Deconstructing the Force

So what is the Dark Side of the Force anyway?  I mean, besides a fiction created by George Lucas a few decades ago?  In Revenge of the Sith we learned that the Dark Side of the Force is about passion and exploring your darker feelings.  So is it all really just a fiction or is there some truth to it in our "real world"?  YodaWhen Yoda warned Anakin about his attachment to those he loved, it began to look like the Dark Side of the Force is really about suffering.  It is suffering that arises as a result of our attachment to things and the quest of the Sith for greater power and control is the ultimate example of the kind attachment Yoda warned young Anakin about.  Grasping is all about attachment and it only leads to more grasping.

Ultimately grasping and attachment lead to suffering when the thing grasped for moves out of our reach or the thing we create an attachment is lost to us.  This is the Dark Side of the Force, the path to greater suffering and the illusion that as we travel further down that path we become powerful enough to ensure complete control and the achievement of all our goals.  The problem is, we never quite get there.  It is a bit like trying to travel at the speed of light – the closer we get to the speed of light, the greater our mass becomes and so we never reach that elusive velocity.

So if the Dark Side of the Force only leads to greater suffering without end, what is the alternative?  Clearly the other side of the Force followed by the Jedi.  This lighter side of the Force is all about letting go of our attachment to all things.  The Jedi practice of renouncing personal possessions and forgoing self-indulgences like romantic relationships (arguably not self-indulgent, I know) is intended to free each Jedi of the prospect of suffering that arises with attachment.  There is always suffering where there is attachment.  This much is unavoidable.  Suffering is inherently a part of attachment.  In the process of letting go and becoming truly selfless, we open ourselves to the greater glory and magnificance of the Force and to Joy itself.  We open ourselves to embrace all things, without preference.  We become an extension of the all-encompassing nature of the Universe and it is from this perspective that we come to truly know that the Dark Side of the Force is really just an illusion.  It is the cloud that passes in front of the sun, blocking its light.  When you let go of the earth and rise above the cloud you see the perfect, cloudless expanse of the true nature of the Force.






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