The Jedi Response to Fear
“I sense much fear in you” – Yoda from Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace by George Lucas
I have said in the past that fear has no place on the Jedi Path. This statement can be read in an absolute fashion, and we all know the saying about absolutes. The Jedi approach to fear is a more nuanced one. Sooner or later, we will all feel fear. Sometimes this fear will be unreasonable, but other times fear is a reasonable and appropriate response for a situation we find ourselves in.
More so than other strong emotions, fear has a clouding effect on our perceptions. We see enemies in those that do not mean us harm. We ascribe ill will where none exists. If we indulge in fear, it will lead to anger, hate and suffering. But more importantly, when one feeds on their fears, exercising compassion becomes impossible. Fear will attract the fearful, and acting from such a place one will want to overcome their fear by squashing others, but the secret to be free from fear is to help others, to put compassion in action, and cultivate that which is positive, and that which builds others up.
When we are afraid, it would be very easy to react out of this fear. However, as Jedi, we do not react, we respond. We respond from a place of clarity, and we cannot act rightly if we are clouded by strong emotion such as fear. The path works, and the path is clear: We can be afraid, but we must not act out of fear. The Jedi response will not be born out of fear, but from knowledge, self-discipline and the Force. Our emotions inform us, but they do not rule us. Overcoming fear is not in the feeling, but in the doing.
We must do the hard work of mastering our fear, so that in turn does not master us. This does not mean to dismiss or ignore those things that illicit fear, but rather confronting them. We must reflect and examine during our meditative practice so that we understand the source of our unease. Once we understand the shape of our fear, then we can approach it, and overcome it.
Fear inevitability leads to darkness. There is a reason why our mythic archetypes were armed with swords of light. Jedi are a source of light when the rest of the world finds itself in the dark. We will lessen the amount of fear and darkness in this world, first within ourselves, then within our sphere of influence. The courage of compassion should be a light in the darkness, giving the gift of hope to those that have none.
It is hope, that is the antithesis of fear. Movements are based on hope. It is through hope that we see the path out of darkness leading back to the light. We are not in this alone, Jedi. Be a beacon of compassion, but look for the light of others as well. The forces of darkness and fear want you to feel isolated, to feel powerless. This is illusion. It may take some digging, but in our darkest hour we can look within and find a universe of human potential, brighter and more powerful than any darkness that tries to encroach upon it. This same potential exists in every person you encounter. Bound together by the Force, united with hope, we will not let the darkness in this world persist.