Category Archives: Jedi Living

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.

Real Jedi, Bullies

It is an unfortunate reality that there are times when we are faced with improper behavior. There are people who are leeches. They seek to suck and drain those around them. The Jedi Community, like any other, is not immune to these type of people. If you find someone draining your time and energy, don’t play the victim. Remember to adjust your focus and concentrate on what is truly important. Make sure you are investing your time and energy wisely. If someone crosses a line, remember that Jedi are not doormats. Non-aggression, peace, acceptance, patience, these do not mean to suck it up and put up with bad behavior. Here are five things to remember when you find yourself harassed by a person.

(1) You are Not to Blame. It is important to not fall into the trap of thinking that you did this or that this is your fault. You are not responsible for the actions and choices of others. Someone treating you poorly is not a reflection of you – it is a reflection of that person’s character. Do not blame yourself, do not resign it to karma or fate. It is person acting improperly because they have chosen to do so. They are aware of their actions. They are responsible for them. And they are to be held accountable for them. Do not accept blame for their impropriety.

(2) Speak Up. If someone is doing something you do not like. Or you just want to be left alone. OR someone is within your personal space or comfort zone. Say so. Don’t suck it up. You can voice your preferences and opinions. Your voice is valuable. Your opinion is worthwhile. You can be polite. You can be diplomatic. You can ask a person to take a step back with a smile. You can tell a person to leave you alone. You can tell a person they are being rude and harassing. Say No. Voice your discomfort and displeasure. You are allowed. But don’t take this yourself. Speak Up to Friends and Family. Don’t suffer alone. Don’t shoulder a burden. Talk with your support structure around you.

(3) Record. If you are being harassed online – take screenshots. Time and Date it. Save it in a folder marked harassment. Date and Time the images so they are easy to find. Document the inappropriate behavior. Offline, this is a little more work. You have to be careful with phone photos and recordings because a really aggressive person might break it or escalate the situation. So be mindful. But you can write it down. Date – Time – Factual Incident Summary – People Nearby (witnesses). Keep a record of this improper behavior as it can really help soldify your stance. As well it can show just how much you are putting up with. Sometimes we are a little to nice and lenient and having a record can show just how much we have allowed bad behavior to happen to us.

(4) Remove. Take action by removing the person to the best of your ability out of your life. You have absolutely enough to deal with. You have your own life, responsibilities, struggles, and worries. Don’t sit there and add another by allowing a negative element to suck away your time, ebergy, and good graces. If online – Ban, Block, Ignore. Have an iphone? Block the number. Whatever you need. Make it happen and don’t waste another second on it. Most people (like myself) don’t like doing this, but again, you are not responsible for the actions of others. If they prove they don’t listen to you and your request to leave you alone – cut them out. This is tougher to do offline. School and workplace issues tend not to allow it. But you can do your best to keep your distance and not get involved in the same projects as the other person.

(5) Report. A way to ensure not being forced into a group project with the person is to tell those in-charge. Teacher, Manger (boss), whoever, you let them know of the issue you are having and your desire not to work with the person. You show your documentation and various times where you asked politely for space and the demeaning and harassing behavior of the individual in question. Perhaps a more permanent solution will be presented. If it is online, especially in the Jedi Community, you can report to administrators or website leaders. Again you present your record of behavior and problems and state your issue. Leadership should hold the person accountable.

The thing to remember is that a person’s behavior is very rarely directed at a singular person. It tends to be a radiating thing. It spreads to many people. And by speaking up you could be adding to an already compiling list of issues. Or you may be the first that encourages others to come forward with their issues. Either way. Don’t be a doormat. If you have a dealing with a negative person – take action. Value yourself enough not to simply accept continual abuse from a person.

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.

Solving Problems Like a Jedi Knight

Use Patience JediYou will know, when calm, at peace, passive.” – Yoda
Deep breath. Focus. Now, clearly identify that this is decision-making time. Don’t get stuck in indecision. Do you need to make a decision? Yes? Get to it. Not your place? Don’t need to make a decision? Outside of your control? Cool. Done. Time for some meditation or a workout or something.

You gather enough information to make your plan. If you’re planning without information, you’re planning for failure.” – Mara Jade Skywalker
Define the issue clearly and simply. Use very simple terms and breakdown exactly what the situation/problem is. What exactly are you addressing and making a decision on? Don’t overload the problem or add the unnecessary. Keep it in terms that are easy to understand and follow.

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
What are possible solutions? As Jedi we focus on the solutions rather than the problem. Brainstorm. Make a list. Include all you can think of, from the crazy solutions to the most simplistic solutions. Keep an open mind and list all possible choices. This is a good exercise in itself, but when faced with tough decisions you want to be able to consider all options.

Wisdom is knowing when you’ve given all you can.” – Leia Organa Solo
Start narrowing down that list by stipulations. Jedi Ideals (Ethics), Money (or lack thereof), Safety, Risk, etc. What you are willing and not willing to do. Work through your list crossing off the ones that just do not work for you. Rank them in order of which appeals the most to your values and addresses the problem at hand.

Make a decision, make another, but undo the past you cannot.” – Yoda
Evaluate your best option(s). Then make a decision and go for it. You can re-evaluate later if need be. But basically you are going to have to make a decision and determine how that plays out. Change tactics as necessary. Have some back-up options ready, but once you have gone through the list, make your decision and move forward confident in your choice. Believe in your abilities and capabilities.

Overall, keep it as simple as possible. You can narrow this process to a mental task that takes seconds really. Be specific about the issue at hand. Be clear about your limits (cost, time, money, energy, etc.). Be clear about the parameters, who gets final decision, what limitations have been placed upon the situation, etc. Allow outside options and seek advice from those you trust – more input can help clarify any situation. And ultimately experience is the best (if not the harshest) teacher. Trust your instincts and whether success or failure learn from the situation as you progress 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.

Ethics, They Matter

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In a recent – shall we say – discussion there was an issue raised of ethics being included in teaching techniques. Now this is something I have been embattled with for years (so a raw subject for me, one could say). The Jedi Community since the beginning has put technique and “powers” and martial arts and all this stuff first (because philosophy and ethics are boring – lightsabers and force powers are exciting). It is the forefront of most training programs (even the main website is proof of that). Funny enough this is even touched on in the role-playing guides as Lightsaber Syndrome. Here is a technique for energy manipulation. Here is a technique on how to dislocate a joint. Here is a technique on Subverting someone’s Free Will. And that is it. There is no ethical lesson, disclaimer, or meat to it. Just, here is a gun – use it responsibly.

The idea being – Well, we are all Jedi. So ethical education doesn’t need to be said. Which I cannot even comment on without saying some unJedi-like things. Because that type of thinking leads to Jedi who have been around for years and they don’t see an issue with removing and subverting a person’s right to chose (dominating a person’s mind). No problem with tricking a person into doing what the Jedi wants. After-all it is a Jedi doing it – so it must be for a good reason yes? No danger in that at all. No abuse of power possibilities what-so-ever. Because no Jedi has ever fallen or made mistakes or lost the struggle to power. Nope. Never happened and never will.

I get it. Ethics is a very murky subject. One the Philosophical community has been debating and working through for centuries. What makes an Action “Right” or “Proper”? What makes an Action “Wrong” or “Evil”? These are very big questions which have a lot of different answers available to them. So it can seem like a tough subject to tackle. However the Jedi is not some subjective Path which is solely left to personal interpretation. There are rules to which we adhere. A core we all must follow – in one form or another. That includes ethical action.

Yet it is a topic so overlooked in the Jedi Community it is scary. What are the ethical values of the Jedi? When is a bad technique a good one to use? How does a Jedi determine that their actions are Right? So far I have seen people claim a stance that – well they are a Jedi – so they are right. No ethics needed. But if Jedi don’t get any ethical education, how can we assume Jedi know what constitutes ethical action?

Most Jedi will fall back to Utilitarianism for their ethics. “The greatest good for the greatest number.” It is okay to punch someone if it helps other people. It is okay to subvert a person’s free will if it helps other people. It is okay to steal bread to feed children. It is okay to be a complete jerk as long as it helps other people. I mean that’s why the Jedi why love me right? Me being a raging jerk helps educate other people – ergo I am a shining example of a Jedi. Right? I am justified in my actions, right?

Of course not. Because Jedi do not believe “the ends justify the means.” In fact there is a very rigid thought against this ethical code. It is often even labelled as Sith Thought. This Ethical School of Thought is called Consequentialism. Meaning the Consequences of your actions (good or bad) are the only thing that matter. The Outcome is what defines an Action as Good or Evil. This is not something Jedi hold to – even with the greatest good attached to it. Why?

Because how you do something is just as important as what happens because of it. Your Intentions matter, yes. Your Actions matter, yes. And the Outcome matters, yes. One does not override the other. As Jedi we are bound to a certain rule of ethics (I call it the Jedi Method) – Jedi Intention + Jedi Action = Jedi Outcome.

This is basic Rule Utilitarianism. Jedi want to do the greatest good for the greatest number. But they must do so within the confines of the Jedi Path. They must do so within the ethical values of the Lifestyle they live. This means adhering to the Jedi Code, the Jedi Rules of Behavior, the Jedi Compass, the Jedi Circle, the Jedi Precepts, the 33 Teachings of the Jedi, take your pick (heck, choose all of them). There is this core of the path to which we must adhere.

My Point – Do not neglect your ethical studies dear Jedi. Do not assume a person is always right just because they wear the Jedi title. Righteousness has harmed more people than most like to admit. What you do – How you do it – These things matter. Don’t go the Quick and Easy Path. Yes, it is easier to subvert free will than talk things through. Easier to punch a person than show them why people want to punch them. But that really isn’t the Jedi Way now is it?

Now if you are curious about ethics and how they apply to the Jedi. You can brush up on Deontological Ethics, Ethics of Care, and Rule Utilitarianism. Then combined with your experience and knowledge as a Jedi (along with whatever Jedi Texts you like the most, Compass, Circle, Maxims, Teachings, etc.) and determine which you feel best fits the Jedi Way and Why. Cause Homework is fun! (I mean I actually enjoy repeating this assignment, but I also love the philosophy way more than the “cool” aspects of being jedi; so you know grain of salt and all that.)

How to Get Jedi Level Concentration

Yoda-Meditating

So one of the things that comes with being absolutely insane enough to run a Jedi website and training program is the concentration to write everything that goes with that. Since 2007 I have written over a 150 Jedi lessons for the Jedi Living training program alone. Now granted some of these were on the same subject (tedious) and some of these made their way into print (insert self-promotion of Jedi books here). As a genuinely lazy person and someone who cannot seem to focus on any one thing for more than five minutes – this amazes me when I reflect upon it. Though a not so subtle hint to avoid running any Jedi sites or programs. Live the Jedi Way and then Netflix and Chill – I am sure you’ll enjoy it more. Anyhow. Point being – Concentration is a must for any Jedi and one I have had to work on continually over the years. Here are a couple of tips to help you develop Jedi Concentration…

1.) Set Your Goal. This is probably obvious, but many leave this to undefined. In order to truly focus in with that single-minded determination you have to have something to focus on. You need a clear goal. From there you can establish a plan and direction for yourself to proceed. So before you sit down or whatever you are concentrating on (ping pong match), set your goal. and have a plan of action. Hold to your strategy and focus in on your task at hand.

2.) Control the Flow. Concentration requires energy and effort. It will drain you mentally. Anyone who has had a long day at a desk knows well how tired and worn out you can be without physical exercise included. Those that do both (like high rise construction workers) know how difficult it can be to keep a high level on concentration going. This is no different than physical exercise. Pacing yourself is important. And you have to take breaks to ensure you don’t wear yourself out. Ever tried one of those 5k Trainers (like Couch to 5k or Zombies! Run!)? They don’t just make you run. There is walking and run breaks. So – same principle. Focus. Break. Focus. Break. Focus. Break. And no. Don’t just wander over to social media stuff. Yes a break you can chill and look at instagram, but make sure it is a set time. I’d also more highly recommend something physical active to get the blood flowing. Jump rope, stationary bike, push-ups, something that doesn’t require much focus. Walk around the block allowing your mind to wander freely. Get back to it.

3.) Refocus. Grim determination. Slap in the face. Cold water in the eyeballs. I mean, lets avoid that, but same principle. This is the the – Suck it up Jedi and get to it – part. You know what you need to do. Don’t allow yourself the plethora of exercises waiting for you. “Oh I have time.” – “Well I am not sure exactly how to begin” – “My Hulu Free Trial is almost up and I don’t want to waste it.” – Knock it off. You got this. Deep breath – pull up your project and get to it. Set your plan into motion. Hold yourself to your timetable. Play to the peaks and lows – use them to your advantage, not as excuses. Sometimes you’ll have to trudge through it, but you will get a break. So work to that break. And when you concentration is lapsing. Close your eyes, Deep Breath (or five), Refocus, and continue forward.

4.) Minimize Distractions. You have your goal. You have a plan. You have your breaks lined up. Phone on Do Not Disturb during work time (you can have settings to ensure important people/calls get through). Do not have facebook, twitter, or whatever else open in another tab during the work cycle. Leave that for your break time. Put the blinders on. Get that single-minded focus going and cultivate it by removing as many distractions from around you as possible. And then….

5.) Self-Control Jedi. Come on now. I believe in you. You are capable of leaving those distractions alone for the time being. So just don’t do it. Easier said than done? Absolutely. I 100% agree, but still – don’t do it. It is within your power to focus in on your project and get it done. And here is the beauty. Once it is done – it is done. You get all that extra time to you. And you can be a weirdo like me and fill it with more projects. Or you can actually enjoy the extra time and relax with your loved ones. So practice that self-control Jedi. Work Now – Chill Later.