The Jedi Art of Mindfulness and
his mind on where he was, what he was doing..."
Luke Skywalker learned the art of mindful breathing on
his first visit to
Dagobah. While climbing up vines, dashing through the
undergrowth, leaping logs and rocks, the young Jedi pupil,
his master on his back, is being instructed on the dangers
of the dark side of the force. As Luke's mind races with a
thousand questions about the dark side, it is clear to
Master Yoda that Luke has lost touch with the here and now.
"Nothing more will I teach you today," Yoda says. "Clear
your mind of Questions."
Mindful breathing is simply the practice of
concentrating on the breath. With the inhalation, you know
that you are breathing in. With the exhalation, you know you
are breathing out. You follow the breath in with awareness
as it goes in, and you follow it as it goes out. You notice
that the breath is long or short when it is long or short.
With mindful breathing you just notice the breath; you do
not try to hold it or force it; you do not alter its rhythm
or change its volume. Don't hold on to the idea that you
should breathe a certain way. Simply become aware of the way
your body naturally breathes.
As we focus on our breathing we discover that our mind
does not easily stay attuned to our breath, but flies off in
a million different directions. But through sustained effort
and practice, the podracer of our mind - once flying away
heedlessly - begins to slow down. We do not forcibly take
hold of the podracer's controls to bring about this
deceleration; rather it is with gentle mindfulness that the
frenetic machine is ever so subtly coaxed into a state of
Often we have concerns about a future event or
confusion about the way something works and our mind becomes
lost in a labyrinth of questions, doubts, and plans. Aware
of this tendency, Yoda stops Luke before he can become
bewildered, rather than empowered, by his education and
training. By directing Luke to clear his mind of questions,
Yoda is instructing the boy to come back to the present
moment - to return to his breath. Luke does as he is told
and almost instantly he is visibly calmer.
- from "The
Dharma of Star Wars" by Matthew Bortolin
Ancient art of Breath Cultivation