Monday, October 15, 2012

Do or Do Not...

  In the Star Wars movie series, there is a wise old character named Yoda, who speaks in riddles and witty one-liners. One day, Luke Skywalker crashes his space ship in the swamp where Yoda lives. Yoda begins teaching Luke how to lift his sunken vehicle out of the water, using a form of telekinesis known as "the force".

Predictably- the student fails, and complains to the master: "I'm trying!"
Yoda responds: "Do, or do not! There is no try."

  There is great wisdom in this thought, but being a pragmatic idealist (ugh) I am sometimes tempted to follow Yoda's advice in a way that I am pretty sure he did not intend. If there is no "try", and you find that "doing" isn't working very well, what then? Sometimes "doing" seems to cause more harm than good. Some days it seems like it would be so much better to "do not", to sit quietly in a corner and stay out of everyone's way.

  Do you ever catch yourself feeling like the only reliable way to reduce frustration in your life is to drastically alter your dreams and/or personality to match your circumstances, instead of continuing the endless quest for a genuinely satisfying life?

  Is it time to quit being a thermostat, and accept the simpler life of a thermometer? I admit, part of me lobbies for a pathetic sort of resignation in the name of practicality and peace. Fortunately, another part of me is burdened with the knowledge that such a deep, profound level of concession would, of course, be nothing more than giving up. A good intentioned, but obviously selfish, way of giving up.

  Working hard to change and grow, to really make today a little bit better than yesterday- is an uphill battle at best, and doesn't win you any popularity contests. If you are an advocate for change, a voice crying out against mediocrity, someone who genuinely wants to achieve something great in your lifetime... be prepared to count your friends on one hand. It's going to be lonely and frustrating a lot of the time, and you are setting yourself up to be criticized and resented by those who don't understand the vision you have in your mind, and the passion you have in your heart.

  Prepare to be judged as a hypocrite for enthusiastically believing in ideals which you yourself are not (yet) good at practicing. And along the way, when life gets especially hard- you, like me, may secretly wish you had the nerve to just give up. But the sad joke is that I am stuck "doing", because there is no try, and I am too stubborn to sit back and do nothing. *sigh*

  So anyway... do you want to build a good life for yourself and those around you, despite your faults and failures? Then we have something in common. Because like a certain green, pointy-eared sage... I too thirst for a life of purpose, built from something more lasting and real than just "trying".