What is Energy? – Part 5 – A Side-by-Side comparison between Energy and The Force

Please note: “The Force,” “Jedi,” “Star Wars,” and a host of other related terms are trademarked by LucasFilm / Disney. Additionally, the opinions and views expressed in the below article are the author’s own and not associated or endorsed in any way by LucasFilm or Disney. Lastly, the goal of the articles in this series is to intellectually compare an idea from the fictional Star Wars universe with a concept from our actual universe – not to imply that these two things are the same.

Welcome to our last (I promise!) installment in the side-by-side comparison between The Force and the concept I refer to on the blog as Energy. In this last installment we’ll take on the 2nd half of the below quote from the Wikipedia Article (see last week’s post for the first half) and we’ll end by summing up the discussion at the root of this series.

“A number of other paranormal, psionic Force powers are demonstrated in the film series, including telekinesis, levitation, hypnosis, and mind control, as well as extra sensory perception based abilities such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and enhanced empathy.” (underlining mine)

Telepathy

Google defines Telepathy as, “the supposed communication of thoughts or ideas by means other than the known senses.”

We tend to think of our brains as a ‘contained’ space and our thoughts as private. If we return to the premise that ‘everything is made up of energy’ and add to that the idea that we are able to process the information in that energy to varying degrees of ability, our brains can be quite ‘leaky.’ I’m certain we have all been in a situation where a song is in our head and someone else in the room starts humming or singing it. Alternatively, we might watch someone else struggle to find a word, we ‘think’ the word in our mind, and suddenly they have it.

Telepathy is an obvious similarity between The Force and Energy and is one that most of us experience in subtle ways without even realizing it. Have you ever interacted with someone where there is such mutual understanding between the two of you that words seem only supplemental? Even words are energy. When two people are energetically in tune there are multiple levels of energetic communication between them; spoken words are only one level.

In contrast, have you ever interacted with someone where you had an incredibly difficult time communicating? You understood all the words they were using, but you just couldn’t understand them? Or, they seemed to be unable to understand you? When two people are not energetically in tune, the energetic dissonance gets in the way of communication and spoken words can rarely bridge the gap.

On a side note, if we are looking for irrefutable ‘proof’ of telepathy – perhaps we ought to consider that most people minds (including our own) are hardly very clear and focused. When we are not clear ‘senders’ of signals and not clear ‘receivers’ how can we expect to be able to practice telepathy in a way that would hold up to ‘lab’ testing conditions?[1]   Although it’s not as obviously experienced with Energy as it is with The Force, telepathic ability is a similarity between the two

Clairvoyance

Google defines Clairvoyance as, “the supposed facility of perceiving events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact.”

Like telepathy, clairvoyance is an obvious similarity between The Force and Energy. Our energetic connection opens a channel to perceive situations and events in a manner beyond our cognitive reference. As introduced in the initial installment of this series – if everything is made up of energy and we are able to connect into that energy, then unlimited amounts of information are available to us.

The challenge in the physical world is in increasing our awareness of this connection and broadening our ability to process the information that comes through so that we can cognitively make use of it. On a personal level, I would never consider myself a psychic,[2] however, I have experiences that would qualify as ‘clairvoyant’ on a fairly regular basis.

Enhanced Empathy

We touched on this subject in the very first section, so I won’t repeat what was said there. However, I have found that, through connection, my sense of empathy in general has increased.

Huston Smith writes in The World’s Religions, “Seeing all things under the aspect of eternity would make one objective toward oneself… Personal failure would be as small a cause for concern as playing the role of loser in a summer theater performance. How could one feel disappointed at one’s own defeat if one experienced the victor’s joy as also one’s own; how could being passed over for a promotion touch one if one’s competitor’s success were enjoyed vicariously?”[3]

To be fair, my experience of enhanced empathy has been more that I feel another’s defeat and sorrow to such a degree that it dampens any victory. In general, it has turned me into a person who is not very competitive. I am also highly moved when I witness kindness and love between people; not romantic love, but the kind that gives without any expectation of return.

I want to be careful, here, not to suggest that I have some sortof emotional mastery that abnegates the self in favor of the collective. I still very much have a self – and, in fact, I like having a self. My self still has concerns about others’ perceptions, about being loved, about doing the right thing, etc.

Enhanced empathy is not synonymous with being a ‘perfect person.’ It’s not even, necessarily, always a desirable quality. Famed spiritualist Sonia Choquette says highly empathic individuals often have weak psychic boundaries. They let other people’s emotions influence them in, sometimes, unhealthy ways. In my case that’s very likely to be true, I’m working on my energetic boundaries. In any case, enhanced empathy is a similarity between ‘The Force’ and ‘Energy.’

The Sith are able to generate a lightning-like manifestation of the dark side of the Force that can be used either in combat or as an instrument of torture, as demonstrated by the Emperor in Return of the Jedi (1983).[13]

I’ve got nothing on this one. I’ve never seen anyone control or generate lightning using energy.  🙂 I suppose it’s possible, but let’s leave this one in the ‘difference’ category for now.

Conversely, Yoda demonstrates an ability to absorb, dissipate and deflect these energy attacks in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005).[4]

What I can say about this ability, from my own personal experience, is that I tend to feel a build-up of intense, ‘crackly’ energy when a strong storm is coming (as one example). When that happens, the Energy needs an outlet, and I find I need to ‘ground’ it (by directing the flow of energy to the Earth), cry, or do something physically draining (dance, running, etc.). If I don’t do these things, I end up fighting with someone – the energy comes out as aggression.

When I direct the energy to flow through me instead of simply trying to absorb it or manage it internally, I feel much better. Based on that, I can imagine a master energy practitioner (the equivalent of a Yoda, for example) being able to masterfully redirect energy from a direct energetic ‘attack.’ I consider this capability a similarity between The Force and Energy.

Practice, Patience, and Perseverance

The development and use of Force abilities requires intense willpower, discipline, and concentration, which becomes easier with practice. Use of the Force requires considerable effort and energy, and can be physically draining.

This is definitely true of both Energy and The Force. What the Star Wars series alludes to, but the watcher does not really experience firsthand, is that working with Energy takes a tremendous amount of effort and patience. Even for people with talent in one particular area, I imagine they have to put in considerable effort to expand their experience of Energy.

In the newest installment of the Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens, the main character, Rey seems to just “come into her abilities” without a lot of training or effort. In contrast, in the initial trilogy, Luke spends most of The Empire Strikes Back in training with Yoda. The latter aligns much more closely, in terms of effort required, to my experience working with Energy.

Additionally, in the Star Wars Universe, it seems that all or at least many of the properties of The Force are available simultaneously to ‘force-sensitive’ individuals. Maybe I’m just ridiculously untalented in this area, but Energy talent does not appear to manifest the same way.

Even when people have a strong, natal talent for working with energy it seems to be higher in one or two categories rather than spread across all of them. For example, one person might be highly clairvoyant where another is highly empathic. However, it’s certainly possible, if people were to begin training in such practices on a regular and consistent basis, that we might see more people with abilities across the full spectrum.

After a side-by-side comparison, I see many similarities between what I call Energy and George Lucas’ concept of The Force in the Star Wars universe. There are certainly differences also. One obvious difference, though, is that one belongs to a fictional world where its properties can expand to whatever the plot requires.

The other is a real element of the corporeal universe. While we can all train ourselves to consult at varying levels of ability, the properties of Energy are still bound by the physical laws of the Universe.

I hope you have enjoyed this series. Now that we’ve gone through the basics on Energy, hopefully it will make more sense (if it hasn’t already) where it comes up on the blog.

[1] See the paragraph in ‘The Art of Finding’ about how ‘performance anxiety’ can interfere with tapping into our subtle abilities.

[2] See the post “What does it mean to be psychic” for more details on this

[3] The World’s Religions; Smith, Huston; 1991; Harper Collins; p23

What is Energy – Part 4 – A Side-by-Side Comparison between Energy and The Force

Please note: “The Force,” “Jedi,” “Star Wars,” and a host of other related terms are trademarked by LucasFilm / Disney. Additionally, the opinions and views expressed in the below article are the author’s own and not associated or endorsed in any way by LucasFilm or Disney. Lastly, the goal of the articles in this series is to intellectually compare an idea from the fictional Star Wars universe with a concept from our actual universe – not to imply that these two things are the same.

Welcome to the next installment of our side-by-side comparison between The Force from the Star Wars universe and Energy from our universe. J This week we’ll tackle the first half of the below quote from the Wikipedia article on The Force.

“A number of other paranormal, psionic Force powers are demonstrated in the film series, including telekinesis, levitation, hypnosis, and mind control, as well as extra sensory perception based abilities such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and enhanced empathy.”

Let’s take these one by one;

Telekinesis

Have I ever been able to call a lightsaber to my side just by reaching out my hand? No. However, before we move on from the subject of telekinesis, let’s dig a little deeper into this idea.

Google defines Telekinesis as, “the supposed ability to move objects at a distance by mental or non-physical means.” If we consider the Universe to be made up of energy – whether fixed or fluid (Ie, in a fluid energetic state or fixed in matter) and, if we recognize that it is possible to influence that energy in the future through our own energetic connection, that – in a way – is a type of telekinesis.

Also, I have had a couple of odd experiences in my life where it seems almost as if I have ‘called’ things to my side. In one example, I was sitting in our family living room meditating on the middle of the carpet and thinking about this small Turquoise rock I had lost. I had lost it months before (maybe even more than a year) with no idea of what happened to it.

When I opened my eyes at the end of the meditation, and looked down at my hand on the carpet, there was the rock! I had been meditating in the middle of our living room – one of the most high-traffic rooms in the house, so it’s fairly impossible that the rock had just been sitting there all this time. I could imagine that someone walked by and ‘dropped’ it – but no one in my family is really big on carrying small rocks about. This is still a mystery to me, but it’s a ‘data point’[1] in the direction of being able to move objects energetically.

If we accept this broader view of telekinesis, this ‘power’ could be a similarity between Energy and The Force. However, if we focus only on the specific telekinetic actions of the characters in the series; literally moving objects through space in the moment, I have never witnessed nor experienced that directly… so that would be a difference between these two elements.

Levitation

Levitation is certainly something that mystics have claimed to be able to do. I have never levitated, nor have I ever seen anyone levitate.   On the other hand, sometimes during meditation I have felt this incredible ‘lightness of being,’ an intense pull upward that made it feel like I could levitate if I just went a little further along that path. I could see how that feeling, alone, would suggest levitation may be possible using energy. I have never personally achieved it, though, so let’s leave this in the ‘difference’ category for now.

Hypnosis & Mind Control

A further quote from the Wikipedia article; “They are also able to influence and control the minds of others by making use of the “Jedi mind trick”, or using the Force to implant suggestions with which the subject is compelled to comply.[8]

I have a strong negative reaction to the word ‘control.’ However, Energy can definitely be used to influence others. I have certainly ended up accidentally influencing co-workers, loved ones, and friends. The idea of deliberately influencing another person energetically feels a bit unethical, though, so I honestly have not tried to do that.[2]

On the other hand, I do believe I’ve been on the receiving end of such influence. In January of 2013, I found a meditation center that I briefly considered attending / joining. At the time, I was searching for a Spiritual Path mentor, and I had hoped to have found one there. After a couple of visits, though, I came to believe that the leader of the center was (however purely intentioned) trying to manipulate my energy.

The first time I visited, I could feel him digging around in my heart chakra. I’m not familiar enough with the mechanics of energy work to know whether he was just ‘opening up’ old trunks and closets and things I had closed off or whether he was deliberately wreaking havoc, but I came out of the experience feeling deep heart chakra pain and crying the whole drive home.

Unsure of whether I’d had a deeply cathartic energy experience or a deeply wounding one (hey, sometimes pain is good for you, right?), I went back once more. This time, when asked to wait in a private waiting room, every chair I sat in caused an intense energetic reaction (I’ve written about this experience in more detail in the post “Out of My Mind“). I concluded that some very intense energetic influence was happening at that practice. Already out of my depth and unsure how long I’d be able to hold my own, I withdrew.

Based on that (and other) experiences, I could definitely imagine that an unscrupulous energy worker could heavily influence or ‘control’ a person who is unaware of energetic influence and in a vulnerable place emotionally. Would it be as obvious an influence as when Rey, in The Force Awakens, says “You will release my restraints” and the storm troopers comply? It’s hard to say.

I imagine that a master energy practitioner (which I am nowhere near) would probably be acting enough in harmony with the flow of energy that they would be able to avoid getting into a situation where they would need to push that hard. If they needed to, could they? Probably. I would sort this ability into the ‘similarity’ category.

That rounds out our discussion for this week – in our last entry, next week, we’ll cover telepathy, clairvoyance, enhanced empathy, and a few miscellaneous items.

[1] See the post “Sink or Swim” for more on the significance of data points in spiritual path work

[2] I imagine if I or my family were ever in danger, however, all those scruples of “not influencing someone energetically” would go out the window – I would definitely try.

What is Energy? – Part 3 – A Side-by-Side comparison of Energy & the Force

Please note: “The Force,” “Jedi,” “Star Wars,” and a host of other related terms are trademarked by LucasFilm / Disney. Additionally, the opinions and views expressed in the below article are the author’s own and not associated or endorsed in any way by LucasFilm or Disney. Lastly, the goal of the articles in this series is to intellectually compare an idea from the fictional Star Wars universe with a concept from our actual universe – not to imply that these two things are the same.

What About All the ‘powers’ associated with The Force in Star Wars? Does working with Energy come with those also?

In the previous two posts, we explored Energy, at a high level, in comparison with George Lucas’ concept of The Force and we covered my personal discovery of Energy as an initiation point on my Spiritual Path. In this next installment, we will do a side by side comparison of the ‘powers’ associated with The Force from the Star Wars Universe compared to those associated with the concept I refer to as Energy.

Initially I planned for this to be one long post, but it topped out above 3,000 words and I have since decided to break it up into three sections; parts 3,4, & 5. Using the Wikipedia entry as our guide (I know that’s hardly exhaustive if you’re a Star Wars aficionado, but it provides an acceptable entry point) let’s look at some of the features of The Force;

“As the Force connects all living things, Force-sensitive individuals may feel what is called a “disturbance in the Force” when death or suffering occurs on a massive scale

Force-sensitive individuals may be able to sense each other’s presence and emotions across distances, as Luke and Princess Leia do in The Empire Strikes Back.”

I’m going to take these two together because my experience with them has been fundamentally related. I do tend to feel pain or ‘a disturbance’ in my heart chakra when someone I love is in trouble. I have also noticed this sensation in my heart chakra during times of extreme distress on a national and global scale; September 11th 2001 specifically comes to mind.

It’s hard to parse out whether this feeling is attributable to mere ‘fear’ on my own part or if it’s triggered by the energetic connection. Additionally, I’ve had a number of apparent ‘false positives’ – where I feel this disturbance with no readily identifiable cause. My ability to process what I get through my energetic connection into ‘sensible’ information is still developing so sometimes I feel things without knowing why.

Theoretically, if we are all energetically connected and we are mindful of that connection, we could certainly ‘sense’ things via that channel. Based on my own experience and understanding, this is a similarity between Energy and The Force.

“In A New Hope, the Force aids Luke in launching proton torpedoes with precision into a two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port on the Death Star.[3]

We could say that Luke uses his ‘intuition’ to help him launch the proton torpedoes. However, as much as I appreciate intuition, I don’t think the term itself is very self-explanatory. Another way to look at the situation is this; Luke’s energetic self is connected to all the other energy of the universe and therefore is more informed than his brain.

When he trains himself to listen to his energy body without his logical mind interfering he’s able to use that energetic information to gain more accuracy in hitting his target. The energy body informs the physical body more quickly than it informs the cognitive part of the brain.

The body is not interested in processing information, it leaves that to the brain. The body acts on information. On a personal note, I associate this ‘power’ with the ‘art of finding.’ When I go into ‘finding’ mode, I deliberately bring down my logic mind and visual dominance and let my energy field direct me. Check out the post on this subject for more detail.

Another exercise I have tried related to this is walking through narrow hallways with my eyes closed (slowly!) to train myself to feel with my energy where the walls are. Thus, I consider this ability to also be in common between both Energy and The Force.

Count Dooku, Emperor Palpatine and Yoda, despite age or size, are able to competently fight younger or larger opponents than themselves in the Star Wars prequel trilogy of films.[4]

This one is not that much of a stretch. Anyone who is familiar with the Martial Arts will probably have heard stories about smaller and – perceptibly – weaker individuals defeating larger or younger opponents. Martial Arts are heavily based in the concept I refer to as Energy – in Chinese based martial arts, the root is ‘chi’ or ‘qi’ which means breath, but is essentially synonymous with my use of energy (If you read last week’s installment, I mentioned that Tai-Chi was my entry point in discovering and practicing with my energy). In the Japanese tradition this translates to ‘ki’ as in Hap-ki-do or Ai-ki-do.

When the energy body and the physical body are in harmony and allowed to move without the logical mind interfering, truly amazing things can happen. I vote this as another one in the ‘similarity’ category.

Next week we’ll compare Energy and The Force on telekinesis, levitation, hypnosis, and mind control. Although all of the ‘powers’ we tackled this week seem to be similarities, next week we’ll find some differences. As a reminder, the purpose of this post and all others in this series is to intellectually compare Energy with The Force, not to imply that these two are the same thing.

What is ‘Energy’? – Part 2 – My Journey

In last week’s installment we introduced the concept of Energy and focused on a high-level comparison of Energy and the Star Wars concept of The Force. This week I want to take a step back and cover this topic on a more personal level because it is my own personal experience of Energy that has driven my desire to understand it, explore it, and share about it.

Twenty years ago, I had my very first awakening to this energy that connects us all.

Barely seventeen, I attended a Tai-Chi workshop run by one of my high school English teachers. She instructed us to rub our hands together to generate some heat (and presumably electricity) and hold them a few inches apart facing palm to palm.

We were then instructed to move our hands towards and away from each other to see if we could ‘feel’ anything. I gasped as I felt the air thicken between my palms into a substance like magnetic taffy. Other gasps in the room suggested that I wasn’t the only one having an otherworldly experience. What was this?

I went home and spent hours just playing with this substance. Could I feel it without rubbing my hands together? What happened if I hovered the palms of my hands over other parts of my body? Could I stretch it to be ‘bigger’ or condense it? Little did I know that I had awakened to a whole new way to experience my own existence that would permeate the rest of my life thus far.

The next day I went to school and excitedly approached my fellow students from the Tai-Chi class. To my dismay, each one I spoke with insisted that they hadn’t felt anything. Disheartened and thrown into doubt, I began to question what I had felt. Had it all been my imagination?

My initial enthusiasm and desire to share gave way to a quiet, individual exploration – the most dangerous kind. When I got home that evening I again spent hours ‘playing’ with ‘my chi.’   I practiced ‘sharing energy’ with select, trusted friends always focusing on deepening my awareness of how the energy moved and changed.

Although my friends said that they could feel it too when we shared energy, they didn’t seem to have nearly the same drive to understand it that I did. I felt confused, weird, and alone. It’s difficult to fathom this experience today because we are all so tapped into the internet that it’s fairly easy to find other people or sources of information wherever our interests lie. But in 1995 & 1996 the internet was still in a very raw state and only starting to seep into home use.

The summer of my eighteenth year my heart chakra ‘opened’ or ‘tore’ or something. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t even know what a chakra was.

On the recommendation of my English teacher I picked up the book Hands of Light by Barbara Ann Brennan. The book was both exciting and disheartening. Exciting because the work validated my own experience (at least I wasn’t totally crazy). Disheartening because her location in New York seemed a ‘world away’ to a high-school student in Chicago.

Playing With Fire

Based on a section where the author discusses the energy of plants, I decided to try ‘sharing energy’ with some plants. My hope was that they would grow better with the addition of my energy into their field – or, if not that, that maybe I would feel more ‘connected’ to the natural world.

Growing up, there were always plants around. My mother was always growing things. In our breezeway, I found a table full of potential energy-sharing subjects. I chose one larger (but still easy to carry) houseplant and then a smaller plant among a dozen of the same kind obviously waiting to be transplanted.

Late at night, before bed, I took each plant individually (of the two) to my room and sat on the floor sharing energy with the plant for fifteen minutes. I then returned each plant to exactly the space on the table where I found it. I did this every night for about a week, but after not seeing any dramatic changes or results within those days I lost interest a little bit and stopped for a few days.

One day, shortly after I had stopped my energy ‘experiments,’ my mom came down into the basement, obviously distracted. “Two of my plants died” she started, “And it’s the weirdest thing. They’re not dried out or yellow from too much water. There is no sign of a disease, and they were fine a few days ago.  They’re still perfectly green, but brittle like husks – it’s as if whatever made them alive is just ‘gone.’ There are at least a dozen other plants on that table, but none of the other plants were affected. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

As she spoke, I felt a growing dread and I raced up the stairs. In my heart I already knew which two plants it would be. Sure enough, as I looked at the two plants I had been sharing energy with so recently, I could see what my mom meant. I had never seen anything like it either. If I had to describe them, I would say it was like the plants had been ‘flash frozen’ except they weren’t cold and it was the height of summer.

To be fair, it could have just been an incredible coincidence. My home could hardly be equated with ‘lab conditions.’ But the timing and effects were highly suspicious. Two other incidents that happened roughly around the same time cemented my concern that I was ‘messing’ with something I didn’t understand at the risk of potentially disastrous consequences.

We use the expression ‘playing with fire’ for a reason. All the energy forces we know of are similar in this regard – indispensable in a small or moderate quantity, but highly destructive in vast and uncontrollable quantities; like a wildfire, flood, or hurricane. This is not to say that my energy is vast, but I certainly couldn’t control it and it may have seemed quite vast to a houseplant. I decided to stop experimenting.

Where to go From There

Despite my departure from actively ‘practicing’ with my energy, I continued to meditate and I continued to have energy-related experiences. I had psychic flashes where I suddenly ‘knew’ things I shouldn’t know. I started spontaneously ‘manifesting’ or ‘co-creating’ – meaning, I suddenly and unexpectedly started getting whatever I asked for, even silly things.

One of the oddest, my junior year in college I had a surreal experience when I was working in a warehouse as part of a summer job. I was standing next to a bunch of wooden pallets which were stacked to near shoulder-height. Another worker approached me quickly with a stack full of pallets piled high. Behind me was the drop-off for the loading dock. I was about to be crushed by the pallets and there was nowhere to go!

I remember moving. I remember lifting one leg and making a twisting movement and putting my foot down and lifting the other leg and twisting. I know it happened fast, so fast that the motion was a blur, even for me. But I remember the movement, kinesthetically. My next full conscious moment I was on the opposite side of the pallet stack. My co-worker looked at me and said, “How did you….?” And then he freaked out yelling, “Did anybody else just see that?”

I started to explain, to show him how I had done it, but when I tried to lift my leg the way I remembered doing, there was no way I could have gotten it high enough to get even my leg over the pallets, nevermind the rest of my body. I was struck silent and confused, I had no idea how I got from one side of all those pallets to the other with the loading dock drop-off right behind me (there was nowhere to step where I had thought I put my foot down.)

That was just one of the dozens of ‘energy’ experiences I have accumulated over the last twenty years. I know I am not alone. There is a relatively silent contingent of people out there who have had experiences just like mine, maybe the experiences are not exactly the same mechanically, but they are the same fundamentally.   One of the important things to take away from this story is that every person I ‘shared’ energy with could also feel that energy. This is a capacity we all have if we’re interested in pursuing it.

My hope is that sharing this part of my story has communicated that – when I talk about Energy on the blog it comes from what has been a deeply personal, tumultuous experience for me. I am constantly grappling with this concept; vacillating between skepticism and devoted faith, struggling to understand it without becoming so attached to the idea that I hang my whole identity on it.

I believe that the Universe is made up of Energy, that that energy is connected, and that the direction and flow of that energy is open to influence not as a result of reading or studying some new-age theory, but because that has been my personal experience in the last twenty years; over and over again.

How does this  Energy I refer to on the blog compare to the concept of The Force in the George Lucas Star Wars universe? Next week we’ll start a side-by-side comparison between the powers exhibited by Star Wars’ characters and the phenomenon that I have experienced with Energy.

What IS this concept I call Energy and How Does it Compare to The Force from Star Wars?

Please note: “The Force,” “Jedi,” “Star Wars,” and a host of other related terms are trademarked by LucasFilm / Disney. Additionally, the opinions and views expressed in the below article are the author’s own and not associated or endorsed in any way by LucasFilm or Disney. Lastly, the goal of the articles in this series is to intellectually compare an idea from the fictional Star Wars universe with a concept from our actual universe – not to imply that these two things are the same.

“I put The Force into the movies in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people. More a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system.” George Lucas as quoted in the Wikipedia Article on The Force

A long time ago, in a post far, far away[1] I noted that the Universe is made up of Energy. I then went on to say that I wasn’t going to dwell on the subject since there are many other works in both the spiritual and scientific space that explain this better than I can. Perhaps as a result of seeing the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens in the theatre a couple months ago, though, I feel an awakening desire to discuss this topic in a little more detail and on a little more personal level.

I started out writing one long post, but now that I’m on a weekly schedule, I’ve decided to break the topic up a bit. The first installment (this one) is a high-level comparison of The Force and Energy with a minor discussion of dark side / light side, the second will detail my personal story related to Energy, the last three entries will feature a ‘side-by-side’ comparison between the powers associated with The Force as depicted in Star Wars and those associated with the concept referred to as Energy on this blog.

So what do I mean by Energy and how does it compare to The Force concept in Star Wars?

To explain, I’ll return to the starting statement from that previous post and we can unpack it a little bit. First, the Universe is made up of Energy. Acknowledged, there is disagreement in deep physics about what form this Energy takes. For example, is the smallest unit of energetic existence a particle? Or a vibrating string? Or something else entirely?

To participate in our everyday existence, the form this fundamental ‘building block’ of Energy takes is not that important. When I use the term Energy on this blog, I am simply referencing that fundamental ‘building block’ of the Universe which is at the heart of all existence. Whether we talk about atoms or quarks or neutrinos or strings, we, and everything we know to exist, is rooted in some kind of energetic substance.

According to the Wikipedia article on The Force, “In the original Star Wars film (1977)… The Force is first described by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi [as] what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.[1]

Although The Force is an “energy field created by living things,” when it comes to ‘Energy’ the category is much broader, it’s all existence. For example, when I drive, I tend to extend my Energy into the car such that it becomes like part of my body. This doesn’t mean that my car is ‘conscious,’ but that, at an energetic level, my car is available for me to tap into. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Racecar drivers, for example, have this same experience at a more intense level where they may feel, in a way, one with the car.

Although things made up of energy appear widely dissimilar to us on the ground (ie – a tree and water hardly seem the same energetically), because of the energetic connection on a fundamental level, it is possible to ‘tap into’ this energy for information or influence. In fact, I believe (and this belief is not that uncommon in the spiritual space) that there is some base level of communication and connection possible among all existence on an energetic level.

Reach Out and ‘Touch’ Someone[2]

If it helps, think about a wireless network. There is data around us all the time that our devices can process into content which we are able to use via our phones, computers, televisions, etc. Imagine that we could tap into and process that information directly.

We probably could, although this wouldn’t be as awesome as it sounds. You might not care, for example, that your neighbor is searching the latest sale on a children’s clothing website or that the person sitting next to you on the train is watching an old slasher film. If all the information in the wireless networks around us came crashing in at once it would be overwhelming, and certainly not very useful.

To make matters more complicated, the Energy I refer to is broader than that of wireless networks, because it is the Energy of all people, all animals, all existence (living or not). When we tap into this Energy and process its content into usable data – we have potentially unlimited information available to us.[3]

One secret to using this ability wisely, however, is being able to consult the energy in such a way to get only the information you need – not everything. Unfortunately, when we add all our fears, insecurities, and filters into the equation – it can be highly challenging to process and interpret the information we receive from energetic connection without putting an interpretation on it.

One of my favorite quotes from Sarvepalli Radakrishnan (in reference to the mystical experience) puts it this way,

“…there is no such thing as pure experience, raw and undigested. It is always mixed up with layers of interpretation. The alleged immediate datum is psychologically mediated.”[4]

We can tap into this Energy source for information, but once our brain starts processing it into thoughts, interpretations and judgments start to sneak in. This is one reason why doing deep self-cleaning is so important.

If we review the Wikipedia article on The Force it notes that, “The Force is naturally stronger in some people than others, and some who are not significantly gifted can still be sensitive to The Force in varying degrees.”

This quote makes me think of psychics. Based on my own personal experience working with Energy, I believe that people we think of as ‘psychic’ have a particular talent connecting with and processing this Energy into usable material. While we don’t all have such ability in equal measure, we can all develop our skills in this area. I have had a number of ‘psychic’ experiences although I would never call myself ‘psychic’ because (to me) the term implies an amount of control over this ability I simply do not have.[5]

Obviously, there’s a big gap between what most people think of as a ‘psychic’ and a light-saber wielding Jedi. However, I want to save the ‘side-by-side’ comparison details of “powers” associated with The Force versus Energy for the third installment of this series.

Dark Side / Light Side

We can’t complete a comparison between The Force and the concept I refer to as Energy without touching on the dark side / light side concept.

According to Wikipedia, “The Force has a negative and destructive aspect called the “dark side“, which feeds off emotions such as fear, anger, greed, pride, jealousy and hate. Jedi Master Yoda explains to his pupil Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Anger, fear, aggression! The dark side of The Force are they … a Jedi uses The Force for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.[2]

In the Star Wars films The Force is highly polarized, is the same true of Energy?

The similarity or difference here depends on the answer to a simple question about The Force. Is it The Force that has a dark side or is it that powerful Force-sensitive individuals, who retreat into their ‘shadow’ selves, use The Force in dark ways? To put it another way, is the apparent polarization of The Force a projection of the perceived light side / dark side dichotomy of the human psyche?

The above quote from Yoda seems to indicate that a key element of The Force is how it is used. Does the dark side of The Force “feed off of” negative emotions as the Wikipedia article suggests, or is it that those emotions lead to using The Force in ways that are destructive to life and love?

The Universe is a place of creation and destruction. At the most fundamental energetic level, it is impossible to create without destroying. Thus, I believe, that the Energy of the Universe itself is amoral; defined by Merriam-Webster as, “lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply.”

Some believe that there is an inherent morality built into the Universe, I do not think that is true, per se. However, our actions do have re-actions, energetically, and our own feelings and interpretations of our actions at a soul-level[6] based on our own (and others) understanding of morality can cause karmic consequences that we interpret as ‘the Universe’ itself having a morality[7].

In other words, we perceive certain actions as ‘good’ and other actions as ‘evil.’ These perceptions influence the action / re-action karmic sequence. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to hurt the people I love – I’m not ‘above’ making moral judgments of my own and others’ behavior, but I recognize that my own concept of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ has a lot to do with the people, ideas, and things that I value.

Thus, it is certainly possible to use the Energy of the Universe for purposes most would consider nefarious. The Universe itself would not ‘stop’ this, but, interestingly enough, just as one of the biggest blockers for us tapping into and processing this Energy into usable data is our own psychology, on the flipside, one of the biggest blockers of using this Energy for destructive purposes is our own “conscience” being unwilling to do so.

I believe this is the same with The Force and that this is why we find Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens agonizing over the assignment to kill his own father. He is not battling with The Force, he is battling with himself. His use of The Force is a reflection of his own internal state.

I hope you enjoyed this high level introduction to what I mean by Energy on the blog and the comparison to The Force for illustrative purposes. In next week’s installment, I’ll cover my own journey of discovery and understanding this concept of Energy. I would love to hear your thoughts related to these two concepts (or how you think / refer to it. 🙂 )

[1] The Double Agent of Change

[2] Insert reference to the telephone ad

[3] It’s possible that, at the most fundamental level, the Universe is re-creating itself every single moment based on the ‘instructions’ from the moment before. Did that just make your head blow-up? It makes my head blow-up when I think about it. However, even though there is broad understanding that the only moment that actually exists is the now, I think we still haven’t worked through all the implications of that. If there’s no tangible past or future that actually exists, for example, how does existence persist from moment to moment? How does the new moment relate to the previous moment? One possibility could be spontaneous regeneration of the universe based on the instructions of the prior moment. If that is true – then we have the possibility of a very high amount of influence on the next moment based on the current moment. As you can see this idea is still very raw, I may work through it more in a future post… depends on how things develop.

 

[4] A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, Radakrishnan, Sarvepalli and Moore, Charles A., pg 623

[5] I discuss this in more detail in one of the earliest posts on this blog ‘What does it mean to be Psychic?’

[6] We’ll talk more about ‘what the soul is’ (From my perspective, of course) in an upcoming post

[7] The flipside of this would be to assert that – if the Universe is God (as I believe) then its actions determine morality, but as such this is really the same thing as being ‘outside’ of morality. In either case, the element in question operates by its own rules and is not subject to our human notions of morality.