Post number 24 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Comfort might be seen as the life goal many people pursue. Comfort doesn’t imply a great deal of excitement or adventure; rather, i t is found at home, behind the wider world, in our own space. Comfort may be something we associate with a place, or with a person, or a group of people. For me, comfort is something I look for (and sometimes find) here at our shared Temple. Pleasure and exhilaration are as far from Comfort as sorrow and despair; comfort provides neither peak nor trough, merely a happy medium. A home cooked meal, a new duvet, a warm cup of tea – these are comforts.

One of my favourite untranslatable notions is the Danish one of “Hygge” (pronounced something like “who-geh”, but more like “hugg-eh”). Hygge is often translated as “comfort”, but hygge is more than that – a gathering of friends can be “hyggelig”, a picnic in the sunshine or a meal by fairy light, a bath with scented candles or a night in front of the TV with good food and blankets. Hygge is something close to the heart of Danes, and part of the national character in the same way “Lagom” is for Swedes, and “Sisu” is for Finns. Hygge is something I try and create in my home space, and the lives of my loved ones, wherever I can. One of the translations of hygge is “a complete and profound absence of anything extreme, whether extremes of discomfort or of pleasure”. A nice, balances, Jedi sentiment, if ever I saw one.

Comfort may also be defined as an absence of “discomfort”, which often manifests as hurt, pain or fear. Jedi have an active role in alleviating discomfort and in making others feel “well”, that is, comfortable where they might otherwise find themselves in one of these uncomfortable negative states. I think of the dark alley, and the fearful person walking alone down it, hoping they won’t get stabbed. A Jedi stands beside them with a lit torch (and, possibly, a clenched fist). The person homeless in the cold. A Jedi sits beside them, a warm blanket and cup of hot soup in hand. The person facing an emotional breakdown. A Jedi puts their arms around them, and tells them “Everything will be OK”. Simplistic examples, of course. The beauty of service is that for each person, each situation the boundaries, goalposts and stressors are unique. Any “boiling down” will only leave bones.

Comfort is also something we can think of as a kind of complacency. If we become too comfortable in our views, we can exhibit the same symptoms described in my previous response, about “certainty”. To be rigid and fixed in our mode of thought, to “rest on our laurels”, is to be over-comfortable. As Jedi, we participate in the adventures our paths bring to us. We do not rest, and the place of the Jedi is not the same as the place of the chubby house-cat, comfortable on the radiator. There is wrong in the world. There are problems. It can make us uncomfortable to admit this, and it should. This discomfort motivates us to find a solution we are more comfortable with.

I come back to that same, mantra-like point: balance is key. If we are too comfortable we stagnate. If we are too uncomfortable it can cause us pain. We should work towards the middle ground, comfortable “enough”, but also uncomfortable enough to enable ourselves to have goals, aims and adventures. We should not baulk at the prospect of discomfort. I recently arrived at some wisdom I’ve been helping my partner apply: nothing worth having comes easily. The stress of maintenance, of learning and growing is necessary. We do not grow strong muscles by using them once, and we do not come to comfort by only achieving it once. It comes and goes, those familiar waves of the cyclical nature of the Force.

In the final analysis comfort is not something we need to get too comfortable with. As I’ve said repeatedly, the place of Jedi is not sequestered away in a cloister; it is in the world, supporting our fellow people, learning to live in harmony with and promote harmony within the wider Force. That’s not to say we must spend our lives in pain or difficulty, only that we are wise to understand sitting still for too long “because it is comfortable” leaves us flabby, inefficient and rather poor Jedi. It does not only matter “what we’ve done”, we need to continue to apply these lessons to fulfil our vows as Knights. One good deed does not imply a lifetime of passive comfort as reward.

I will add, I do not believe this lesson is widely understood by some here at the Temple.