STEP 2: Imperilment
“A Jedi must learn to act and when to wait.
A Jedi cannot be indecisive,
Nor can a Jedi take a detour onto the Dark Path
And expect to find a guidepost that will return him to the Light.
If you obsess about doing the right thing
No matter what the cost might be,
And believe that you can maintain some semblance of the Light
when you finally make your decision,
You are imperiled to remain upon
Or revisit the Dark Path.
If you accept the Dark Side of the Force
As a means to power,
You are most likely not concerned with taking the next step.”
-Master Tolaris Shim
The balance between action and non-action has been one of the most central concerns of the early Jedi masters of the Yangtze and Huang He river basins. As it did then, so too now does it come before us, lending a sense of timelessness regarding the relationship between Power and Ability.
If we consider “haste is waste”, then the thoughts we have in a hurried, compulsive, or controlling state, are, quite literally and poetically, trash. But where do these really come from?
Surely, it's all about intention, right?
Surely, my intention to be useful or helpful in any given situation will end well?
Surely, I am a Jedi, and whatever I do accords with the will of the Force?
Surely, I can walk the fine line?
These junk assumptions are some initial reactions that may arise when confronted with a decision, but have not found harmony between the knowledge of our abilities and a true sense of our internal power and motivation. This points to the second line of the Code, and underscores the powers of discernment, knowledge, and the Mind.
Unbalanced and armed with a handful of assumptions, the path is obscured by ignorance, and our response ability (read, responsibility) is severely limited:
If Power takes the lead, and our ability lacks, the response has a forced quality.
If Ability takes the lead, and our motivation lacks, the response is devoid of substance.
Even more, through not acting at all, we limit and even kill the potential of responsible outcomes.
To put it another way, if we note the typical responses to problematic situations, we see two general trends: we can work with what is available or at hand, and methodically attain our goal; or we work with unknowns and “chance”, betting that a general and strong enough troubleshooting will get us through to a particular or desired goal.
The uncertainty of either path can prove insurmountable; how many times have you faced a situation in which multiple valid responses could be applied? Further, how many situations like this have we faced without responding at all? How does one discern a path forwards?
The good effects of meditation cannot be praised enough; with a refined body, a settled mind, and an open heart, we can rely upon our ally, the Force, to guide us on the path.
When we take the time to stop, we connect with a technique even more ancient than our Non-Acting Ancestors
With meditation, we create space for balance to be had, and it is this balance that forms the bedrock of the Jedi Path. What you gain from a session is not to be simply noted and left behind on the cushion; it is to be carried with you into the World.
It is this luminous spaciousness that that we touch that is meant to find its way into our lives, like water moving to the furrow. And as you meet with difficulty, this light is what will guide you- but you have to take the step forward, balanced.
This is training- this is the Path; onwards, upwards, and balanced.
May the Force be with you...