I Have Leared So Much, and Yet it is Still Not Enough...
I can recall with clarity things that, before, I would not even bother to note the first time around. I can replay entire conversations and even emotions in my head with such acuity that it is as if I were there, again, only this time as a trained observer. I watch myself react with disbelief as Han demands for 10 thousand credits for charter on his ship, I feel the exaltation flow off of Biggs when we met again on the Yavin moon. I am even starting to see traces of the luminous ribbons of the Force bonds connecting or severing destiny from living being to being.
This is Dagobah, this world is life. It teems. The Living Force abounds. It is above in the canopy, it is below in the dark. It manifests in silent creeps, swimming ripples, gliding flight, and motionless patience. I am starting to feel the way it surrounds me, cocooning me with shimmering threads of possibility and power. But even the concept of "me" is changing. I arrived here a shell, as ignorant of the vastly larger universe of the Force as an eopie is of hyperdrive technology. That shell has burst for I had become too full for it, and so I shed that protective scab of presupposition and knowledge.
I have shed my shell several times since that first time as well. Each time, it is painful. The Master drives a claw into the protective skin of my "knowledge" and rips. Underneath I am pink and raw. Each time I resist. Though I am beginning to learn that my resistance increases the pain and difficulty of shedding another presupposition about the way the world is, the way I am, or the way the Force ought to be. I must climb out of that skin and stand naked to bathe in the Living Force.
The burning pain of letting go is severe, it is intense. But it inevitably subsides, and then I find that I am bigger. And so I meditate on the Force, letting the scintillating rainbow of living light guide me and direct my thoughts, my vision, my hand, my lightsaber, my will.
Yet it was not always so. I recall the early lessons. How painful it was to shed those early layers. They were so hard, so thick, so deeply connected to me.
When I had first met the Master I knew not that it was he. So blind was I that I could not see the brilliant arcs and whorls and tendrils of Living Force that he exuded. Still their potential reduced to my destiny and I followed. I followed the Master to a meager hut in the pouring rain. I can recall exactly when my mounting frustration turned to anger, and I produced dark potential that nearly ended my training before it began.
I had been absolutely miserable when I had first arrived. Dagobah was nothing like I had assumed, or hoped. To those eyes, it was a swampy mess, chaotic, primitive, and uncomfortable. I was impatient. I had met a creature who promised to take me to the Master. Yet the creature insisted that first we eat, and then we talk and then we rest and then we set off for the Master. All the while, refusing to answer such simple questions as "How far away is Yoda?" and "Will it take us long to get there?". I can clearly remember how my frustration mounded. The hut, a shelter from the downpour was much too small for me and I had to hunch to even sit. My head already had an egg on it the size of a Jawa’s fist from when I first entered too quickly and didn’t duck low enough. And there was a snake that seemed to continually prefer my lap to a ledge, I don’t particularly mind snakes from a distance, but with everything else, this was too close. Finally, the stew tasted horrible. (The stew really was horrible - no amount of Force perception could change that reality.)
I remember the creature asking me why I wanted to become a Jedi. It never occurred to me that this was an odd question from an odd creature on this intensely odd planet. But, like I mentioned before, I was blind to these perceptions. The scabs were too thick over my eyes. I answered quickly. I did everything quickly then, without calculation, without thought, and most importantly, without feeling. I blurted out an answer that was only as correct as it was shallow. Who was this primitive, this beastial creature that presumed to question my intent? Why were we wasting time with idle chit-chat when I was keen to be moving on, getting to Yoda, getting on with my training, becoming a Jedi, and taking up where my murdered father had left off. And this green wormie creature was asking “why?”
I could not stand it. So I feigned politeness in the hopes that the conversation would stop and the creature would finish his meal and we could move on. I replied, “mostly because of my father, I guess” It was a correct answer. But also one filled with as much cynicism and venom as could be allowed in a polite but conversation ending answer.
My frustration was tripped when the creature answered that my father was a powerful Jedi. There was no way this, this thing could have any inkling of who my father was, much less me. My frustration was tripped and fell headlong over the cliff of my impatience. A black and purple bud of quickly combusting emotion roiled outwards, a bowl went flying and I lashed out. That is when I heard Ben. His voice was clear, in the hut with me and the creature. “He will learn patience” it said. And the creature answered.
The first gash in my protective carapace of self was started and it hurt. The scales on my eyes dropped and I saw the Master for who he was. Not a quirky and annoying creature I had stumbled across but something more. I realized I had been brought to him, I had not stumbled on him. Yet I was still angry and I argued. I argued with Ben and the Master. Things were spiraling out of control. They were making decisions on whether or not I was to become a Jedi, without even asking me. “Ben, tell him I can be a Jedi!” My roiling frustration and budding anger landed at the bottom of the cliff of my impatience. When it landed it bounced and blossomed into a fully blind anger. I bounced with it and cracked my head on the low ceiling. The crack on my head was also a crack in my carapace. The pain focused me. The first chips of what I had known started to fall away and for the first time in my life, I saw.
The Master, too, saw. And he agreed to continue what Ben had started. I sit here now in meditation. I clear my mind and focus on the present, on now. I feel the Force flowing around me. I can see the glimmers of potential and destiny in bits and pieces, as if they are just beyond. I still struggle to see the remote.
I have learned so much, and yet something still seems to be missing. It is still not enough. But I have learned patience (at least somewhat). So for now, I meditate, now, I wait, now I rest, I recover, I remember.