It shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine that you are Luke Skywalker and the militarized, oppressive government is the Empire. Now go one step further and imagine I am Yoda in a backpack slung tight over your shoulder cryptically articulating wisdom into your ear. We’re running through the forest, interdependent and one with nature, the force moving through us like fire born from the crucible of stars past.
Nature and Soul is quantum entangled inside us, binding us to all things as we eco-consciously crush out, revealing the infinite interconnection of all things like we’re individual mirrors mirroring the mighty mirror of the cosmos. The force is a smeared out wavefunction collapsing all around us into rushing rivers, majestic mountains, translucent trees, and flourishing flowers. Sky above us, earth below us, fire inside us, we are self-actualizing the moment.
But this is your first taste of the Force, your first nibble of Zen, the tip of the iceberg of a mind-altering, soul-crushing, life-changing way of perceiving the universe: interdependently. And so my first words to you are the following: “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
1) Meditation and solitude
“In solitude, be to thyself a throng.” ~ Tibullus by Montaigne
You don’t have to do a one-handed handstand while balancing Yoda on one foot and lifting R2D2 and a bunch of rocks with the Force in order to enjoy the awesome benefits of meditation.
Nor do you need to become a reclusive hermit on a swampy jungle-world in the outermost reaches of the galaxy in order to enjoy the awesome benefits of solitude. You need only get away from the typical (whatever that means for you) world and be mindfully present with nature for a few days. That’s it. The more days the better, sure, but remember: all things in moderation, to include becoming a socially awkward hermit.
We are all social creatures, so we definitely need each other. Even when the other social creatures in our world are brainwashed, culturally conditioned, half-witted, scruffy looking Nerf-herders, we still have to do the tribal/cultural/societal/national song-and-dance in order to be human. But there’s no reason why we can’t let our rebel-hearts off the Empire’s hook from time to time to catch a breath of fresh Tattooine-air, no matter how dry and dusty it is. We do this by putting things into proper perspective. And nothing puts things into better perspective than the energy which surrounds us and binds us: the Force (i.e. the interconnectedness of Nature).
2) Learn a language older than words
“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” ~ Rumi
So what does the Force (Nature) have to teach us? The first thing it teaches us is that everything is connected, from the tiniest quark to the largest quasar. Everything from Han Solo’s left eyebrow to Jabba the Hutt’s slimy tongue is made from the carbon once cooked in a star.
As Carl Sagan simply stated, “We are made of star stuff.” As Yoda cryptically stated, “My ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.” This teaches us that everything is already differentiated unity, guiding us to unite the conscious with the primitive, the sensible with the sentient, enlightenment with humor.
The next most important thing the Force (Nature) teaches us is the ancient language spoken between all things. It’s a silent voice, a sacred resonance that connects what seems to be disconnected, but is only seemingly so because of our limited perception of reality. This voice reminds us when we’ve forgotten. It wakes us up when we’ve fallen asleep. It questions us when we’ve become complacent with our answers. It’s the metaphorical ghost of Obi Wan Kanobi advising Luke to seek the wisdom of Yoda. It’s Mahatma Gandhi speaking posthumously to us: “Live simply so that others may simply live.”
3) Guerilla/freestyle gardening
“Anarchy is all around us. Without it, our world would fall apart. All progress is due to it. All order extends from it. All blessed things that rise above the state of nature are owed to it. The human race thrives only because of the lack of control, not because of it. I’m saying that we need ever more absence of control to make the world a more beautiful place. It is a paradox that we must forever explain.” ~ Jeffery Tucker
Freedom is the battle cry of all sacred warriors, including Jedi. And nothing makes people more free than when what they need for their survival is also free. Air is free, though the Empire and its ignorant citizens are poisoning it to cataclysmic ends. Water is free, but only to the extent that we can filter pollutants out of it before Nestle gets its greedy hands on it and bottles it. Food is free, but only if we grow it or know how to forage it.
Land, for the most part, is not free, especially in places ravaged by colonialism. We are the only animal stupid enough to expect to survive in an environment that doesn’t provide what it needs to survive.
We wouldn’t expect a fish to survive out of water. Or a seed to sprout on a steel plate. And yet that is what we’ve been expecting of ourselves. So what’s an environmental Jedi to do? The same thing a regular Jedi would do: Get free and hold ignorant people and corrupt power accountable!
In a world where food is locked up and the money created to buy that food is debt-ridden, based on nothing but thin-air, and soaked in slave-labor’s blood, the only sane thing to do is rebel against the empire guilty of financial fascism. The rebel alliance could just as well be called the rebel anarchists. Getting free is becoming a rebel anarchist. Guerilla gardening and freestyle gardening, combined with the knowledge of the Force (interconnectedness of Nature) is becoming a rebel anarchist par excellence. It’s becoming a force for Nature. It’s becoming the Force. It’s using that awesome power to counter the genocide and ecocide of the Empire of Chaos that’s destabilizing planetary life cycles at every level.
4) The seed is more powerful than the sword (lightsaber)
“The court is corrupt, the fields are overgrown with weeds, the granaries are empty; yet there are those dressed in fineries, with swords at their sides, filled with food and drink, and possessed of too much wealth. This is known as taking the lead in robbery. Far indeed is this from the Way.” ~ Lao Tzu
The way they do that is by planting seeds. From literal seeds that can feed millions, to seeds of thought that can wake up millions, to seeds of humility that can humble the powers-that-be (Emperor Palpatine) and anybody else who takes more than they need or becomes too immoderate with their power (Darth Vader). The seeds that a Jedi plants are seeds that bind the Force to the human soul, and vice versa.
The seed is more powerful than the lightsaber because no amount of force can resist an idea whose time has come. The seed is more powerful than the lightsaber because even Jedi need sustenance and a healthy environment in order to become strong enough to wield their lightsabers, let alone survive. The seed is more powerful than the lightsaber because the strategically planted seed determines whether a Jedi loses himself in the dark side of the force or discovers himself in the light. And so it is with the environmental Jedi, the seed is the most powerful element in the Jedi’s arsenal because it determines the difference between light and dark, vivacity and entropy, life and death.
5) Practice the Art of Fighting Without Fighting
“You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Adaptive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” ~ Yoda
If, as Yoda said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering,” then it behooves us to not have fear at the foundation of our apprenticeship. And the best way to do that is to practice the Art of Fighting without Fighting.
This is the ability to inject compassion, humility, and humor into spaces typically occupied by violence, anger, and hate. It’s the ability to rise above any situation, to adapt and overcome using higher frequency meta-mind to trump lower frequency primitive-mind. It’s using the Force (the interconnectedness of Nature) to leverage life against death, compassion against carelessness, and humor against violence.
Life is constantly in a yin-yang grip. Jedi know this more than most. The Art of Fighting without Fighting loosens that grip and allows things to be more of a smeared-out Middle Gray sifted through Nature’s Golden Mean (The Force). Compassion becomes self-actualized because one understands that Self-is-world and World-is-self. So harming the “other” is harming the “self.” Better to trick the “other” instead, using humorous subterfuge or mindful legerdemain. Better to make a mockery of fighting in the first place, using Yoda-like foolish wisdom. Better to fool our “opponents” into tripping over their own violence rather than lower ourselves to their emotional chaos.
This is a critical art to master in today’s world. We have way too much Goliath (Empire) and not enough David (Jedi). We must be capable of using our wit to counter the Empire’s might, lest we end up hoodwinked by the corruption of power and its potential to become absolute.
Becoming an environmental Jedi is becoming a force of nature for the environment. And since the environment is us and we are the environment, environmental Jedi are a force for us all. They understand, as Bill Plotkin says, “What you find in nature is what works. It wouldn’t be there if it didn’t. Boundless wisdom awaits.”