What No One Told You About the Dark Side
In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is relentlessly tempted by the Dark Side of The Force from his father, Darth Vader. The Dark Side is so darn alluring because vengeance feels good when we have been wronged. When someone sells us a bogus iPhone, it’s natural to want to GPS track them down and beat them in the head with it. Of course we don’t do this, we just imagine it for a while.
Lets pull out of Star Wars mode for a second and review a quick moment from high school, when I was like Yoda, minus the lightsaber, wisdom and abilities to levitate.
Origin of The Dark Side
Freshman year, Tony the defensive linebacker, approached me in the halls and pushed me into the lockers. I told him to back off. He responded with a slap across my face and told me to shut my mouth. I wanted more than anything to beat the crap out of him in that moment, but that wouldn’t have went so well. At the time I was Yoda sized - you could fit two of me and C3P0 inside of this linebacker Tony.
Instead I cowered and did what any good defenseless human does, I destroyed him in my mind. I would lay in bed at night and play that situation over in my head, imagining I deflected his hand and socked him right in the eye. That was the only way I could get my revenge at the time. Even though it didn’t change a thing, it gave me the illusion of control back.
What Exactly the Dark Side is
The Dark Side is anger, which proliferates in the fire of resentment. Holding a resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. No matter how right or wrong I am in a situation, if I hold onto the anger, discomfort, or argument in my head, I’m the one who loses.
Resentment comes from an Old French word resentir which translates to “re-feel.”
To resent is to re-feel the pain of a past event, over and over again. People can hold a resentment for days and even decades. Resentments are not always anger, it can be any uncomfortable thought that gets stuck on replay in our heads. For example; arguments, unfair treatment, getting our feelings hurt, or irritations. As the memory repeats itself we become tortured by the resentment even though the situation is over.
How the Dark Side Affects Us
The Dark Side comes at a Dark price of long-term suffering. It’s the dangerous shortcut in attempt to settle injustice. The delusion is we are standing up for ourselves by fighting back it in our minds. It’s easy to become addicted to the Dark Side by allowing our minds to be filled with replays of how others treated us unfairly. Being corrupted by the Dark Force takes a toll on our bodies and minds, leading to suffering and overwhelming unhappiness.
What is The Force
If the Dark Side is resentment then the Light Side of The Force is forgiveness. By forgiving those that have wronged us, we free them from the shackles of our minds. If we hold on to the resentment and pain, we are the one’s who get consumed by the Dark Side. Forgiveness is not permitting others’ wrongs but rather freeing the burden of resentment. Only are we set free when we wish goodwill for our enemies - never before. Choosing The Force doesn't mean we let people stomp all over us. It means we let go of the anger within ourselves and do what is right.
Learning to Use The Force
When Luke Skywalker was training with Yoda on the marshy planet Dogobah, he was learning to attune to The Force. It’s compared to a gentle, flowing stream where the Dark Side is like an erupting volcano. Luke needed guidance to sensitize himself to the gentleness of The Force.
Skywalker was having great difficulty sensing The Force. He asked Yoda, “how will I know the good from the bad?”
Yoda responded, “You will know... when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, NEVER for attack.”
How to Overcome the Dark Side
By choosing The Force and forgiving those who have wrong us we learn to let go of the past and are able to become a kinder, more loving person in the present. The Jedi always aims to serve and improve the quality of life in others. It is impossible to do so if we are consumed with negativity. And by letting go of negativity and helping others, we in turn become at peace.
The Force has taught me that I have very little control over what happens to me in my life. But I do have control in how I respond to what happens to me. In every difficult situation, I have the choice to explode into the Dark Side or yield into The Force. It isn’t easy to choose especially when Tony slapped me in the face or when someone broke into my car. But by letting go of anger and tapping into calmness I have dug deeper towards peace within myself.