It’s hard to explain to anyone who isn’t Force-sensitive. But let me try anyway.
A Jedi is taught to use their feelings and instincts to guide their actions. The Force speaks to us at a primal level. If a friend is nearby, the feeling of friendship in us is heightened. If an enemy is close, feelings of anger or fear come to us. For that reason, it’s vital to cleanse ourselves of our own fear, our own anger, our own passion. When the Force speaks to us in its quiet voice, we cannot afford to miss its words when we are shouting back at it.
When I saw Jedi in battle, I observed them spinning and twisting their lightsabers, even though there was no attack. I asked my master why.
“Because they feel danger,” he said. “They move in accord with what they feel. They trust the Force to guide their hand.”
“What if they are wrong and no attack is coming?”
“What if they are wrong and the attack is on its way?” he asked. This much I could understand.
Jedi are guided by their feelings. That was the lesson I learned. And when I practiced with the masters, I felt good. I could sense their praise, their criticism, before they said it. I learned faster listening to my own feelings as our blades clashed, than I ever would from spoken instruction.
I thought my feelings alone would be all the teaching I needed. But I only really understood the injunction against attachment, however, after I dueled someone who had fallen to the Dark Side.
We met in the burning wreckage of a battleship, in the midst of a great space battle. I drew my lightsaber, and she drew hers.
Even before we had met, I felt a mixture of things I cannot definitely name: confusion, desperation, bloodlust, hatred. Now I felt anticipation, eagerness, pride, vanity. Were they my feelings, or the Sith warrior’s? When the Force is guiding us, it’s sometimes difficult to tell.
I leaped forward, and she did as well. We locked blades. Now I could feel it - the sense of two rivals, fighting for dominance. I let myself feel it, and other things. Doubts, about my training. Regret, that I hadn’t done enough in the battle. Fear, of dying in this distant star system at the hands of a killer.
We clashed, again and again. Every time it happened, our feelings grew more and more aligned. We were anticipating each others’ moves, deflecting blows not with prescience but familiarity, swinging our blades in ways that were no longer surprises but inevitabilities. The duel had become a dance, and she and I were partners.
We used our mastery of the Force to push each other away, or throw heavy debris from the wrecked battleship at each other. It didn’t matter. Every gambit and counter-gambit was well understood by both of us. Like lovers, each of us knew the other’s heart. The thing we were creating was a beautiful duet, a work of art. Flashing lights, blue and red, in the smoky darkness of the hangar bay. Bodies moving in terrible unison, chained together by a common purpose.
When I struck the fatal blow, her face registered a look of shock. It was not the sudden recognition of mortality. It was the anguish of betrayal.
I left the hangar in tears, uncertain of what I felt or what I should feel. I’d won the battle, certainly. I’d done my duty as a Jedi. Why was my heart in tatters?
At the temple, I explained my feelings to my master. He only nodded. There was to be more training, but now I fully understood its necessity.
Why then must the Jedi resist attachments?
It is the nature of the Force to bind things together. Planets. People. Feelings. From the greatest to the least. But the Force is like gravity. The lesser will be drawn to the greater, always.
When we are confronted with hate, we must respond with a greater love. When we meet with fear, we must show greater courage. We must achieve greatness in ourselves. We must devote ourselves to the highest ideals. Duty. Honor. Justice. Only in this way can we resist becoming what we fight.
We must give up our own emotions to achieve peace. We must reject our own ignorance to gain knowledge. We must accept our passion to find serenity. We must rise above chaos to build harmony. When we no longer fear loss - of life, of self, of our emotions, of our attachments - only then can we master the Force.