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In The Empire Strikes Back we see our first glimpse of Darth Vader without all his armor as his helmet is lowered on his head. This is in the meditation chamber, which seems to be an airtight chamber that can completely surround him.

I can understand that Vader, with all his physical problems, might benefit from a higher (or lower?) air pressure or special air mixture, but this isn't called a "breathing chamber" or anything of the sort. It's called a meditation chamber.

Meditation is a tool for releasing anger and stress and finding peace and comfort or for becoming "one with..." (one with whatever). But Sith operate on anger and hate and dark emotions - everything that meditation is designed to disarm, disperse, or eliminate. This would be a great tool for a Jedi to use -- but it makes no sense why a Sith would use meditation as a tool.

So what does Vader, or any Sith, do when they meditate?

  • 1
    Have you seen this: starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sith_Meditation_Sphere – Chad Aug 21 '12 at 14:13
  • @Chad: I have now! ;) – Tango Aug 21 '12 at 16:03
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    Although reading in the EU changed my perspective a bit, I remember wondering about this when I first ran across a reference to it as his 'Meditation chamber'; my first thought was simple.. Just because it's called that doesn't mean that's what it is / is used for.. Vader didn't really want to draw attention to his weaknesses.. So calling it a 'Life Support Chamber' or 'O2 Therapy Room' might not have been the best idea. Then, too.. I have a Study in my house.. And I can't really say it's used to study very much; it's got most of my electronic toys. – K-H-W Aug 21 '12 at 16:44
  • @Chad But that is not what Vader is using, and he is never shown using any form of battle meditation. – Andres F. Sep 14 '15 at 17:23
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    Remember when your parents would do something you didn't like, so you'd go to your room and simmer in your own anger? It's a lot like that. – Omegacron Apr 12 '17 at 18:34
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The canon novel Lords of the Sith explains why Vader meditates on page 5:

Vader completed his meditation and opened his eyes. His pale, flame-savaged face stared back at him from out of the reflective black transparisteel of his pressurized meditation chamber. Without the neural connection to his armor, he was conscious of the stumps of his legs, the ruin of his arms, the perpetual pain in his flesh. He welcomed it. Pain fed his hate, and hate fed his strength. Once, as a Jedi, he had meditated to find peace. Now he meditated to sharpen the edges of his anger.

Presumably other Sith meditated for the same reason.

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    +1 Now that most of the other answers have been deemed Legends non-canon, this is probably the only canon answer :) – Andres F. Sep 14 '15 at 17:21
  • Please clarify for me: When you say "canon," this is new canon, under Disney? – Tango Sep 14 '15 at 19:11
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    @Tango Yes, Disney controls the canon now. Most of the old EU is now deemed Legends and non-canon. – Null Sep 14 '15 at 19:14
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The problem is assuming all meditation is created equal and that all meditations are done exactly the same way for the same reasons. There are many different forms of meditation on Earth.

  • Some meditations focus on physical control, muscular development, and biofeedback (sports),
  • others on spiritual interactions or the building of inner energies (chi, ki, prana),
  • some focus on emotional manipulations (building compassion, channeling rage, increasing concentration).
  • Dark side powers were used to harm, debilitate, or kill. Some, like Rage and Drain, were used to benefit the user personally, akin to powers of the light side, with the difference that these were used at the expense of his or her own health or another individual's Force reserve.
  • The dark side drew its power from emotion, and while the intent behind their use may well have been good at the time, it was most likely to lead one to further spiritual corruption from overuse, without the proper self control and mindset.
  • Continuous use of dark powers was shown to have a physically corrupting effect on the Force-user, regardless of intent, due to the body's inability to handle such power for long periods of time. --Starwars.wikia.com > Force Powers

Given that use of Dark Side powers corrupt both the body and spirit of the Sith, they may use meditation to ameliorate the damage caused by the use of their powers. They would meditate to control the damage to their psyche which would erode the use of the Force. Such meditation would sharpen their mental powers, stabilize their mental/powers/will so they are able to stay at their peak of Force-using ability.

A Sith might also use meditation to:

  • Focus their mental strength through visualization, a form of meditation where you practice using your skills in your mind, honing your focus and improving your ability even though you are not actually using the skill.

  • Visualization is a powerful tool. Studies show if you take two teams of basketball players, one set trains daily for an hour, one set only visualizes themselves playing daily for the same hour. The visualizing team is 80% as good as the one that practiced daily. This is a powerful reason to meditate, allowing the Sith to focus their inner strength and inner fortitude.

  • Meditation does not require a person be at peace to use it. A Jedi might opt to be at peace, but a Sith may instead use his meditation as focus of his rage, sharpening it, honing it, utilizing it as a tool through which he/she will channel the Force.

  • A Sith might use his meditation for lucid dreaming, precognition, or a stronger connection to the Force. They might also meditate to seek new ways to use the Force, discovering previously lost or hidden knowledge.

  • Do you have any canon you can reference that says the Sith need to mitigate the damage being done to their body by their use of the dark side of the force? I have never seen anything like this and I have read... alot of the EU. – Chad Aug 21 '12 at 14:10
4

In the Roleplaying Game from West End Games, light side Force users had access to a power called emptiness, which was essentially a Jedi meditation power/trance. Later on, West End created a rage power, which was a dark side equivalent where the force user immerses himself in the dark side.

In the Shadows Of The Empire novel, there's a scene with Vader inside his meditation chamber doing this:

He concentrated on the injustice of his condition, on his hatred of Obi Wan, who had made him so. With the anger and hatred, the dark side permeated Vader ... The dark side easily consumed anger...

3

In one of the books (Shadows? Bounty hunter trilogy?) it is explained that Vader was using meditation to attempt breathing without the aid of his machinery (which he could do for brief periods of time by deeply channeling Dark Side of the Force, at the cost of great pain). His ultimate goal was to train himself to breath on his own, relying only on The Force.

Sorry, no quote as I don't recall which book it was.

  • 1
    I don't have it handy to check, but I'm pretty sure this is Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader--a pretty good read, if no longer canon post-Disney. It's full of details about what the experience of wearing the suit day to day actually was like, inspired by the out-of-universe reports of David Prowse and the other actors who wore it in TESB and ROTJ. – dodgethesteamroller Sep 14 '15 at 22:33
1

As other answers have pointed out, there are multiple applications of meditation, many of which would be useful to a Sith Lord. However, even in the very narrow purpose of meditation you provide, a Lord of the Sith can still benefit from calming and centering themselves at times. One of the biggest downfalls to the Dark Side is having your emotion override your reason. Consider if Darth Vader never made an effort to curb his hate when among his subordinates and allies, and was always strangling and lightsabering them. He'd be a bigger enemy to his agenda than the Rebellion. So Sith do have something to gain by centering themselves when they don't have an immediate need to let loose with their Force powers.

0

From my readings from the EU, the Sith, or dark practitioners are always said to be using pain, hate or anger. And this is true to some degree, however it is overlooked that the Sith in particular have a code. The first line says what I want to stress.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Passion can be any emotion, from anger, to hate, to love, to want, to your own ambitions and your own furthering of your goals.

Darth Bane, the Sith Lord who implemented the Rule of Two, drew inwardly on not only his own pain, or his own rage, but from a sort of inner fire, or drive to be better than others. To become the most powerful. You may see that it is expressed as anger to the others, or hatred for those individuals. Whoever you see that they are using their emotions in general.

Darth Vader, when he fought, focused the Force inward and fought as a cold, calculating machine. Using the Force to bolster his strength and focus. Revan was a conduit for both the dark and the light and had the energy flow within him. Even while imprisoned, he still focused on the aspects of the Force, and how it is an energy. Emotions are a source of energy that Sith can harness, whereas the Jedi focus on control over their emotions, because of the overwhelming nature that emotion brings to reason.

When a Sith meditates, they are focusing their emotions. Bringing them to a boil, gathering them to be able to unleash them, or harness them to enhance themselves. The Sith gather the Force just like a Jedi does. It is just a different aspect of the Force.

A major showing of this is the Force powers of Battle Meditation. Both Sith and Jedi have this skill, albeit it is rare to find amongst both ranks. This was also demonstrated with Grand Admiral Nial Declann. Meditation is not only for calming the mind, or emotions, but focusing it.

-1

You can meditate on anything. We typically just think of doing it for peaceful reasons. However, you can meditate on anything. I'm sure the sith meditated on negative virtues.

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    This seems like pure guesswork, rather than being based on evidence. – Valorum Jul 12 '16 at 0:27
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For Jedi, emotions can effect or cloud judgement. During the last 1000 years, the Jedi were not hunting Sith. They never use the Force for power. Knowledge (how to use the force in positive ways and strengthen ones understanding of the force.) And Defense (how to use the force to defend oneself from harm.) It makes sense that Jedi (who often settle disagreements and handle public social problems) need to remain centered, poised, and unbiased. A Jedis strength does not flow from emotions, powers, or passions; but the Force. Sith Meditation is used to sharpen the mind of what is usually a very (human) emotional driven angry person. They focus emotions like a lense and later use the benefits to attack, maim, kill, and prepare their spirit for the task at hand. Much like an assassin. Or a sorcerer

  • Welcome to the sci-fi and fantasy stackexchange! Youe answer may be good, but you can surely improve it by including a reference to some canon source, eg. a book or a movie. – TimSparrow Sep 7 '18 at 20:38
  • Welcome to SFF.SE! You may want to take the tour, to better understand how our site works. You seem to have come to much the same conclusion as the accepted answer, but without any backing from the SW canon. While speculation is certainly OK in an answer, it's difficult to consider this a good answer, when there's another answer that says much the same thing, and backs it up with references to canonical SW materials. However, your contribution is still appreciated. – RDFozz Sep 7 '18 at 20:46

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