Star Wars Spirituality
I'm sitting on a plane as it's rising; it hits the clouds, breaking through, and the tension in my shoulders gives way to the smile across my face. Sunshine glistening against my window, with fields of cloud below me as far as I can see. I sit back, waiting to sip at the plastic see-through cup of blood-red wine. A hundred movies to choose from. Outside, the sky is the gentlest, sun-kissed blue, while time ceases to exist.
I can't imagine death or heaven. But as a child, I got a glimpse of an alternative dimension, in the works of George Lucas, and his film The Empire Strikes Back (1980). A more recent Star Wars movie, nothing much to look at, made me think of it again this week.
On the gas planet of Bespin, in the 1980 movie, floats Cloud City. It's the perfect endpoint for a sci-fi fantasy, where beautiful heroes head to, on individual quests and their personal resolutions. One confronts his nemesis in a dark, sweat-inducing chamber of blues and orange. Another becomes frozen in a block of jet black rock, while a third, in love with him, watches it happen.
But it's not the storyline, it's something else, the ethereal glows of pinks and orange of the clouds and the sun-lit effects of the city. Those dawns and dusks, creating overwhelming nebulas of morning hope and gloaming melancholy where I stand, in this different universe, on gently windswept platforms of this stratospheric island. I imagine quiet, minimalist bars, the barest murmurings in the background, overlooking the gigantic pink or orange clouds. Watching, like the stick men do in Chinese depictions of mountains and rivers and the tiniest Taoist temples.It must be a strange place to call home, a place without foundation, this Cloud City. Watching occasional spaceships come and go unassumingly. Those pinks and orange sunlit skies that you live among, briefly, while you wait for the next adventure, before climbing into your craft, heading off to see miracles of nature, and fear hardly registers at all.