Tag Archives: Jedi Academy Online

Jedi Advice (Another Five List)

Define Your Focus
Your focus determines your reality.” A tried and true Jedi quote given to us by George Lucas through Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. What you chose to focus on will ultimately define your life and outlook. So before you begin anything, take a moment to really define your focus. Where is it going to be spent? Why? How? To what end? Dig into it and explore where you are putting your focus currently and what you would like to focus on from this point forward. Jedi, School, Career, Relationships, make sure you truly understand where you focus is and how much it takes. You cannot do everything. You don’t have enough time to focus on everyone. You are going to have to adjust and make the necessary commitments to the things you can invest your time and energy into. And sacrifice (at least temporarily) those things you simply cannot afford to invest in. You only have so much time and energy, so chose wisely, because where you put your focus will impact your life.

Outline Your Practice
Control, control, you must learn control.” Yoda the Green Muppet Master was ever the preacher of training and repetition. Both of which take a lot of patience, after-all practice takes time. People will say, ‘practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.’ But that is a silly and absurd way to look at things. Practice is about learning from the ground up. It means you will make mistakes, you will be sloppy, you won’t be perfect, but you will be working to correct that. Take control of your practice by outlining it. Outline what your exact goals are, long term and short term. Outline the methods you feel will best help you obtain them. Make your practice gradual. Again, you are not a superstar from day one. No one is born a Jedi Master. It will take time and a lot of trial and error to work out the problems and get to that steady level of “perfect practice.” So practice, be patient, and take control of your schedule. Time management is critical to your success in anything you do. So outline, plan, and be prepared.

Trust Your Instincts
Stretch out with your feelings. Trust your instincts.” – “Feel, don’t think. Use your instincts.” Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were great fictional mentors that inspired. When they spoke you felt you could block laser bolts blind-folded as well. These lines endure because we know them to be accurate. When we let go of the doubts, the over-thinking, and just take a deep breath and trust ourselves and that nameless force of the universe things tend to work out. When we are present within the moment and trust our training, study, and preparation we can let go and allow our feelings and instincts to help guide us to the right answers. Things don’t always go how we intended or hoped or deisred, but often we can feel good about the outcome and not have regrets over how we chose to live our lives.

Acknowledge Your Fear
There are many lines in which Jedi consider fear. But the main idea is not to ignore, banish, or bottle up your fear. You must acknowledge your fears. Then you need to seek to understand them. Why does public speaking terrify you? What can be done about it, if anything? Once you acknowledge your fear and face it head on, it loses a lot of its power. This isn’t to say you won’t feel it, or that you will stop sweating, shaking, or your heartbeat will return to normal. This simply means you are aware of it and as such in a much better place to act regardless of the chemicals coursing through your body. We can be afraid to try new things, because we are scared of failing or be laughed at. We can be afraid to trust someone because we are scared of being hurt and going through that emotional turmoil again. Without acknowledging this, we just blindly refuse these opportunities and let them pass us by. Yet if we acknowledge why we want to say no to these things, why we want to let them pass us by, then we can make a much more informed decision. And we can begin to make decision based upon knowledge and understanding rather than fear and ignorance.

Always More to Learn
Don’t get cocky kid.” A strong reminder by a grounded voice of experience. Han Solo was no Jedi, but certainly knew the price of over-confidence. He also knew the reward for trying new things and working from a confident state of mind. Sometimes you have to be willing to try new things and open to learning from experience. The character progression for Han Solo eventually shows him acknowledging that he had some things wrong. He learned the universe wasn’t exactly what he thought, but in that learning and growth he was in a position to help guide new heroes along their own journey. From Aayla Secura to Yoda the Jedi knew that learning never ended. And often when you thought you reached the top, life would kick you down to show how far you had yet to go. It is an on-going journey in which each days provides new opportunity to learning more, to experience something greater. Even if that lesson is simply when to slow down, relax, and enjoy the quiet moments.

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.

Welcome to the Jedi Community

I have been in the Jedi Community actively since 1999. Before that I haunted the websites and chats for four years (1995); reading, contemplating, testing (practicing exercises and ideas via trial and error). Because of this I find it hard to fully grasp what it must be like to find the Jedi Community. The questions, concerns, perhaps excitement and enthusiasm. Regardless I’d like to offer some thoughts and hopefully clear a few things up as you begin your exploration into this path/philosophy. Some of the things we will look at is the Jedi as a religion, the complexity of the online community, and what we here at the Jedi Academy Online focus on for the Jedi Path. I’ll seek to keep this short as possible.

First, this is a lifestyle path, not a religion. George Lucas stated in 1999 that he found Star Wars as great way to explore many of the concepts of religion via a new means. That he wanted to inspire the young and old to ask the big questions and take a deep look at the religious concepts in our world. Basically to explore and better our spirituality. “I didn’t want to invent a religion. I wanted to try to, explain in a different way the religions that have already existed.” – George Lucas

Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean one can’t use it/label it as their personal religion (often called Jediism). It simply means Jedi is not a religion as a whole. Jedi is an open and diverse group of individuals which share many religious beliefs. Some Jedi are Christians, some are atheists, some are agnostic, some are Buddhist, some call themselves Jediists. We have a variety of cultures and religious beliefs which are accepted and embraced here at the Jedi Academy Online. There is no need to change your religion and you are certainly not asked to make Jedi your religion. While we will be exploring concepts of spirituality, looking at different beliefs and religions out there, this is done to better help us understand our personal beliefs and strengthen our spiritual ideals.

When I first started in the Jedi Community it seemed rather intimidating. Seemed everyone knew everyone and I was on the outside with no way in. Times have changed, conversing on the internet is much more the norm, so this may not be the case for most people. However some places (websites) in the Jedi Community are much more active and confrontational than others. Here at the Jedi Academy Online we have a little Welcome Area, we have a small community, and a rather mellow atmosphere. Yet places like the Force Academy have a huge message board, a lot of information to explore at once, different aspects, and generally a very active forum. Different Websites/Groups/Communities take different approaches as well.

One website may not work for you as well as another. You may find the interaction between aspects a highly desirable and useful element, having hot debates as a required element to progression. Force Academy would be more your speed. Yet you may want a specific focus on Jedi as religion, with rites, rituals, and ceremonies so places like Church of Jediism may be more your flavor. Real Jedi Enclave focuses on certification and community, offering core practical guidance with a heavy focus on interaction between members. And of course you may find that mixing and being a part of more than one place is something you enjoy the most. If you have concerns on what place might be right for you feel free to contact any of the Administrators here at the JAO and we can explore that with you giving you in-depth knowledge on places based upon experience.

The last thing I’ll touch on is what the Jedi Academy Online focuses on. Jedi Philosophy for Everyday Life. Here we learn what it means to be a Real Life Jedi Knight. We learn this isn’t about lightsabers, this isn’t about Force Powers, instead it is a focus on bettering ourselves so we may better the world around us. Real Jedi Training consists of Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being. It means improving ourselves through the study, practice, and living of Jedi Ideals and Philosophy. We take the inspiration George Lucas created and use it as he said, a stone to explore the deeper layers of ourselves and the world around us. We use it to grow as individuals who are in a position to help others. We use it to become Real World Jedi – living by the philosophy is a practical and applicable manner to our everyday lives.

Seeking Real Jedi Training

((Repost from old Jedi Academy Online Website. Will see more of these as I save and transfer information over to the new site.))

When I first poked around the Jedi Community in 1995 I was hoping to find a Jedi Master. In 1997 and especially in 1999 I figured twenty years was surely long enough from someone to have lived as a Jedi and be able to pass it on to me. It may go without saying, but I was extremely disappointed. Most were kids like myself. Some placing themselves in Master positions because there was no one to say otherwise. Those originally inspired by Star Wars seemed to have gone off to other paths and were too busy endorsing those. Be Taoist, Buddhist, Wiccan, join the Freemasons, for people like myself no Jedi existed. I did my duties, my due diligence. I studied the other philosophies and religions. I looked into becoming a Stoic. I was given the chance to join a Buddhist Temple. Comparative Studies was not something I shied away from. In the end I simply wanted to be a Jedi and no other path fulfilled that desire.

Which is why I have built this place. Real Jedi Training. Not the Tao te Ching with Star Wars terminology (no matter how much I may enjoy the Tao of Yoda). What we are looking at here is the experience of myself and several others who have endeavored to live our lives as Jedi. Every day we wake up and approach the world as Jedi Knights. Using our inspiration to help us navigate the world and seek betterment, both within ourselves and outwardly. It has not been without its obstacles and hiccups, but that is the joys of a young path. We have the foundations, not the masterworks. You get the foundational teachings. Solid ground for you to build from. What we offer here is nearly twenty years of experience with all that other junk to help support us. What junk you might ask? Philosophy major, certified meditation instructor, personal trainer, reiki certification, and so on. All irrelevant when it comes to the Jedi, but people like their established certifications. Personally I like to highlight 17 years survived in the Jedi Community. Leadership roles, Academic roles, online and offline in both positions. Certified with various organizations within the Jedi Community. But if you are concerned about specifics feel free to ask directly.

Material is the cornerstone of any organization. What do we offer? What do we teach? What is our teaching style? That is what will determine its true worth and value. Our Tier One Program is open for all. The curious, the skeptical, the earnest, anyone and everyone. Take a look at what we present and decide for yourself if you find it of any value. Oh. Where might you find it? Here.

Our focus isn’t some delusional approach. Star Wars is fictional. That is not a question. We understand where George Lucas drew his inspiration. We have studied that. But the Jedi has tied together a lot of lingering concepts and approaches uniquely as its own path. Like many paths it is similar. There are many similarities, just as there are differences. Buddhism and Taoism are two different paths, similar, but different. Islam and Christianity share similarities and differences. We have taken this path seriously and lived by it for the better part of our lives. It has made a positive difference in our lives. And we are simply offering that experience so others may learn from our pitfalls and successes.

So if you are seeking Jedi Training – just join our forums and jump in. There is no special code or special oath required. You want to be a Jedi? Then get to it. No better time to start then now.

5 Tips Before Searching for Your Jedi Master

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1. Search Your Own Self First.
Be sure you explore your own motivations, wants, and desires first. Be open and honest with yourself. This is vitally important for tip #3. You need to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for and what you are hoping to get out of it. Again, be honest with yourself and don’t be judgmental about it either. If you are looking for your Qui-Gon Jinn – know that from the beginning.
Having a clear idea of where you are at and what you are looking for is going to put you leaps and bounds ahead of the class. If spiritual wellness and study your main focus? Why or why not? Emotional wellness? Physical? Lightsabers? Robes? What are your motivations with getting involved with the Jedi Community? Heck! Why Jedi at all? Knowing these things, knowing yourself and why you have picked the path will make the whole process not only easier, but much more rewarding as well.

2. Accept Who You Are Now.
It is important that you accept where you are and who you are now. And understand that where you are? That is okay. But before you go trying to become the wisest Jedi Master or even just the most awesomest Jedi Padawan, you need to know and accept your starting point. We all had one, in anything we do. No one is just a master at anything. It takes time, study, experience, and practice. In order to get where you want to be accept where you are at now.
This has a lot to do with self-acceptance and even self-respect. We seek growth because we not only want to be better, but we believe we can be. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be bothering to read this or be pursuing the idea of becoming a Jedi Knight. We seek world-betterment and that starts with self-betterment. The first step is accepting where we are and being willing to grow from there.

3. Know What You Want.
“You don’t know what you ask for, but you ask for more.” – DMX An old quote I like to use to highlight when we are ignorant of our ignorance. As stated in the first tip, you have to have an idea of what you are looking for. A general concept of the direction you want to go in. The things that appeal to you and the philosophies you are hoping to learn about. This will help you to find the perfect Jedi mentor for yourself. Or in some cases help other more knowledgeable Jedi point you in the direction of a Jedi who would be better suited for you.
I have directed many Jedi to websites and mentors that have suited much better than anything I could offer. Their focus and what they were looking to get out of the Path fit well with other Jedi. That is the beauty of our diversity. Like all relationships, there is someone out there that is a good fit for you. The trick is finding them. That trick becomes much more easy when a.) You know what you are looking for and b.) you make use of the resources at your disposal (in this case the plethora of Jedi who will gladly help you find the right mentor).

4. Do Your Research
While you work on 1 through 3, read up on the community. Watch some Jedi videos on youtube. Partake in some email exchanges with known Jedi in the community. Do a google search or five. Engage with Jedi and various groups. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get personal (especially with a potential Mentor). A Jedi Mentor will be advising, guiding, and generally boring you to tears with lectures. Make sure that is coming from someone you feel comfortable with. Trust and Communication are key so make sure you aren’t just throwing those at someone who became a Jedi Master the same day they joined the Jedi Community.
When you find that special Jedi who will bury you alive in homework and book assignments – ask around. You have been doing research yes? Inquire with a Jedi or two who’s opinion you have come to respect or at least you feel will give you an honest opinion. Get their thoughts and experiences with said potential Jedi mentor. Regardless of their view or opinion it gives you a better idea of what to expect and how that vibes with what you are looking for. Also a good way to make sure you aren’t in a  padawan party – joining twenty other “apprentices”. Training is a time commitment on both sides. A teacher with too many students simply runs out of energy and time.

5. Give It Time.
Do NOT get a Jedi mentor day one. Give It Time. Examine yourself, read some Jedi articles, poke around the community some. Any Day One Mentor is a pure crap shoot. You may get lucky, but more likely than not you are setting yourself up for a bad experience. Any Jedi worth their salt will want to talk with you. Get an idea of who you are and what you are looking for. They are going to have questions. Some of those might be very tough questions. They’ll probably give a day or two to observe. Or trust in another Jedi who may have already put you on hold while they vetted your sincerity and patience. Or merely while they talked with another Jedi about potential Apprenticeship.
Don’t rush. There is no rush. Apprenticeship will take you a couple of years at the quickest. A couple of days or a couple of weeks or a couple of months will not hinder you. In fact it may do the exact opposite and really help you excel as a Jedi Padawan. So don’t rush into anything and don’t push for a Jedi Mentor needlessly. Allow the organic process to unfold as it will. That said – you get nothing by remaining silent and not engaging. So, you know, be a little noisy and a little pushy. Make sure those rusty old Jedi know who you are and what you are looking for. 😉

Beware the False Master

Patience Young Jedi

One of the most difficult lessons I had to learn was my short-comings as a teacher. It was a difficult lesson to accept because it affected another person. This reality can often be forgotten in an online environment. The Jedi Path is a lifestyle. It is how one approaches life. What they use to base their decisions in life off of. This is no different than any other lifestyle people embrace. As such I am yelling often and loudly – choose your mentor wisely! Anyone can create a Jedi group. Anyone can make the claim of Jedi Master. But it is a role should not be taken lightly. Jedi first, that is the key word. Live that and the rest will fall into place over time. But not all who inhabit the role of Jedi Master are what they claim. I wish I had been told as much, both when I was a student and when I took on the responsibility too soon. So here are some things to keep in mind when seeking out your Jedi Mentor so you can hopefully avoid such costly lessons.

Knighthood in Six Months or Less. Oh! Or Jedi Knight in Ten Easy Steps. Yeah, any shortcut promised is a shortcut in results. If you truly want to live your life as a Jedi it will take time. You want to be a Jedi Knight? It will take time. Have you been a Martial Artists for twenty years? Same amount of time. Philosophy Teacher for a decade? Same amount of it. Star Wars fan for two days? Same amount of time. What is that amount of time? It actually varies. Different groups simply have different standards. And some people learn and apply at different levels. But at the very least you should expect two years of dedicated training with a specific group/teacher before you even start hoping for that Knight title. Anything less is robbing you of valuable experience as a Jedi; and throwing you to the wolves without Liam Neeson there to save you.
Don’t accept shortcuts either. Your previous life experience certainly will play a part in your training and life as a Jedi. But it doesn’t make you a better Jedi. It adds to your knowledge and flavor as a Jedi – especially when you become a mentor. It is information and experience you can still pass on. But the only thing that qualifies you for is being the awesome and unique Jedi that you are. Knighthood is a matter of experience specifically living as a Jedi (and all our crazy stipulations of the Path). So don’t sell yourself short. Put in the time and effort. The investment is worth it.

Selfishness and Abuse. Some points should really go without saying, but I have found that is rarely a wise idea. Ask “stupid” questions. Say the things that go without saying. Speak openly and freely. So this hopefully clear. Using the “Master” role as a way to dominate others, to make sexual advances on students, to basically prop themselves up in a juvenile fantasy. This is all a no-no. No one is getting rich by being a Jedi Master – nor should they be trying to be. Jedi Master does not translate into sex god. It is honestly just a bigger hassle – um, I mean – responsibility. It is a recognition that you have put in so much time and have lived the path so completely that Jedi is just who you are. The stumbles and falling flat on the face has slowed down a lot. There are no benefits to it – unless you do really enjoy more work. Than plenty of benefits to be had.
This is a simple one. The training relationship is an intimate one as it is. Any “Master” trying to twist that for them needs to be dumped, reported, and slapped in the face with a real lightsaber. Since those don’t exist, I guess a dueling saber will have to do or an iron. Don’t turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior. Speak up. Sometimes people just get to carried away. Know you boundaries and when they are crossed say so. An actual Master will apologize and acknowledge their mistake. They will ensure not to cross that line again. Again, of course, if it is a big violation – One Strike your out rule.

Hypocrisy. Jedi Path is not a do as I say not as a I do path. Now hypocrisy in the Jedi can actually take a little while to see. Big things are easy to spot (as we listed above, for example). But it is the little things that reveal a False Master. One example, online conversations have a general etiquette. Private messages are private (excluding, sexual harassment, threats, etc.) for example. This is especially true in the Jedi Community because we all have bad days. Now if I am going through a particularly difficult moment and I seek out the Jedi Master to vent and seek advice from I want that trust to be honored. Thus I use a private message system (e-mail even). Now I have seen “Masters” take private messages and spread them around. Sometimes to a select few (a council of some such) or worse they post them publicly. This automatically shatters the trust and respect of the position they claim. Especially when they do so only to make themselves look good. Now, how do you know “private” messages will be honored as such? Because they say so? Because they’d never do that to you? Come on. That is a fool me once, fool me twice set-up right there. They acted against the staple of the Jedi Path. Trust, Respect, Honor the Jedi, Honor the Student. The “master” in this example has shown that another’s privacy means nothing if it suits the “master’s” personal goals.
Some things will only be visible once you know the details of the Jedi Path. Such as the Jedi Rules of Behavior and the Jedi Circle. Of course, be sure you don’t mistake Devil’s Advocate with hypocrisy. Jedi teachers will often question or even tear down their own teachings (in debate – rarely in action) to help a student formulate their own thoughts and views on a particular topic. They challenge the student to not simply echo someone’s words, but to have their own understanding and experience with the subject. If you are in doubt – ask. Ask for an outside opinion. Grab a Jedi Knight and be like – yo! Is this copacetic?

Train for Free. Online training should never once cost you money. There is a cost of hosting a website. Time and energy put into running, maintaining, and improving are worth money. So if you, without being asked, wish to donate to your home online “Order” then by all means. But you should not be asked for donations. And you should never feel obliged to pay anything for your time online. It is important to remember that Jedi is not the charity. Individuals like myself who host Jedi sites and put material out there do so because they find it a sound investment of their time and money.
It is an investment on both parties. If one is unable to support the cost, time, and effort needed to running a Jedi group than perhaps they shouldn’t be doing that. You, as a student, are investing your time, energy, effort, and trust into the training material. That is a return in investment for the group. Their materials are being used and should result in one more quality Jedi in the world. And let me assure you – that is well worth a little money in hosting fees a month. Only addendum I would add is offline training can get tricky. Some groups offer it for free. Some work off basic non-profit membership dues (look at Rotary or Optimist group for comparable concept). This is generally a very low and fair price that basically covers things like charity set-ups and refreshments. But use your judgment. If you do not feel comfortable paying than don’t.
Control Instead of Criticism. Jedi are not paper-cut-out copies of one another. We follow the same Path, but we are still our unique individual selves. We will not always agree with one another. Our experiences in the path will not always lead us to the same conclusions. Debates are going to happen. Disagreements are going to happen. However the False Master will not like this and will not be able to handle this and so they will shut it down. I have seen posts and entire discussions deleted. I have seen members get banned. Instead of simply addressing the concerns and issues of the members the “Master” incites control and demands obedience. They will use their administration rights to silence what they don’t like.
Make no mistake. Your time online is valuable. It is still your time, your effort, your thoughts. If you take time out of your life to read something, consider it, and address it then you have invested something into it. It may not be much, youtube comments for example may be a very minor investment. But your online Jedi training tends to take a bit more effort. And if the “Master” cannot honor that investment and cannot be trusted with it then do not put your time there. Invest you time where it is most valued. Not where it will be erased or you’ll be removed because the powers that be don’t like it.

Beware the Grandmaster. Really any oobie title is a sign of unnecessary ego-inflation. I personally have an issue with just the title Master. But at least Master can be and is often viewed simply as a honorific title. Once you go beyond that title, you are trending into the world of ego-trips and self-satisfaction. Temple Lord. Overseer. Grand Pumba of Jedi. Most will try to justify these titles as organizational. Though really look at the structure of the organization. Consider is it truly a necessary position? Generally speaking it is not necessary. But a way for people to feel a little bit more special. To get that little extra praise. Any Jedi I have talked to feels Jedi is enough. However in a group new and curious people do like to know who is qualified for what. Jedi Knight informs those who is capable of teaching. Jedi Apprentice lets people know they are in a structured training arrangement and have a little bit of experience in the path. Jedi Newbie (I don’t think that is an actual title anywhere by the way, just an example) allows people to know who is starting out and may be around their own experience level.
One title which you may see is Founder. I tend to give a benefit of the doubt and say it is there for records and history sake. Simply a notation in the logs to who put this ship together and invited others along for the ride. Note that it doesn’t take a wizard to create a Jedi group. So while thanks for their work and effort is appreciated, do remember it doesn’t make them any better of a Jedi.

Titles R’ Us. What is the point of being a Jedi Knight? It is minimal. The point is simply to live your life as a Jedi and to have reached a point where you are capable and comfortable with passing on the Jedi Way if you so desire. An overly attached view and stock in titles is not a great sign. Because it often highlights the mentality that Knighthood or being a Master is the end. Such people and groups miss the most important thing about being a Jedi – Living it. Living it well. I don’t know what to tell you outside of the fact that I find living as a Jedi unbelievably awesome. It is a great path to live by (the community not so much sometimes, but that is another post for another time). Don’t be focused on Knight or Master and if your mentors have that end goal view, take it as a caution sign. The Jedi Path is just about living as a Jedi in your everyday life. You really don’t need any fancy titles. Of course organizationally speaking (as we mentioned earlier) they do have there place. But titles aren’t the end all be all. No Master should have a focus on getting you to a specific title. That misses the point.
This applies to enlightenment as well. That should never be a stated focus. Jedi isn’t a path specifically designed for you to reach enlightenment. Can it happen? Absolutely. It will it happen? Who knows. That isn’t the goal. Spiritual absolution is not something that can be promised. It is as simple as this – Jedi is about living it. If you achieve something more form it – wonderful! If not – I fully believe the path itself will prove itself a worthy investment of your time and focus. But I am a bit bias in that.

I am not looking for a friend, I am looking for a Jedi Master

I am not a huge Luke Skywalker fan. The character sort of rubs me the wrong way. Really it is just me think, grrr, I’d be a much better student and Jedi. But I the quote above fits me perfectly and my interactions and time with the Online Jedi Community. I should have just been quoting that from the very beginning at people. But as someone who tuned out Luke as much as possible, it never sunk in. Yet my mindset and approach from day one has been summed up nicely here. “I am not looking for a friend, I am looking for a Jedi Master.

Funny enough. I have found friends and not a single Jedi Master. I mean sure, plenty of people waving the title around like it is the Black Flag and they are Tortuga. But I haven’t actually met a Jedi Master. I recently correlated the dates of when I first began my online Jedi search. 1994 at CompUSA ditching sixth period class my freshman year of high school. 1990 was when I first saw Star Wars on VHS. And 1998 was when I fully committed to the online Jedi Community. So however you want to chop that up as a starting point, I have been doing this for a bit. I have met a lot of people. great people. Smart people. People with things worth teaching. I have definitely found some Jedi Knights in that time. And certainly I have found people who would be worthy of the title if they chose to follow the Jedi Path (I don’t believe in calling people Jedi, especially giving them rank, if they don’t follow the path). It is important to make note, because i think people get that confused. There are no Jedi Masters so this whole thing must be worthless. I fell into that trap once. I was disappointed and disillusioned. I just soldiered on. Kept reading, kept studying, kept living it as best I could, but missed a lot from experienced people. All because they were not Jedi masters.

I did not become a Jedi for the social aspect. Like everyone not a Jedi, I saw it for the silliness it was. To go around calling yourself a Jedi? Absurd. Borderline delusional. And online friendships meant absolutely nothing to me. No. I saw value in the concepts. I liked the lifestyle. I understood the depth of pain some Jedi characters went through and admired their ability to be even stronger for it. So I was not interested in buddy-buddy chatty time. It is why I never made an effort to stick around before 1998.  When it was chat rooms and role-playing and hanging out, I had no interest. My internet time was extremely limited. If I was going to spend on a computer with friends, well, my friends played DOOM and Warcraft and Monkey Island. Friendship I had and it was not what I was looking for. But….

It is something I found. For most of my online Jedi career, if you will, I have been considered stand-offish and prickly. Again, not looking for friends, looking for Jedi. I am not interested in popularity contest. I am interested in beneficial practical application that can be applied to my every day life.  All I could offer was me. Me as I am, online or offline. There is a difference of course. I cuss in-person whereas online I’d have to go out of my way to do that. My humor is a bit more dark and sarcastic in-person, which is hard to convey online. So the natural differences in writing and speaking present themselves, but I seek to be as open as possible so the difference between the two is as minimal as possible. The point being, when you do that people tend to respect it. And while my prickly reputation grew, so did my no BS policy, and people were able to respect that; even if they didn’t always like it.

Over time I came to trust people online. By 2002 I was on my way to the first Annual Jedi Gathering in Montana. Moved there that same year to be around other Jedi. I have been fortunate enough to make many friendships online and offline since my joining the Jedi Community. My major romantic relationships have been tied to the community. I have often life-long friends Id never had without the online Jedi Community. The emotions, the trust, the in-depth and intimate conversations allowed for relationships to grow. And out of that many friends were made. It is something I have been very thankful for. And I am glad to say I do not see and end to that. I have met new people and continue to do so. And the idea of those online meetings turning into fully realized friendships is something I enjoy and hope for.

I have yet to find a Jedi Master, let alone My Jedi Master. Never found my Yoda. The Jedi Community itself sort of took on that role and offered up a plethora of lessons, often mercilessly. The teacher known as life and experience can be a very harsh instructor. But a useful one. When you get kicked in the teeth by life, learn the lesson, so that you won’t have to repeat that lesson again. There will be others, but you definitely do not want repeats. But I digress once again.

I do not know if you, my one reader, came looking for a Friend or a Jedi Master. I am kind of mean to my friends. Brutally honest and giving a hard time. I am not a Jedi Master. Maybe one day, in twenty years or so. But what I can say is you will find a little bit of both at the Jedi Academy Online. Or in books, because my literary agent tells me I need to plug those. >_> Seriously though, Jedi we have. Understanding we have. Experience, Knowledge, and Empathy. Maybe you find lifelong friends in the Jedi Community, I hope so. If nothing else, I know you will find something of value. Information that will be useful to you and beneficial to you in your life. Maybe not a Jedi Master, but maybe a Jedi Friend.

Real Jedi Training Advice

I was recently asked my opinion of Solo Training vs. Training Programs. A Jedi was wondering the best way forward and who’s program they should give a shot too. After-all our time is limited and we won’t get to try them all. Take it from a guy who has trained in over 20 different training programs in the Jedi Community. So in crafting a reply to him there was a couple points I realized I wanted to share to those that might be interested.

Jedi training is not something to take lightly. Not because it is difficult or complex. You are training a new way of living. The Jedi Path is a lifestyle. It impacts how you live. Example, you will be required to focus on physical well-being. This means a type of physical fitness daily. You will be required to meditate daily. More accurately, twice a day. Meditation is absolutely core to the Jedi Way. There will be things you will be asked to memorize which have a direct bearing on your demeanor. Goals, traits, daily practices, this is what Jedi training is about. So it is important you find a Jedi group that not only resonates with you, but has a similar focus on the Jedi Way as you do. So there are some things to consider when looking for a place to further your studies and training as a Jedi.

First thing is to your preference on isms. Jediism – the Jedi Religion, Jedi Realism, and those that have a disdain for isms are your choices. Now if you are specifically about following the Jedi as your religion, as a religion, then you’ll really want to find a place that focuses on that. Temple of the Jedi Order, Church of Jediism, are a couple of examples of places that specifically focus on Jedi as a religion. If you feel Jedi Realism is more your thing, basically view Jedi as more spiritual rather than religious (so one can still be a Christian and a Jedi) than there are groups which focus on that aspect, such as the Institute of Jedi Realist Studies. Now most of these places will allow you to cross-over. They aren’t going to kick you out for being a Jediist (following Jediism) at a Jedi Realist site and vice versa. But you may find yourself often facing conflicting views and sentiments. It does happen.

At the Jedi Academy Online is where you find my personal disdain for these glass walls. I don’t like isms within the Jedi Path. I do not support them and find them utterly pointless. That is my personal opinion, but it is one you’ll find enforced throughout this website. It extends from over a decade of fighting against segregation within the Jedi Path. Red Jedi, Grey Jedi, Jedi Realist, Water Jedi, Zen Jedi, all silly non-sense which actually has no bearing what-so-ever on the Jedi Way. So if you find these isms and such silly and just want to be a Jedi Knight – you have found a kindred spirit. Okay, moving on.

The second thing is your preference on training style. Different Jedi groups offer different approaches to Jedi training.

  • Your younger Jedi groups have an Apprenticeship only approach. Basically they put all training, standards, and promotions in the hands of those they have dubbed Jedi Knights. So if Apprenticeship is your preference, this is one of your options. I do caution mindfulness however. Question, explore, and make sure your mentor is a good fit. Especially with groups that do apprenticeship only, your mentor will greatly impact your training and standards. Too often students have been given the three months and done treatment. So just make sure you enter an Apprenticeship you feel good about and feel will help you reach the level of Jedi you are hoping for.
  • Academy-Style is the name for pre-structured training programs. They are often several different classes in Jedi ideology which were written way in advance, sometimes years ago. These programs vary greatly form Jedi group to Jedi group. This is a style that sits well for more academic minded students. For people who enjoy the school type atmosphere of training and learning. These are generally a one-size fits all approach however. So you have to find flexibility in your own understanding rather than the classes adjusting to you. The other downside is often these programs lead to stagnation. They are already done, they are already set-up, explained, and have been tried by several students long before you, so don’t offer much engagement for the Instructors running them. As such many of the instructors get complacent and the training can seem to drag or get boring.
  • Most programs these days offer a combination of these two set-ups. Offering a basic introductory Academy style course. When one finishes that moving into the Apprenticeship stage of training. A kind of best of both worlds approach. And it is this that can offer the best system. It is certainly something I feel is a good approach for the Jedi Path. You definitely need that One-on-One approach to help develop individual Jedi. But you also want to ensure that the Jedi Foundation is being set and the core ideals flow among all Jedi. If a group offers this you can at least feel comfortable knowing all your fellow Jedi learned the same base foundation that you did.
  • Offline Training. A lot of people seek to get some offline training. There are some offline Jedi groups, such as Chicago Jedi. But these are often few and far between. And the standards are much like the community, based upon whoever is running it. The training can be a mixed bag as well. So again, do your research. Be sure you vibe with the group and feel it is a place you can grow as a person.
  • The Jedi Academy Online – We offer a little bit of a different approach at the JAO. Well, it might be more accurate to say we offer a bit of everything at the JAO though not in the same way as others. Memorization, Academy, Apprenticeships, all of these can be found and are used at the JAO. In-person training is available for certain areas. We also hold yearly events. 2015 offers the Jedi Celebration which is a 4 Day Cruise to the Bahamas. Good times. Anyhow, we are also a lot more strict here. As much as I tell me before they begin training that I will be tough and often employ the harsh truth and though love tactics many seem surprised by it. I have a fierce protective nature of the Jedi Path and its future. Which directly relates to standards and how one represents the Jedi Path. So the JAO is tough on all of its students. We believe with being open and honest with our fellow Jedi, even if the truth might hurt.

Overall you just have to find something that vibes with you. This might take some time and a few trial and errors. And that is okay. Nothing says you have to stick with the first place you find or the first place you begin training at. There are many places that will gladly help you fulfill your goal of becoming a Jedi Knight. It is a desired outcome. We would love to add to our quality and numbers, but our focus is making sure you are actually getting benefit out of it. Remember that Jedi training is about world-betterment through self-betterment. The Jedi Way is about positive and beneficial results. The Jedi Community isn’t going anywhere. So take your time. Find your home. And then grow along with your chosen Jedi group.

 

And Now for something completely different

Not really. Just a bit different than my past couple of entries. More, back to our regular scheduled program. It is that time of year. Things get busy. Plenty of travel. Things aren’t about to slow down. In fact my slow time has been the past two weeks, which is saying something. So a quick summary and then why things are about to get a whole lot more quiet.

The Fundraiser for Family Promise has been a huge success in my opinion. In fact, since no one reads this, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The goal is set at 5,000.00 USD. However that was never my goal. Originally it was 2,000.00, but I wanted to show a different amount. I wanted it to seem higher. To give people something to shoot for. To allow for the possibly of going beyond my goal. We are at 1,100.00, but there is another 500.00 is unseen donations (older generation not doing the online donation thing). And a guy who is going to match whatever I raise when my fundraiser ends. We talked and he he is on board, but that will never be seen either. However if the fundraiser ended today, my actual goal of 2,000 would be met. Takes work and effort, but I am happy for it.

Been working on expanding the books the JAO has put out. Those are brief summaries meant to help individuals open the door. But I continually see people seeking to use our material as the end product. A major misunderstanding. So I have been working on addressing that and creating a better product for Jedi to use. This has cut into the time I had set aside for the Academy programs on the forums. Basically since it is reworking the material I didn’t want to do both. So instead I have focused on furthering the resources and will get back to work on the academy and main website by the beginning of the new year.

In all that (plus work, life, training, etc.) three games have been begging my attention. World of Warcraft and their new expansion. Which, I must say, very enticing. Definitely not kiddie pool stuff. I very much enjoyed my time back. Though, I haven’t been able to play much. The little i have, no regrets. Star Wars The Old Republic is also coming out with a new expansion. So been trying to put in some work there. But again time. And then finally the long awaited for me – Dragon Age: Inquisition. I have taken what little game time i have and put it to this game currently. It is huge. And not without its flaws, but I am hooked. I must say. It is thus far meets my expectations.

Things have been quiet at the JAO and I apologize for that. When the new year hits new activity will be going on. I will be making the JAO ready for the attention we will be getting due to books and documentaries. As well as Star Wars itself. It will move at a neck-break speed once I crave out the time to focus on it solely.

Currently it is family and travel time. Dad – Cancer, has mentioned is a previous post is really forcing me not to do my normal – I’ll just stay home and work on this stuff attitude. It is a time to ensure good memories are made so should the worse come to past there are those times fresh in the memory. And if the best result happens – well there are worse things than having a few more memories to smile at.

I cannot promise any real updates until the end of holidays, but I’ll certainly try. The JAO is always open and ready for use for you. You don’t need me there to make it a active and fun place – just need each other. Be well and type at you soon my pretend audience.