to look forward to all the new lessons that will immerse us all over again in The Force Awakens. And we can’t wait to update this article one day with that all.
If you’re a Star Wars fan and liked any of the lessons in this article, do us a favor and let us know which ones in the comments below!
May the Force be with you all.