“Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.“–Obi-Wan Kenobi
It is May the Fourth, and Star Wars Day offers a helpful meditation on life and our place in it. Every living thing is connected through the Force. Every living thing also contains a piece of the Force. The Jedi, wielders of the Light Side, do so in service of others.
For me, the Force has most resembled Buddhist teachings of interconnectivity in Dependent Origination, or what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing.” Dependent Origination teaches that all things are interdependent, nothing exists by itself and everything that exists does so because already existing phenomena allow for its manifestation. That is, everything plays a role in the creation, and extinction, of everything else.
Right now, with the emergence of COVID-19, we have to think of our role in it. The virus did not emerge on its own, humanity lived in such a way as to enable its development and spread. We play a role, then, in the infection of, not just ourselves, but others, and we are complicit in the number of deaths that COVID-19 causes.
Because of this, we must take the same vow of the Jedi, one that requires selflessness and service to others. We must fully comprehend that our behavior does not exist without consequence. Our actions, while seeming independent, actually are interdependent, they have consequences that affect others. Every time we gather without face coverings or in too close proximity, we increase the chance that we will hurt unsuspecting people, including ourselves. When we demand that our personal needs be met above the health and safety of others, we take up the Dark Side of the Force and wield its power for selfish gain.
To be in harmony with the Light Side of the Force, we must arrange our daily lives and actions in favor of protecting others from infection and possible death. We must mourn with and for those who have lost loved ones to the virus. We must live in harmony with the Force and serve others as though they were ourselves.
May the Force be with you, today and everyday.