The Force Idea #2. There is a light side and a dark side of the Force.
One of the implications of the understanding of God/the Force as the one Power is that leaves no room for another entity such as the Devil to be in competition with God. This in itself can turn your mind into a pretzel as you try to find God in all the ugly and painful things that happen in the world. Here is where the concept of the Force may be easier to understand than the image of God as a “being”.
There is a light side and a dark side of the Force. God can create or destroy. Power can be used to create or to destroy. And in the context of our behaviour, we, who are part of the Force, can choose to follow the dark side or the light side. The dark side of the force, which often is the quick and easy way, leads to misery and suffering: “But beware: Anger, fear, aggression – the Dark Side, are they.” (Yoda, “Return of the Jedi.”)
In “The Phantom Menace”, Yoda says "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
Consider this as a math equation: Fear=anger=hate=suffering.
Fear = suffering.
Anxiety = suffering.
Anger = suffering.
Aggression = suffering.
Hate = suffering.
The dark side = suffering.
If you are a human being with a pulse, you have likely felt fear, anger, aggression or hatred at times. They are normal human reactions. They also are places of suffering. It would be unrealistic to expect that we will never experience them. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to get out of seeing the negative once you’re in that dark place. Yoda says “When you look at the darkside, careful you must be. For the darkside looks back”. (Return of the Jedi) Some people might re-word this as the law of attraction: “we get more of what we focus on", or, more colloquially, misery loves company. Note that Yoda doesn’t say IF you look at the darkside: he says WHEN.
Once we’ve chosen a dark path, it can be hard to go back. When we are angry or scared or aggressive, our thoughts, words and actions can have lasting effects. We say and do things that we regret later, that lead to broken relationships, hurt feelings, needless suffering. “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” (Yoda, Return of the Jedi)
So what can we do to avoid remaining in a place of suffering? How do we avoid following the dark side of the Force? Again, Yoda has an answer: “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” (Revenge of the Sith)
When we are angry, fearful or anxious, we have an opportunity to look at our assumptions: who do we want to be in the situation? What are we believing about the situation? If we believed a different thought, could our suffering be relieved? Does our behaviour align with what we want to see more of, in our world?
Our moments become minutes, hours, days, months, a lifetime. Moment by moment, we can choose between the dark side and the light side of the Force. To reduce our suffering, we want to choose the light side of the Force. (see part 3, tomorrow!)