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Behave like a Jedi and embrace the present moment

Behave like a Jedi and embrace the present moment

The intersection of mindfulness meditation and Jedi’s from Star Wars is remarkably strong.

A scene that sticks in my mind is the fight between Qui-Gon Jinn (a Jedi) and Darth Maul (a Sith) from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. During a brief lull in the intense fight Qui-Gon drops to his knees, closes his eyes and just breathes. We can imagine his focus is on the breath, very much in the present moment.

Mindfulness in the face of extreme pressure. A perfect example of equanimity if ever I’ve seen one.

Meanwhile, behind the force field Darth Maul is pacing like a caged animal, shallow breathing, seething. We can imagine he’s anticipating the next moments, anxious, angry, full of adrenaline. The contrast between good and evil, Jedi and Sith, is stark, and speaks volumes for the character of each.

It’s a reminder to me to seek stillness in the most frantic and fraught moments. Stillness is the key as Ryan Holiday would argue.

But why? Why would Qui-Gon need stillness in the midst of a fight for his life?

Well for one it’s the very essence of his character. A practice of meditation in the Jedi order. To know yourself, to let go of fears. Stillness is the antidote to stress.

I’d also argue that the absence of tension is what is required to enter a flow state. See Tension stops you from entering a flow state.

Mindfulness is also a practice of focus. And if anything requires the most intense focus it’s a fight to the death. The practice of patience, composure and self-control.

Ultimately the lesson is that it’s always a choice to accept the truth of the present moment. It's your choice, and no one can take away how you choose to respond to a stimulus or stressor.

In the words of a Jedi master…

Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think. Use your instincts. — Qui-Gon Jinn quote