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A lesson on the dark side while two Jedi perform Yoga

::: Lessons from Star Wars Fiction
© The Keeper of Jedi Holocrons
Admin: Kitsu Tails


Book Reference - Medstar 1: Battle Surgeons - A clone Wars novel
Page(s) 203 - 208
Warning: This is a tad bit long, as it is half a chapter.


It had been a sunny but cool morning on Coruscant. No rain was due in this sector for another day, and the sidewalk leading to the park was busy, but not too crowded. As she and Master Unuli reached the designated greenbelt, the other beings also on their way to the large path of nature represented an amazing variety of sentients; Nikto, Phindians, Zeltrons, Wookies, Twi'leks....a fascinating glimpse of the galaxy infinite diversity, all headed for Oa Park. There was much ferrocerte and metal on this world - some said to much - and parks were dotted here and there to help those who wish more contact with worlds, each with tits own atmospheric mix, solar spectrum, and gravity field, separated from each other by energy boundaries.

One such bright morning, in the middle of the smiling and laughing folk going to enjoy the multifarious flora and landscapes and streams, the Dark Side seemed far, far away to Barriss. But even as that thought crossed her mind, as she and her Master stood in the shade of a four-hundred-year-old black needle tree, three meters thick and two hundred meters tall, Master unuli had smiled and said "The Darkside is always at hand padawan. It is no farther away then a heartbeat, an eyes blink, side by side with the bright side of the force, separated by no more than a hair. It waits to share the unwary, wearing a thousand disguises."

Barris nodded. She moved to one side a bit to give her Master space.

"To answer your question, let me offer this; Every conscious move you make, from the smallest to the largest, requires choices. There is always a branch in the path, and you must decide upon which turning you will tread. Do you recall the testings of your ability to sense a remote while wearing blinders?"

"Of course." This was among the most basic of Jedi skills. A remote was a small levitating droid about the size of a goldfruit that could be programmed to zip about and fire mild electric bolts at a student. With a blast helmet on and the blinders down, the only way to know the position of the orb was to use the Force. As a student progressed in the use of his or her lightsaber, blocking the remotes bolts became a standard exercise. And you couldn't use your eyes or ears to track the device, the only way to avoid being shocked was to let the Force guide your hands.

Her Master continued: "And were there not instances when you use the Force was less than perfect and the training bolts got past your lightsaber?"

"Far too many of those instances." Barriss said ruefully, she shook her head "At times, I felt like a needle cushion!"

"And did you ever feel during those times like destroying the remote? Reaching out with the Force and crushing it like it was of scrap flimsi?"

As she spoke, Master Unduli began the Salutations to the Force, a combinations exercise and meditative posture that started with body arch upward, followed by deep squat and leg extended stretch to the rear.

Barris copied her masters Pose "I confess there were occasions that I had little love for the training device, yes."

"And did you have sufficient skill in use of the Force to have destroyed it, had you chosen to do so?" Master Unduli stood and repeated the pose, ending on the other leg. Again, Barriss copied her.

"Yes, Easily."

"Why didn't you? If the goal was to protect yourself from being shocked, would that not have been justifiable?"

Barriss frowned. "But that was not the goal. The goal was to learn how to attune my lightsaber with the force so that I could stop the bolts from striking me. The shocks were painful, but without any lasting damage. In a real fight, with a full - charge blaster bolt coming at me, if I could not block that, I might not have the power to stop a shooter fifty or hundred meters away from pulling the trigger."

"Precisely. But did you know that one student in eight does eventually reach out to destroy a remote? That they usually justify it by saying it is more efficient to stop the source of the damaging bolts than to endlessly deflect them? Laser Pose Please!"

Hands and feet on the ground, Master Unduli pushed upward and forced her body into a high, rounded arch.

"I hear a 'but'" Barriss said as she followed suit.

"And I see that yours could be higher from the ground."

Barriss smiled and pushed herself into a more acute arch. Her Master continued: "Many of the exercises Jedi in training must learn - and Jedi are always in training, be they padawan, Knight or Master - Involve determining what the true goal of the exercise is. You will recall the levitation drill and the Baker."

"As if I could forget that one."

"To destroy the remote is, in itself, not necessarily a wrong choice. If you have developed sufficient skill to block the training bolts and you arrive at the decision through logic and with a calm mind, then you can Justify using the Force to stop the attack at it's source. Some of the more gifted students do just that. But if you do it out of anger, or pain, or fear or any emotion that you have allowed to control you, then you reach fro the dark side. If you offer that the end justifies the means without mindful thought to determine that it indeed does, you have succumbed to the insidious energy. If you remember nothing else from this talk. Barriss. Remember this. Power wants to be used. It must be kept under constant vigil, else it will seduce and corrupt you. One moment your swatting an annoying training toy, the next your paralyzing an offending beings lungs and choking him to death. You do it because you can. It becomes an end in itself. As a Jedi you live always on the edge. A single misstep, and you can fall to the dark side. It has happened to many, and it is always a tragedy. As with an addictive drug. It's too easy to say i'll do it just this once. That's not how it works. The only thing that stands between you and the dark side is your own will and discipline. Give in to your anger and your fear, your jealousy and your hate and the Dark Side claims you for its own. If that happens" Master Unduli said "You will become an enemy to all that the Jedi stand for - and an enemy of all Jedi who hold to the path of right. Rocker Pose, Please."

Barriss moved to assume the pose. She said, "And have you ever given in to the dark side, Master?"

For a few seconds, there was silence. Then: "Yes. In a moment of weakness and pain, I did. It allowed me to survive when I might have perished otherwise, but that one taste was enough for me to realize I could never do it again. There may come a time when you experience this. Barriss. I hope not. But if ever it happens, you must recognize and resist it."

"I will feel evil?"

Master Unduli paused in her stretch. She regarded Barriss with what seemed to be great sadness in her eyes.

"Oh no. It will feel better than anything you have ever experienced, better that you would have thought anything could feel. It will feel empowering, fulfilling, satisfying. Worse of all, it will feel right. And therein lies the real danger."