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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

The Fall of Emperor Palpatine


my fellow nerd-lings

around the campfire

of the mind

and let us consider

the fall of Emperor


How old were you

the first time you watched

“Star Wars – episode six:

the Return of the Jedi”?

Who can forget

the film’s climax

in the throne room

of the second death star?

We marveled

at the perceptual acuity

of Emperor Palpatine

and his ability to read:

Luke’s strength in the force,

and the intentions of Luke’s mind

and the flow of Luke’s emotions.

Old, and disfigured

the Emperor still had a dark charm

about him,

a charisma that melted

when Luke refused

to strike his father down

and take his place

as Sidious’

new apprentice;

a charm that was replaced

with rage, and malice,

and sadistic glee

as he began murdering Luke

with his force lightning.

Intoxicated with his rage

and power,

and self-importance

he was rendered blind

to Darth Vader’s intention

who lifted him overhead

and threw him down

the reactor core

to his apparent death.

What had so undermined

the Emperor’s awareness

as to allow this betrayal

to succeed?

The same thing that happened

to Supreme Leader Snoke

in “Last Jedi.”

Recall the scene in his throne room,

surrounded by his guards

so enraptured with the haranguing

of his apprentice

and delighting

in embarrassing him

before Rey

that he became oblivious

to Kylo Ren’s intentions

and actions

as the latter

reached out with the force,

telekinetically activating

the lightsaber by Snoke’s side,

slicing him in half.

Whether Darth Sidious

was inhabiting the body of Palpatine

or the body of Snoke

we observe the same pattern:

as concentrated focus deepened

peripheral awareness faded.

This is important

and bears exploration:

for concentrated focus

and peripheral awareness

are inversely proportional

as one increases

the other diminishes…


So what?

How could this be significant

both to the Star Wars universe

as well as our spiritual growth?

During my first

three-year retreat

I was taught the neurological effect

of switching from foveal vision

to peripheral viewing.

When our vision is focused

we are accessing

our sympathetic nervous system

with its terror, and rage, and despair,

and rigidity, and controlling tendencies.

Could that sound familiar?

Could that sound like

the path of the Dark side,

of toxic masculinity?

Now let us explore

the converse.

When we switch

from a hard, concentrated focus

to soft, peripheral vision

we are also switching

from our sympathetic nervous system

to its parasympathetic opposite:

the neural pathway

of peace, and resilience, and creativity,

and flexibility, and acquiescence…

our gateway to the light side

of healing femininity.

Just like the Sith of fiction

concentration can lead to great power

but also a dearth of the peace, and love

that are so crucial to fulfillment.

In “Phantom Menace”

Qui Gon Jinn advised:

I counsel patience,

the solution will present itself.”

This is the soft path

of peripheral mindfulness,

of creativity, and spontaneity,

and centeredness, and flow.

This is the path of the light side.

It is available to each of us

and is as close as switching

from hard foveal vision

to its soft, peripheral counterpart,

from concentration

to mindfulness

from toxic, controlling yang

to healing, and flowing yin.

This was inspired by the video

“Rey Sees Palpatine’s Original Plan for Anakin”

found on the YouTube channel “Star Wars Theory.”

I love this channel,

and if you’re as geeky as me

you might enjoy it as well.

Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action

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These spiritual poems are also available on

the “Meditate Like a Jedi” podcast.

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