A Star Wars Tribute to Mindfulness
July 24, 2012 by
Categories: Mindfulness

For our anniversary this year, my husband and I decided to celebrate with a Star Wars marathon. Starting with Episode I, we have managed to make it through to Episode 5, and we are both anxious to see the final movie.

Because it had been a while since I had seen the movies, I had forgotten how much mindfulness stands out, especially in Episodes 2-3, when Obe-Wan Kenobi is training Anikan Skywalker. He repeatedly instructs Anikan to be mindful of his thoughts. Whether the young apprentice is pining after Padme, leaning too far into anger and fear, or focusing too much on the negative, Obe-Wan reminds Anikan not to let his thoughts betray him.

Here at Collective Inquiry, many of us have written about the importance of emotional acceptance. Yet, it is important to recognize the difference between acceptance and wallowing. Sometimes, when we allow ourselves to feel grief, sadness, guilt, and so on, we can become stuck in that feeling. In short, it consumes us, making it difficult to climb out of the emotional hole. Unfortunately, this experience is often why people avoid feeling some of it in the first place. There is a fine line between the acceptance and wallowing, and it is often difficult to see without the help of an outside person.

In a conversation with Marissa Hakansson, she reminded me that your thoughts are very similar. When we begin to think about an uncomfortable topic, we can often fixate our thoughts on the negativity of it. In past experiences, I have fallen into my own darkness, where I wallowed in “what could have happened” and “what I should have done” until I could no longer imagine the positive consequences.

This is an example of not being mindful of your thoughts, but it isn’t as simple as “thinking positively.” Mindfulness allows you to see all aspects of your experiences, both good and bad. But you need to know where your line is – the line where you will become stuck in a dark place.

Acknowledging and accepting the uncomfortable feelings is paramount, and allowing yourself to think about uncomfortable things is often part of that. But both should be done mindfully to avoid becoming stuck in the “dark side.”

 

*These images by Rob Osborne show your favorite Star Wars characters enjoying yoga, which incorporates many mindfulness principles.

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