Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Force Awakens Rebuttal:

Spoilers so step on if you haven’t seen it. I shall be addressing the “that is not how the Force works” issues with a main character.

So some people have presented a problem with Rey using the Force and being seemingly proficient in it without training. And there is a feeling that the Force is being ruined or guided in a direction that some do not agree with. It is a recurring problem I have seen expressed and I think a lot of people might be overlooking a few of points (maybe not, but figured I’d add my two pennies anyhow).

First, the reason Jedi seek to find and train Force sensitives is because of unchecked ability. Anakin Skywalker is able to use foresight without training, for example. The Force augments a person without training. Having an untrained force user in the galaxy was a concern. And those with it often used their abilities to further themselves in the galaxy. They were able to use the Force without training. They were limited by two things – complete ignorance, not knowing it was the Force aiding them. And ignorance of abilities, not knowing what the Force could be used for. Thus rarely do they go beyond the simple insights and proddings they feel.

Second, training makes it reliable, yes. It makes it an at will thing. Obi-Wan does the Jedi Mind Trick without effort because of training. But once you know something? Once you have an idea that you have this power and it can affect people’s minds? You have already jumped pass the two biggest hurdles we just mentioned. Training is not required to access and use the Force. Training is about Ethics, it is about Tangible Repeatable Results. It is about learning to use it under duress. It is learning to use it without resorting to emotional prodding and the Dark Side. This is what Jedi Training is about. It is about Mastery. Understanding. And overcoming Ignorance – what you can and cannot do with the Force. What you should and should not do with the Force. And using it in stressful situations reliably.

Third, we have an understanding the Jedi sometimes excel in certain areas of the Force. Different Jedi had different strengths. Who is to say Mind Affect is not an innate trait of Rey’s? Perhaps subtly being done over her years as a scavenger? She seemed to convince the greedy little scavenger who trapped BB-8 well enough.

Now – I view Rey’s use of the Mind Trick was great and within the confines of everything we know of the Force, Canon or Legends. She failed. And Again. She knew it was possible, but failed. How is this different than Luke on Hoth? Nowhere within the movies do we see him get telekinesis training. But he knows of the Force and its abilities. So why not try? Both had to stop – calm the mind – and than force their will (no pun intended). It was a great moment. I’d personally love to see her fail again in the next movie – because of lack of training. Not reliable yet. The Force aiding, guiding to a specific outcome.
Side Note: I’d recommend Scourge (A Legends novel) which touches on the subject of the Mind Trick throughout the book. I think it helps understanding how such a thing can be done.

Lightsaber Duel – “The Force doesn’t make you a skilled duelist.” Correct, but it does help telegraph moves – as said it guides. Rey already knows how to fight. So with premonition and nudges to strike here, block there, strike here? Which whether you go Jedi Apprentice series or A New Hope, you know the Force does work in that manner. So yeah, going to kick butt. “But Ren has more training!” True BUT, he was still emotionally torn from killing his father, that just happened, so unstable (no doubt affecting his own connection to the Force). He was shot with a bowcaster that was blowing stormtroopers out of their boots (connection issue even with Dark Side logic of pain fuels me – body and mind can only take so much). He had just fought Finn and suffered a wound from that battle (so hindered in that). He was holding back because he had NO Intention of Killing Rey. He just wanted to her to willingly join his side. So he wasn’t fighting to win, he was fighting to simply defend and diffuse. Any real fighter will tell you that makes a huge difference. So not going 100%. And Rey, connected to the Force, calm mind in battle, already established as a skilled fighter, and fighting 100%? Why wouldn’t she kick the crap out of him?

Overall I felt nothing shown went against any notion of the Force that we have been shown or know of, again canon or legends. Rey is awesome. But she isn’t overpowered, she struggles. And just the knowledge that you can tap into this great power which you had heard stories and legends of your whole life? Seriously, think for a minute. If you knew you had the Force as seen in Star Wars – how many abilities would you try? How would you try them? Maybe based off the stories you know so well? Stop – Calm the Mind – Focus – Act? Nope. Sorry I stand behind Rey’s actions within the movie and feel they are directly in line with canon – not changing direction or altering the Force in any way.

Are Jedi Real?

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A fair and valid question, despite the obvious – NO! Star Wars is a movie! – answer that may screamed at you or from you. First, yes real Jedi do exist. Now before people get all listing reasons as to why not, there are two main things to consider. The first is simply that mythology and story-telling (a.k.a. Fiction) has been a way to explore the human experience. It is a way to dive into reality by dissociating a bit. Allowing people to touch on some of the more bigger topics in a way that feels safer and is a bit more engaging. Star Wars and thus the Jedi are no different in this. They are reflections of our reality. They look at the human experience and allow us to explore several concepts of morality, spirituality, and so forth. To say Jedi are purely fictional is to deny the very real-world inspirations that aided in their creation (e.g. Samurai, Knights Templars, Stoicism, etc.). Concepts such as Peace, Knowledge, Serenity, and Harmony are very grounded and accepted as real. Even the Force has been used by a lot of major religions to introduce people to spiritual concepts.

The second thing to remember is that fictional inspiration does not automatically negate validity. You can be inspired by a story. This is the whole principle behind Aesop Fable’s and Jesus’ parables. I mean, if someone changes their life for the better because of A Christmas Carol would you say their new life isn’t real? Sure, I get it. Calling yourself a Jedi is a bit further than just living a life inspired by the films (or tv shows, books, comics, games, etc.). Yet really that is just labeling the lifestyle. When you live your life by clear guidelines and a Code having a label helps people make sense of why you do what you do. Why are you bending yourself into a pretzel? Yoga. Why are you kneeling in front of a half-naked man nailed to a cross? Catholic Praying. Why are you sitting in front of a wall doing nothing for an hour? Zazen. Why do you live the way you do? I’m a Jedi. We are paying homage to the inspiration and keeping it very close to the heart so that we do not lose our way. As the movies shows us, falling to the dark side can be pretty easy. Which again, fiction as a reflection. How many times in life do we see people lose their way and wander a dark path? We realize, as George Lucas once wrote, our focus determines our reality, so we have chosen to focus on the light also labeled Jedi.

So are Jedi real? Yes. Since the mid-1990s the online Jedi Community has worked to make it a reality. Something more than just fans reciting the Jedi Code and quoting Yoda. Building an actual lifestyle that is positive and beneficial and true to the inspiration. Here is a quick breakdown and see if anything seems fake or fictional to you.
Main Practices: Meditation, Physical Fitness, Diplomacy, Awareness, and Self-Discipline.
Main Tenets: Peace, Knowledge, Serenity, Harmony, the Force.
Main Traits: Patient, Objective, Reliable, Grateful, Helpful.
So what sticks out as fake or unrealistic? Maybe the Force? But what is the Force? What is meant by it? Even within the Star Wars universe, what is the Force and is that idea so beyond our own universe? Midiclorians? Mitochondria could be a real-world view. Remember that the Force is never truly explained within Star Wars (I have a whole midiclorians don’t ruin the Force rant – I’ll spare you for now). The point being that even using the terminology “the Force” doesn’t diminish the idea being conveyed and explored. We can see  elements of a very positive lifestyle being expressed within Jedi ideology. Really touching on five key areas of personal well-being (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social).

The Jedi Path, world-betterment through self-betterment wrapped up in Star Wars terminology/inspiration. So yep, we earth-bound movie inspired Jedi are very much real with very real practices and ideology. And if that speaks to you, I hope you’ll join us on this amazing journey. May the Force be with you.

When You Fall (Fail at Being a Jedi)

 

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Forgive Yourself. Yes, acknowledge the mistake, but remember that being a Jedi is a process. It takes time, training, and application. It doesn’t happen overnight and even the most experienced Jedi still stumbles. There is a lot to the Jedi Way and you are not infallible. Beating yourself up over it serves no good. In other words, don’t be sorry, learn and grow from it. Save the self-pity, focus on moving forward and being better for it.

Get Back to the Inspiration. Find your passion and enjoyment of the Path again. If that means a Clone Wars (tv series) binge or a Machete Order Movie Marathon then go for it. If it means putting some your Jedi costume and doing some charity work – handle business. If that means lightsaber practice with friends, get it done. Find your enjoyment of the Path once again. Find what makes you smile when you think of being a Jedi.

Remind Yourself of Your Goals. Adjust your focus to why you do what you do. There is a process, a path, a point and purpose – what is it? What are you striving for? Remembering our goals and where we are looking to go can really help motivate us to pick p the challenge once again and help us get to the finish line.

Don’t Make It Hard on Yourself. Don’t try to do what the Jedi with thirty years is doing. Start small, keep it simple, do what works for you. Difficulty with meditiation? Use one of the 10 minute youtube guided ones. Difficulty with working out? Use a simple 10-10-10-10 routine (e.g. 10 jumping jacks, ten push-ups, ten sit-ups, ten squats). Don’t drowned yourself with trying to be the best and doing it all in one day. Understand it is a process and to work your way up. When training for a marathon you don’t start out running 26 miles, you start small and work up to that distance.

Begin Again. Deep breath. Keep the Basics at Heart. And pick up your practices and lifestyle once again. And know that when it happens again you have a system in place. There will be growing pains. There will be slips and stumbles along the path. That’s Okay. Acknowledge, Accept, and Move Forward. No such thing as a perfect Jedi. Take one step at a time and be willing to repeat the process if you need to.

Photo Credit: http://mattmoylan.deviantart.com/art/Mace-Windu-94693537 Great stuff. You can check out more from Matt Moylan at www.lilformers.com

Creating a Jedi Mood/Day

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Or Five Steps to Creating a Light Side Day. I am really horrible at naming these silly things. Okay, sappy Jedi time….

Step One: Stop! Number one Jedi practice time – deep breath. Take a minute. One minute. Just close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Got more than a minute? Get a glass/bottle of water and find a nice view. A tree, a bird singing, the lights of your cityscape, a park, the clouds in the sky. Pick something and just enjoy a moment of quiet for you. Enjoy your water and then go attack the day like you’re Obi-Wan and the day is Darth Maul.

Step Two: Lightsaber Duel! Okay, you may not be able to do this. Maybe bust out the lightsaber and simply practice Form One (Shii-Cho, Way of the Sarlacc, Determination Form) for a little. Okay. Some may not be able to do that right now either. Okay. How about just quickly rocking 5 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 15 squats? Bam! Just a little something to get some blood flowing. Here – I’ll start….. Okay. Your turn.

Step Three: Patience my Jedi friend. Time is a tool to be used, use it wisely. There is a time to press forward and a time to just allow things to unfold. Not everything happens when we want it to, but that doesn’t mean that it will NEVER happen. You have to be patient at certain times. Most of all you have to exercise patience with yourself. You are not infallible, you are not an all-powerful god, you are a perfectly flawed human being. So take it a day at a time, keep your focus on the present moment.

Step Four: Remember that you got this. It can seem overwhelming and crazy and just WAY too much, but You Got This. You will survive this and be better for it. Doesn’t matter what the day holds for you – because you are a Jedi and you are awesome. And you have a pretty good record thus far – survived 100% up to this point. So keep that up.

Step Five: Smile. Hold that for twenty seconds. Next, share that smile with someone today. Make it your mission. Sincerely wish someone a great day (or good, wonderful, nice, etc.). Hold a door open for someone. Give a big hug to the next family member you see. End every conversation with, May the Force Be With You. Okay, you don’t have to do that last one. But I telling you, smiles and confused replies to giggle with if you do.

Just be happy. I know life can be crappy. Very few of us are where we want to be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. So really, just embrace life (even for a day). Just take the good, bad, and the absolutely insane as a learning experience. Don’t judge it. Don’t label it. Just grasp the day, accepting it without judgment, and determine to enjoy it despite the struggle. Be happy Jedi – you deserve it.