Category Archives: 365 Jedi

5 Life Lessons from Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker

Life is this crazy, wondrous, beautiful, and ever-changing thing. It is not always easy to navigate its fast and flowing currents and we can find ourselves a bit lost on how to proceed. Often in these times we look to areas which inspire us. People who have attained the goals they pursued. Or characters which we have come to identify with. For many Jedi that has been a lowly whiny farm boy turned confident hero, Luke Skywalker. Here we explore some quotes of the character for a little advice in life.

“It was never too late to correct a mistake.” – Luke Skywalker
It is going to happen – at some point you are going to make a mistakes. Gasp! Shock! Surprise! You will find a choice you made was not the best one and it had an affect on your life. But not everything is written in stone. Often sometimes we can adjust and make the most of a mistake. We can correct our course. We can apply the freshly learned lesson and make-up for a poor decision. Pencils have erasers because mistakes happens and sometimes we can correct them. That correction may take time, it may take years, but don’t just surrender yourself to a bad outcome. You are alive. You are wiser. You are capable of correcting past mistakes.

“Wishing that things were otherwise does nothing to erase memories. Wounds do not heal by ignoring them.” – Luke Skywalker
There are plenty of things in life that can leave a mark. Times we want like to change. But none of us have a time machine. Dreaming and wishing you could change things doesn’t affect anything. You cannot live life looking backwards. It is like driving a forward while staring in the rear-view mirror. Torturing yourself over the past only serves to blind you to what is in front of you. Learn from the past. Eventually accept and come to terms with the past. You cannot change it, but you can use it to help build a brighter future.

“Having more experience doesn’t mean making difficult decisions are easier, but it does let you know that sometimes the tough decisions must be made.” – Luke Skywalker
I have been doing this Jedi thing for, well, longer than most – lets just say that. And there are times in life when it is still difficult to Jedi-up and do the Jedi thing. When you first begin the training you’ll find plenty of obstacles and hurdles, but eventually a lot of those become easy and second-nature practices. Yet no matter how long you live, how long you are a Jedi, there will always be a time when you are faced with a tough decision and it is still a tough decision to make. But experience does remind you of one important thing – not making a decision is still making a decision. When presented with choices, you must move forward as best you can. Use your experience and training and make a decision you feel best.

“It was good for a Jedi to question… Discipline was necessary, but unquestioning obedience was a limiting thing, not a growing one.” – Luke Skywalker
When one first starts out on a path they are taking a lot of things on faith. They are assuming the practices and lessons are made out of experience and will lead to positive and beneficial changes. So not every little thing is questioned and faith is put into the instructors. Such is nice, but one should never follow blindly. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you do agree with soemthing, talk it out. If you something just doesn’t seem right, then discuss it. You can respectfully question material, methods, and practices. You can question traditions and why things are. This is a great tool in learning. Any real instructor will appreciate the questions because not everything is always covered in the lesson plan. Exploration is necessary. So dig into it and should you ever have a question – ask.

“Your overconfidence is your weakness.” – Luke Skywalker
It is absolutely important to believe in yourself. It is important to your know yourself. Your weaknesses, your strengths, and your limits are all core self-knowledge items. Some people will mistakes confidence and self-knowledge as arrogance and over-confidence. Know yourself and hold to it. Humility is knowing your strengths and using to them, not bragging about them. Still you will need to be careful of over-confidence. It blinds a person not only to their own flaws and weaknesses. It starts to rely heavily on assumption and begins to ignore information counter to your own belief. A small danger can become a huge one if you start to believe yourself infallible and untouchable. Over-confidence is a weakness that will cause you to get blindsided a harsh reality. Assume you can do anything and you’ll quickly find out how incorrect that is. Know yourself and know your obstacles and you will always overcome them (one way or another). So be objective, honest, and fair with yourself and you will grow into a very capable person.

Five Steps to Jedi Acceptance

 


First understand that there are different levels of acceptance. This isn’t an all or done sort of thing. Understand that acceptance doesn’t mean passivity. Acceptance does not equal inaction. Just because you accept your boss is a jerk and accept that is who they are, doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about your situation. The first step to correcting any problem is accepting that there is a problem. You need to acknowledge and accept the issue then you can begin to work on it. This is the first level of acceptance – that there is something you need to address.

Next step is to understand not everything is about you. When someone is a jerk (using our previous example) that is about them. Even if they seem to only be a jerk to you specifically, it is still their issue. They are the one with the problem and inability to express and communicate like a rational adult. Instead of addressing whatever -their- issue may be, they have decided to act out in a childish manner. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own issues. Once you can accept that it isn’t about you then you can focus on what you can do.

The next step is a bit tricky, because it does have something to do with you. More specifically you have to be aware of your motivations. A lot of our inability to accept something is because we have a very strong desire to be something else. We cannot accept that this person is a jerk because we expect and want them to be better. We expect them to be someone of quality and hold them to our own standards. It is not allowing people to be their normal messed up selves. So we find we cannot accept a situation because we have this expectation. The question then is – why do you have this expectation? What is motivating this desire to see a different reality then the one being presented to you? Try to let go of those expectations and simply accept what is presented to you and work from that rather than an idea of what it “should” be.

This brings us to our next step which is probably the most helpful. Your focus determines your reality, right? So adjust focus on solutions, not problems. You have probably heard that presented to you a bunch of times. The reason being is because it does wonders. When faced with a tough situation turn your eyes toward solutions rather than blame. Don’t look to blame anyone, including yourself, it is wasted effort. Instead find the solutions to the issue. There are usually many options available so look for them. Work through them. Find the best option for you. And if there is no solution to be had – look for the things within your control. What can you do? Where can you put your time, energy, and focus? Accept that you have control over you and where you put your time and energy and then use that ability to focus on more productive and happier things.

Last step is the over-used let it go. Don’t hang onto the past. You do what you do and then move forward. You make your decision and move forward. You don’t have a time machine. You cannot go back and change things, but what you can do is live in this moment to your fullest. You can learn from the past and use it to help create a brighter future. Shouldn’t have skipped that workout? You let that guilt go and when a day comes and you don’t feel like working out, you do a light workout knowing at least you did something. Stepped in some gum? Deep breath, done deal now, scrap it off, and move forward. Should have taken that job offer a couple years back? Keep an eye for a similar opportunity, never too late to take a new direction in life.

Acknowledge, Accept, Act (inaction counts, sometimes patience is the best action), and Move Forward. Acceptance is about realizing that we are always in motion, always moving forward. We have no reverse in this life. So deep breath – what is done is done – the question is now what – then go do that smarter and wiser for it.

Battling the Dark Side Five Tips from Qui-Gon Jinn

Battling the Dark Side – Five Tips from Qui-Gon Jinn
quigonjinn by wynahiros

Overcome Over-Thinking.
Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts. – Qui-Gon Jinn
It is going to happen. You are going to feel down. You are going to feel like you are in a dark place. That is okay. Don’t over-think it. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the repetitive trap of circular thinking. It is easy to get caught up in that down spiral of thought and rumination. Instead give yourself direction. Focus on the small steps. The obtainable goals. The little things you can do within this moment. Let go of the loftier goals and take your first steps toward the little accomplishments. Problem-solve rather than getting lost in the problem.

Nicely Done.
Your focus determines your reality. – Qui-Gon Jinn
When you feel in a dark place your judgment and thinking process can be clouded (and often is). To help balance that you need to remind yourself of a couple of facts. The first being the simple fact that you have survived this long. While you have faced many challenges and uphill battles you are in fact alive and not doing too bad for yourself. Especially considering what you have faced. You are alive and still capable of great things. Second, remind yourself of the good things you have done in the day (a worthy practice). All the little things and big things. Making someone smile. Helping someone out without recognition or credit. Feeling completely depressed and still getting in a 7 minute workout (available in the app store). Taking a couple minutes for meditation. Getting the dishes done though it was the last thing you wanted to do. Remind yourself of the good things and help balance your perspective. It isn’t all bad and you are moving one step at a time toward your goals.

The Present is a Present.
Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs. – Qui-Gon Jinn
The Past will get you every time. It is a dark place. Not because of events or happenings. But even the best memories can trap you from seeing what is happening right now in your life. You cannot drive forward while looking backwards, just as you cannot live life looking backwards. You are bound to crash eventually. Focus on the road ahead and just like driving you can only look so far down the road before it hinders what is in front of you. You have to stay present and aware. Look, you do not have a time machine. There is no going back. You have made mistakes. You probably have regrets. Things you’d like to do over. Meh. Such is life. Guess what, you just might get that second chance. But you will miss it, if you are not paying attention. So learn from the past. Then let it go. Mark the lessons. Look at those past events as prep work. Lessons for you to apply to your life now. And then live in the Now fully prepared with the life lessons you have earned the hard way.

The Future is in Motion.
You cannot prevent what you cannot see coming. You can only do what you think is right at each moment as you live it. We can plan, hope, and dread the future. What we cannot do is know it. – Qui-Gon Jinn
You can plan for the future. You can set goals, have dreams, and develop a plan of attack. Ultimately however you must live within the moment of day. You have to focus on where you are to get to where you are going. By working hard and wisely you can do your future self a favor. You can put yourself in a position to make your dreams come true, but that starts here and now. This moment, each moment, is when you begin making your goals into reality. So set down your plans and goals. Have an idea of how you are going to get there. But keep track of what you are doing each day to make it happen. Be fluid in your approach and adjust your sails as you need to.

Know Yourself.
You must be sure of what you want and believe. Sometimes the way will be confused, but allow yourself the time to understand yourself. – Qui-Gon Jinn
You are not defined by your past. Things which have happened to you do not define who you are. Take the time to really get to know you and your goals. What makes you – you. Then take the time to determine who you wish to be. Who do you want to become? Then start taking the steps to get there. One step at a time. One day at a time. Move forward with patience and trust in yourself. But don’t feel you have to do this alone. You are not alone. You have a social support structure there for you. Friends, Family, the Jedi Community even. Keep note of the people who help you move forward. Do not be afraid to lean on your friends when you feel tired and weak. It is okay to need a hand. You will need time to pick yourself up and get ready to attack life once again. Give yourself that time. Be patient and work steadily toward your dreams. Take the time to really get to know yourself. Your motivations, likes, dislikes, and what drives you. Push yourself when necessary and allow yourself time to rest and revitalize when necessary. Develop a basic schedule that works for you. A daily one and a realistic longer term one. Then take it a day at time adjusting as needed.

Tips for Remembering Your Jedi-Self

Yoda-Meditating

Everyone is a Critic.
Don’t lose track of the praise even in a stream of constructive criticism. Or vice versa.” – Luke Skywalker
More so in this day and age. The ease of putting out content and the ease of people being able to directly respond to said content (YouTube for example) has really helped the rise of the critic. Everyone feels their two cents is worth shouting from the rooftops – and it just might be. However the thing to reminder is not to get so caught up in all the critics and naysayers. Do what you do because you enjoy doing it. Know yourself, your goals, and keep to it. Don’t focus in on the negative things other people think or say you are. Take criticism with a grain of salt and use Jedi Self-Reflection practices as a way to stay grounded and focused on your goals.

Make Mistakes.
One can fail at a task but still learn the lesson.” – Luminara Unduli
You are going to. It is going to happen. No doubt you already have a few on your record. You are still here. Probably wiser for them. You live, you mess up, you learn, you grow. Sometimes we get success first try. That is nice. And refreshing. And it sucks when we try and fail. It doesn’t feel good to work towards something and fall flat. No fun. Especially when we are like – “that was just a boneheaded mistake. I am better than that.” But it does happen. Don’t live in fear of mistakes. You will have areas of weakness. You are not some all-knowing, all-powerful Jedi that is incapable of mistakes. Only I am that awesome as a Jedi ;). You work on areas that need improvement. You keep your strengths sharp. And when you make a mistake you acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward wiser for it.

You Have Grown.
Patience. A Jedi you still are, and with you is the strength to overcome.” – Yoda
So if I met my 1999 self – that kid would get a stern lecturing and probably a few marshmallows thrown at his head (not a bad kid, just a bit misguided). My 2006 self? I’d just punch that dude in the mouth (eff that dude). You are not who you were, and in ten years? You are not going to be who you are now. Hopefully these changes and growth are for the better. A place you are good with and happy to continue to move forward from. You are reading Jedi stuff so I figure you are heading in an awesome direction ;). Just keep on. Put in the time and effort. You’ll get to where you want to be. So don’t dwell on who you were. Instead celebrate who you are and who you are becoming.

Things Change.
Always in motion the future is.” – Yoda
Nothing is set in stone. The end of your story hasn’t been written yet. Your journey is not at its end. You may find the Jedi Path is not for you. Cool. You can go a different direction at any time. You are not pegged in. You have the ability to make changes in your life. Feel free to make use of that ability at any time. Determine the direction you want to go and go boldly. But don’t feel that you aren’t able to alter your course. Course-Correction is a valuable practice. You are on the open seas, not railroad tracks.

Beware the Lies.
Trust isn’t worth anything when it’s built on lies.” – Seha Dorvald
Self-Honesty is key to the Jedi lifestyle. However some people have been telling themselves lies for a long time. How worthless they are. How nobody will miss them or cares about them. Lies told so often one begins to believe their own non-sense. You are not some perfect immortal butterfly all glorious and ever-lasting. You have weaknesses and flaws – wabi-sabi – that is what makes you beautiful and valuable. So beware the lies and instead be a bit more objective and honest with yourself. It is okay to see value in yourself. And when you see the flaws, the things you don’t like, just remember that you are in the process of growing and changing. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time to grow. Acceptance is peace.

Respect Your Feelings.
Search your feelings, every day. Keep careful watch. The worst monsters are not those from without.” – Ikrit
Your feelings are valuable indicators of the self. Letting you know your preferences and sensibilities. But they are not the entirety of the world. Don’t focus so much on you feelings that you ignore the facts of your situation. Don’t lose sight of your options, opportunities, and advantages by getting lost in over-confidence or defeatism. Your feelings are one of the many tools in your toolbox, not the only one.

Mind Your Company.
Friendship shows us who we really are.” – A Friend in Need, Clone Wars 4.14
Birds of a feather…. Surround yourself with people that are good for your environmental and overall personal well-being. Find people with similar interests. Join a dance class or a after-school gaming club. Don’t keep yourself tied to toxic people or relationships. Instead fill your world with people who see the best in you and encourage you to see the best in yourself. If we are going to be constantly bombarded with information, we can at least do our best to make that positive and useful information. Giving and spending our time with people who appreciate us (and that gift of time/company) is a wonderful thing to have in life.

Another Five Point Article

Debate, Argument (in the classical definition), Discussion. These are common elements in academia. These are common elements in the online Jedi Community. And certainly that extends to the Jedi Path in general. But sometimes Internet Culture will win out over Jedi Culture. Loss of Temper, Taking Opinion as Fact, Personal Attacks. So to help with a brief reminder, here are five elements Jedi keep in mind within various discussions.

1. Opinions Are Not Facts.
If you are confident that only you know what is right, you’re making yourself the center of reality. That’s just selfish.” – Anakin Solo
This does not invalidate your thoughts and opinions. But it is important that you understand your opinions and judgments are not factual in nature. They are observations which are limited by your own scope and understanding. They may be educated. They may be accurate. You may have a better than average ratio of being right. But this does not automatically mean your views and opinions are fact. Example, it is your opinion the moon is made of cheese. This does not make it fact simply because it is your opinion. And it doesn’t matter that you have never been to the moon to see otherwise.

Another popular thing people will try to do is cite an “opinion piece” (news article based on opinion) as fact. They cite Huffington Post, Daily Mail (uk), and label them fact-finding. This is not correct and something you should be aware of. There are many news outlets available these days, but due to the new structure of online reporting, fact-checking is a limited thing. Most report what they saw based upon another news source they read. So while you can research and come across “news” articles on a subject, you still have to separate opinion from actual facts.

Opinion is personal viewpoint. Fact is a viewpoint that has been tested multiple times by multiple people with tangible and repeatable results leading to a clear conclusion. When you find yourself exploring or debating a topic, be sure to secure yourself in facts, not merely opinion.

2. Society Does Not Dictate Facts.
Suspend your judgment, and every being has something to teach you.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
“Oppression is a fact of life.” – “This is just how the world works.” – Society can be a very broken thing. It can be a great thing which encourages growth and prosperity. It changes over time and is different in different places. What is considered a sign of encouragement in one society may be an insulting gesture in another. The opinions created within a society, much like individual opinion, does not equal fact.

We can get wrapped up in our world. We can get caught up in our heritage. Culture and history can be very important things to us, but they do not have to be constricting things. Don’t fall into the trap of judging things based upon society’s viewpoint. That is a just major opinion, it does not equal fact, it does not equal right. Many horrors have been done on a societal level. Slavery has existed in just about every civilization we know of. Genocide has been committed by many societies. Mass hysteria doesn’t make reality just because the majority have succumb to it.

Research, understand why something is a fact. Know the scientific method that helps to establish the things we come to know as facts. Continual experimentation to test theories and results. Peer review by other experts in the field (who also test theories and results). Don’t accept societal habits as matters of fact.

3. Be Objective About Subjectivity.
Each of us is still an individual. We will have worries and concerns that are unique to us. We cannot expect to always understand each other. The commitment (to each other) is what is important.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Not all things in the world are written in facts and unchanging stone. Beauty is a subject which is very subjective in nature. This does not mean that objectivity has no place. It simply means we must apply that knowledge. Understanding that there are things that change depending upon our own point of view and experiences in life. Understanding our bias and subjective ways of thinking can be approached in an objective manner.

This is the basic, “keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.” Be open to the experiences of others. As much as we are similar as a species (birth, blood, bones) we are different individuals. We don’t always share the same views and don’t always react in the same manner. What may make one person angry may make another person sad. It is not our place to tell people how they feel or even how they should feel. Objectively look at the situation, at the events, and facts of the matter, but be sure within the objectivity that you allow for the subjective nature of human beings to take place as well.

The twist on this is that people tend to look at things as completely subjective and thus completely different. Which really it goes to the quote above. It is not really different, we just perceive it to be so in our minds. But if you break it down, you have people reacting to outside stimuli. Reacting differently, sure, but feeling, reacting, and seeking to do the best they can nonetheless. Don’t get so lost in the differences that you miss the connecting factors as well. You can understand someone’s viewpoint without sacrificing your own.

4. Not Everything is Meant to be Fixed.
There is a lot of unrest in life. The Force is created by life, so it has unrest in it. If you open yourself to the Force, how can you not open yourself to a certain amount of unrest?” – Mara Jade Skywalker
A lot of society these days is about correcting problems. Fixing what is not normal. Adjusting people’s behaviors and outward appearance to match with that the current standard is. In life there are many peaks and valleys. It is actually one of the more interesting and beautiful things about life – its unwillingness to conform to a specific path. The beauty and perfection of life is not found on a magazine cover or in a youtube video. It is random, it is always moving, and it is completely natural.

Wabi-Sabi is one of the more utilized and solidified forms of this. I prefer it as a philosophy, but mainly it is used in design (interior and architecture). The idea idea that perfection is found in natural imperfection. The tree is beautiful, not because it is straight, slim, and perfectly groomed, but because it grows and sways as necessary. The clay tea cup is better for the cracks in the surface than a smooth polished finish.

You can engage in conversation and debates without needing to change or fix someone’s view and/or opinion. You can accept diversity without needing to force conformity. You don’t have to agree with someone to understand their viewpoint and where they are coming from. There is such a thing as respectfully disagreeing. Personal attacks are not necessary to disprove points or offer a productive alternative. There is beauty in the natural exchange of ideas, thoughts, and experiences, without the need to try and cure them or fix them.

5. You Know Nothing Jon Snow.
The more we learn, the more we discover how much we do not know.” – Yoda
It is important we remember the extent of our knowledge. Science and our understanding of the universe is not set in stone. Many facts and things we thought to be core truth have been proven false over time. While we have developed things like the scientific method to help minimize our assumption of reality and facts, we are still in a process of discovery and growth.

When in a debate or faced with a challenge in life, it is important to remember we do not know everything. There is plenty in the this universe that is still a mystery. There are subjects and topics in this life that we just are not well educated on.

The beauty of nescience is that it presents us with an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t blindly hang onto ignorance out of ego-sake. Look upon your lack of knowledge and understanding as a chance to learn something new. Even if that is merely how someone else in the world views a topic. It is a chance to gain new perspectives and information.

And it is doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that we don’t know everything. Do to our enjoyment and intake of knowledge and experiences we can sometimes we can forget that.

Five Ways to Help like a Jedi

Jedi_Explore_Corp

1.) Choose Carefully.
There a few things to consider when you want to honor the Jedi ideal of Service to Others. Most do this by participating in a charity. Getting involved with an organization that has the structure set-up to create a desired impact. While you may want to mail a box of goods to a region hit by disaster, there is no one there to receive it, distribute the goods, and make sure it goes to those that need it most. So instead you would donate to a charity group you know has boots on the ground and is providing that service. Of course with so many charities out there, you need to be choosy.
So first off pick a Cause that is important to you. You can start broad and narrow it down. Animals or Humans? Young, Old, Endangered? Education, Prevention, Relief/Aftermath? Lets say you pick Animal Protection. You feel a desire to specifically help Gorillas such as the Cross River Gorillas. So you go to www.gorillas.org. Maybe you can’t get that specific so you go with www.worldwildlife.org. Or maybe you want to be part of a smaller group like www.wildlifewaystation.org. The main thing is to pick something that speaks to you as that will focus your efforts.

2.) Time can be more valuable than Money.
It is not about being rich and using charities as tax deductions. I mean if you are, awesome or whatever, but not all of us have money we can send to a charity. At best we may have a 50 dollar yearly charity budget. But a lot of organizations find your time much more useful and thus more valuable. Relief efforts often require a lot of people sorting, packaging, and moving goods and care packages. Homeless and Animal Shelters often need help with cooking, feeding, and cleaning. Reading programs at local libraries often need volunteers more than money.
So don’t feel money is the only way to give back and be of service. You can make a big impact by giving your time and energy to a charity. This may be more difficult with certain charities as they operate in countries where specific problems or animals are located, but there is usually something you can do. Just do your research and really look into how best you can help a cause that resonates with you.

3.) Seems Legit.
Homework. Research. Verify any Charity before you give. Also consider the size of the charity. Their records on where their money is going and if they have positive financial stability. You don’t want to give to a charity that is about to go under due to years of poor financial use. Giving your time and money to a big charity is often most appealing because they tend to have visible impacts as group. Of course smaller charities can really use help and your efforts can often be felt and seen right away.
The main thing is to make sure the charity is legit and using the money properly. Which there are plenty of sites which allow you to see the rating of charities and exactly where the money is going. Groups like Charity Water boost 100% of all donations going directly to their cause. While other groups some of the donation will go to administration (employee) costs, which is not a bad thing. But it is important to make sure your money is being used wisely. Many charities have gotten in trouble for putting most of their money into management pockets. So do your homework.

4.) You are Not Alone.
Rope in your friends, family, and all humans within arms reach. Okay, maybe not that, but you can arm yourself with knowledge and information and education those around you. Some people may be interested in the same causes you are and looking to help, but don’t know where to start. Others may be less proactive, but are looking to donate to a worthy and verified charity. So don’t feel you have to silently and singularly help out an organization you like and feel is doing good work. Talk about your work and efforts. Have fun with your cause and look to encourage others to get involved. Also remember you are in fact joining a group. Many people who are seeking to help just like you. Saving the world does not fall on your shoulders alone. So don’t approach it with that mindset.

5.) Don’t Over-Extend Yourself.
First off – if you are donating money budget for it. Do not just give all your money away. Spend wisely. If you ruin yourself financially then you won’t be able to give in the future and that doesn’t help anyone. So spend wisely, budget accordingly, and continually give what you are able and comfortable in giving. If that is 10 dollars a year – then that is what it is. Don’t try to save the world all at once.
Of course just as important is to make sure you don’t over-extend yourself. Don’t wear yourself into the ground, working yourself to death, for a worthy cause. Again, if you destroy yourself in the process then your helping stops and no one wins in that situation. Slow and steady wins the race. You cannot cure or save the world overnight. Whatever cause you chose will take time. So pace yourself accordingly. You want to make a positive impact and that will take you a few years. So don’t spend all day every day giving all of your time, all of your energy, and all of your money. Because you can only keep that up for so long. So spend your time and money wisely on the charity of your choosing so you may do so for as long as possible/necessary.

Developing a Good Jedi Relationship

Luke and Yoda

Developing a Good Jedi Relationship (for Apprenticeships)

Communication
“Each of us is still an individual. We will have worries and concerns that are unique to us. We cannot expect to always understand each other. The commitment (to each other) is what is important.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
(For the Student) First and foremost open and honest communication helps to cultivate the other items on our list (especially trust). Being a Jedi isn’t about being liked and agreed with by everyone (even if by “everyone” we mean only the Jedi Community). Likewise it isn’t agreeing or liking everyone. It is about being honest with yourself. There will be Jedi you won’t agree with or like and guess what? That is okay. This helps you tremendously in finding Jedi that gets your sense of style, humor, and approach. Which in turns help you as you explore the Jedi Path. You don’t want to enter an apprenticeship with someone who will make you tear out your hair on a constant basis (not as the student or mentor). Be You and explore and discuss the Path openly and honestly. I promise you will find someone who vibes with that.
(For the Mentor) Like the rest of the list this really starts with you. Your willingness to be open and honest, you communicating clearly and directly will set the tone for the Apprenticeship. Be as clear and upfront as possible. Don’t try to be someone you’re not (don’t play Yoda when you are more like Anakin). Talking about your experiences and views is important for your student and for finding a student that will be a good fit for you.

Trust
Secret, shall I tell you? Grand Master of Jedi Order am I. Won this job in a raffle I did, think you? “How did you know, how did you know, Master Yoda?” Master Yoda knows these things. His job it is.” – Yoda
(For the Student) There are certain things that you are going to have to trust in your Apprenticeship. That your Mentor earned their place and rank. That they will safe-guard your personal information and personal struggles. That they will not abandon you or throw you to the wolves. That they will be able to help you reach your goals. That they will be able handle your endless questions and boundless curiosity. And that when things get heavy, crazy, or outright seems like your universe is caving in on itself, that they will be able to help you not only survive it, but come out better for it. What is important here is that Trust. Because you may not fully get or understand why they are doing what they are doing. You may want them to respond and act a certain way. Their approach may not be what you were expecting. This can cause doubt, but it is here that you need to trust in the process. Trust in your mentor. Trust in the Path. And most importantly – trust in yourself.
(For the Mentor) Trust is a two-way street which begins with you. “Trust isn’t worth anything when it’s built on lies.” – Seha Dorvald (fictional Jedi Knight) If you really want a solid and firm training relationship than your student needs to trust you and that begins with you giving that trust. First and foremost, trust yourself that you didn’t pick a crazy Padawan that is going to run around throwing marshmallows at the Jedi Council during the Annual Jedi Gathering. I mean, unless the Council deserves it, which they probably do, so nevermind that example (and guess what we are doing this gathering now?). Still, point being that you chose your student for a reason. Presumably many reasons which were all grounded in common sense and good expectations. So extend them the courtesy of treating them as a honored Jedi whose council you value. Trust them so you can communicate what is going on in your life, what struggles you have faced, and may be facing. Trust that they will seek understanding and not ignore you or ditch you. Trust that they trust you.

Patience
Moving faster gives you little time to think.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
(For the Student) Or more to the point – little time to apply. The Jedi Way is not that complex. It is not this great mystery. You can learn the general concepts in a very short amount of time. What does not come out of that time is experience. There is a difference between knowing a thing and experiencing a thing. Reading a book on How-to Snowboard can teach you a lot, but it cannot make up for actually getting out there and snowboarding. Thus patience is required. Yes, you may know the Jedi Code, but how well have you lived it? There is a reason your Jedi mentor is a mentor. They have been there and done that a few times over. So be patient and trust the pace they set. And if that feels off – communicate that. Amazing how this all ties together right?
(For the Mentor) Simple – you were a slow-on-the-pick-up, million-question-asking, hungry-for-all-knowledge-ever, over-confident and brash young student as well. Relax. Keep it simple. Remember what it was like when you were a young and excited Jedi first exploring the path. No question is a stupid question. Because you have heard the question a million times before has no relevance to your student asking it for the first time. Empty your cup as well and embrace the long journey ahead. Treat your student with the patient respect they deserve. After-all they felt and agreed that you were the best mentor for them; don’t forget that trust they have placed in you.

Ask Questions
It was good for a Jedi to question…. Discipline was necessary, but unquestioning obedience was a limiting thing, not a growing one.” – Luke Skywalker
(For the Student) This is a core thing to do before Apprenticeship and definitely continues afterward. You will not know if you do not ask. If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. That sort of thing. So be sure to speak up. If something doesn’t seem right. If you find yourself confused. Whatever the reason may be, if you have a question ask it. You are not a bother. This is what your Mentor signed up for. Anytime, Any Question. So make use of your time with them. Bug them. Bury them with questions. Give no quarter. Doesn’t even have to be Jedi related. Want to know why the sky is blue? Ask. Want to know why they favor a green lightsaber blade? Ask. Want to know their stance on political voting and who they support? Ask. No question is off the table. Unless your Mentor specifically communicates to you that something is off the table. Sometimes a certain subject requires more time before it can be explored – if that happens, remember Trust and Patience.
(For the Mentor) So obviously you know to ask questions before taking on a student and the importance of all that. So the main thing I want to stress here is to Ask, don’t tell. Don’t feel you have to have all the answers. And whether you do have the answers or not, the most important thing you can do is simply ask more questions. Help develop that line questioning so that it leads to answers. Asking the right right question can make a lightbulb go off. Not only that, but asking questions allows a student to explore the topic themselves rather than getting an answer to memorize. Ask questions so the student can experience it, rather just be told an answer.

Be Humble
Do you remember Yoda’s little maxim about humility?”
“Humility endless is,” Anakin quoted.
“That’s the one. Did you ever hear Mace Windu’s translation?” Anakin shook
his head.
“You’re never too old to make another big mistake.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
(For the Student) You are the Student for a reason. Clear? Empty your cup and remember that no is perfect or all-powerful or all-knowing. Be a student. Enjoy it. Relish it. Remember it.
(For the Mentor) You are a guide. You don’t get eminent domain over your student. You are a simple Jedi who got to where you are because of various other Jedi and people who helped you along the way. You are not special. You are not the best there is. You are not infallible. Take your ego out of it and simply offer the Jedi Way in a honest and open manner.

Failure is Okay
One can fail at a task but still learn the lesson.” – Luminara Unduli
(For the Student) It is going to happen. I mean that is just life. It helps with humility for sure. You will trip. You will stumble. You will make mistakes. And that is okay, as long as you learn from it. That is the key. Each success is a teachable moment and great experience as a Jedi. Each failure is a wonderful lesson and an important experience as a Jedi. Will you feel bad when you fail? Most likely. Failure rarely makes us feel happy and giddy. That is okay, it teaches us that we want to succeed. It provides as with information on how to succeed. You don’t have to like it, but understand it is okay to fail.
(For the Mentor) A good way to enforce humility is remembering the mistakes we made to get where we are. Part of remembering the importance of failure is looking at where we are and where we use to be. It is not the end. We still have a long road ahead of us. There will be more bumps along the path. Be as your student. Learn from it and remember that it is okay to learn the hard way. It is what you do after failure that matters the most.

Save the Apologies
Do not be sorry. Learn.” – Saba Sebatyne
(For the Student) “Sorry if I am asking too many questions.” “Sorry I messed up.” “Sorry I didn’t remember.” “Sorry I missed the due date.” “Sorry life got busy.” “Sorry I don’t know that one.” SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be sorry. Learn. The best apology is to not do it again. Or in the case of silly apologies like, “asking too many questions” pfft. Look, apologize for things that cause a problem. Asking questions, seeking guidance and learning, this is not something to apologize for. Smacking your Jedi Mentor in the face with a toy lightsaber? Yeah, probably apology territory, but again – best way is to simply learn from it. It use it as a lesson, learn from it. “I apologize, I didn’t mean that. I shall endeavor to not allow that to happen again.” Don’t wallow in sorrow. Don’t get lost in feeling sorry. No pity parties. Use it as a way to improve.
(For the Mentor) You should have this one down already. So I’ll leave it at the quote.

Developing a Jedi Attitude

Russell Walks

Number One: Acknowledge the Difficulty of the Task.
Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Even still we are at times able to succeed in our task. Of course sometimes we fail. And that is okay because what we sought to do was difficult to begin with. This applies greatly to training as a Jedi. Sometimes we fail at living up to the Jedi name, but it is important remember that living up to the Jedi name is a very difficult task. Don’t allow success or failure to diminish the size and difficulty of the task you undertook.

Number Two: Acknowledge that Failure Happens.
Not everything goes according to plan. Things happen. Mistakes happen. That is okay. Failure is bound to happen. The more you seek to succeed at the more you can be sure to fail at times. It happens. Don’t get so focused on success and success stories that you don’t recognize the trials, errors, and stumbling blocks that happened on the way to success. It is rarely ever a smooth road to achieving our goals. There will be pitfalls, it is necessary to acknowledge that. Of course failure doesn’t have to mean The End. Just a part of the process.

Number Three: Remember that Success Does Not Define You.
When you reach your goals it is important to keep that Jedi warning of materialism in mind. Own, but don’t possess. Success, like failure, is just part of the process. It is a result of continued work, training, and dedication. Sometimes success brings a paycheck, which can be very nice, but that should not be point (merely a bonus). Don’t get so caught up in the end goal and the possessions of it that you forget who you are, what you believe in, and what brought you to the point of success.

Number Four: Acknowledge that the Force is Real.
I don’t care what you call it. The Force, Luck, Coincidence, the Hand of God, Happenstance, whatever. The point is that sometimes things happen beyond any reason, foretelling, planning, etc. Something just falls into place out of nowhere. This happens. Sometimes it works in our favor. We are blessed by the Gods of Humorous Happenstance and are given a wonderful opportunity. Sometimes we are cursed and find ourselves buried under things out of our control. It happens. Its fine. It is not the end. Acknowledge it and move forward. Prepare as best you can, but don’t discount the flow of the Force.

Number Five: Remember that Change is Inevitable.
Life moves forward. Time doesn’t stop, even if we wish it really would sometimes. With that comes the lovely concept that things change. “This too shall pass.” Bad times do not last forever. Good times do not last forever. Enjoy the moment when you can. Work until the bad times pass. As long as you keep moving forward things will evolve around you. Things will change in time, whether we want them to or not. Make use of this. Make it work for you. Know the bad times will pass and focus on getting pass that. Know the good times will pass and thus savor them deeply when they are here. And keep moving forward.

Five Ways You Can Start Living Like a Real Jedi Knight

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1. Get that Jedi Mind
Before Lightsabers and Force Powers Jedi were taught that a calm and focused mind is the most powerful weapon you can wield. Peace, Patience, and Propriety is what empowers a Jedi in the most trying of times. In a world that moves fast and demands your attention 24/7 it is important to make sure your mind is ready to handle the challenges you will face.
Practice: Meditation. Find an App, Subscribe to a Meditation Channel on YouTube, join a Meet-up Group. However you pursue it, make sure you get your meditation on twice a day.

2. Learn the Basics
Knowledge is Power and Power is Change. Start filling your brain with some some Jedi Thought. Whether you pick from the fiction – Empire Strikes Back, The Old Republic, or The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace (etc.) – Or books by Jedi for Jedi – Jedi Circle, Jedi Compass, Exploring the Jedi Lifestyle (etc.kindle versions available) – The key is to learn what it means to live as a Jedi. How to apply those high ideals of objectivity, accountability, service to others, and so forth. Plenty of Jedi manuals out there for you. Jedi Rules of Behavior is a good place to start as well.
Practice: Fire up the kindle, hit the Play or iTunes store, get yourself some Jedi material. Most won’t be above 10 dollars. Consider it a worthy investment. Oh yeah, than make sure you read through it. Jedi stuff can be dry and a bit boring, so take small bites. Digest a bit each day.

3. Discover the Force
The Force is Ineffable. There is a force in the universe. What it is? No one can say it is any one thing. Perhaps it is everything? Maybe it is simply an idea that everything in this universe is connected and we should live accordingly. Maybe it is basic physics, maybe it is quantum physics, or perhaps it is God? The Goddess? The untapped human potential? One thing every Jedi has learned through training (even the most skeptical) is that they can Feel the Force. Once you can experience it, you can explore it, and then next step is to define it. This definition is for you. It may take a day or a lifetime. You may stick with ineffable as your definition or it may be much more spiritual. Whatever the words and label you chose the Force will a part of your journey and growth as a Jedi. So question, study, experience, explore, and define.
Practice: Meditation can apply here. Or just stop, take a moment to observe life. You can do this as you wait in line for your Starbucks. Take in the movement, the life, the energy. Deep breath – ask yourself, what is the Force? Keep exploring the universal (oldest question) until you find an answer that works for you.

4. Embrace the Lifestyle
The mind is key, but don’t neglect the body. You don’t need to be running any marathons, but a Spartan Race (or Battle Frog, etc.) is pretty close to Luke training on Dagobah (get a Yoda backpack and it is nearly identical). Stay healthy. Stay active. That varies from Jedi to Jedi – again don’t have to be a fitness model, but pick up that lightsaber and swing it around for 30 minutes to an hour. I promise you’ll be tired by the end. Or be more sensible and just start a nice fitness routine.
Practice: 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

5. Meet Those Living It Already
From yearly gatherings to local meet-up groups there are Jedi out there. Type in 2016 (or whatever year this is) Jedi Gathering and you are bound to find information. There are websites and blogs with hundreds of Jedi running around. Chances are you aren’t alone in seeking to become a hero from a galaxy far, far away. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger. Luke Skywalker and Rey (Kenobi? Solo? Skywalker? Organa? Lars? Darklighter? Kartan? Hurry up Episode VIII!) *cough* Point being that Jedi are way cooler (and have more fun) when they are sharing the journey with other Jedi. And if you find yourself in Southern California (at Six Flags Magic Mountain), give me a shout.
Practice: Find a Jedi to share the journey with. No rush on this, patience Jedi, the Force will guide you. 😉

Remember, the Force is with you, always.

Five Responsibilities of a Jedi Knight

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Public Service is a core responsibility of the Jedi Knight. This can take many forms as we have explored within the Five Goals of the Jedi. Training takes top priority for the Jedi as they begin the path. We touched on this before. You cannot truly help another unless you can help yourself first. You have to be in a secure place before you uplift others. Consider it like two people on the edge of a cliff. You want to help the other person get to safety, yet your footing is not secure. Do you risk both of your lives by helping the other person? Or do you make sure you get to a place that can support both of your weight and help the person get to safety then?

So when you are training as a Jedi we want to encourage fulfilling the Five Goals, but in small ways. Now that you are a Jedi Knight this opens up a lot more. Your training won’t take up as much time. This doesn’t give you more time to go back to video games and novels however. It is time that can be put to use. Time to get out there and start making a difference. How? That falls to you Jedi, but it is something expected of you. Maybe you help out at a food kitchen. Maybe you help out at a local animal shelter. Maybe you volunteer at the local after-school program (music instructor, coaching a sport, homework tutoring, etc.). Find something that works for you and speaks to how you want to make an impact in the world. Environmental causes also work very well. There is something for everyone and a time schedule that works for everyone. If work, family, and training only allow a couple hours a week for it, so be it. But make an effort, it is part of your duty as a Jedi Knight.

Adhering to the Core Ideals should go without saying, but here it is anyhow. Training is over apprentice, you are a Jedi Knight now. Your duty as a Jedi Knight is to adhere to the Jedi Circle. You don’t get the excuse of being a student any more. Hopefully you didn’t develop that habit of excuses. Sure, no Jedi is perfect and we do and will make mistakes. It happens, the misconception of infallibility and all that. Yet you are a Jedi Knight now. Your peers have recognized you as a competent and skilled Jedi. This means you have a deep responsibility to represent the entirety of the Jedi Way. You are fully trained and considered capable of training others to your level. This means people will look to you as the example. So adhering to our core ideals is simply a requirement at this level.

Breakdown the code into its base elements. Peace, knowledge, serenity, harmony, and the Force are the main tenets you’ll want to be able to explain clearly. These are topics you want to have an intimate understanding of. How does physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social wellness play into the Jedi Path? Why is it a part of the Jedi Path? What examples within the fiction are there of these things? You are a teacher now. You understand the path and the why of it. How it applies to everyday life and the inspiration behind it. Of course this goes beyond just knowing, you must also live by them. You must promote them through your actions, not just your words. There are those looking and learning by observation and your actions will inform them of not only how a Jedi acts, but the quality of the Path itself.

Mentoring and Passing on Knowledge is one of the more rewarding responsibilities of being a Jedi Knight. There can be great joy in helping to guide a young Jedi along the Path and to Knighthood. Watching a person flourish in life and seeing them exemplify the Jedi Way will bring a smile to your face every single time. Having a hand in that journey? It is a great feeling. Yet it is a task that is very challenging. It carries a lot of weight and you are effectively assuming responsibility of another person’s journey along the Path. This requires that you be ready for such a challenge. Be prepared and have a clear idea of how to approach being a mentor.

Understand now that being a Jedi mentor is basically a full-time job. This is not something you get to check in on once a week for about an hour. This is not something you get to just throw assignments at and forget about. You need to play an active role in being a guide to another person. You are a role-model and it falls to you to represent that properly. Be sure you have your stuff in order before you take on this responsibility. Do not rush into anything and be sure that you take the time to fully make sure that you and your potential student are in fact compatible. This is a wonderful responsibility, but it must be approached with the right mindset. Which we will cover a bit later on.

Promoting and Representing Harmony is something Jedi Knights do through the integration of personal wellness and world-betterment. It isn’t about being separate from the world or the problems and issues we face in everyday life. We are not above the constant challenges everyone faces on a daily basis. What Jedi Knights have learned is to harmonize the core ideals of the path into the daily interactions. We do not ostracize others for the sake of the path. We are not running off to some temple in the middle of nowhere hanging out with other reclusive Jedi meditating on the Force all day. This isn’t what being a Jedi Knight is about. We are not seeking enlightenment nor are we Shaolin Monks. Being a Jedi is lived and honored through living the life we have. By being present and engaging with the life, friends, and family we have right in front of us.

Consider what harmony means in musical terms. It is the combination of multiple tones which hopefully blend into cords that are pleasant to the ear. This is the Jedi Way. To blend the multiple ideals and practices of the Path into our daily life which hopefully produce a positive and beneficial lifestyle. As a Jedi Knight you get to be a core representation of that now. How you live your life, what you do with it, how you integrate it with other lives around you, all of this becomes your responsibility. Not only to do this, but to do it in a way that shows the validity and value of doing so.

Continual Education should be of no surprise. You are a Jedi Knight! Congratulations! Now you not only get a boatload more responsibilities, but have much more to learn; aren’t you just overjoyed? One of the core ideals we spoke on before is knowledge. As a Jedi is this something that has value you to. So you will be expected to continue on with it. Now there are a variety ways of doing so. The first I’d recommend is a refresh course on mentoring and being a good role-model. As this will play into one of your new responsibilities as a Jedi Knight. Of course once you tackle that you can move on to other things. Such is current events or how to set-up a local meet-up group. How to find a good organization to volunteer your time to. Plenty of things for you to learn and continue to grow as a Jedi. New meditation techniques. Take a new workshop at a Jedi Gathering and learn a new self-defense technique. The main thing is that you continue to grow as a Jedi.

Being a Jedi Knight is a recognition of the time you have put in and the growth you have shown during that time. It acknowledges that you are become a very capable Jedi that is trusted to be a valued representative of the entire Jedi Path. That you are able to pass on the Way without damaging another in the process. As you continue to live your life as a Jedi you will still be faced with challenges in life. You will still have tough moments that will test very fiber of your Jedi ideals. Many life-changing events may be in the works for you. Marriage, children, divorce, new job, loss of your career, there is absolutely a huge and very long list of things that can upset the balance and calm you have developed over the years. As you face these events new lessons will present themselves to you. You will find your practices and ideas challenged and from that you have the chance to improve and expand upon them. There is no end to your journey of learning and that is the final responsibility that falls to up to upkeep Jedi Knight.