The Lotus and the Millennium Falcon

Lotus Blossom

Epiphany 8 (year A)
Matthew 6:24-34 “Do not be anxious”

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.

-Bhagavad Gita 5:10

There’s a scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back where the Millennium Falcon deftly loops over and then attaches itself to a pursuing Imperial Starship Destroyer during a chase. Suddenly the Falcon is off the enemy radar – because it’s on the roof of the ship! While they wait quietly for the fleet to break up and go into hyperspace, Han Solo explains to Princess Leah that the usual procedure for a huge ship is to dump its waste before taking off. “And then we float away…” “Along with the rest of the garbage,” quips Leah.

The moment comes, and as the Imperial Starship releases a clutter of metal parts from its trash bay, the Millennium Falcon detaches from the Imperial Cruiser and drifts along with the discarded metal.

Millennium Falcon pursued by Imperial Ship

When I think of detachment, I picture the Falcon quietly unhooking itself from the roof of the enemy ship and floating away “with the rest of the garbage.” I can feel myself in some situations silently pulling in my talons, releasing myself from an emotional situation I don’t need to be part of. One of the helpful things about living in community is the daily opportunity to learn to detach from conversations, events, opinions, outcomes that are not important. When it is important, then you exert yourself. But you let go of lots of things in the meantime, practicing for detachment from ambition, desire, possessiveness, the need to control.

Detachment does not mean hating the flesh, ignoring the blessing of the senses, or beauty, or nature. Detachment means not seeking to possess these things, or trying to control them, or anxiously attaching hopes to narrow outcomes. I suppose monastic detachment is one of the many “little deaths” practicing for the detachment of the soul from the body, from familiar and vibrant life into unknown and silent death.

Two observations.
One. I can appreciate Jesus saying, “do not be anxious” far more now that my children are grown and responsible for themselves.
Two. That the lotus blossom’s stem and root system is firmly planted in the mud beneath the lovely pond.

3 Responses to “The Lotus and the Millennium Falcon”

  1. deb blakley Says:

    I agree and have noticed that very idea of detachment in the water lilies in my garden pond. (Ha! God speaking his truths through creation as usual. So clear a message, repeated day after day for us.) I do not see death as silent however….oh, it appears to be silent from this side but I think of it as full of shining music on the other.

  2. Flaws let in light | Anchors and Masts Says:

    […] so here. And anyone who can weave together Star Wars, Matthew’s Gospel and lotus blossoms as Come to the Garden does is OK in my book. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Not on our best behaviour!", url: […]

  3. claire Says:

    Oh, I will keep your definition of detachment and will attach it to my coming Laywoman’s vows 🙂 Thank you. What you wrote feels so right and gives me hope as well, as I have experienced some of it in recent weeks.
    Thank you.

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