science of mind

Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Awakening the Power, Following the Call

In the late 1990s, there was an article about George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, in the New York Times Magazine. In the accompanying photo, he is shown in front of a bookcase, alongside one of his children. His son is dressed as a Jedi warrior. There is only one title that can be clearly read in the bookcase: The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes. So it’s no wonder that in the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we are told that “The Force is in and around all living beings.”

Suzanne and I recently went to see this movie. I should tell you that it’s a bit on the long side, but it is gripping, so you really don’t notice.

Without revealing too much plot, I’d like to discuss a couple of points I saw in the movie. The basic premise is that thirty years after the destruction of the last Death Star and the collapse of the Galactic Empire, the ashes of the Empire have given rise to an even more dangerous group known as the First Order. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, one of the last remaining Jedi, has disappeared after a failure in training one of his classes of Jedi students. General Leia Organa (the Princess of the destroyed planet Alderaan) sends her best pilot, Poe Dameron, to find Luke.

As Poe tries to carry out this mission, he encounters an escaped First Order storm trooper, FN-2187, whom he calls Finn. Dameron’s droid, BB-8, has part of the map to where Luke is. When Finn and Poe crash, with Finn the only apparent survivor, BB-8 attaches himself to a scavenger on the planet Jakku named Rey. Neither Finn nor Rey really wants to get involved in the Resistance. Finn just wants to escape the First Order and Rey just wants to go back to scavenging on Jakku.

Eventually, the First Order comes after Rey and BB-8, who escape in an old, poorly maintained ship called the Millennium Falcon. It gets swallowed up by another ship, piloted by Han Solo and Chewbaca. The four of them set out to find Luke.

There is a tribute to the original Star Wars bar scene, when Han decides to visit an old friend, saloon keeper Maz Kanata, who has a light saber in a box that calls to Rey. It is the light saber belonging to the legendary Jedi master Luke Skywalker. Of course, Rey runs, but eventually, she cannot get away from the power.

When she is captured by the First Order, lead storm trooper Kylo Ren (in the black Darth Vader suit) attempts to force the information on Luke’s whereabouts out of her. He reports to the Supreme Leader that “she is strong in The Force – untrained but stronger than she knows.” (Wait until you find out Kylo Ren’s identity – it’s as surprising a Darth Vader’s was.)

Eventually, Finn and Rey, along with Poe Dameron, Han Solo, and Chewie, find themselves in the middle of things as they search for Han’s good friend and brother in law. The First Order keeps attempting to capture or kill them.

R2D2, who has been inactive since Luke disappeared, connects with BB-8 and discovers that he carries valuable information, which is greatly helpful to the Resistance forces (the Republic) in their efforts to find Luke.

It seems that Poe, Finn, Rey, and R2D2 are all called to step up when their moment demands it. Rey is called by the lightsaber; R2D2 is called by the awareness that his service and information are of value. BB-8, Finn, and even Han all have their moments when they must step it up.

What does this teach us? Well, for one thing, each of the characters comes to a crossroads and learns to step into his or her greatness. Each is called at some point and even if they try to run, they cannot get away from their mission. Similarly, we are called to fulfill our work in life and step into our greatness.

We must do what we are called to do, whether it’s writing, music, ministry, parenthood, or anything else. If we do not, it keeps following us. We can’t get away from it. As I like to say, your calling will keep calling until you answer. Commit to being who you are called to be and you just might lift up the world. You will be the channel for Right Action, and the world needs what you have to give. We don’t all have to save the world from evil empires, but we all have something important to do.

When you work with The Force (or whatever else you choose to call the Allness, the One), you can achieve greatness and though your path may contain numerous hazards and obstacles, focusing on what we must do smooths the way. And of course, it is much easier when we remember that It is “in and around all living things.” Including you and me.

You will likely enjoy this movie very much, and keep an eye out for the metaphysical metaphors that abound in the movie.

Maleficent — Knocking Down Walls With the Power of Love

This past Friday Suzanne and I went to see Maleficent.  It’s the backstory of Sleeping Beauty, featuring Angelina Jolie as the title character, who first appears by name in the classic Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.
I will try not to reveal too much plot or any spoilers, but there are a couple of metaphysical lessons in this movie.
We first meet Maleficent as a young girl, a fairy who is a leader of the fairy kingdom.  Across the moors is a kingdom of humans and the two barely get along.  One day, a young man named Stefan comes into the kingdom and he and Maleficent become fast friends and fall in love.  On her sixteenth birthday, he gives Maleficent the gift of “true love’s kiss” — but sadly, it does not last.  His ambition to be king causes him to betray her.
The King wants Maleficent killed.  Whoever can do it will be his successor.  Stefan cuts off her wings and brings them to the King.  He is anointed successor.
The years pass, and King Stefan and his queen have a child, a princess they name Aurora.  (Aurora means “light”.  It is also the name of the goddess of the dawn.)  From here, much of the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty kicks in, but with additional wrinkles.
Seeking revenge, Maleficent lays a curse on Princess Aurora — that on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger and go into “a sleep like death” that can only be broken by “true love’s kiss.”  Stefan entrusts Aurora to the care of three pixies until the day after her sixteenth birthday.
Maleficent saves a bird named Diaval and turns him into a human.  He switches back and forth at various times to be Maleficent’s wings. She also constructs a wall of thorns to keep the humans from Stefan’s kingdom from ever again setting foot in the moors.  (The moors are also protected by some very strange looking creatures that made me think that some who failed auditions to be orcs and ents in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies found jobs at Disney.)
Every day Maleficent watches Aurora, to the point that when Aurora finally meets her, she identifies Maleficent as her fairy godmother.  By this time, Maleficent has developed a real love for Aurora and is trying to find a way to undo her curse.  Unfortunately, when she spoke it, she decreed that no power on Earth could break it.  (It takes a power greater than that of humans and fairies.)
Eventually, Maleficent tears down her own wall and heads for the castle to try to save Aurora, but she is too late and Aurora is in the deep death-like sleep decreed by the curse.  A prince from another kingdom arrives  and he kisses her, but that doesn’t do the job.  Eventually, however, the right kiss arrives and she awakes.
Meanwhile, Stefan is trying to kill Maleficent.  There is a great battle, Maleficent turns Diaval into a dragon, but they’re trapped.  However, Aurora has been poking around the castle and comes on the display case where Maleficent’s wings are stored.  She breaks it, the wings fly in, the day is saved.
What do we draw from this story?
First, the power of love.  It takes true love to awaken Aurora and it takes true love to end Maleficent’s desire for revenge.  (She also realizes that Aurora may be the way to peace between the two kingdoms.)  Their love for each other saves them both.  The movie is a testament to the power of love to overcome the hatreds of the world.  Love overcomes revenge and causes Maleficent to release it.
Second, we see that only you can tear down your walls.  No one can do it for you.  And as long as those walls stand, you cannot let anyone in.  That cuts you off from the world.  Breaking down those walls is essential for love to flourish.
All in all, a lovely afternoon well spent.