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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stop Trying

The Star Wars empire has been the source of large doses of entertainment mixed, some claim, with small doses of deep wisdom.

"May the Force be with you" is easy to parody (itself, perhaps, a parody of the Christian liturgical opening, "The Lord be with you"). And all that sword-master stuff-- "let go of your conscious self"--sounds a little stilted, at best.

But look, I'm a big fan of taking wisdom from wherever you find it. So I have learned from Star Wars, but never more than from that little green man, Yoda.

And my favorite of all his sayings is this: "Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."

I recently read an article where the author quotes this, then calls it, "Probably the best Yoda-ism of all time and one I try to live by every day." Do you think the irony was intentional?

Because you see, it's hard not to try. That's why I find this seemingly-flippant remark by Edith Wharton to be actually rather deep: "If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time."

So many of my "secrets" have to do with working at it: making good choices, and paying attention. But there is a sort of "via negativa" in which the aspirant to happiness just stops fretting about it and bes.

Great grammar, I know, but worth it if it gets the point across: Stop trying. Just have a good time.

You'll be happier.

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