For those of you who are not so familiar with the Star Wars franchise, a quick introduction is in order. The Jedi refers to an ancient order that strove to preserve the balance of good and evil by the use of an universal “force”. They were often referenced as the Knights of the Galactic Empire.
The key motto being referenced in this article is the first verse of the Jedi Code:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
This is also applicable in the work environment, when we are told to be ‘professional’. Basically, in lay terms, that means not to give in to emotive responses. Go to any academic course on business or the work environment, and they will tell you that emotions in the work place is basically bad and mostly banned. You need to rely on intelligence, logic and professionalism. The moment you give into your emotions, you’re weak and have lost the battle. Even in the courts, fact will always be taken over emotions.
Over my lifetime (dramatic overtone here – such a long life), if there has been one thing that has been a hindrance to me in many aspects, whether performed by me or others, is when people allow their emotions to override their intelligence. We humans have the ability to think so clearly and understand situations so well, until our emotions get in the way.
We make assumptions, we misread situations and we base critical decisions on how we feel. Sometimes we don’t even allow the other person to explain or defend themselves. We’ve found them guilty and sentenced them while allowing for no mitigation or explanation. As far as we’re concerned, they’re done.
I’ve met people from many walks in life. I’ve seen a few filled with such light and hope, who have guided me out of the darkness a few times too. I’ve watched those same Jedi knights become consumed with their own darkness, but refusing to be guided out. It’s easy to help others, but to swallow their pride and allow others to help them out is another story.
Then there are those I’ve met that just won’t allow you to prove that you’re not who they believe you are. They’ve had some hangup in the past that generally becomes the benchmark for future men / women to be marked against. In the beginning it’s all sunshine and roses. There’s some part of their mentality where the switch is on “trust until proven guilty” mode – the part that really wants to believe. Then something just triggers it off, some small response or behaviour (sometimes not even something you’ve done, but someone else), and suddenly you’re in the “guilty until proven trustworthy” mode. And believe me, from my experience, you’re wasting your time if you have to prove yourself to someone. If they don’t know who you really are after several years, it’s time to move on. The only one you need to prove yourself to is you… the deity or higher being you believe in already knows who you are.
I’ve also had some acquaintances who have put blind faith in technology to prove / disprove someone trustworthy nature – and that’s my former self included. I not only remember the days when social chat went viral, specifically Mxit and then BBM, but mostly when the ability to see when people have read your message or have been online became available. Wow, I’ve seen that drive people crazy, including myself in my younger years. I’m not sure if it is a human’s tendency to just expect the worst of people, but when technology tells us someone has done something, we’re so quick to jump to bad conclusions. I remember some years back when I saw someone was reading my messages but not responding. I got so angry for her ignoring me that I decided to phone her and give her a piece of my mind. When the person answered she told me she could not speak because her mother was in hospital and she didn’t have time to chat. Man, I felt bad.
There are so many more examples I’ve gained from people that emotions can be a bad thing, but let’s move on to my next point. I’m not trying to say emotions are all doom and gloom. One of the wisest Jedi, Master Yoda, often encouraged the use of emotions:
Use your feelings… and find him you will
The wisest man I’ve known, Jesus Christ, also informed us that love is the greatest commandment of all. So there definitely is a trend towards believing that emotions can be a good thing. It can fill us with love, with hope in times of darkness, and with that sense of ease that seems to be lacking in the world of today.
So where do we go wrong? How do we allow ourselves to fall towards despair, distrust and dishonesty? I will allow Master Yoda to say one more thing in answer to this, which I inevitably tell everyone when we meet the final crossroads:
The dark side clouds everything.Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
And for me, that is the crux of the matter. I believe with all my heart that fear is the cause of most, if not all, of our emotional issues. Fear causes us to do stupid things, whether it be at home, the work environment or among friends. It causes us to believe things that are not true. Fear is the overriding factor that causes us to believe that someone will repeat a past pain caused by someone else.
Which leads me to my next point. Someone once told me, or I heard it on tv, that we usually become the thing that we fear the most. We also make decisions based on these fears. I’ve met couples where the one partner is so worried that their partner would cheat on them, based on experience with someone else in the past. It had caused so many problems in their relationship over the years, but the other partner never had a cheating bone in their body – probably the most loyal person you will ever meet. The fear was that he would leave her for someone else. Her fear and her behaviour inhibited her from loving him completely, and today they are no longer together. It pushed him away completely and, because of her, her fear has been realised – he is indeed with someone else today, someone who is more at peace with who he really is.
If you let your fear drive you, it will overcome you. It’s easy saying it though. Fear comes so easy these days, with crime, pain, death, etc. Maybe I should distinguish between rational fear and irrational fear? Maybe I should write a thesis on the various mechanisms that you could use to overcome your fear, or at least not allow it to control your life and send you further on a downward spiral of depression?
No, that’s a discussion for another day. I will provide a later revision on the Jedi code, which will perhaps provide the answer:
Emotion, yet peace
Yeah, we’ve heard this before. Hell, I’ve heard it a hundred times and still struggle to either apply it or get others understand it. There must be a million quotes from the Bible and other religious scriptures on finding inner peace. Yet, do we ever apply it? When the crunch comes to the pressure, do you actually go inside to find peace rather than let your emotions override you?
It is true though. When we find peace, not just with others, but within ourselves too, then life becomes a little easier. We don’t want to be misled, we don’t want to be hurt in the same ways again, so we protect ourselves in our lovely cocoons. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we break down those cocoons and build a new one with someone else. This cannot happen though until we find peace with what has happened before and realise that life is moving on without you.
So how do we resolve these issues that seem to burden us and run our lives and the way we behave? I was originally going to say forgiveness, but that only follows later as a result. Surprisingly it’s the one thing I keep telling people, and yet it continues to happen anyway. I always get the same initial response: “You’re right”, but somehow the cycle continues and then it ends up back where it started. It’s like we thrive on the darkness, because it’s the only thing we can trust.
I digress. The answer is communication. Did you take that in, or did that fly right past you? Let me try again. COMMUNICATION. Ok, I’m still not sure you got it so let me try one last time.
Maybe one day when you come back to this article for the 100th time it will sink in properly. This has been a problem, not only in my personal life, but I’ve seen it in many work environments too. Despite our innovative ways in creating languages and various systems of communication, we are still getting it wrong.
Most of the problems we face today could just be cleared up with communication. Those assumptions that have been made, the things technology tells us, the fears we have and the distrust, just clarifying how you are feeling and getting the real story will solve the problem.
Having said that, I have met people that just refuse to talk about it. They really really really REALLY just want to believe that you are that person that is going to betray them and there is nothing you can do about it.Not even communication will save you – the darkness has taken them. I once told someone this, about two years ago. I informed them that, after a long time spent trying to defend myself, no matter what I said or how much I try to prove myself, they want to believe that’s who I am. To that, I have no defence. In the end, the person agreed, and realised what they were doing.
In the end, it happened again anyway.It’s just useless trying to argue with someone who will not believe otherwise because of what has happened to them in the past.
In the final phase of this article, I must just say that there really are Siths out there though. For those not in the know, the Sith are the opposite of Jedi. They feed on darkness, they are everything you believe about bad people in this world. They are the vampires of the emotional world, feeding off your pain and misery.
I’m not really sure if all of them know what they are doing, but some definitely do. They are the inglorious bastards who truly are taking you for a ride. Funny story, I’ve actually met women to whom it had been proven that their partners are assholes and cheaters – and they remained with them anyway. They just cannot imagine a life without them. So even though their fears have been realised, they remain with the Sith. I guess they, in their own way, made peace with it and have chosen to remain with them. And then those that refuse to see the truth – yeah, let me just end it here.
In conclusion, let me just say that I don’t believe emotion in itself is a bad thing, in as much as religion and politics are not bad things per se. There are however different sides to emotion, and I believe we should learn to manage it properly. Just like power, we have the responsibility to use our emotions wisely. Enjoy and swim in the good emotions that give our lives meaning, peace and a sense of belonging. And be rid of the dark emotions that cause hatred, anger and angst.
In the end, peace is the only path to harmony…. and some good music to accompany it…
I hope this has helped you find some peace in your life, no matter what you may be going through or have been through. Please come back to this article when the darkness attempts to take you again… it will be here waiting. And if I have learnt one thing by writing this article, it is that emotions are not as bad as I thought they were.. and maybe I can give in to some of them again.
In love and grace
The Count of Celenic Earth