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The Jedi Code: there is no Emotion; there is Peace

The first major component to Jedi psychological training is working to understand the self – in essence, it is a course of Self-Awareness. When an individual acts within a situation, they have a lot of different forces in play: their (perhaps more objective) thoughts, prejudices, judgements and emotions. Each of these war within us, influencing us in both subtle and overt ways, and sometimes it is hard to differentiate between the right thing to do, and what we might wish to happen.

Ultimately, all individuals struggle with their emotional landscape: we can be provoked, entrapped, made to feel good or bad, all based on different triggers and scenarios. This is only natural, and not something to be concerned about: what we do need to reflect on is knowing what those triggers are. Why does one thing make you angry? Why does another thing make you sad? Or another, deliriously happy? If you do not truly understand these, then these are not under your control: you are merely a slave to your emotions, and to the circumstances you find yourself in. Thus, you cannot function effectively as a Jedi, because your emotions can be manipulated, provoked or altered depending on your tolerance to changing conditions. As you can imagine, this could be truly dangerous!

Allow me an example: you’re having a really bad day, having messed up in a training session. You decide to take a walk outside the Temple, walking the streets of a large city. As you’re walking, lost in your thoughts, a little wrapped up in your frustrations, anger at yourself, fear that you might fail again in the future, someone bumps into you accidentally, and you’re knocked to the ground. You get back up, angry and embarrassed, and lash out at the person responsible, a guy just walking around who was in a hurry, and didn’t see you.

Now, let’s ask a simple question: why did you lash out?

Was it because you were angry, hurt or embarrassed that you got knocked over? Was it because training didn’t go so well earlier in the day, and this was an opportunity to release a little pent-up frustration? Consider: did the other person deserve the response they got from you? Had you been calmer, or more relaxed, would you perhaps have apologised for not looking where you were going? Or laughed it off? This brings us to an inescapable conclusion: one’s actions are often a question of their state of mind.

Thus, the first stanza within the Jedi Code reminds us of this: although it declares that there is no Emotion, this is not to be taken at face value. Rather, it seeks to open your eyes to the second part of this stanza: the notion of a default state of mind. How can we focus and perform well in complicated and adverse situations? By reverting automatically to a state of mind suitable for good decision-making. In simple terms, a Jedi seeks to train themselves to remain calm at all times: they can, of course, be subject to emotion, but they must create a ‘default’, a state of mind they can revert to at will. When in a situation where stress is considerable and emotions are running hot, they must be able to take a simple deep breath and find inner calm, restoring their psychological balance and giving them a stable platform upon which to make decisions.

This gives us the second part of our stanza: it’s not for nothing that Grandmaster Skywalker altered the Code to read “Emotion, yet Peace”. This is very much key to what the methodology tells us: learn to understand your emotions, be able to exert control over them through awareness of triggers and responses, then create a default state where a sense of inner peace can be established as needed. With this, the Jedi learns to take control of themselves, and thus is better able to take control of situations that might otherwise serve to overwhelm them.

We also need to note how this affects our connection to the Force: as I have often told my students, we must imagine the Force as a source of infinite energy, and ourselves as a jug which that energy pours into. Our thoughts, emotions and our sense of ego can inhibit our connection to the Force: thus, when our jug is full of these things, the Force will not flow into us: we essentially lack the state of mind that allows us to fully connect to that energy on a psychological level. Thus, when we are caught up in our own emotions, we hinder our ability to touch upon the Force. As Jedi, this is far from ideal.

So, this particular tenet also speaks then to finding a default state of mind as a means to bolstering our connection to the Force: when we are more passive, less driven by emotion or ego, we become more receptive to the Force around us, and thus are better able to derive insight and guidance from it, as well as channel the energies into practical form.

I should note: this is but the first in our five-step methodology, and thus is primarily intended for Initiates or those new to the Order to be focusing on. As a student advances in their training, the other four steps will become more tangible for them. I will however note that all Jedi should maintain a healthy approach to their own Self-Awareness – after all, as an individual changes over time, so will their responses and triggers. This will thus require regular re-assessment to be effective!

Our next step will be to look at the second tenet: there is no Ignorance; there is Knowledge. With this, we will explore moving beyond basic self-realisation, and focus on the wider methodology required of a Jedi.