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The Force be With You


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Chapter 1
5/20/02
Chapter 2
5/22/02
Chapter 3
  5/31/02
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Chapter 1
May the Force Be With You

Casual followers of the Star Wars series will see that statement as a a departing wish like 'good luck' or even a substitute for 'God be with you'. The deeper meaning is taken to be that when the 'force' is with you extraordinary things can be accomplished. We tend to look at it as an external entity which can be called upon to enhance our performance.

However, we see that the young uninitiated Jedi, although showing a talent, needs training and practice before his skills are developed. 

Each one of us has inherent skills and talents which in combination, are unique to ourselves. As an example, let's look at one talent that an individual may poses. In this case, an athletic talent in the game of baseball. A talent to be a hitter.

When the person is very young, he finds that he can hit the ball more often than others or farther than others, or both. This ability alone is sometimes all the incentive needed to encourage him to play more often. As long as he is doing well, he enjoys it. He improves by taking instruction and by practicing until he starts to function by instinct.

I believe that performing by instinct is the equivalent of 'the force being with you'. The athlete is able to react to the location of the pitch and it's speed much faster than if he had to consciously think about it. His unconscious reaction takes control of his body, reacts with precise coordination between what he sees and the swing of the bat. If he had to think about the trajectory of the ball, calculate (guess) when and where it will be when it reached him and then tell his body where and when to swing the bat in order to meet it, the ball would be on it's way back to the pitcher by the time he started to swing.

That is why you see many small children just standing at the plate with his bat on his shoulder as the ball goes by. He is thinking about it. The instinct is not there. 

Sometimes our good hitter falls into the trap of thinking too much during a game and when he does, he interferes with his unconscious instincts. The two do not seem to be able to function simultaneously and when we think, we shut down our instincts. The player must have hit the ball hundreds or thousands of times in practice in order to burn the experience into his subconscious mind. Then he must prepare himself by thinking about the game situation and what he is expected to do. Most often this if done for him by way of the coach's signs. He must learn to accept this signal and visualize himself doing it.  He must have watched the pitcher's delivery style and have taken practice swings while in the 'on-deck' circle. He must place all that information in his memory as a resource for his unconscious mind. The hitter can not occupy his mind with speculation about what the pitcher may do as he starts his motion. Once the pitcher has started his motion, he must let his instincts take over.

The same basic principal holds true for an athlete of any kind or for any endeavor of a human being. A musician does not think about the mechanics of creating the sound on his instrument for every note, he just does it by instinct which has been honed by years of practice. Even many of the ordinary things we do are done by instinct.

I feel that people who are able to train and tap into their instincts are living at a higher level of consciousness. This may seem to be contradictory since they are subordinating their conscious mind to their instinctive (subconscious) mind. The instinctive mind functions at  a much greater speed. It uses memories and information that we don't realize we possess, memories that our conscious mind forgot. It is, in effect, putting ourselves in the control of a superior force. That force is something deep within our minds and not something outside of us. 

It is said that Kim Peek, about whom the story of "Rain Man" is based, does not, and can not, forget anything. Yet he has problems doing the simplest things such as dressing himself. I think that is because we all retain information in our subconscious minds. The difference is that we don't know how to access it. Kim's connection to his subconscious is open all the time and the information is always available. He has a problem when he tries to apply his conscious mind to something like dressing himself. Don't we all sometimes have a problem with something like tying our shoe laces when we are thinking about it? 

Talent is required but practice is essential and if you need to think about it, you may not be able to do it. 

So,  ... The Force is with us ... the task is  for us to train ourselves to let it take control. 

Don Plefka
5/20/2002

Continue with Chapter two

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Chapter 2
May the Force Be With You

As soon as I finished writing "May the Force Be With You", I started thinking about it. Oh - Oh, isn't that against the rules? Well, no, because before an athlete can start relying on his subconscious instincts, he must do a lot of thinking and training. This is true of anyone who must depend on reaction time for any activity from skipping rope to driving a car.

But what about the non-athlete? (like me) Most of our skills depend on the use of our minds. We can not say "Stop thinking", but we can, and do, modify the way we think. We learn to use the subconscious and very often we do it subconsciously. That sounds like double-talk if I ever heard it!

Kim Peek (Rain Man) is unique in that the path to his unconscious mind is always open. It is as if his conscious mind has traded places with his unconscious mind. He has trouble using his normal thinking processes. Our problem is the opposite.

There are many times when we have something 'on the tip of our tongues' but can't remember the name or word. The more we try, the further away it goes. Then when we stop trying, it pops right into memory. We had a mental block which interfered with our access to a memory. It seems that the mental block is a swinging door that very easily swings inward to allow information into the subconscious but has a rusty hinge that resists the movement of the door swinging out.

The door works fine when we are very young. Babies do not (I think) consciously try to learn. They seem to absorb knowledge by a trial an error method. They soon discard what doesn't work and retain what does. Recent studies have shown that they can learn to use a simple sign language to communicate their wants before they have the ability to talk. Young children learn languages by listening to them. In fact they seem to soak up knowledge at an incredible rate when exposed to it and there are no obstacles put in their path. Their imaginations are very active and for them nothing is impossible.

So now we are pre-teens, teens and adults! We have learned the difference between fantasy and reality but hopefully still have imagination. How do we use "The Force" which is our subconscious?  We oil that balky hinge by using it often. We keep using our minds by reading and observing and we keep dipping down to the subconscious to use what is there. This is the equivalent of the athlete's practice, practice, practice. If you do something often enough it gets to be second nature, ... it moves to the subconscious mind.

A successful person in the field of finance will be able to evaluate instinctively the data before him and make a determination. A good doctor will recognize the symptoms and be able to diagnose the malady. A good salesman will discern the wants of his customer and emphasize the features of his product that best match those wants. The list goes on. All these people tap the deep knowledge they have and ask the right questions in order to make the correct decision or take the proper action. The most successful have a freely swinging door and the mind is conditioned to use which ever part of brain that is needed for the immediate task. The same applies to the successful athlete who's mental process will freely switch between conscious thinking and instinct when needed. 

This is the stuff of wisdom. Many older people have it due to repetition over the years and an open mind. The exceptional person exercises his mind and attains wisdom early. Some close their minds and never know wisdom. Wisdom and " The Force" are the same.  

So,  ... The Force is with us ... the task is  for us to train ourselves to let it take control. ... As we do, we raise ourselves to "A Higher Level of Consciousness".

Don Plefka
5/22/02

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Chapter 3
May the Force Be With You

The Force is with us but is it always good? It could be a Darth Vader! When we persist in bad habits they become ingrained in the subconscious and we tend to be defined by them. I am not only speaking about the things we ordinarily think of as bad habits, but anything we do repeatedly.

A recent newspaper article decries the deterioration of correct usage of the written language and it blames it on email. It went right to my heart. I do not use chat rooms or instant messaging. The reason is that their use almost demands quick response and I do not have the grammatical or typing skills to do so properly. It takes time and care for me to write properly and if I can't do it properly, I don't do it. Many say to ignore good grammar, including capitalization, punctuation and spelling, in favor of speed of communication. The problem is that this, due to force of habit, then caries over to email. As it becomes embedded in the subconscious mind, it caries over to general usage. 

Students doing assignments at the last minute (aren't they always) create work with grammatical errors because the bad habits are dominant. Business communications are compromised for the same reasons. Personal letters (if ever written) suffer as well. It is my contention that when I do not use correct grammar, I am showing disrespect to the person to whom I am communicating. It is similar to talking baby talk to a person with a mental disability. It is demeaning to him.  

Chat rooms and instant messaging have a parallel in 'street talk'. I have often heard young people walking along using foul language that would never be used at home. They must think that it makes them 'adult' in the eyes of their peers. The words eventually slip off the tongue so readily that a conscious effort is needed to refrain from their use at home or other places. The use of these expletives add nothing to the meaning of their thoughts other than shock value. Eventually, the subconscious accepts their use and the shock value is gone but their use becomes habit. Soon it becomes part of the person's character at work, play and even at home. He may have become adult physically but he remains mentally immature in his speech. The dark force is with him. 

There are many things that can become ingrained in our character, burned into our subconscious, which become impediments to our success and acceptance into polite society. (Now, there is a term not heard often.) There is nothing wrong with striving to develop habits, or mind sets, if you will, which lead one to become a lady or a gentleman. In order to do so, we only need to show genuine respect to those to whom we write and speak. We show that respect not only in what we say, but how we say it. 

I was delighted when I came across the "Virtual Order of St. Isidore of Seville" and I immediately applied to be a part of the organization. The mission of the group, in part, is to "Promote the ideals of Christian Chivalry through the medium of the Internet". We somehow have forgotten to teach Chivalry in our schools and homes. This is not an outmoded concept involved in knights in armor riding horses and slaying dragons. It is, or should be, the act of training ourselves for a lifelong quest of the 'Holy Grail'. 

The 'Holy Grail' of which I write is that of becoming an honorable person in every way. It is respecting others and their rights. It is having compassion for the less fortunate. It is working for the betterment of all humanity along with ourselves.

So this is our quest and to accomplish it we must guard against even the little things which cloud our minds and thereby our actions. When we do or say something, it must be a positive thing done in a positive manner which will support and improve us. 

May the (good) Force Be With You.

Don Plefka
5/31/02

 

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