“My fear was my lightsaber”
There was that moment before entering the Cave o’ Evil where Luke was curious enough to ask what was down there and Yoda’s response was “Only what you take with you.”
The past few weeks we’ve covered what the cave could be considered and what the cave represents from a certain point of view. We’ve discussed how the cave could be those dark moments in your psyche and history and how they might actually not be evil, but just a touch on the shadowy side.
And so now let us step down and into the cave with Luke and see what awaits us. As we remember from the drama laden moment, he took his lightsaber and eventually encountered Dark Vader, who also had Luke’s face. That moment in cinema history has always had a few ways to interpret it. It could mean many things! One view is that it literally just means that his father is Vader, which is what I thought as a child and my inability to read between the lines. Another way to see this as Luke fighting the evil in himself, that Vader is just a representation of his own darkness, whereas another thought is that perhaps it was just a robot to see if he will attack it or be at peace with his target.
For the purpose of this discussion let us look at it is a representation of himself and what’s within. When he entered the cave and saw Vader, his first response was to back away and then to attack. There was that moment of recognition which was followed by assault, which if, we are being honest, is usually how we deal with our darker moments. We draw back the moment we recognize it and then immediately attack and try to drive it away. We can see in a few other media example such in Star Wars Tales #4 story “Sith in the Shadow”, the Jedi in the stories considered this a type of trial. Mace Windu lead his padawan to a Sith temple and said there was an adversary inside that Mace Windu had been fighting his whole life. When the padawan finds a kneeling figure in the temple, his first reaction was to attack, only to find it was actually Mace Windu.
It’s fairly easy to draw from this situation, and with Luke’s situation, that the evil we seek is our ourselves and to be fair, when I say “Evil” what I’m really saying here is our preconceived notion that the darker parts of ourselves are bad. Last week we discussed a little bit that the shadow inside could just be what we shove deep inside and that it might not belong tucked away in the closet. I want you to consider that in this scenario that what resides in your cave of evil, your dark thoughts at night that beat you up, that they might be just trying to get your attention. I shared that my dark thoughts at night typically revolve around my ability to provide for my family and my internal struggles about who and what I am.
And so, when I enter that cave, my first thought is to draw away and then to attack it. To try and drive it away, going over my bank accounts to prove to myself we weren’t struggling, to try to plan around what was coming up. I brought my lightsaber and I was going to fight like hell against my inner demons. And that is where I failed my own trials and why my cave always had a Darth Vader like presence in my life. I entered the cave, armed with fear and a plan to fight instead of trying to come to terms with that
To draw a contrast, when Yoda entered the cave, he did not enter from a place of trying to solve a mystery, not with combat in mind, but with an exploratory mindset and as a result he found what he sought. It wasn’t pleasant, and it highlighted his fears of the Order’s destruction and war, but ultimately he found what he needed, not what he wanted. Yoda certainly didn’t like what he saw, but he also didn’t try to stop it or try to change what was there, he accepted what he saw and went to make changes.
So here’s the question, which are you? Do you encounter these dark moments and try to drive them away, or do you seek to understand them better? Perhaps you aren’t in a place to be ready to handle it quite yet, but what are you doing to further your progress so that you are ready to process the information your internal cave presents to you? I like to think that for some things, time definitely gives us an appreciation of our feelings and the ability to disconnect the emotional overlay we sometimes associated with the pain we might feel (such as “getting over” an ended relationship), but we also have to first be open to letting go of our focus on the pain and being willing to focus on what the situation is.
The only thing in that cave is what we bring with us. Our preconceived notions, our fears, our assumptions, and we find that our internalizations aren’t exactly weak to that. What we do find, however, is those items are the exact reason we find Darth Vader living in our heads. For me, I pushed so hard that I was financially savvy, that my pride and joy was my ability to provide for my family, my ego and pride that I try not to display. All of that is why I was having issues, and ultimately that is why I laid awake at night, questioning the very fabric of my place in reality. I brought those issues with me, I was afraid of them, and I attacked them instead of learning more about them. My lightsaber was my fear.
Next week we will look to find ways of approaching our Darth Vader and how to better learn to accept what we are and how to move on.
This week, I want you to think about what you bring with you into that cave. We’ve been dwelling on what is in our caves, but how do you react? I want you to meditate on how you recognize what’s going on, how you react, how you feel when you enter the cave and how you feel when you finally leave that cave.