By Douglas McElheny
A number of years ago I wrote an article about a synchronicity I had with the book Star Wars: Allegiance in which I tried to show how just about anything can be a source of guidance. Since then that book has been sitting in a drawer in the guest bedroom of my house, and while I’ve donated many other books like that to the library, and more or less stopped reading that type of book, I still found it hard to part with it because of that connection.
About a week ago though, I decided to give the book to Nick, the son of my co-worker Rhonda. Nick loves Star Wars, but like many in this ipad generation he never pulls his head out of his tablet or his laptop and actually reads a book. I decided I would give the book to him in the hopes it might stimulate some interest in reading. So I took it to work and did so. After he’d left to catch the school bus Rhonda told me that that day was actually Nick’s 13th birthday, and that I’d brought him a birthday gift without knowing it. That made me smile and was confirmation for me that giving him the book was the right thing to do, even if he never reads it. But more importantly this little wink from the universe gave me a chance to marvel once again at how there’s a plan, a purpose in the unfolding of the universe. I believe that purpose is for this universe to evolve into what, for lack of a better phrase, you could call heaven on earth, a world of light, beauty, goodwill, peace and harmony.
It seemed appropriate in light of all this to repost this article, called Divine Whispers: Allegiance, on this leap year day, which is celebrated in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram as the Golden Day. Though progress has been made since I wrote this article eight years ago there is still a ways to go. I take this Golden Day and this posting as an opportunity to rededicate myself to the work of giving my allegiance completely to the Divine.
Divine Whispers: Allegiance
As a boy, one of my greatest loves was Star Wars, and I spent many hours immersing myself in that fantasy world as I played with my toys. Eventually I gave up my toys but my hunger for Star Wars found a new outlet in a succession of new novels and comic books, authorized by George Lucas, chronicling the further adventures of Luke, Han and Leia. A time came though when I even gave those up as my attention turned more towards things divine. Recently however a new Star Wars novel entered my life in such an incredibly synchronic way with a message for me that was so direct and personal that I realized yet again that you can’t discount anything as a potential divine messenger. To illustrate that fact using this particular occurrence is the purpose of this article.
Our story begins not long ago in an american book store far far away. On that day I walked into Barnes and Noble booksellers with $8 left on a gift card and an intention to spend it. As soon as I passed through the door my gaze fell upon a display for the newest Star Wars novel in paperback. It’s name was Allegiance. As soon as I saw it I felt something click inside of me accompanied by this strong feeling that this was the book I had come here to buy. In addition, the whole display for the book seemed to pop into focus in a way that made it stand out sharply from everything else around it. I paused for a moment to reflect on this as it seemed to me to be a very clear intuition that buying this book was in tune with my process. The mind however couldn’t see what purpose it would serve to read something mainly designed to entertain the vital, so I decided to have a look and see what else was available in the store. It seemed to me I should try to find something that had a bit more food for the soul.
After browsing for a while I was able to find only one book that seemed like it might be worth reading. So I went to the science fiction section where they had a few more copies of Star Wars: Allegiance. My vital was of course attracted to the book but it seemed to be willing to live without it. Thus I took the book in my hand and with a rare attitude of complete detachment concerning the outcome I asked the Mother to give me a sign that she wanted me to buy it. Having done that I opened the book and began to read. What I read was a passage where Luke was receiving inner guidance from the voice of Obi Wan Kenobi speaking inside of his head. Now I am not unacquainted with startling synchronicities, but I must admit that I was blown away by this. What clearer sign could I have gotten than Luke receiving guidance from his teacher? Though I was still unclear as to what purpose reading this book would serve, my doubts in regard to buying it were dispelled. Without further hesitation I went up to the counter and bought the book.
I found it quite easy to fall back into my old vital groove and I devoured the book ravenously. As I read I remained attentive in order to discern what the book had to teach me. One of the noteworthy things about the book was that it explored the phenomenon of voice and vision in a way I had not seen in other Star Wars novels. The passage I read at Barnes and Noble was one of several in which Luke receives guidance in this manner. Star Wars is of course quite yogic in some respects i.e. the Force, the guru/disciple relationship etc., but it was still interesting for me to see this coming up in a modern work of popular fiction. To me this would seem to indicate that this type of occult phenomenon is on the rise in the human collective. I found myself wondering if this was all the book had to show me, but it turned out it had a much more personal and specific message for me, one regarding my allegiance.
The events in Star Wars: Allegiance take place shortly after the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. In the book a disgruntled Han Solo is vacillating on whether or not he wants to fully commit himself to helping the rebellion. There is a struggle between his mind, which knows he should help the rebellion, and his vital, which would rather be free to pursue his own interests.
It took me some time to see it, but finally it hit home that the divine wanted to show me that I was in the same situation as Han. Let me explain. Here in Pondicherry I am involved in a collective sadhana with my fellow Chipmunk collaborators Donny and David. As David pointed out in the December 2007 issue of The Chipmunk Press it’s not an easy situation for any of us. As a result I had a mental/vital split like Han. My mind for the most part had consented to the group process since it knew that it was following the will of the divine. The vital however was not happy about the level of difficulty and sacrifice involved and desired (much of the time) to be free of the situation and responsible once again for no one but myself. These sorts of mental/vital splits are par for the course for a struggling sadhak, and of course the best way to deal with it is to throw out the vital uprisings and suggestions. To do that effectively though the mind has to be resolute and mine was still somewhat divided. Thus the antics of the vital were at times given free play and the result was a lot of personal suffering.
I had been aware of this problem for quite some time but found myself unable to resolve it until I read Star Wars: Allegiance. Seeing the divine point out my divided state in so blatant and conscious a manner had a definitive impact on the mind and a lesser but still significant effect on the vital. The mind has now taken a firm resolution to accept my place in the divine scheme of things and to throw out the rebellious suggestions of the vital. The vital itself is not so one pointed and still has its movements of revolt, but there is a more general attitude of consent to the situation even if it is a somewhat reluctant consent. Whether this state is permanent only time will tell. It seems however that something fundamental has been achieved.
By the end of Star Wars: Allegiance Han has finally made a decisive turn as well. In the final pages of the book Princess Leia asks Han if for the moment he can commit to just one person even if he can’t commit to the whole rebellion. Han’s comrade Chewbacca was formerly a slave of the empire and is very enthusiastic about the rebellion. Therefore, Leia asks Han to commit to Chewbacca, and out of love for his friend he does so. As I read this I realized I was getting one more piece of advice. I was being reminded once again that I don’t need to commit myself to a cause or to a process; I owe my allegiance to one person and one person only, the Mother. The rest is just details.
In conclusion I feel it is necessary for me to offer a word of caution to the reader. External signs and happenings are a means though which the divine can communicate with us. I have found however that to rely on them too heavily can lead one astray. I don’t know if Sri Aurobindo would have done so but I consider this type of phenomenon to be within the realm of the intermediate zone. That being the case there is the risk of much misguidance and confusion when one places too much confidence in these things. I know this from personal experience. Thus, I would recommend moderation with such things as the “Mother please give me a sign” method which I employed in this example. It is possible however to receive reliable guidance in this way. Just try to make sure in those moments that you are surrendered and without preference like I was and you will get the guidance you need if you truly need it.