Jedi believe in working together

Jedi work for mutual advantage or Symbiosis

Jedi try to live in harmony with those around them, and believe in mutual trust and respect.

(33 Jedi Traits)

Symbiosis is defined as a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. Symbiosis is the glue which holds systems together. The order behind the web. Symbiosis appears in nature; bees pollinate flowers, ants grow and harvest fungi, bacteria in our stomachs help process food and the African oxpecker removes ticks from the backs of large African animals. The cell mitochondria is the power house of the cell and is in fact the descendant of bacteria that took up residence in a larger bacteria. The outcome of this symbiotic event was the evolution of multi-cellular organisms and the explosion of complex life on the planet. We are the products of symbiosis.

In the Star Wars Universe the Midichlorians reside within the cells of sentient beings and act as physical medium which manifests and amplifies the Force. Without the host’s body the Midichlorians would not be able to survive and harness the Force. The Host is “rewarded” by being Force sensitive and is able, with guidance and training, able to wield incredible power. Symbiosis created the Jedi.

Life would be unable to persist without symbiosis. Our own Cosmos is an intricate system based on the complex symbiotic relationships of physical and metaphysical laws. The Universe is a story of symbiosis and harmony.

 

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together” – Desmond Tutu

 

Living Together

The Stoics believed that it was in the nature of people to work closely together and support each other. Civilization is based on the concept of mutual advantage. Society survives on a symbiotic system. Without it there would be no governance, no transport system, electrical and water distribution would not occur, communication networks would fail. Without symbiosis civilization could not exist, society would be unable to survive.

 

We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” – Marcus Aurelius

No human can truly live in isolation. Each person is somehow dependent on others. We are all dependent on the continuation of a food supply, the provision of water and access to medical care. Some people find that they can minimize their interaction with society and even live “off grid” but that does not remove their part dependency on society. Survivalists stock food, equipment, fuel, clothing all produced by other people. If society did fall apart survivors would soon need to band together in groups for protection and survival. To be completely self-dependent would be almost impossible in such a world.

 

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

Hunter-gatherer groups that continue to exist despite the advance of modern technology and environmental destruction show the importance of symbiosis in the survival of the group. To be isolated from the group or cast in to the wilderness alone is a death sentence. People need people to survive. Mutual trust and respect is a natural outcome of that. Groups that lived intimately close to nature were harmonious. Nature provided for them and in return they looked after the provider. They relied on each other to survive and lived as large extended families rather than small discreet units.

 

Jedi Symbiosis

Some Jedi craved isolation but none truly sought to isolate. The Jedi understood the importance of mutual trust and respect. Working together toward a common purpose was the Jedi way. Because of their sensitivity, the Jedi could feel “disturbances” in the Force. They knew when a major calamity such as a massive loss or life had occurred. If the system was out of balance, its harmony disturbed the Jedi could feel it. The Force works off symbiosis, penetrating all things and flowing through them, connecting all that is. Life was precious to the Jedi as life contains the Force.

 

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. – Obi-wan Kenobi

The Sith sought to control that natural relationship and direct it to their own purpose. Anakin wanted to change destiny by controlling the Force.  Doing so was contrary to the natural order of things. That desire led him to the Dark Side. Instead of becoming a ruler, Anakin became a servant.

 

Don’t you see? We don’t have to run away anymore! I am more powerful than the Chancellor, I… I can overthrow him! And together, you and I can rule the galaxy! Make things the way we want them to be!” – Anakin Skywalker

In our own reality we see the effects of working against the system that supports us. Pollution, famine, drought, flooding, landslides, disease and war are some of the consequences. Humanity is in conflict with nature and with itself. As the system buckles under the strain we feel the consequences around us. Society also suffers and the principles of mutual trust and respect begin to erode. Hate, anger and conflict replaces cohesion and harmony.

 

Together we can rule the Galaxy” – Darth Vader

Jedi Community

Being a Real World Jedi is by nature being part of a community. That community may be largely online but it still relies on symbiosis to exist. Mutual respect and trust between its members is not only crucial for harmony but it is also essential for the survival of the community.

By nature the online world can be very hostile. Egos get inflated and people use the medium to spread disconnect and incite hatred. This only drives people away and erodes the community that supports us. By working together the movement and philosophy will spread. Disunity and disharmony will undermine the good work of many and ultimately destroy the Jedi community.

 

Sober Symbiosis

Being sober is also being part of a community. Recovery is a shared experience. As humans we search out support and understanding when we are in a bad way. Some of us isolate in our suffering but find solace in the group. A recovering alcoholic is perfectly placed to help another alcoholic through knowledge and personal experience. The relationship is symbiotic because both benefit from the interaction. The newcomer is helped on to the path of recovery and the person helping fortifies their own recovery by being of service.

In some ways being a recovering alcoholic feels like being part of an exclusive group. We are tied by the common bond of experience and circumstance. Some of us have been through the wringer so bad that we have the mark of a war veteran. We feel close because we can understand each other’s pain. People may disagree and get upset with each other at times, that’s normal.

All of us are cautious in our dealings particularly in the online world but at the same time there is a default mutual respect and trust for all. We treat others with the same level of courtesy, dignity and empathy we would expect for ourselves. The way I see it, anyone I meet has my respect and trust, whether they keep it or not depends entirely on them.

 

You can do what I cannot do. I can not do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things” – Mother Teresa

 

Work Together

We are all on a life raft, a chunk of rock hurtling through space on the edge of the Galaxy. We reside on an obscure blue planet in a back water of the neighborhood basking in the glow of a star approaching midlife. Our lives are protected from cold and indifferent space by a thin atmosphere. We are supported by a complex and fragile natural system which has existed with some variation and brief interruptions for hundreds of millions of years.

Thousands of millions of other people just like us share this chunk of rock. They have the same aspirations, the same dreams and hopes that we all do. We also share similar problems and the same fate. Each of us want to live, we want to grow and share. Despite the apparent differences there really is none but those we create in our own minds. Isn’t it time we began to embrace that reality and live in harmony and peace for the sake of all? Isn’t it time we began to work together to make a better world?

 

Together we can face any challenges as deep as the oceans and as high as the sky” – Sonia Gandhi

 

Jedi are mindful of the Force

Jedi are always mindful of the Force.

Our satisfaction comes from our personal connection to the Living Force; material things, fame and wealth don’t bring lasting peace, happiness, and satisfaction. Only our daily, and conscious connection to the Living Force brings lasting peace and happiness. If we lose the awareness of our connection to the Force, then we slowly lose our happiness

 

The Daily Reprieve

Recovery is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual  condition. I say this to myself almost every day and several times a day when things get hard. I say it because it is true. The spiritual foundation of our recovery should never be forgotten. Our connection to a Higher Power not only keeps un sober, it maintains our relationships and our well being.

I have found that to lose conscious contact with the Force even for a short time soon leads me in to self doubt, anxiety and depression. The loss of that connection begins to impact upon my attitude and confidence. My relationships start to strain and I find myself more negative and less happy. Soon after I can feel it affecting my physical health. I get worn down and start feeling sick.  When one part of our being is not well, the rest of the whole soon follows in the same direction.

If you be sick, your own thoughts make you sick” – Ben Jonson

 

Once I realize that I am the author of my own misfortune and have the power to adjust my own thinking and my own life I start to reconnect with the Force. This takes effort and self discipline. As a rule I take a daily Step 3; I acknowledge my Higher Power and the spiritual basis of my life and I surrender my will to that Force. If I am sincere and apply effort in exercising my spiritual principles I get through the day not only intact but in a better state than when I started.

“We are spiritual beings having a human experience” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 

Soul Sickness

Soul sickness is something we all feel. In the 12 Step Program we believe that soul sickness stems from a loss of faith in one’s self and in one’s Higher Power. Fear, anxiety, anger, depression and self pity are all normal responses to life. The problem is we often revert to these emotions even when there appears to be no reason. We may also invent our own crisis and talk ourselves in to feeling negative. Some days we awaken to dark clouds and we struggle to get through the day emotionally and mentally. We feel weaker and less motivated. Life loses its gloss. This is soul sickness, a temporary loss of connection with our Higher Power.

 

A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ” – John Steinbeck

 

In active abuse I all but extinguished my spirit. Anger, fear, resentment, obstinacy, self pity and arrogance all cast shadows over my life. Alcoholism eclipsed my connection to the divine and halted my spiritual and emotional growth for decades. It was only through a realization of my addiction and the surrender of my will to a Higher Power that I was able to awaken and experience what can only be described as a spiritual experience.

 

Illusion of Separation

The idea that our Higher Power has abandoned us or has broken contact is an illusion. We are always connected with our divine source, we can never not be. The Force does not choose to cut me off.  I simply forget that I am a child of the Force and that bond can never be broken. The choice is ours whether to maintain conscious contact or not.

 

I am one with the Force and the Force is with me” – Chirrut Imwe

We all live in an illusion of separation. Not just from our Divine Source but also from each other. Our ego creates a false reality that we are all separated and divided. This creates fear and conflict and a state of lack. We deny our spiritual legacy and choose to ignore who we truly are and where we have come from. Most of us are in a deep slumber, unable to awaken to the truth.

There is in most people a sense that there is “something more”, that we are more than “crude matter”. Fewer of us have began to awaken by walking the path and living our purpose. Meditation and good works has helped us awaken a little more. Some of us begin to see the nature of reality and the source of all creation. Fewer can and will achieve enlightenment in their lifetimes.

 

“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over” – Steve Maraboli

 

Waking Up

The spiritual author of “Dying to Wake Up”, Dr Rajiv Parti, was a respected MD and a very materialistic man who lived to use people and get things. Falling ill to pancreatic cancer he slipped in to drug addiction and depression. One day in 2010 he developed an acute infection and was rushed to hospital where he was put in to a coma and experienced a “near death experience”. That experience completely transformed him in every way astounding his family and colleagues.

Dr Parti encountered a fantastic realm and was presented with the truth of his life and was given a mission for his return to Earth. Rajiv Parti  writes that enlightenment is nothing more than the realization of one’s true nature. If Love is the creative Force of the universe than in essence our fundamental nature is Love. We are “luminous beings”.

 

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter” – Yoda

 

We do not need to have an NDE to begin to realize the truth. At times though we do need something big to jolt us out of our false paradigm. For some people it is survival from a life threatening condition such as cancer. For others it can be spending time in solitude in the wilderness. I have met people who returned from war with a completely new appreciation for the sanctity of life and peace. These veterans were changed men and had seen something few us ever will. I simply spiralled in to my personal “rock bottom” as many alcoholic do. Through the grace of a Higher Power I was able to emerge from that dark place. I had seen the truth of what I was and the harm I had done. I knew what I had to do to survive and live my purpose.

 

Golden Key

The Golden Key is a technique I use. The method was developed by Emmet Fox during the height of the Great Depression. It is a strong spiritual and psychological tool which we can use to help us see past our perceived troubles and centre us. The Golden Key is used to reconnect us to our own chosen Higher Power. The exercise is simple and can be done at anytime and anywhere. Keep the Golden Key as your own.

 

If you are thinking about your difficulty, you are not thinking about God” – Emmet Fox

The Golden Key reveals the power of prayer. Using vital prayer, that is speaking with Higher Power, Force, Divine Source, Om, God should always be vital not a bunch of scripted words repeated over and over. Prayer comes from the heart, from the seat of the soul, a place deep within us. The intent is to consciously connect with our Divine Source. Doing so not only removes focus from our problems which energizes them and makes them solid and real in our mind it can ultimately resolve them at the mental and physical level.

Imagine having a head ache. The pain is distracting and gets worse the more we think about it. If we allow ourselves to relax and affirm that the headache is free to go, imagine a white light in our mind and watch the headache dissipate we will soon discover that all is left is a numb sensation where the headache was. Call it divine power or the power of mind, it does not matter, what matters is that it works. Try it on any problem big or small. Through surrender of our attachment to a problem we remove the energy which keeps it vital. A conflict cannot survive if we walk away from it and remove our input in to the energy.

  1. Stop thinking about the problem or the situation;
  2. Release any emotional tension, relax;
  3. Think about your Higher Power as you imagine it;
  4. Allow that thought to pervade all others, meditate on it.
  5. Claim through affirmation; a solution. Have faith that things will turn out for the best.

 

Do Prayer?

Obviously none of this absolves us from reality. If we have a problem at work or in the home we must do our duty. Prayer alone will not fix a leaking roof or stop the banks from seeking to foreclose if we file for bankruptcy. We can’t pray away the loss of a job due to a failing economy. We must act within our principles and refuse to make matters worse through our own thoughts, words and actions. Prayer does help however. Learning to communicate with our Divine Source at a level beyond basic words but with the heart and soul raises us to another level of consciousness.

You  must feel the Force flow around you, Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, yes even between the land and the ship” – Yoda

Harnessing the Force may not give us the power to move objects and perform super human feats like Yoda. The Golden Key and Prayer can however be used in much the same way to focus our spiritual and mental energy towards the change we want to make. True miracles happen at the mental level. Estranged families reunited, hopeless medical cases who prove their Doctors wrong, the addict given up for dead who recovers her life and turns tragedy in to victory are examples. All are miracles that happen at the level of the mind and spirit.

Resolve to address problems mindfully. Do not give it oxygen by feeding it negative energy. Complaining about your problems and airing grievances only energizes them further and makes them worse. By surrendering the problem over to a Higher Power that you conceive and then applying principles in any actions you take you are moving the problem to a solution. Be prepared to be surprised because sometimes things do work out in the most unexpected ways. What seems to be a loss or a crisis at the time can eventually reveal itself to be a blessing.

Jedi use the Force for good works

Jedi have special powers and are encouraged to learn the ways of the Force, and to use the Force, but only for good works like training, defense, knowledge, and helping others who are in need.

(33 Jedi Traits)

The Purpose

Every thing we learn has a purpose. We can use experience and knowledge to improve our lives if we choose. The only sin is to be given the benefit of knowledge and not to use it. Worse is to go against what we have been taught and what we know is right.

The purpose of Jedi Philosophy is to seek knowledge, learn and apply it real life. Philosophy should always be a practical as well as an intellectual pursuit. Wisdom is shared so that it may benefit others in some way. To keep that knowledge for ourselves and to never use it is a waste and also a disservice.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

A River flows through

I have worked the 12 Steps now for five years. In comparison to many others it is a short amount of time. My time on the Jedi path has been even less. I have only started to grasp the concepts and lessons that I have learned on this journey. There is still much to learn. I view both as a life journey with no end point.

Faith without Works is Dead” – James 2:24-26

All the knowledge and experience that we attain is useless unless we try to share it in some way through works. We can help others. There are people only starting out on their journey and others who are seeking answers we can provide. Service comes in many forms.

If we can offer something that can help point someone in the right direction then it is worth it. A lake fed by a river that goes no where soon becomes stagnant. A lake that flows on remains vital. We only get to keep what we give away.

“Always pass on what you have learned.” – Yoda

Responsibility

The price of knowledge is responsibility. That responsibility extends to how we use the knowledge and skills we have learned and to what purpose. Do we use our training purely for selfish reasons or do we improve ourselves ultimately for the betterment of others?

One of the greatest misconceptions about military training is the idea that it produces “trained killers”. This is sometimes extended to people who train in martial arts. The belief being that some students will use their acquired skills for nefarious reasons. That martial training somehow glorifies and encourages violence. Certainly there are exceptions but they are rare. In my experience such personalities are quickly shown the door.

We should always remember that we bear a responsibility to use our skills and knowledge for Good Works. Whether the outcomes of our efforts are beneficial or adverse, we should always take ownership and responsibility for our actions.

Whatever happens, take responsibility” – Tony Robbins

 

Motives

In Buddhism the precept of Right Motive is paramount. An adherent seeking training towards eventual enlightenment does so to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings not just her own. It is meant be selfless action.

We must ask ourselves what our motives are. Why am I doing this? For what purpose? Do I really want to change for the better or am I attached to some fantasy? Am I prepared to do the work and put in the effort or just pretend and coast along.

We can only judge our own motives and decide if they are right.

A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives – of approving of some and disapproving of others.” – Charles Darwin

Right Effort

We only get out what we put in. Consistent application of practices and principles will get results and half measures will avail us nothing. In recovery I have found this to be true. Anything worth doing must be done consistently and with the necessary effort.

In recovery we sometimes see others lapse back in to active addiction. We see it as a loss but we never condemn the person. Any of us could fall at any moment, we cannot be sure that our sobriety is bullet proof. We can have all the tools and all the knowledge at our disposal and years of experience but still come undone. Never grow too arrogant or cock-sure.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Humility

As we improve ourselves and get better our self-confidence grows. We should never use that as an excuse to become arrogant or place ourselves above others. Remaining humble while retaining a healthy degree of self esteem is a virtue.

One does not need to boast and brag about their achievements. We can be inwardly proud of what we have achieved without succumbing to pride. One should never forget why they decided to start the journey in the first place. Was it for self improvement or was to prove themselves to others?

Humility is not thinking less of your self, just thinking of you self less” – CS Lewis

Live your own Life

You should only stop drinking for yourself and no one else” was the first thing someone told me at a 12 Step meeting. I had said that I was getting sober for my family so that I could be a better person for them. The lesson was important. I had made a decision to quit drinking before in order to please others and I had always failed.

It was only when I decided that it had to be my choice alone that I started to get it. No one could do this but me. Our purpose is our own and from that should flow benefits that cascade to others.  Through self betterment comes world betterment. Always get yourself sorted out before you try to save the world.

Don’t let others dictate your life. Take advice and wisdom but make your own choices.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

Timing is everything

With the purge of the Jedi following Order 66 the survivors fled in to exile. Rather than seeking to retaliate immediately and lead a counter attack on the Empire, the Jedi withdrew and let the rebellion take it’s own course. The Jedi chose a path of non-intervention realizing that their time was not at hand and they would need to wait to re-emerge and restore balance to the Force. After 900 years Yoda had the wisdom to accept the turn of events and not to allow self interest to make matters worse.

Sometimes the best strategy is to do nothing but wait. Life is not a race. We do not have to rush to achieve our goals. At times we are forced to make a major life changing decision. We must always ask ourselves; “am I ready for that”. The Force will let us now when we are.

A couple of years ago I was offered a Management role and looking at the scope I decided to turn it down for the simple reason that I did not feel ready to accept that level of responsibility. I put off a lot of things over the years and fortunately they were wise decisions.

In exile Yoda and Obi-wan Kenobi dived in to their studies and training. Their knowledge of the Force expanded as did their connection with it. When the time came they played a pivotal role in the future of the Galaxy. Deciding not to act can be as important as choosing when to as Yoda revealed to Luke Skywalker on Dagobah.

Decide you must how to serve them best. If you leave now, help them you could, but you will destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.” – Yoda

Keep Improving

We should never stop learning. Even the most experienced Veteran can learn something new. Old dogs can learn new tricks. Keep seeking and never box yourself in to some dogma that enforces one world view point rejecting all others.

Take what you need and leave the rest. With time comes improvement and change. Old ideas will be replaced by new. We should turn the soil of the mind over once in a while to keep ourselves open and fresh.

Accept criticism with grace and be ready to critique yourself. Always admit mistakes and work on improvement rather than on blame. Ask “how can I fix this” rather than “why did it happen”.

If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.” – Epictetus

Keep Going

I don’t know how one is exactly meant to “Learn the ways of the Force”. The best way I can apply it is to regularly say “Let Go, Let God” and “Thy Will be done not mine”. These are affirmations to direct myself in to the moment where everything happens. We can only do our best every day to be the person we want to be. Turn the outcomes to a Higher Power, the Force. Let the Force work through you.

We can continue to look at where we are lacking  and make adjustments there. We can review our daily practices of being Jedi and assess where work need to be done. When others request help, we give it within our capacity. We can treat people as we expect to be treated. Commit to our principles always and without compromise.

There are things we can control and many more things we cannot. Always focus on where your control resides and accept that a lot of mistakes will be made along the way. Being Jedi is all about the little every day acts. It is about the mundane and the mediocre as much as it is about the big and important things. It is also about falling down but getting up and trudging on.

You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead.” – George Lucas

Be True to Thyself

Every one of us must decide what their “Good Works” is. We must all decide how we spend each day and what we want out of life. People generally know what they must do to live a good life. Some of us face a tension between where we want to be going and where we seem to be heading. Remember, you are the Master of your own vessel, the Pilot of your own ship. Take it where you want to go and be true to thyself first.

MTFBWY

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” – Shakespeare

Jedi can feel the Force

Jedi are Force sensitive people, and are experts at feeling energy. Our senses and our scattered minds can block us from feeling the Force, but it’s always there. Jedi are equally sensitive to dark energy or negative energy, and know how to avoid it and to protect themselves from it.

(33 Jedi Traits)

The fictional Jedi were indeed experts at feeling energy. Due to a strong connection to the Force they were able sense when things were not right. For example Jedi were usually able to detect a trap before they walked in to one. They were also able to identify those that carried a lot of negative energy and were particularly sensitive to the Dark Side.

In the spiritual traditions and religions of the world there are many examples of Prophets, Saints, Mystics and Sages who were extremely sensitive to the Divine source. They were able to commune with that source through prayer and contemplation.

 

Like attracts Like

The old adage “birds of a feather flock together” rings true. People are generally drawn to like minded people. In almost any social setting people will naturally gravitate towards people who are similar in outlook and interests. People also unconsciously gravitate to people who have the same or a higher vibrational energy than themselves. Vibrational energy is a word used to describe positive energy; a person’s overall  state of being. A person that has lower vibrational energy is essentially denser; they have lower physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being than a person with higher vibrational energy.

A person with low vibrational energy usually feels it and their life may reflect it too. For example they may suffer poor health, emotional turmoil and a string of unfortunate events. Like energy attracts energy. If we surround ourselves with negative people and allow ourselves to be drawn in to poor choices our vibrational energy starts to drop and our life starts to suffer. The only way out of the situation is to change our surroundings and the people we associate with. Being surrounded by positive and motivated people tends to brush off on us. Our thoughts, words and actions largely determine our vibration. We make our own reality.

 

Good Apples Bad Apples

I have worked in many different jobs and have found that while one place may be similar to the next they can be worlds apart in atmosphere. If the people are positive the energy is infectious and the workplace is happy and productive. In negative work environments with poor morale and low energy the atmosphere can be stale and it weighs you down. These workplaces are generally less safe and have lower productivity and higher turnover. The people there are what make it positive or negative. Have you ever noticed that horrible places to work attract low quality candidates or never retain staff while great places to work keep their people longer and are far more happy and profitable?

In the Army I had one Platoon leader that did not tolerate “trouble makers”. He realized that one bad apple bringing dissent and negativity could infect the entire unit in no time and lower morale. Any sign of it and he stamped it out or ejected the cause. The Officer knew that on Operations such an element was a liability to team effectiveness and mission success.

 

Rising Up

Becoming sober I soon started to come out of a state of low vibration. Without even realizing it I was growing distant from the people and places that I had been close to during active abuse. As my life changed so did my interests. Old associations dropped off either because I no longer resembled them or I decided I did not want that influence in my recovery. I stopped wanting to go to bars and pubs preferring the outdoors and the company of sober people instead. My energy level was rising and it naturally sought out like energy.

Always be mindful of the people you choose to associate with and the places you frequent. Soon they become you. If a person makes you feel bad about yourself you had to ask if the relationship is worth it or whether you are better off without them.

If you hang around the barbershop, you’re bound to get a haircut.” – Unknown

Social Media

Social media is another domain through which negativity seems to flow unfettered in to our lives. Before we were able to choose who to allow in to our lives, now through the power of the internet we allow complete strangers to affect us. The stories of online harassment, trolling and bullying are alarming. Many people live in fear and despair at the online hostility they receive. Some take their own lives.

Almost every time I visit Social Media I am confronted by news which is designed to elicit a negative response from an audience, usually fear or rage. Hate is ubiquitous and the forum promotes it as a form of distraction or entertainment.  Always avoid places, people and situations that are negative and likely to drag you down if you can. Otherwise find ways to observe without judgement and objectively, this of course can be very hard when confronted with images of tragedy and injustice that demand our attention and ire.

 

Self Talk

Every thought, word and action that we have has an impact on our reality. If I think that I won’t be able to do something, I’m probably right. If I think I can achieve it, I’m probably right. There is truth in the old saying that a fight is already won or lost even before the fighter enters the ring. Physical prowess and fighting skills aside, mental attitude is everything. If a Fighter enters the ring in doubt and has failed in the mental game the odd are he will lose the bout. This is why competitive Fighters like Connor McGregor win fights, they believe themselves in to winning. They make it happen by training hard, sticking to a program and making sure their head is in the right space all of the time.

We all have bad days. There are times when life really sucks and it is a struggle to get out of bed. Lately I’ve been feeling this way. I’ve wondered what’s the point to all this? I look at my family, career, appearance, life and I start to convince myself that it is all lacking. I begin to wallow in self pity and embrace the early chill of depression. This is a red flag for me, something we in the program call a HALT moment. I have to confront my negativity and defeatist self talk and allow it to quietly exit. There is no need to grapple with it. I know fighting it will only make it stronger. Acknowledge your feeling and let them go with affection.

“Never saw a wild thing sorry for itself” – DH Lawrence

Gratitude

Now with negativity gone I fortify myself with a short prayer and I list five things to be grateful about. Gratitude leads to grace as we focus on what we have rather than the things we don’t. We realize that everything our negative thoughts were saying are false. I have a career, family, health and a life many people would envy. Gratitude dispels self pity. Another way to raise energy is through random acts of kindness. Move the focus from self to others and suddenly the little you seem to have is the surplus you can share.

 

Diet

Some foods lift our energy. It is important to know which foods affect our moods and energy levels. Processed foods will not have as much benefit as raw foods with little to no additives and preservatives. I substantially reduced sugar in my diet a few months ago and besides losing a few pounds I have more energy than before.

Alcohol is not good for us, regardless of whether we are alcoholic or not. The medical profession is undecided about what a safe amount of alcohol is. Many are now moving to the “none is best” position. As an alcoholic I abstain and stick to water or coffee. Each person will determine the diet that best works for them as well as the type, intensity and frequency of exercise suited to their needs.

 

Practice Mindfulness and Mediation

Mindfulness we can practice anytime. Meditation is practiced by the Jedi and recommended by the 12 Steps as a daily exercise. At least 20 minutes a day is ideal but even 10 minutes still provides great health benefits and helps raise our vibrational energy.

 

Laugh Often

Life need not be so glum and serious. Enjoy a good comedy now and then. Have a joke with friends and take time out to have fun and act silly. We are all still children at heart. Let the child out to play sometimes. Spend time in nature if you can. Get away from the computer. Pets are wonderful companions and will raise your energy as well as give you unconditional love. Laugh a lot.

“Good humor is a virtue” – Aristotle

 

The Key

We are all sensitive to the Force. Some of us block out that flow of energy in to our lives by being self absorbed or distracted by material wealth or other superficial wants. There are many simple things that we can do to get in touch with our inner selves. We can recharge our emotional and spiritual batteries by doing simple things.

Positivity is largely a choice however whether we have low vibrational energy or high is largely dependent on what we expose ourselves to and our own frame of mind. We can surround ourselves with positive people or we can fall in with negative influences. Our thoughts can be mindful enough to know when we are succumbing to negative self talk. We can choose to avoid people and places that make us feel bad about ourselves. The key to the good life is in our hands.

Certain Jedi are stronger with the Force than others.

Jedi, in general, are individuals who are strong with the Force. The Force is with them. However, the Jedi believe that the Force is extra strong in certain Jedi, much more so than in others.

(The 33 Jedi Traits)

Have you ever met or known anyone who gave off a real energy? You could almost sense them as they walked in to the room. They seemed to have an aura, a presence about them which was tangible and powerful. Some people call it chi, prana or chakra energy. A strong vibrational energy seems to reside within these people, it is almost electric. Regardless whether there is some esoteric source of that energy, it is undeniable. I can think of recent great leaders who had a certain energy that drew people to them; Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Apple CEO Steve Jobs to name three. The Dalai Lama and Pope Francis also both have a strong human presence that lifts people and gives hope.

There is no doubt that one persons aura will differ to another persons. You can almost sense when someone close to you has low or high energy. A complete stranger passing in the street can give off a strong positive or a negative energy. You instinctively know when to avoid eye contact or cross over to the other side of the street. We sense “gut feel”, intuition, instinct, whatever you want to call it.  I believe when I was drinking my inner energy was extremely low, much lower than it is now. It’s not just appearance, there is something deeper than that, an aura.

Do people have an intrinsic energy field that envelopes them and flows within them along the chakras of the body? Is it the Force? Does the statement hold validity that some people are stronger with the Force than others? Do I need to be strong in the Force to call myself a Jedi? Can I cultivate my Force strong enough to be able to perform telekinesis, telepathy and foresight?

 

Force Sensitive

Having a “Force potential” was a requisite attribute for entry in to the Jedi Order in the Star Wars fiction. Jedi Knights were constantly scouting the galaxy for force sensitive children to recruit to the order. They became a type of Galactic Janissary. Often reluctantly they were given up by parents and removed from their home worlds. Younglings were taken to Coruscant to learn the ways of the Force. Qui-Gon Jinn found Anakin on Tatooine and realized the boys Force potential immediately. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Yoda were all able to achieve immortality by unifying their consciousness with the Force. The Force was stronger in them than in other Jedi.

But what about people? What about the you and me?

Not long ago people were talking about Indigo Children. There was a belief that children born in this millennium might have stronger intelligence, intuition and psychic powers than previous generations. They would be more sensitive to the omnipresent spiritual energy pervading all. New age sites proclaimed that these children would herald in a new age of enlightenment. I will keep an open mind but I am yet to see evidence that the “iGeneration” is much different to Generation Y or Gen X other than an unhealthy relationship with mobile devices. This may seem cynical but where are the Indigo children now?

 

Intuition

Some people have extremely strong intuition. People can sense things, some more than others. Some people can sense when something bad has happened or is about to happen. They can feel “a disturbance in the Force”. Others seem to have a power of precognition of future events either in visions or in dreams.

I accept that there are many things which cannot be explained by science, at least not yet. There are people out there who have a gift that goes beyond a simple demanding presence or charisma, these people are psychic. People I know are like that and believe it or not it’s just one of those things they got without asking for it. There is no big deal about it, they just deal with it, good or bad.

 

The Medium

A few years ago I went to a public event held by a well known Medium. I was skeptical but my wife dragged me along because there were things going on in our house that seemed odd. She was convinced that we had a Haunting and wanted it to stop. Despite attempts to dismiss the “disturbances” or explain them in rational terms I had to admit much of it could not be explained.  I could no longer deny it. I recalled my time in Africa, the superstitions of the locals which I had ignored despite witnessing things that could not be easily explained. It was like jumping down the rabbit hole of the unknown, nothing made sense. Perhaps this famous Medium could provide answers. Reluctantly I agreed and bought tickets to the sell out event.

About 20 minutes in to the session the Medium looked our way and asked me if I knew a person by a certain name. I replied that I did and shifted in my chair uncomfortably looking for a place to hide as 300 pairs of eyes fell on me. The Medium then proceeded to tell me all about this person, my dead family members, events in my past that no one knew about and long held fears and doubts that had plagued me for life. In a not too subtle way he warned me about alcohol and said “you are perched on a wall and about to fall off”.  I listened with mute shock trying to understand how this was possible.

The Medium told me that I had come there today skeptical about the whole thing. I was there about “disturbances” in my house and told me what they were, who was causing them and when they would stop. He was 100% right about everything. Then he passed over me like a cloud and fell on to someone else in the crowd.

Two hours later I was sitting in the car still stunned by what had happened and trying to figure it out. Was my wife pulling some sort of twisted joke on me through some sort of elaborate set up? No, the Medium had said things she didn’t know about and had floored her with some statements about her family. Then it hit me, the simplest explanation was that this normal looking guy in a T-shirt and pair of jeans could talk to spirits. He was simply a Medium, someone sensitive enough to channel messages from the other side. The realization changed everything about the way I view the world and reality. About a week later I fell off the perch and started the descent in to another dimension of alcoholism. Everything that the Medium said would happen, happened.

 

Harness the Force

Seven years later and I have been sober for five years. I remember the disturbances in my home very well. If anything I had chosen to ignore them because I could not bear to accept a possibility that challenged my views. In sobriety I feel more in tune to my surroundings than ever before. Meditation provides further clarity. I can’t use Force powers to move objects but with exercise and martial arts training I find myself able to do things I thought were confined to a much younger version of myself. There is a burning life force in me now that was dim a few years ago.  Is this the “Force” though?

Perhaps being strong with the Force is like being psychic, you just have it like other people are naturally talented with music or maths. Think Mozart and Einstein. Does a “Force potential” reside only within a small percentage of the population or is it something that all people have but few ever come to realize? My feeling is that it is the latter. We are all born with “psychic” ability, we all carry the Force. Some of us are better at expressing it than others. Most people unconsciously suppress the abilities described in the “Indigo Children”. If it resides within us, hidden or latent then we have the ability to awaken the Force within. The choice is whether we want to and how we decide to harness the Force.

Sometimes things still happen in the house which more annoy us than worry us. There is an energy which is hard to define but it is there. Someone explained that people with strong intuitions are sensitive to psychic activity. I don’t know if I’m Force sensitive or whether I’ll be able to use the Force like a Jedi out the movies. I’m keeping an open mind. Fortunately an open mind is a great asset to have when one is recovering. Recovery has taught me one important lesson, the Force is definitely with me. I have no doubt about that.

Jedi serve the Living Force

Trait 3/33

Jedi serve the Living Force and never serve the dark side, in any way, shape or form. Jedi are serious about their service to the Force, and are not thrill seekers or adventure seekers. They are serious about following the Jedi teachings in their own lives, because the Jedi teachings lead to personal growth, and help them to be conscious of their connection to the Living Force, which is within.

(The 33 Jedi Traits)

This statement provides a number of key requirements to being considered a Jedi. One does not entertain the Dark Side, we take the path seriously, this is not a game but a way of life. Practiced consistently the Jedi Path will lead to spiritual, physical, emotional and mental health and well being. The Trait provides a point of reference for those embarking on the Jedi Path.

I could just as easily take this comment and apply it to the 12 Steps.“The only requirement is a desire to recover from alcoholism. This means abstaining from drinking. Treat the program seriously as to fail could mean relapse and insanity or death. Integrating the principles of recovery in to all personal affairs the 12 steps becomes a way of life. If practiced  consistently the principles will lead to recovery and personal and spiritual growth. Life will take on new meaning”. This has been true for me so far.

I serve the Living Force  when I apply the underpinning principle that my recovery is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. That is, I serve the Force in the manner which I choose to live and be Jedi.

 

The Noble Way

The first two of 33 Traits identify the cause of suffering and the solution to our suffering. The Dark Side points to suffering and the Force reveals redemption. The statement “Jedi serve the living Force” means simply to live in accordance with our values every day. This Trait reveals the simple truth, that if we live in accordance with our principles we will grow as a person. To put this in to real world context let us consider the fundamental teachings of Buddhism the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Four Noble Truths teach us that we all suffer, our suffering is caused by our attachment to impermanent states and things. Freedom from attachment ultimately leads to freedom from suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path provides the road map that must be followed to free one’s self from suffering. This is achieved through application of virtues and temperance in our lives, cultivating self discipline and practicing mindfulness and meditation. The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.

 

The Road Map

Being a real world Jedi does not mean that we must enter in to Monastic Life and take vows of service, poverty and chastity. Being a practicing Buddhist does not mean we have to either. Many people imagine the 12 Steps to be some sort of cult with secret handshakes and rigid dogma. It is nothing of the sort. Buddhism, the Jedi Path and 12 Step recovery are essentially personal paths that we follow on our own two feet.

All these paths have one thing in common. They all provide a road map that take different routes but all end up at essentially the same destination; freedom from suffering. If we have a map but do not embark on the journey or decide to head off road or  take another direction we will not arrive at the destination. If we stick to the road map and take our time but remain consistent in our practice we see progress and in time we get to where we are going.

Arriving at the destination we set off again seeking new milestones, new challenges. Over time we improve and become better. We leave behind ideas and things we have outgrown or no longer need. We pick up fresh ideas and tools along the way. This is the cycle of continuous improvement, an endless cycle of planning, doing, checking and correcting.

Our goal is progress not perfection as reality teaches us that perfection in life is an unattainable goal. We should only compare ourselves to who we were yesterday. Compare ourselves to others and we usually find ourselves lacking or we develop an arrogance that eventually trips us up.

 

An endless Journey

Metaphorically speaking recovery and the Jedi Path is a life journey there is no “Finish Line” that proclaims we have arrived. I can’t plod along for years and get to a point and say “I’m cured” and decide that’s it I can put all of this 12 Step stuff away, find my slippers and a bottle of Port. In short time I will be rudely awakened to the fact that I shouldn’t drink. I will soon be back where I started if not worse.

A philosophy for life is by definition “for life”, we live it day by day, one day at a time. We cultivate our practice and harvest the rewards as we move through life. By practicing this philosophy I serve the Force. Calling myself Jedi is optional. Doing so helps remind me constantly where I am headed and keeps me on track.

 

Keep at it

The beauty of the 12 Steps is that they never ever end. We can work them, work them some more and keep going. The Steps can be worked formally with a Sponsor or alone. The real work happens through the little things that we do every day.

The Jedi Path is no different. There are online courses that one can complete if they have the time and inclination. Some Jedi groups offer rank and hierarchy and knighthood ceremonies. A new documentary called “American Jedi” is to soon be released which reveals that side to the community. However anyone can be a Jedi if they commit to the Path and stick to it as a philosophy for life. It is a philosophy for life, not just a “in case of emergency” tool kit. We also only get out what we put in.

Ask yourself; “what can I do to improve myself today?”. If you are in a 12 Step program ask “what step am I on today and where do I need to work?”. Those who commit to the Jedi Path should also ask themselves “am I being true to the Jedi Code and which of the Jedi virtues and practices do I need to apply more effort?” . Keep climbing the stairs, go to work and serve the Force by being the best version of yourself that you can be.

The Dark Side

Jedi believe that there is a dark side but refuse to dwell on it.

Jedi believe that the dark side exists, but refuse to dwell on it, or follow it, or use it in any way. The dark side is a negative energy, also known as the ‘negative power’ or ‘dark energy’. The dark side is considered to be evil, negative, the opposite of good, and is never to be followed or used by the Jedi.

“The 33 Traits of a Jedi”

Good and Evil

In reality nothing is inherently “good” or “evil” there is only the preferred and the non-preferred. Opposites do exist however at the spiritual or metaphysical level. The opposite of Love is Hate and the Opposite of Faith is Fear. All emotions come from a place of Love or from a root of Fear. The Ego creates Fear while the Divine self only knows Love.

In nature there is no “Evil” only indifference. There is no physical source of the human perspectives of “Light” or “Darkness”  in the Universe. The cosmos is entirely indifferent to our existence. Spend a second in outer space without a space suit and that cold harsh reality becomes quickly apparent.

There are two sides to the dimension of the Force and the duality of “Light” and “Dark” polar opposites. One is physical, the absence of light results in dark and the absence of heat is cold. The other is metaphysical or spiritual and is a question of belief. One could say that Fear is the absence of Faith and Hell is the absence of Love.

Dark Side is Ego

My view of the Force is that it is the source and destination of all. It cannot be described in words. The Force is the non-duality of reality and the source of all creation. The sum of the parts and the each of the parts all contain the Force. Life is expressed in the Force.

The Dark side is purely a Human construct, it does not otherwise exist. The source of the “Dark Side” is the Ego. It is made by the Ego. Without the Ego the Dark Side does not exist as it does not represent who we truly are. The Ego keeps us in separation from our Divine truth and in fear. Fear is the tool it uses to keep us there. As previously stated all “negative” emotions are rooted in Fear. The source of all resistance, conflict, denial and competition is Fear.

Negative Emotions

Emotions such as anger, shame, anxiety, melancholy, arrogance, guilt, doubt, distrust and envy are examples of “negative” states of mind which are generally non-preferred.  All such emotions are felt as “suffering” and are derived from attachments of the Ego.  Such states could be called “shades of the Dark Side”.  Extreme and forceful emotions such as rage and hate could be called expressions of the Dark Side. These raw emotions have the potential to be destructive and rarely serve.

“Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.” – Yoda “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”.

The statement reminds us to be mindful of our negative emotions. To be human is to have an Ego and to have an Ego is to carry the burden of emotions. In some people there is the capacity to suppress or mask emotions. In rare people there is a heightened state of consciousness which transcends base emotions and replaces them with higher order emotions such as abiding love and joy. These people are said to be “enlightened”. Ordinary emotions are however human and each person chooses how they respond to passing emotions particularly those we refer to as “negative” such as fear, anger and hate. Do we rule our emotions or do we rule them?

Evil is an Opinion

I personally do not believe in a “Dark Side” as depicted in Star Wars anymore than I believe in a place of eternal suffering as depicted in the mainstream religions called Hell. Hell is a choice we make for ourselves through the consequence of our decisions and actions. There is no eternal pit of fire for damned souls other than a metaphorical one.

I do believe however that each person has the capacity to do evil. By evil I mean something that is contrary to both nature and moral virtues common in all societies historical and contemporary. An evil act is usually obvious to the observer but not always apparent to the perpetrator. One only need to search their conscience to decide whether an act is evil or not.

People will also differ in their definition of evil based on religious or cultural mores. For example, some people consider abortion to be evil while others view it as an individual right. The same applies to euthanasia or capital punishment. No person is inherently evil any more than a person is born hating someone.

People do “evil” things, some people may be so mentally disturbed that they appear “evil” and even act evil. Psychopaths and megalomaniac generally fall in to this category. However even the most vile criminal who is sane of mind will be able to articulate the rationale and justification for their heinous crimes. The will to commit evil will rarely ever figure in their decision to murder, rape or molest.

The Sith

The Sith never said that they were evil, quite the contrary the Sith believed they were acting in accordance with their beliefs and to the benefit of law and order, the greater good.

Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy, and we shall have peace. – Darth Sidious

You will find many occasions in the Star Wars saga (Canon and Legends) where the Jedi could be contrived as being the “bad guys”. As a matter of fact many Star systems sought to breakaway from the Republic and viewed the Jedi as an autocracy as bad as the Sith.

you‘re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Anakin embraced his raw emotions of anger, hatred and fear. He used pain to grow stronger and become one with the Dark Side of the Force. The Sith believed that such emotions that we view as “negative” were actually a source of power. The philosophy advocated the attainment and ascendancy of power at the expense of inferior sentient beings. Evolution applies the same principle without effort, through natural selection. Is it right or is it wrong? That depends on your point of view.

The question is whether Anakin’s conversion served him in the long term. Considering what he lost by turning to the Dark Side and becoming Darth Vader the verdict would be that he suffered.

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad wrote about a man’s personal journey in the “Heart of Darkness”. The story was brilliantly adapted in to the movie Apocalypse Now. Sometimes the Dark Side does overcome what Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature”.

“Because there’s a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and irrational, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.” – General Gorman “Apocalypse Now”.

I have  seen some of what humans are capable of in the name of country, ethnicity, religion and race. There is a “Dark Side” to human nature. If Hell exists it is in places right now like Darfur, Syria and Yemen.  I have seen it in East Africa and Bosnia. We are essentially animals struggling for survival at their basest nature. Politics, patriotism and religion is nothing more than mind trick to incite people to war and keep us in separation. The Ego also pushes the limits of what a rational person would consider acceptable under any circumstances.

Everyone still has a choice though. We do not have to resort to emotions that make us act in ways we will later regret. We do not need to fall victim to our own personal “Dark Side”. To do so leads to suffering.

Never Forget

In my descent to my own “Dark Side” of alcoholic “Rock Bottom” I was filled with fear and loathing. The wold was a dark place void of all hope, the shrieks of madness and despair echoed within its walls. Nothing less than a complete deflation of the Ego allowed me to emerge and start a journey of recovery.

The “Dark Side” is something that exists in all of us, it is part of our Ego, not some sort of Force that builds and coalesces into energy we can shoot from our finger tips. My Dark Side of alcoholism still resides within me like some twisted beast tethered by a rope, it sits there in silence, watching and waiting for a chance to come out. I know it and it knows me. A cold wind blows and a chill runs down my spine as if I have been brushed by the Dark Side. I can hear it laugh and rage within me. Better not to dwell on it but I never forget that it is there.

The Force

Jedi believe in the Living Force.

Jedi believe in an invisible universal energy called ‘the Force’, also known as the ‘Living Force’, the ‘good side’, or the ‘light side’. The Force is a living spiritual presence that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds all the matter in the universe together. The Force is the soul of all living things; it exists everywhere. Jedi believe that Force allows people to have free will and choice, but that destiny also plays a part in their lives (33 Jedi Traits).

Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/jedi-teachings-to-live-by-95912

The Force Issue

No exploration of the Jedi Path can omit mention of the Force indefinitely. We can  avoid the “Force Issue” for so long. Eventually we must confront it and determine for ourselves, what the Force is and what our relationship to it is. The 12 Steps asks the recovering alcoholic to do the same thing in Step 2. Having admitted powerlessness over alcohol one must become willing to consider a spiritual foundation to their recovery. In the past we have tried self will and found ourselves falling short.

The spiritual commitment of simple belief requires for some a major departure from previous ideas. Many alcoholics have long abandoned any concept of God. They mistrust religion and view any mention of the spiritual with hostility or skepticism. The program is asking them to do the opposite, to consider and then believe in the concept of a Higher Power.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” – Step 2

The same problem presents itself to the atheist or the agnostic looking at the Jedi Path. Many will feel that to accept some religious concept of the Force is to submit to dogma. For most this will be unacceptable and a deal breaker. The Jedi Path is palatable without a spiritual foundation but any mention of the Force is to be suppressed or ignored. Everyone is aware of the elephant in the room but no one is prepared to mention it. No one likes to be accused of following some “hokey religion”.

“Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels’ hidden fort-…” – Admiral Motti
[Vader makes a pinching motion and Motti starts choking]
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”Darth Vader

The Fictional Jedi obviously believed in the Force.  While dedicated to the Dark Side, Darth Vader still remained respectful of the eternal power of the Force. Through the Star War saga we get  mixed messages on what the Force is. Qui-Gon Jinn reveals that microscopic life forms called Midi-chlorians are the physical manifestations of the Force in all life. Obi-Wan Kenobi calls it a energy source that surrounds and penetrates all living things. In the real world we have to take a step back from the fictional portrayal of the Force and apply our own definition to it.

Personal HP

The 12 Steps provides a caveat to the alcoholic who is struggling with accepting the concept of God in to their lives. Step 2 and 3 suggests that we come to believe in a Higher Power as we define it. The word God is used several times in the 12 Steps but the intent is not to enforce any particular dogma or definition of God. Whatever Higher Power the person in recovery chooses is entirely up to them. It can be “Good Orderly Direction”, “Group of Drunks” or any other secular concept. Some alcoholics view the fellowship as their Higher Power, others conceive of something closer to nature or the state of existence and abiding Love. Others apply religious or spiritual beliefs.  I simply call it the Force and it works for me.

When I embarked on recovery I sought out a concept of a Higher Power that I was familiar with. Jesus appeared. In time my spirituality evolved as I read further and meditated. I explored spiritual paths and my concept of God evolved and changed in to something I could verbalize and then could not. At times I grappled to conceive of a God who resided outside of myself and failed. I began to ponder the notion that duality is an illusion and that all is one and one is all. During my search I discovered the “A Course in Miracles” and Kabbalah. Both provided me with answers but for me even more questions on this concept of one soul, one Force.

Things were starting to clear but not a lot. My focus seemed to be drawn to achieving some sort of spiritual transcendence. I wanted to achieve the spiritual experience I had felt on coming out of “Rock Bottom”. I wanted that state of elation and connection again. For that I was missing the point. None of it is about achieving enlightenment; it is about living a good life and being the best version of ourselves that we can be.

The Living Force

Does the Force exist? Do we need to define it? I don’ know. For some the definition of the Force as provided in the 33 Traits will be enough. I don’t think it matters that we can define exactly what the Force is. Ultimately it is up to each and every individual to determine what the Force or Higher Power is for themselves. A trap we can fall into is to spend all of our time chasing a rainbow.

In early recovery I was so keen to see the face of God and get spiritually high that I completely lost myself. It was immature and irrational and a surrogate for addiction. I had to be reminded that it is OK to have our heads in the clouds sometimes but we must keep our feet firmly placed on the ground. To simply believe in something is sometimes enough. Recovery, being Jedi, life happens in the here and now not in some attained spiritual state somewhere in the obscure future.

Can we agree that simply being ourselves is to honor life and therefore express the Force? By using the life that we have in the way that best suits ourselves is possibly our only purpose. That is the meaning of my Higher Power, the Force.

Believe in what you want to be believe. Call it whatever you want, conceive of it any way you want. If there is a God, she will not mind, if there is no God it does not matter. And May the Force be With You.

Miracles

Remember the Force will be with you always.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Losing my Religion

In the past I never believed in the idea of miracles. My religious instructors in school taught that miracles happened to those that deserved them. God rewarded the righteous but punished sinners. To me this sounded unfair. My mother had died for reasons I did not understand but she had been a devout Catholic.

I and my siblings were placed in an orphanage and eventually separated. Our Father was absent and probably drunk somewhere. Perhaps we were all sinners. I was never certain what we had done to deserve it. They spoke of miracles as if they were dispensed to the favored. Try as you might there was no reaching that state of perfection. In Star Wars I still found a glimmer of Hope and a spark of the Force but in time that light went out too.

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” – Yoda

Bottled Miracle

A few years ago I would have scoffed at the mention of miracles in any form. The metaphysical and the spiritual were for chumps. They were cop outs for people who were too afraid to throw their lot in with one deity or another.  The only spirit I needed was in a bottle. A miracle was to be still standing at the end of a big night. I pinned providence on fortune and luck. Both seemed scarcer than real miracles.

If there was a Divine source in the Universe I was not part of his plan. A part of me suspected that there might be something. This I put down to the residue of a religious upbringing and perhaps wishful thinking. As a child I had prayed for miracles they had never happened. My ideas were firmly planted in reason based on a faith in science and all the obstinate arrogance of a self proclaimed agnostic. I flipped the bird at religion but avoided the unrelenting dogma of new atheism in the fear that they might be wrong. I settled on something that was loosely “F##K It” and nihilist in view. Whatever justified my current lifestyle was fine.

Stealing Miracles

Religion and goodwill was to be taken advantage of. Miracles could be things we got out of people. My Father cheated the Salvation Army and other charitable organizations out of food stamps and money for years. It all ended up on booze or on horses. I watched and learned. Yes, one could make small miracles happen. Things could appear out of nothing. You just have to take them.

In Israel I even tried convincing a Rabbi that I wanted to convert on spiritual grounds only to be laughed at and told my true motive for conversion was to remain in Israel. He had a point, I did enjoy the laid back hedonistic lifestyle of booze, drugs and sex on a Kibbutz.

Few people really are (Atheist) , for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere.” – Alcoholics Anonymous p10

 

The Miracle of Faith

Living in recovery has taught me that every day miracles do exist. I think I am a proof that miracles do happen, even to reformed dirt bags like me. If I could count the number of reasons why I should not be here writing this it would convince even the most ardent skeptic.

Miracles need not be resounding symbolic miracles of the basket of never ending bread and fish variety. I have never seen the blind or lame healed by divine faith alone. There has never been a man walk on water or float on air in my experience. I have some seen some very weird and inexplicable things in my time but nothing like that.

My recovery and change in life since becoming sober to me is however a type of miracle. I look in the mirror and I see a miracle. Look at the sky, the tree standing in the back yard, the person in front of me. They are all miracles. The guy at a meeting who was ready to take his own life and is now recovered and happy and helping others is a miracle. This very existence, an accident of chance or a played out destiny, is all part of the miracle of creation. Love is testament to the existence of miracles.

But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize. A blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child, our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”-  Thich Nhat Hanh

Every Day Miracles

Every day is a witness to the miracle of life. We reside on a planet on the edge of a vast galaxy amidst billions of star systems and countless worlds. Our galaxy is one of billion of other galaxies within the known universe.

Cosmologists believe that an infinite number of universes exist. Mathematical evidence supports it. Dimensions and parallel universes that we are completely unaware of are before us. Time moves in a linear trajectory in our perception yet at the speed of light and quantum level becomes distorted and illogical.An electron can exist in two different places in the universe at the same time. Matter can move in time and space in ways that defy normal laws.

Our very physical existence is an illusion for we are essentially comprised of nothing. The atoms that make up all matter are nothing more than magnetic forces surrounding nuclei of mass which contains an incredible energy potential.  When I touch another I am touching empty space.  Yet we are connected to every other atom in the universe.

It’s (The Force) an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Those atoms form into complex relationships with others, more in number than the stars in the galaxy to form a human form. Within that form resides a consciousness able to define itself and peer to the stars and ponder its origin. Tell me that is not a miracle.

I know a lot of scientists, some are atheists but all agree in the incredible complexity and order of the universe. It appears in mathematical computations and scientific observation.  They also agree that as we reach beyond the frontiers of our knowledge we seem to be approaching a nexus. That point is where the spiritual and the scientific begin to reconcile and meet. If humanity can work towards the common good and avoid self destructing, we may reach that point and realize who we truly are and where we are going. We still know so little.

“We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.” – Alcoholics Anonymous p. 164

The Miracle

I don’t know what God is or even if one exists, at least in the conventional sense. For years I had doubted the existence of any type of Higher Power that could not be empirically defined by science and quantified. I scoffed at the mention of the metaphysical or the spiritual. Now I believe that there is a Higher Power in my life. We each define our own Higher Power. There is no right or wrong. Within each of us resides a power that is greater than ourselves. I choose to call that Higher Power, the Force.  There is no need to define it or explain it; I simply accept that it is and that it is with me always.

“Close your eyes. Feel it. The light…it’s always been there. It will guide you.” – Maz Kanata

“If you knew who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible.” – ACIM

 

Love

“Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi’s life. So you might say, that we are encouraged to love” – Anakin “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.

One Word

Of all the words in existence the the word used to mean “Love” carries the most meaning to people.

What is Love? What does it mean? Countless songs, poems and stories have been written about it. Most of us intuitively know it but few can articulate in words what it is even to themselves. We know how it feels and we also know that Love comes in different flavors.

The Fictional Jedi were forbidden to love another in the ordinary sense. They were in fact expected to Love all sentient beings. The key role of the Jedi was service to others. Buddhism carries the same precept called “Loving Kindness” (Mettā). A Buddhist seeking enlightenment does so for the benefit of all sentients, so that they may be released from samsara, the eternal karmic cycle of life and death. Enlightenment is not sought for the benefit of the Bodhisattva but for all to ease suffering (Dukkha). Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi demonstrated a similar commitment when they abandoned the “crude matter” of their bodies and surrendered their souls, bringing balance to the Force.

The goal of Jedi Philosophy is to provide the path for people seeking to improve themselves. We realize that the way to achieve fulfillment and happiness is through service to others. Selfless service and giving of self requires Love not love.

World betterment through self betterment” – Kevin Trout “The Jedi Circle”

Love and love

Love with a capital “L” is unconditional Love. It is the Love that transcends personal concerns and the Ego. Love is all embracing, liberating, all forgiving, all encompassing, omnipotent and omnipresent. It binds all of creation together. It atones completely and sets free. All life is an expression of the Force. Love is the Force.

The Love of a mother for her child, the love of sacrificing one’s life for another, the love between comrades in arms and the deep and enduring love between two people that transcends the physical and life. That is unconditional Love.

Are you allowed to love? I thought that was forbidden for a Jedi.” – Padme Amidala “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”

When Padmé Amidala challenged Anakin on his capacity to Love another she was right but she was also wrong. Anakin could not attach to carnal love but he could express unconditional Love.

Love with a lower case “l” is called ordinary love. It binds, controls and fears loss. Jealousy is harbored in ordinary love and grasping attachment keeps it moored there. Ordinary love cannot sail, it is not free and it is controlled by the Ego.

Love as Suffering

It was the ordinary love that destroyed Anakin. The attachment and fear of losing Padme, his wife and the anger that burned in him was exploited by the Dark Lord. Unconditional Love would have allowed Anakin to set Padme free and defeat Darth Sidious. Instead he chose to control something that cannot be controlled and lost it all.

Anakin also loved Obi-Wan Kenobi like a Father. Perhaps because he never had a Father and had lost his mother Anakin grasped at anything that gave him meaning. It was a need that consumed him and others. As an Orphan myself I can appreciate the pain, fear and anger, the grasping attachment.

Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be the death of me?” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Don’t say that Master… You’re the closest thing I have to a father… I love you. I don’t want to cause you pain. ” – Anakin “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”

Obi-Wan Kenobi also loved Anakin but he was able to fight him because of that Love. I can only surmise that Obi-Wan’s pity and compassion for what little remained of his friend prevented him from slaying Anakin on the lava flows of Mustafa. Anakin was dead already and only Darth Vader remained. Obi-Wan felt unconditional Love for what was left of his beloved friend and could not take Life in such a way no matter how twisted and evil it was.

In the fight between Love and Hate, Love will prevail.

In the final confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader on the Death Star II it was unconditional Love that reunites Father and Son and destroyed the Dark Lord. Love does conquer all.

False Love

Alcoholism was the Dark Side in my life. Love was a word I used but it was not real. We may feel what we believe is Love but it is only an object that we desire and grasp on to. Love that is grasped and bound cannot breath and it cannot last.

“I can’t live without you”, “I need you”, “You complete me, I’m nothing without you”, “You belong to me”, “I hurt you because I love you” were the kinds of words I used. In reality I only loved myself and the bottle. I would choose booze over the feelings of others. Love in thought does not match Love in action.

We weep at love lost because it was never about the other person but what we wanted and were attached to. Addiction does not allow unconditional Love to flow. It stifles it.

If you love someone, set them free.” – Richard Bach

Love sets Free

I found Unconditional Love in the most unexpected place. In the mental and psychic black hold of “Rock Bottom” I imagined myself dying in suffering, self pity and self hate. I called for help and my Higher Power saved me and set me free from my addiction. It was unconditional Love that bought me back to sanity and in to recovery.

The feeling glowed within me for days. I felt like I had the deepest Love for all things. Every rock, tree and animal I saw, every person I passed I felt unconditional Love for. I believe I had transcended to another dimension of existence. At the fundamental level we are spiritual beings having a human experience and we are all made of unconditional Love.

In the rooms you feel compassion and Love for the fellow suffering alcoholic. You feel it when you see those that suffer. It is not pity, it is unconditional Love. Our Ego is the only filter, the only limitation to that pure Love.

In recovery we learn who we were, who we are and who we will likely be if we stay on the beam. Love like spiritually is a personal journey. We can seek advice on affairs of the heart but it is up to each of us how to use our intrinsic capacity to love. Love is who you are so you can’t go wrong.

I believe that Love never dies. We take it with us. The ego dies and so does ordinary love but Love with a capital L is eternal.

Love, not time, heals all wounds” – Anonymous