The Jedi Mind Is Part Self-Care Guide, Part Star Wars History Lesson and All Awesome
It's not uncommon to find mindfulness and meditation practices slightly unapproachable when you're new. There can be so much to learn, and the concepts can be mystifying, causing some people to give up before they even start.
Often, the packaging of the message is just as important to the message itself, whether that's rooted in familiarity, intrigue or something just plain fun. Star Wars: The Jedi Mind: Secrets From the Force for Balance and Peace is all of those things in one.
This unique book, written by Amy Ratcliffe and illustrated by Christina Chung, is a mindfulness guide framed by the teachings of the Jedi code, and might be exactly what you need to make all of the pieces fall into place. It's out today, Nov. 10, and I was sent a copy of the book ahead of time so I could share all my honest thoughts about it. Basically, I'm obsessed.
The Jedi Mind demonstrates that author Amy Ratcliffe not only knows the ins and outs of the Star Wars universe, but holds its universal teachings to heart. While all of these teachings feel firmly rooted in all things Star Wars and the Force, they're also well-known and highly effective techniques for self-care.
In addition to gorgeous illustrations by Christina Chung that do well to complement different Jedi concepts, the book contains more than 45 different mindfulness lessons to take in. Each one comes with its own quote from Star Wars and an in-depth explanation of how it ties to a critical teaching from the series, and includes instructions on how to practice this lesson yourself. There are practices here for everything from emotion management to breathing exercises, affirmations, awareness of the present and so much more. No matter what you're dealing with, there's something here for you.
As I made my way through the book, I also found it astounding how closely principles of mindfulness and peace follow the Jedi teachings. It's no coincidence that the Jedi meditate, and they can do powerful things by channeling their focus, properly harnessing their emotions and learning to live in the present. And best of all, you don't have to be a devout practitioner of the Force to benefit from everything it can offer you.
(Star Wars: The Jedi Mind via Chronicle Books)
Practicing the Force
But how does all of this actually work in practice? I received my copy of the book last Tuesday evening, just in time for a rollercoaster of a week, and I was very grateful to have this guide by my side to turn to.
With election results still very up in the air, I turned to this book to refocus my attention on something more productive. As I read it, soaking up every practice, I became acutely aware of how easily it would be to be more mindful and tuned into myself if I simply put five minutes aside a few times a day to do so. I took note of all the lessons I could easily make use of—as well as the ones I thought would be a big nuisance, because in all likelihood, the tougher it is for me, the more I'll probably learn from it.
Whether that's jotting down my thoughts and feelings, fixing my posture, savoring every taste of what I eat or simply checking in on my experiences, all of those things can get me closer to self-knowledge, and self-care, with little time or effort. It's so simple, it seems silly not to do it, and I've found that I've felt happier, more focused and more me ever since I started last week. I also tend to fall out of habits as quickly as I develop them, but by setting alarms on my phone and computer, I've been holding myself accountable, and it's felt great.
Plus, as a kid, I grew up with a massive crush on Harrison Ford and was always into Star Wars, spending countless hours daydreaming about being able to use the Force. Of course, no matter how much I tried to lift things with my mind or use Jedi mind tricks on people, it never worked. But this book reframes my thinking on the subject. Sure, I can't do those things, but I can adjust my moods to a more powerful place just by being aware of them, set intentions to achieve lofty goals and find unique pleasure in the mundane—and that might be just as good.
Who Is It For?
Anyone can get use out of The Jedi Mind. Of course, fans of Star Wars will likely jump in with more enthusiasm, and be excited to embrace their inner Jedi, but even if you've never consumed a piece of Star Wars media, I bet you could still find the teachings in this book incredibly valuable. Self-care and mindfulness practices work regardless of where you're coming from or what your preconceptions about them are, after all.
And if you don't have the time—or attention span—to read the whole thing, the beauty of this book is that it's broken up into different small lessons. If you have a certain issue in mind that you'd like to deal with, you can simply skim through the book until you find a practice that suits your needs. And while I don't recommend it, you can even skip all the Star Wars-y stuff to get straight to the practice directions to quickly remedy what ails you.
Whether you skip around or read it cover-to-cover, your approach should be all your own. After all, you know yourself best, and should allow your journey to take you where it will. This book is perfect for anyone who wants to get to know themselves. And if you happen to be a self-proclaimed Jedi, I don't think you'll be able to stay away from it.
(Star Wars: The Jedi Mind via Chronicle Books)
Love the franchise? Click HERE for our favorite Jedi-worthy Star Wars Instagram captions.