03/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Power vs Force - A New Year's Lesson From Yoda

In the movie "The Empire Strikes Back," Luke has been given the assignment of moving a sinking airship out of the mud with his mind, and he's trying very hard, not being very successful until Yoda tells Luke: "No. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." For a long time, I've grappled with the concept of not trying (which, I should say, is a concept much, much older than the Star Wars movies). How can you learn unless you begin, and how can you accomplish anything, unless you try first?

The answer came to me from the book Power vs. Force, by David R Hawkins, who writes: "Force is a movement. It goes from here to there against opposition. Power is still. It's a standing field that doesn't move...just like gravity."

In all spiritual traditions, which is where Yoda got his wisdom from, you learn how to center yourself, and it's when you are able to stay in that center, that magic occurs. Most of us live outside our center, trying too hard, and using an enormous amount of force, in order to realize our dreams. The result is often a mix between exhaustion and bitterness, because we end up depleted, still being far from where we wanted to be.

The reason we fail is because we've been acting outside our realm of influence. Say for example that I'm 'trying' to get more clients. I reach out, contacting people I know, who might give me an assignment, or who might contract me. I ask them for what I want, but there's still an insecurity in me. I am hoping to be approved of, wanting them to like me, and I really want someone to give me a break. Usually it ends badly. Maybe I can get a few clients from that approach, but it's not sustainable. I haven't offered myself, and I've tried to make the airship budge, by using force and by squinting my eyes. When I shift, and move inwards, centering my energy, offering something from within me, the dynamic shifts, and I both attract clients without effort, and retain those I already had.

Another example of power vs. force is dating. Say that you've met someone whom you really are attracted to, and after a first date, you are anxiously waiting to hear back from him or her. The longer time elapses, the more you are trying, and the more energy you put into this person. Maybe you don't do it through calls or texts (you've learned how to not seem desperate), but you do it in your mind, willing the phone to ring, or translating the radio silence as a text that got lost in transmission. Just when you give up, surrender, and stop forcing the issue, the phone rings, or the client contacts me, or Luke can move the airship.

So true power is similar to surrender in its quality. Power is effortless, and it's about looking inwards, standing still, not trying, not forcing, and not needing, which is when, as Franz Kafka said, "The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

For 2010, I've set the intention of being more centered (using yoga, meditation and other centering techniques), so I can accomplish more, without depleting myself. It's a daily exercise in mindfulness, with moments of connection, and hours without, but for each year, I'm able to stay still for a while longer.

Rome wasn't built in one day, and neither is our capacity to be present with ourselves, without running away. Ending with another quote from Yoda, I wish you a centered, surrendered and powerful year! "Go to the center of the gravity's pull, and find your planet you will."

By Lotta Alsen

Lotta Alsen empowers women to become leaders, change agents and successful entrepreneurs. She's launching the 100-day coaching program The Heroine's Journey February 15 based on the chakra system, teaching women how to make money and expand their business, while changing their world. Read more at