This is the way
That’s the phrase used by the Mandalorians, a people found in the series with the same name. Based in a Star Wars universe, the Mandalorians are warriors with strict codes. Excellent combatants and easily spotted by their armour.
This is the way is a way of bringing their code to attention, said at the end of meaningful exchanges as well as it’s used as a Yoda-argument (meaning it’s not debatable, often used by a superior in some way).
The really interesting aspect of the series is seeing the main characters’ arising questioning of the codex he’s been taught since a young child. He starts seeing the cracks in the facade.
Seeing all of this, I was struck by my own moral code. And even more so, the lack of one.
I’ve had a long list of what I called principles, what I now would call pillars of identity. “I don’t drink” was one. “I wake up early” was another one.
They helped me make sense of the world, and sometimes make difficult decisions once so that I didn’t have to make them 1000 times.
Some came seemingly from nowhere, like the drinking one. I had some sound and really well grounded arguments for it. But the way I made the decision came quite naturally. It was inherent in some way.
Others I’ve used to motivate and set boundaries for myself. For 2 years i was a member of the 5am club without knowing about the concept. The principle, “I wake up at 5”, helped me get up the same time every morning, mostly to read.
It was a conscious decision that I made and anchored at the deepest level: at my identity. I was a person who woke up at 5am.
I have a bunch of these formed in different ways throughout my late teens and early twenties. The waking up at 5, showering cold every day, taking at least one walk every day, reading a book for at least an hour. The list goes on.
But what hit me when I saw the Mandalorian was that I don’t have any of those anymore. No self inflicted policies, no moral codex voiced in words. I don’t have a way put in terms of a Mandalorian.
Note: I don’t think it’s necessary to have one. Not everyone need rules in the same way I do, and not everyone likes putting up boundaries for themselves in the same way I do.
It’s one of the reasons, I think, that I’ve felt lost at times the past couple of years. It’s one of the main reasons I lack the discipline I know I enjoy and thrive in.