“Do, or do not. There is no try.”—Yoda
I love Yoda. That little green dude does not mess around. He’s a pacifist who is also a warrior, much like the Zen samurai sages and Shaolin monks of old, a master of martial arts who never uses his art except for self-defense, and frequently defeats his enemies by playing them off against each other instead of intervening himself (there’s a great episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that illustrates this). He’s calm under pressure, he lives moment to moment without dwelling on the past or the future, he’s a physical badass despite being older than dirt.
And he has a very low tolerance for bullshit.
Seriously, you do not want to piss Yoda off by being fake, insincere, and/or halfassed. If you do, he will totally call you on it. In that and all other respects, Yoda is the quintessential Buddhist.
People who know me well will of course understand why Yoda is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. I aspire to be like him. Maybe even a little too much. Because my very low tolerance for bullshit tends to get me into trouble sometimes, especially with people who do not have high levels of self-esteem.
I can’t fix other people’s self-esteem problems of course. And I do very strongly believe that there are times when it’s more important to be truthful than to worry about sparing someone’s feelings. But I also realize that it puts that much more pressure on me to practice what I preach. So any time I have one of these little run-ins with someone, I treat it as a teachable moment to spend some more time working on myself. To that end, I’m taking a social-media break this week. Not just to stop wasting too much time online and focus more on the projects and personal issues I’ve been neglecting, but also to do some meditation.
I did some meditation this morning, and one of the first thoughts that popped into my head was Yoda’s old saying from The Empire Strikes Back, where he tells Luke Skywalker (who has been acting like an impatient, egotistical loser for two reels) to shut the hell up, grow a set, and just DO what Yoda knows he is already capable of doing, but Luke just doesn’t want to do because he’s too damned lazy and insecure and deluded by negative thoughts.
Sounds like me of late. These days I’m about two parts Luke Skywalker, and one part Yoda. I need to switch back to being three parts Yoda. And the best way to accomplish that is to stop worrying about all the Luke Skywalkers who are gumming up my works.