Wisdom from a galaxy far, far away
In The Dharma of Star Wars, Buddhist teacher Matthew Bortolin helps the readers understand this real-life religion through examples from all sorts of stories from the Star Wars franchise. The author uses examples both from the movies and the animated TV shows to provide a fresh perspective on the Buddha’s teachings.
Buckle up, my friends and get ready for a galactic spiritual ride.
One of the most interesting topics covered in this book is how to deal with the Dark Side within. Hint: that's no an easy task, but we can learn a few tricks from the Jedi masters out there.
As Yoda pointed out: "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering". So the first step would be to be aware of these toxic emotions when they start to pop-up from the depths of our mind.
The tiny green wise creature recommends detecting and isolating fear so we can prevent an emotional domino effect from happening. Because fear is like a loaded gun and we should handle it very carefully.
The Buddhist practice embraces the idea of accepting reality regardless of what it is. Confronting our most uncomfortable thoughts is a good way to achieve that. Instead of running away from them like The Flash -or Quicksilver if you're a Marvel Zombie-, the Jedi argue that is better to face fear. And if we are brave enough, start doing things that might terrify us since we will acclimate to them and they'll have a lesser effect on us.
According to the Buddhists, another major source of suffering is the false view of the self. Like when watching a movie, we tend to see ourselves interacting with others in a set called life. Not unlike an actor, we play different versions of "me", depending on how we think we will be perceived by others.
The Jedi sages / Zen masters' advice is simple yet powerful: we should remember that making our preferences into requirements for the world - meaning "I deserve this because... (enter random self-flattering phrase)" - might lead us into unhappiness.
Also, attachment to the idea of becoming an "enlightened being" is a quick path to the Dark Side. We'd better avoid the "becoming" part and focus on just "understanding". That's an easier way to live our lives.