One of the core fictional institutions to come out of the Star Wars universe, the Jedi Order is iconic by now. It is an ancient organization of monk-like masters who swear off the constraints and attachments of the physical world in order to focus on a peaceful status quo.
Now, the kicker is that they also can move things with their minds by using "the Force." Although this all powerful Force doesn't seem to exist in the real world, the practices the Jedi use are based, in part, on Buddhist monks, right down to their robes and attire.
Mindfulness? How is this Related?
Great question! Often times, we see images of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker or Daisy Ridley's Rey sitting, eyes closed, deep in meditation — or at least trying to be. These scenes with Yoda training Luke or Luke training Rey that we get a sense of how you can use your favorite science fiction series to better yourself.
Mindfulness is, in its purest form, simply being aware of what's happening in the present. (But if you want something deeper, here's a great article about it!) This sounds deceptively simple. In fact, it's one of those things that sounds too good to be true or even counter to common sense.
How is sitting there without anything supposed to improve your wellbeing?
Benefits of Mindfulness
What's amusing about discussing the benefits of mindfulness is that mindfulness isn't something like weight lifting. It's very difficult to track, other than things like time or number of sessions — which don't say very much about the quality of the practice.
That being said, a consistent practice can often result in better focus throughout your day, better command of your emotional being, advanced techniques for dealing with crises, and a whole host of ways to improve your performance overall.
What It Takes
To see the big picture changes that mindfulness is capable of, you have to be consistent. You don't have to be great — or even good for that matter. But you must be consistent.
You can focus on your breathing, counting, or any number of mantras. There are some excellent free resources here, and don't forget about Headspace — developed by a Buddhist monk and used by everyone from Olympic athletes to Wall Street bankers.
Jut make sure you're consistent with your practice and you will be on the path to being the Jedi you always dreamed of as a kid — just without the locking your brother in a closet with your thoughts. Yoda, a master and teacher within the Jedi Order, famously makes an important observation. "Luminous beings are we," Yoda says as he taps Luke's shoulder, "not this crude matter."
The mind is what puts all of the pieces of our bodies together. It's what makes us better than just the sum of our parts. For proper functioning, it must be maintained.