20050719

Running.

I run. << faster >> I dodge limbs and vines. << faster >> I leap over rocks and boiling mud pots. I run through swampy shallows and across logs. << faster >> I run.

My legs burn and my arms ache. I scrabble up muddy banks << faster >> and across twisted root tangles. I make way for creatures that slumber or stalk or crouch or lurk They make way for me. And I run.

Soon the ache and the burn turns to numbness and still I run. << faster >> I still feel. I know I am numb, that I once burned and ached, that I am now numb - from the running. And still I am urged on and commanded to go << faster >>.

This is not mere physical conditioning though I am getting stronger. This is not mere transportation, though with my X-wing still half submerged I am certainly traveling afoot these days. This is not even a journey in the sense of a starting point and a destination. For I have no destination, I have only destiny. I have no transportation, I am in transition. I have no conditioning, I have only what I am at this moment. I have no journey, I have only the running.

There comes a point when the knowledge of the numbness from the pain from the running fades. First, into the rhythm - once it finds me - and then into the blank whiteness of letting go. This is my goal, though I do not run towards it. The running is the process through which I am able to release – to release what I know.

As knowledge of the pain and numbness are swallowed, it is as if the magnetic field is suddenly opened on a fully pressurized docking bay. Only instead of everything rushing out, it all rushes in. A wall of white, of the Living Force, floods in and I am lost in it.

It is pure here. Calm. I have strength here - though it is as something I need not ever seek out, for it is always here. While I am here, while I in the whiteness, while I am this place, I can run forever. There are no scattered stones, no gullies or ravines, no tree limbs to dodge or vines to climb. There is only the Living Force. I am in it and it is in me.

It is perplexing, I find (in those times afterwards when I stop to think about it), that I should be so deeply within the Force yet still so in tune with my surroundings, my legs, my lungs, my heart. I do not leave my body, neither do I leave my environment. I become so much closer to them. It is the running that helps me over the obstacle of me. I call a vine to me so I may swing, joyously, over a deep pool teeming with life and potential.

I am guided by the faintest touch of the Master on my shoulder, the hint of a suggestion in my ear. We communicate through the Force, pulling on suggestions of potential and crafting chance from glimmering lines of possibility. And all the while, I am sustained and rejuvenated by the Force. The Master helps me to see beyond the crude detritus of the swamp and to find the wondrous luminescence of the life of this world. The life that swims in and creates the possibilities of over, under, up, through, around, slower and (yes)… << faster >>.

For now, we craft only paths through the woods and lowland swamps. Yet the paths we are creating with the Force, or that the Force is creating with us are real. We are not passing through the unpassable. We are forging through while the unpassable parts for us to reveal it’s own pathways and invites us to walk them – or to run them.

So we run. The Master guides. I learn. And always, << faster >>

20050717

I Have Leared So Much, and Yet it is Still Not Enough...

I cannot begin to write how much has happened since my last entry. The days on Dagobah seem to fly now (though at first they didn't). Though I've not made an entry for some time, I have been keeping a mental chronology of what has been happening to me here. The Master's training has been relentless, sometimes harrowing, and always exhausting. But even as I lay here now, muscles throbbing from exertion and my head pounding from the effort of sustained concentration, I realize that the shell of me that first arrived here has become - is still becoming - something more.

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.