Personally, I think the emphasis on its parallels with Taoism describe the Force perfectly, which were partially set up by Lucas in Star Wars (influenced by the growing of New Age movement in California) but extrapolated by Kershner, who was a Buddhist himself, in Empire Strikes Back.
Particularly, the way Luke and Rey portray the Force is like a Taoist trying to achieve wu wei, which literally means without action/effort/control. It can be better understood by the term wei wu wei, or effortless action. Think of it like an athlete being “in the zone”. Doing without thinking.
If you compare the Force with the Tao, basically the Path/Way of the universe, then idea is to let go of your own desires and let the current of the universe take you where you need to go.
You can see this multiple times, with Luke destroying the Death Star, to him taking a deep breath and then reaching for his lightsaber in the Wampa cave, to him calling out to Leia beneath Cloud City. It’s about clearing your mind, letting the Force take over. It always has been, and I think us seeing it otherwise was influenced by not only extended material, but our pop culture and other media as well.
The Force is much more like magic than a martial art, but if I had to describe it as anything it would definitely be Tai Chi. To me, the way Rey is learning the Force doesn’t seem much different.
Also, is it not possible that the Force itself is this dynamic thing that changes between the trilogies? In the prequels, it apparently took around 20-25 years to become a Jedi Knight. For Luke, he became a Jedi Knight basically in one year. If you were to put that on a graph, there would definitely seem to be a correlation with time.
Although I think much of the Prequel Jedi training had more to do with complex lightsaber techniques and diplomacy education, the Prequel Jedi still didn’t seem to learn as fast as Luke did in the OT, not even Anakin, the apparent Chosen One with 13-14 years of Jedi training, didn’t seem that much more powerful than Luke with 1 year of training (and only a short period of time of official training directly with Yoda, the rest was self taught). I mean, ROTS Anakin probably would’ve whooped ROTJ Luke in lightsaber combat, but that probably goes for any Prequel Jedi. But Force ability wise, doesn’t seem that much different. See what I mean?
The ST, on the other hand, everyone has this raw strength that we’ve never seen before. Kylo Ren stopping blaster bolts IN MID AIR. Pulling information out of people’s minds with little effort. Snoke ragdolling Hux from apparently lightyears away, bridging Rey and Kylo’s minds, casually bouncing lightning off the ground, throwing Rey around in the air like she is weightless. Luke severing his own connection with the Force, blowing up a hut with the flick of the wrist, projecting himself ACROSS THE GALAXY. And of course, Rey’s natural abilities with the Force. Also can’t forget broom kid with no training at all pulling the broom towards himself, almost without thinking (Remember Wu Wei?).
It is almost as if the Force has literally awakened, not only in Rey but across the Galaxy.
I have a little headcanon that is has something to do with the number of Force-users dropping from 10,000 to a half dozen or less within a short amount of time, and that number not growing for decades. It has been dormant, and it is now surging through new Force-users like electricity through a conduit.
But, I hope they never really explain the Force 100% officially. It needs to remain mysterious, because that what makes it so interesting. There should be different philosophies and interpretations, just like any faith.
But to me, the way “the Force works” most closely resembles Taoism. And I think this is being shown in the ST not only its depiction of the Force, but also bring back the shades of grey in what we see as good and evil, as Taoism also recognizes that one thing is not wholly Yin or wholly Yang, but has elements of both Yin and Yang. I should also clarify that Yin and Yang are not equivalent to the Western perspective of good and evil, but moreso the complementary opposites of all things: peace and violence, life and death, selfishness and selflessness.
But this is just my perspective.
The Tao never does anything,
Yet through it all things are done.
If powerful men and women
Could center themselves in it (They can!)
The whole world would be transformed
By itself, in its natural rhythms.
People would be content
With their simple, everyday lives,
In harmony, and free of desire.
When there is no desire,
All things are at peace.