Tag Archives: Jedi Foundation

Jedi and Religion

I have often spoken on Jedi, Religion, and specifically Jediism the Jedi Religion. However I want to retouch on the topic of Jedi and religion. And I feel like being kind, so I’ll spare you reading the entire post to get the point. So here is the main point, the Jedi, Path, Order, Group, Concept doesn’t care, dictate, or determine your Religion. Meaning you can be a Jedi and believe whatever you want spiritually speaking. Outside of human sacrifices. Pretty sure that would conflict with Jedi ideals of respecting life. But since most religions tend to actually go in the opposite direction, most are safe.

Here is the problem – in this completely open religious freedom people say Jedi is their religion. Which is their right. I personally do not agree with such, but that is why I do not call myself a Jediist, or say I follow Jediism, or say Jedi is my religion. I simply do not believe in those statements. Yet others are fully allowed to do so.

One of the great things I have found in the Jedi Path is the openness of belief and culture. I have met and gotten to know many great people who have shared insights into their religion and culture. All because the Jedi do not have a religious requirement. Atheist to Zionist, one is free to explore and live the Jedi Way within their own religious understanding. There is no push one way or another, there isn’t even a view of “hey we are all religions.” Instead it is – our door is open to all religions.

But really this is one aspect of the open door policy. Age, Sex, Religion, Nationality, Race, Poticial views, Social Status, Wealth, there is simply no requirement to be a Jedi outside of the desire to be a Jedi. This is one of the main concepts which has kept me involved with the Jedi Path. Even when I see people using horrendous fortune cookie quotes to try to sound wise under the Jedi name. I take heart in knowing that Agnostic to Taoism, Jedi is about being and living as a Jedi. Not using chopped up regurgitated 365 Zen to pretend to be Jedi – but rather exploring, explaining, and expanding our concepts and ideals; ultimately building a viable Path which is indeed Jedi – not misquoted Tao te Ching.

Be you Christian or Wiccan the Jedi is an open Path free of religious non-sense. A place where we simply  seek to live as Jedi in daily lives. In other words, using Jedi Philosophy in our everyday lives. Random musing inspired by Jediists. =)

Article: Welcome to the Jedi Community

I have been in the Jedi Community actively since 1999. Before that I haunted the websites and chats for three years (1996); 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.

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Article: Acceptance

There seems to be a misconception, misunderstanding, or perhaps just a disconnect with the ideal of Acceptance. For a long while now I have taught and spouted that Acceptance is Peace – Peace is Acceptance. Some do not feel this is a correct statement because they stop the process of Acceptance. They feel once something is accepted that it no longer affect them, that they will no longer care about it. Thus why they would find peace, but it would be personal peace obtained at the expense of not acting against injustice. A quote which supprots this view, “Every day you sit behind your desk and you learn a little more how to accept the world the way it is. Well here’s the rub: heroes don’t do that. Heroes don’t accept the world the way it is. They fight it.” – Lindsey McDonald (from Angel, television show)

If you accept rape happens, you’ll not seek prevention or prosecution, but simply acknowledge it as a fact of life. This of course is a fallacy, this is acceptance stopping at the subject and failing to take into account the most important part of the equation. You must accept You; your beliefs, your strengths, your weaknesses, your pet-peeves. In order for the ideal of Acceptance is Peace to be valid it must be in totality. Consider the quote above. Accept the World as is, yet it does not stop there. Because you Accept It does not mean you sit by and watch it happen. It means you accept that you have a duty, you have a desire, you have a wish to change it. You accept the world as it is and than you accept you will go out every single day and you will fight to change it.

How do you change something if you do not acknowledge it, if you do not accept it? You must accept it, before you can go out and do something about it. All addicts must accept their addiction before they can truly treat it. You must accept and than you must accept what you can and cannot do about it. If you accept apathy as a problem in the world, you can accept you ability to fight against it. To encourage otherwise, to be an example against it, to show that there is a better way to live.

I feel too many confuse acceptance with apathy. I accept I am a lazy bum, but I also accept that is not who I wish to be. Therefore I fight against it. I focus, I set goals, I admonish myself if I fail, I am constantly seeking improvement of myself. I accept the whole, I accept my circumstances, I accept the world as is, I accept myself failings, successes, and all, and because of this I am at peace even in the middle of conflict, failure, and facing obstacles.

Peace is Accepting who we are, where we are, what we are doing, and what we are going to do. It is not left off at one thing. It does not stop at the self, or the world, or the situation we face. Accept and than act accordingly. Look for new ways, look for better ways, look to be an example. Find peace in who you are and who you are training to become.

Entry 20: Holy Monkeys!!

How many days? No update. Well, such is life right? As always my ambitious project worked solely on my Ideal, on my dream, rather than taking reality into account. Does this mean the end? No, just means a re-tooling of the format. Work, School, and Jedi (Jedi includes a LOT by itself) has ultimately swamped me. And I chose to put this on the back-burner until I could get back to this and look at setting up a better schedule. Not to mention I was getting off track with my original purpose and intent anyhow. I don’t want this to be a journal so much as just exploring the validity of Jedi Concepts.

So instead of updating daily as I had originally planned. I’ll be tackling Jedi concepts as I am able. And it relates to our Everyday Life. How we do live these concepts 365. Why being a Jedi is something we do daily for the rest of our lives.

I think a lot of it too is something everyone can connect with. There are general concepts which apply to Jedi, but also so many other people. I do not feel these are all strictly Jedi concepts. And I certainly do not mean to say they only apply to Jedi. When talking about things like Patience, Objectivity, and so on these are things which can apply to all people. And which many paths and beliefs in life already seek to encourage and incorporate.

I think one of the major differences with the Jedi is the interactivity of personal teaching. Whether Academy or Mentor programs the Jedi seek to impart these traits with lessons, lectures, and experience. They do not simply say – be patient. They seek to help develop patience with the student. Some paths do have this as well, but not all. Again it is not strictly Jedi, but it is certainly what Jedi do.

So this is just a quick update to state this is not over or done. We will be adding to this. And refocusing on core ideals of the Jedi. The format or rather schedule will be changed however. Not sure anyone actually reads or bothers with this, but just in case. Take care..

Day 16: Recovery

Jump Rope 5 minutes.
30 box jumps
30 burpees
30 mountain climbers
30 triceps dips
30 lunges (each leg)
pull-ups till failure
Jump Rope 5 minutes

Nice recovery work-out. Really wore me out. I hope to be able, in one year, to up these to 50 and add in a 2 mile run before and after. With jump rope intervals (2 to 3 minutes between each exercise) rather than 5 minutes at the beginning and end.

Nothing really to talk about today. A boring day as a Jedi. Which is a good day as a Jedi in my opinion. Nothing really tested. Well – I did find out a Jedi Student I was being hard on has handicaps. But I don’t think I went full out Opie on him. But I did make it clear to him that I, as an individual Jedi, do not take any excuses. And I expect him to be a Jedi regardless – if this is his path and what he has chosen than I will be there to demand the best from him. And I expect him to fully live by the Path he has chosen. I don’t know if it will stick.

For me the Jedi need to be able to be open and honest with one another. Some people respond better to a gentle hand. Others really respond better to a heavy hand. This is the beauty and benefit of the diversity in the Jedi Community because you get that mixture in there. And if someone really vibes with a person and their approach that can be encouraged and cultivate that element of growth and betterment.

Which kind of goes back to that whole issue with isms and way back when colors. Either you are a Jedi or you are not. The individual uniqueness you bring to that role doesn’t require an isms or fancy different title. And separating ourselves has a negative effect because Jedi are missing out on that beauty of diversity and different view points. Instead communities are cultivating their attitude, their method, and nothing else outlook and attitude. Which hurts the younger Jedi and the students.

And that is why I still help out with certain Jedi projects. Such as the Real Jedi Enclave project. It is a worthwhile goal of growth. And cultivates a nice mix of viewpoints and approaches. All while having that core focus of Jedi in mind. As shame so many so-called Jedi cannot see the value in that and will die by their glass walls and lines drawn in the sand.

Day 10: Hard Head vs. Hard Place

One of the core elements of Jedi Philosophy states to Conquer Stubbornness. The accompany thought is this, “Do not see a duel as a choice between winning and losing. Every duel can have many, many outcomes. When you concentrate solely on winning-as in everything else-you sully your victory. Winning becomes worse than losing. It is better to lose well than to win badly. And it is always better to end a duel peacefully than to win or lose.” – Jedi Rekpa De

I do not see the relation between Stubbornness and Winning or Losing. Or more to the point, I think this issue has a much more practical and applicable view. Sure, win well, lose well, generally, don’t be an @$$. Earn it, fight for it, give your 100% and let the outcome speak for itself. And I am all for the stubborn tenacity to fight to the very end, so cares if you are losing, who cares the score, give 100% until the end.

For me I see Stubbornness being a much more personal issue. One that relates much more to a willingness to be wrong. I have known people that no matter the evidence you put in front of them, you were never going to change their mind, view, beliefs. It is a complete unwillingness to even consider a new approach, a new idea. For me, the issue or problem of Stubbornness is Close-Mindedness.

I think there are many times when you need that tenacity, you need to be unwilling to give-up, you have to have that bull-head to break through obstacles and barriers. An unwillingness to just deny, forget, or drop your dreams, goals, or hard work. However, even in this we, as Jedi, must keep an open mind. We must keep the big picture in mind, and be aware of the path we are committing ourselves too.  You need to be able to acknowledge and accept the direction you are taking, why you are taking it, and the potential consequences (good or bad) for adhering to it.

So again, within Jedi Thought, we see a necessity for balance. It is not a Don’t Do This Ever type philosophy. It is a do not go over-board and blind yourself philosophy. We look at it and we can say yes, there are times when being stubborn has a good and needed effect. However we cannot allow that to become close-mindedness and refuse to pay to attention to new input, evidence, and/or data.

You want to be grounded, but you never want to bolt yourself down unwilling and unable to move forward because of stubbornness. A time and place for all things – for Jedi we aren’t so much stubborn as grounded firmly in practical and empirical concepts. We temper stubbornness with adaptability – with a willingness to listen to new ideas, evidence, and so forth.

Having a hard head (being stubborn) can be a great strength, but only if tempered, only if you do not close yourself off to the ever-changing and ever-growing world. You must be able to grow and adapt as needed.

Day 9: Brick Walls

Currently trying to put together surprises for the Jedi Foundation. Try to advance the use of media and such. But I just keep running into brick wall after brick wall. Software issues, hardware issues, ignorance issues. Once I fix one problem another pops up and I don’t know how it magically appeared. There is no logic to it.

So instead of beating my head against these brick walls I am going to take a step back. I am going to watch the EuroCup. I am going to workout, meditate, and then I will go feed the homeless. After that I shall back back, sit down int he front of this computer – resist the temptation to play Mass Effect (because the fixes to the ending really made a difference) – and start training (classes) so I can gain the skills necessary to complete this project idea.

There is one area I will not be able to correct however. As it requires that I go out and not only buy a new computer, but has a hundred dollar expense on top of that. And I really just do not have the ability to pull that off right now. It is economics 101 – spend money to make money; I get that, but it is just outside my ability currently.

This isn’t anything new really. As a Jedi I have always been challenged by the things I have wanted to do. And it has always required me to learn on the fly. I want a website – but know nothing about making them. Take some tutorials, practice with some templates, and learn enough to put images together and create something from nothing (without the aid of programs like MS Frontpage). WordPress, Facebook, twitter, all learning curves for me. And as such, never used to their full potential. Everything from writing books to software development – all learning as I go.

The Jedi Path has always challenged me in that way. There is no level to reach with the Jedi, no goal, to finish line. Once you reach one accomplishment it is on to the next. Got a decent website? How about academy? Social interaction? Materials? How is that academy again? Constant updates, you have to continually go back and re-examine your material and your features. Things quickly evolve and you have to be able to stay up with them.

The Jedi lessons from 1999 are all well and good in theory, but lack application, practicality, experience. Thus as we grow as Jedi these concepts and lesson must be updated. And that goes for lessons created in 2004, in 2008, 2010. It is why the Jedi Circle has been updated more then once. You have to account for and keep up with the growth.

And I promise you will run into brick wall after brick wall as you do so. But you know, as Da Vinci once said “Just as iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction spoil the intellect.” Challenges, Adversity, these things help us grow. As a Jedi even in peaceful, uneventful times/moments we should be training, studying, keeping ourselves fit (physically, mentally), so that when these obstacles arise and we come to moments that test our resolve, we can find that strength within ourselves to not only face them, but overcome them.

Day 7: Perishable Skills

When I was in the Police Academy they often used the term perishable skills. They would use this to denote that we had to keep up the practice on your own or are ability and quality would suffer. This applied from Arrest and Control skills to knowledge such as 10 Codes. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but recently I was given an opportunity to apply for a Police Department (they invited me to test with them). In the process I noticed my knowledge had declined. Where I once knew the 10 Codes by heart, now I remember like 5 of them. Which means back to studying stage for me, especially if I process in the testing process.

I find this not only relates to the Jedi Path (and really a lot we learn in life), but is all too common in the Jedi Community. There is this set bar to reach. Here is some study material, here are some practices, okay good, now here is a test, already done deal – Jedi Knight. How many then continue those practices, continue to not only those practices but seek to go above and beyond? The truth is, not a lot. This is seen at Jedi Gatherings in a variety of ways. There is no progress, no improvement. People cling to “I can swing a foam ax around and shout, so I am a Jedi Guardian.” It is beyond embarrassing for individuals like myself. Especially when they do so in “Jedi Robes.”

In any case, the point is that the Jedi is a never-ending lifestyle of study, practice, and growth. You don’t get to leave the basics at the door. In fact my whole training system is a continual circle folding back into itself. Same core topics, same core ideals, revisited in different ways. Because this essence of the Path – there is the core ideals, but these things really do have levels of complexity. Peace in itself is not a single-facet element, neither is Knowledge. These concepts have multiple meanings and uses and can be approached in a variety of ways.

Thus for Jedi we have to continually keep up basic practices, basic exercises, basic ideals, going back to the basics and remembering to keep our skills intact or they will vanish on us and leave us open. I personally had to go through this with Meditation. I got to a point where I just stopped practicing Meditation. Hey, 10 years i the path, 10 years of practice, why do I need to continue it? I had survived days when I was busy and never got around to it. Thus – why continue? Well because it plays a core role in the development of a Jedi. And when you set aside the practice the benefits begin to wane – Perishable Skills, Perishable Results. And Meditation really does play a key part in many aspects of the Jedi – especially considering emotional and mental well-being.

Thus it is a reminder for me that the Jedi Path is a perishable skills path. There is no point you get to sit back and simply claim Masterhood. It is a continual growth and continual project. And as you grow, as you continue your practice and studies, the more you realize how young you were, and how much you have to learn.

You can learn things easy enough, but if you do not practice them, if you do not live by them daily, they will fall to the wayside and come worthless. Leaving you to start at square one. You cannot get so good at meditation or so great at physical fitness that you simply can stop and have the benefits last forever. It is continuous.

—======—

Yesterday I had a light work-out. A little jump rope, some push-ups, sit-ups. Nothing major ot worth noting. Today’s workout is as follows:
Jump Rope – 5 Minutes. 10 Burpees. 10 Push-ups. 20 Lunges. 1/4 Mile Run. Repeat 3 more times (4 Total). Cool down with active stretching.

Going to my old Jedi Meditation technique. See how that works.

And then the rest of the day will be spent working on a very important project (probably be the entire week). If this pulls through – new doors will be opening. And this will offer some new stuff for those at the Jedi Foundation.

Day 6: Routine

Routine. A useful tool for staying on track, for building habit, and helps with the self-discipline. Something I am not very good at. As I find myself in this unfortunate current life limbo I am presented with the chance to work on this. To build a more active routine which can help me focus on the various aspects which I have incorporated into my life. I have started a new project however that is taking the majority of my attention. I feel this project will have great benefits down the line and will open the door to new possibilities, yet it is messing with my current routine.

Thus adjustments are necessary and this fits more with my go-with-the-flow style. Though the idea here is to work on my stability – to develop a more solid routine pattern. So today really is just an adjustment day. Working on getting the project set-up and put into a place where I can work on it in a timed and orderly fashion.

The point being that this has messed with what I wanted to work on here. Though I imagine I won’t really get a set routine on 365 Jedi for another week or so. And even when I do, I am sure things will happen to test my ability and dedication to get up a post.

So a quick look at a Jedi Ideal: Conquer Defeatism. I don’t feel I’ll need to go into this much to show validity. It is the backside of the previous post on Over-Confidence. It is about balance. Consider various options and possibilities.
The opposite of overconfidence is defeatism; the belief that no effort, no matter how great, can possibly succeed. It amounts to a matter of priorities. A Jedi should plan for success before contemplating failure. The Jedi who plans excessively for failure expects to lose. Indeed, the Jedi who approaches each task as though failure is the most likely option puts forth only the minimal effort; enough to say that they tried.

I think this is self-explanatory. Be Objective. Is Failure a Possibility? Yes. Is it the Only Possibility? No. And one should never feel that failure is the only possible outcome. You have be willing to keep your head up and fight through when the world seems to be collapsing around you. You have to be willing to struggle, to carry the weight of responsibility when you just want to give-up and hide.

This also highlights what I was talking about yesterday – Confidence is an important part of life, of humanity, of being a Jedi. You need to have faith in yourself, in your abilities, and your support structure. It is core to succeeding in life – in all areas of life. Confidence is important, just as balance is important. Failure is not the end and when faced with Option A and Option B leading you failure, you are capable of finding (or creating) that Option C which leads to success.

Be objective, consider your options, understand you are capable, understand failure is possible, but not what you are going to settle for. Consider, plan, prepare, but never accept failure as the only option(s).

—======—

Not sure on my work-out today. Or really anything. I’ll just have to update that tomorrow. Generally my weekends are my lazy days in which I set aside Jedi work. Allow my self some time to relax and recover both mentally and physically. Help keep my sanity intact, not to mention avoid burning out. I think I’ll have to come up with Lazy Day fillers for here so I can still keep those days. We’ll see.

Day 5: Confidence

In the Jedi Rules of Behavior it states that Jedi need to Conquer Over-Confidence. Confidence is a core and central part of life. It is vital to have it even aspiring to new heights. It is important to have it in romantic relationships. It is important to have it. The issue being stated here is when we lose our objectivity and fall into a trap of believing we are untouchable, that we can do no wrong, and never fail. This is when confidence stops being our ally, our strength, and starts to hinder our ability to accurately judge situations, formulate beneficial solutions, and even grow as individuals.

As humans we are capable of great things, great feats. Throughout history individuals have made huge contributions to the world simply because they had confidence in what they were doing and more importantly in themselves. This helped them navigate the failures, to overcome the obstacles, and to press forward against the naysayers. And that is the flip-side to humanity, failure, mistakes, obstacles, moments of doubt. These are just as equally important parts of being human. In the end it is our knowledge, objectivity, and confidence which enable/enforce that self-discipline to see us through.

The thing is to remember that we are not perfect, that mistakes and failure are very real possibilities. Just as possible as success. And thus we must we ready to face them and be prepared to move forward despite them. No different than with success, we must be ready to face the various challenges that come with either succeeding to the next step or having to go back to the drawing board.

Over-confidence too easily blinds one to the various options and possibilities. Thus one can be much more easily blind-sided, which can have a deeper impact because one had not even considered the possibility of failure. They can be left demoralized and broken, unsure what to do, where to go or how to move in any direction. If one finds themselves here, it is about taking a step back, re-grouping, re-examining the ideals, goals, and purpose. Looking for new ways to continue forward, even if that means backtracking a bit.

Overall the Jedi ideal is seeking to avoid that situation. To make one aware that we do have to consider the various possibilities out there and be as prepared as we can for them. We have to believe in ourselves, in what we are doing, that confidence is important, but it is just as important to not let that cloud our judgment and considerations. We have to keep that balance cultivating healthy confidence while ensuring we focus on the realistic possibilities in front of us.

—======—

Work-out was the simple daily JF Tier One Workout. Basically a rest day for me. Weekends are my lazy days.
Meditation also the minor breathing focus exercise from Tier One.

Today I am hosting a BBQ during the Los Angeles Galaxy game. So I am off to prepare for that. Should be fun and provide a chance to put my Jedi concepts into practice. So hopefully I’ll have a good update either later tonight or tomorrow. We’ll see.
Okay Day 5 in the bag – kind of. Moving forward….