You are greater than you know.


“You don’t have to look tough to be tough”. – Ahsoka Tano

In “The Clone Wars” episode “Bounty Hunters” Ahsoka Tano reassures a Felucian Farmer who is threatened by a group of Pirates seeking to steal their crop. The Felucians are far too timid to defend themselves and have recruited a small band of mercenaries as protection. Outnumbered the Jedi begin to train the Felucians to fight and they soon discover that despite their small stature they are not weak and have more courage than they know.  Sometimes the smallest and meekest creature has an inner strength and courage that belies its size.

Always believe that you are far more than you believe yourself to be and you will surprise yourself at your inherent ability to exceed your expectations consistently. You will bear far more than you give yourself credit for.

We always expect the worst and we always assume that we lack the courage and fortitude to face the future when hope seems bleak. We tend to forget that the combined weight of the years can seem insurmountable when we are faced with life challenges such as an illness, unemployment, financial difficulties or a relationship break up. But we can and we do survive and we carry and can come out stronger than ever before if we simply live one day at a time and embrace our ability to shine through.

When I was drinking I had given up that I would ever amount to much. I believed that I could never quit drinking. On many occasions I had tried and failed and every time I returned to drinking I seemed worse. The blow to my self-esteem and confidence was great.

I could not understand how I had managed to achieve many goals in life; there was University degrees earned with distinction and a decent career in my profession. I had served in the military and had been deployed and served well.  Not to mention my family; married to a wonderful woman and blessed with beautiful kids. In my years I had faced many challenges and overcome them but with alcohol I was completely and utterly powerless.

Once I finally admitted my powerlessness and surrendered my problems to a Higher Power I called the Force my addiction melted away. I was free of my compulsion to drink. Eventually many of my perceived problems also melted away as I started to see things clearly. I discovered I had more power and courage than I knew. This Force had resided in me all along, I simply did not choose to see it and if I ever suspected I had the potential, I lacked the willingness and the honesty to take the first step and claim that power. From that day on I never doubted myself again.

“You are greater than you know” – Mother Teresa

Remind yourself every day that you are more powerful than you know, that even if you don’t look “tough” you have an inner fire waiting to be unleashed. Never be afraid, never doubt yourself. You can be the person you are meant to be. Strive to be a better version of yourself every day, never let anyone convince you otherwise. You are greater than you know.

Dealing with Emotions

Emotions ar Human

A great leap forward sometimes requires two steps back” – Obi-wan Kenobi

Even Jedi had to deal with emotions and inner turmoil. In the Clone Wars episode “The Blue Shadow Virus” Anakin is becoming agitated as it becomes clear that Padme and the entire planet of Naboo will be in grave danger from a biological weapon if it is unleashed by the Separatists. Obi-wan Kenobi watching Anakin tie himself in to knots of anxiety wryly points out that Anakin seems a little “on edge”.

“There’s a good chance we’re about to destroy all life on this planet including ours and the senator so yes I’m a little on edge, why aren’t you?” replies Anakin with exasperation.

Obi-wan Kenobi shrugs nonchalantly, “I’m better at hiding it”.

In the face of pending grave danger and the deaths of countless life forms across the galaxy should the “Blue Shadow” Virus be released, Obi-wan Kenobi still maintains a calm and relaxed demeanor. Internally Obi-wan is likely as concerned as Anakin but is mindful enough to stay focused on the present rather than become carried away by an emotional response to something that has not happened yet. The deadly virus has not been released yet, it is still contained and efforts are underway to counter the threat.

Obi-wan Kenobi remains mindful of the present moment, his thoughts and emotions and responds in an objective manner to the present threat, choosing to deal with what he knows and not allow emotions such as fear or anxiety of something that has not happened yet sway his decisions. This is the Jedi way.

Anakin is keen to take action to save Padme and is later reminded once again by Obi-wan Kenobi, “A great leap forward sometimes requires two steps back”.  To act on emotions is fraught with risk and sometimes it is better to pause, take a breath and think before acting or speaking during an emotionally charged moment. Fear and anger are two powerful emotions that most betray us, we often react to these emotions in ways that are less than positive and they often bring unwelcome outcomes.

Embrace and Let Go

Anger, fear and anxiety were three emotions that dominated my life for decades as an alcoholic. They stunted my growth as a person and caused ruined relationships, hurt the people I loved and gave me nothing but regrets and many tears. I was at the mercy of my emotions and had no idea how to deal with them believing to feel them was in some way abnormal. Much later I came to the realization that it is not things or circumstances that caused me harm or made me angry or fearful but simply my emotional response to them.

It was how I dealt with those emotions and acted on them. In the past I had used alcohol to help me deal with my erratic emotions and moods and often it made it much worse. I would be lost in dark clouds of anger and resentment for days or would awake in the middle of the night with a deep sense of fear. I had no idea why I felt the way I did and felt as if I were losing my mind.

During my recovery I learned to simply accept and observe my emotions as they came and resist the temptation to act on them. I would simply ride out the wave of anger or fear that surged through me without trying to fight it. It became apparent that to engage any emotion is to charge it. By fighting anger I was simply amplifying it and by trying to ignore fear I was throwing a cover over a monster, it was still there.

I would feel guilty about feeling resentful or self-pity and it just made things worse. By allowing those emotions to be and simply shining an inner light on them without judgment I would embrace them and let them go. The emotions would fire in their intensity and then fade away, replaced in time by a sense of peace. This is one of the many ways to Emotional Sobriety.

Erkhart Tolle describes a similar practice for dealing with negative emotions, the key ingredients are acceptance, forgiveness and mindfulness. I would also add objectivity; as a Jedi one must show reason and continuously explore the basis of their emotions. Ask why am I feeling this? Is this emotion valid? Does it serve?

Jedi choose to act in accordance with their principles and valued virtues rather than with raw emotion. We are human beings and the full spectrum of emotions don’t make us less of a human but more so. Jedi may not express in unhealthy ways their emotions, but they still feel them. Try being mindful and observing your moods and emotions that enter into consciousness through the day. Simply acknowledge them without reacting and let them go. In this way you can soon learn to be the master of your emotions rather than its servant.

Loss and Acceptance

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” – Yoda

The importance of non-attachment is often reinforced in the Star Wars fiction. Jedi were taught not to form attachment to people, places or possessions as to do so would ultimately lead to suffering. Despite his training, Anakin Skywalker failed to practice non-attachment and succumbed to his fear of losing what was dear to him. Anakin lost everything he held as precious in his life including his own identity as he fell under the power of Darth Sidious.

All that is, everything we hold important, is transient and in life we must face change and loss. Buddhism reinforces the transitory and impermanent nature of all things and suggests that attachment is akin to grasping at things that ultimately do not belong to us. When the time comes to let go, we suffer as our attachments have grown too strong. The Stoics also taught that it was acceptable to enjoy what came to us in life and that we should not pass up on pleasures or responsibilities. We should accept and enjoy them as long as they did not possess us and lead to harm. At the same time the Stoics taught we should be willing to surrender our attachments and let them go without remorse or regret.

Rampant attachment ultimately leads to frustration and having more and being richer does not necessarily lead to happiness. In fact wealth, while seemingly hard to come by and easy to lose is not the primary or secondary precursor to happiness in most people. Grasping attachments to status, possessions and relationships brings fleeting satisfaction and often leads to disappointment, disillusionment and despair. By holding on to things too tightly we often choke the life out them and ourselves.

The Stoics used strategies to overcome the anxiety of loss. They practiced negative visualization and on a regular basis would contemplate the loss of something that was important such as status, freedom or wealth. They visualized themselves banished from their homes and cast into exile and separated from their families and friends or reduced to poverty through bad fortune. The Stoics would also imagine the loss of their lives to illness or violence as the ultimate test for a Stoic was not only how they lived their life but also how they met their death. The Hagakure describes the use of daily visualization of death by the sword, fire or arrow to harden the Samurai to the prospect of death.   In time the Samurai would consider themselves already dead and therefore above any possible regret or loss.

The Stoics also practiced hardship to toughen themselves against misfortune. A Stoic might eat only bread for a day or more at a time and sleep on the floor to simulate a life of poverty, they ventured in to the public wearing rags and appearing disheveled in order to attract the scorn of the Elite. Saint Francis of Assisi made a commitment to a life of poverty with his conversion and forsake his wealth and title to lead a spiritual life of servitude and would often test his humility by venturing in to the community appearing like a common beggar often to the ridicule of the townspeople he would preach to.

I don’t suggest that we should go as far as giving away all of our possessions to live a simple life without wants. There is no need to join a monastery or to contemplate and meditate on a violent and graphic death. There are simpler ways to loosen our attachments and cultivate humility and ultimately serenity.

Practice non-attachment

Meditate on loss, visualize losing something important such as your job or a prized possession. Do this daily if you can in a quiet place. Attempt this exercise with caution as visualizing the death of loved ones or your own death can be confronting. The object is not to be morbid but to simply take a detached view of the event as if an observer looking in. This can be integrated into your meditation practice or done in quiet contemplation. Be calm, at peace and passive when doing this and back off if you begin to feel strong emotions such as anxiety or grief.

I regularly contemplate the loss of employment and imagine the stress and anxiety of financial loss. I also imagine being injured or killed in an accident but contemplate in a passive manner without drawing emotions. On occasion I also imagine more catastrophic events such as a natural disaster, war or another calamity which would utterly change my life and those around me.

Contemplate loss and view unwanted events in a detached manner and with time the underlying anxiety that pervades the experience will dissipate if you simply let it. So will attachments however you will value what you have more. By contemplating the loss of what you value, you not only build up your own mental resilience and fortify yourself against emotional anguish but you will also learn to want the things you have and spend less time wanting for things you don’t.

Control the things you can

Control is Serentiy

Accept the things you can’t….

Jedi were renown for having control over their emotions and staying in control seemingly when others were losing their minds. They were calm and completely at peace but behind that serenity was the potential for decisive action. Jedi were also adept at manipulating and controlling the Force with their minds and at times also controlling the minds of others through “mind-tricks”.

One could almost describe a Jedi Master as a sort of Warrior-Monk Stoic, completely devoid of inner disturbance and completely present in a state of equanimity and purpose amidst a raging storm. Of course this is fiction and only an ideal, not reality. The truth is that few but the most disciplined practitioners and adherents of a monastic order could achieve the same measure of internal emotional control and then they would still be subject to the vagaries of the world. Very few people would be able to achieve the same level of self control as a Jedi Master.

The main difference between a Jedi and an ordinary person is their ability and the wisdom to discern what resides within their control and what lies outside of it and to respond accordingly. Jedi have the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and the courage to change the things they can. More importantly a Jedi will know the difference between the two and reflect that in their decisions and actions.

It is important to remind ourselves that despite our best efforts sometimes we do not achieve our goals in life for a number of reasons. Life is not so simple and often the path is convoluted and beset with traps and pit falls most of which we have no control over. Awareness of control is important as it will lead to acceptance of failure and humility in success and ultimately a greater sense of serenity and peace.

What is intrinsic to you is what you have control over. Your thoughts, actions, words, motivation and your response to emotional stimuli ultimately reside entirely within your sphere of control. As you move from your inner world to your outer world your degree of control over your world diminishes. You have partial control over your health but not complete control, you exert partial control over the behaviors of people close to you but ultimately every person has free will to choose how they think and feel.

Remote events whether local or internationally happen with or without our consent, the planet revolves on its axis and orbits around the sun and the cosmos evolves and expands utterly indifferent to our existence or cares. Take some time to appreciate the difference between what is within your control, what is partially within your control and what is completely outside of your control. Act with purpose where you can and be prepared to accept the outcomes with equanimity and grace.

Grant me serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the Difference

The serenity prayer is one of the most profound prayers written and it one that I read daily as part of my 12 Step practice in acceptance. I understand that I cannot expect the world to revolve around me, I accept that things may not go the way I plan. However what choices I do have is how I will respond to life every moment. I know that in the course of the day I will feel a wide range of emotions some of which may feel unpleasant however I still decide how I respond to and act out those emotions. Do I allow myself to feel anger? Yes, as a human being I will feel anger or disgust in certain circumstances, however I choose how to respond to those emotions. I can lash out or attack another person or I can remain calm and explore the emotion, allow it to take its course and then choose how to act in an appropriate manner.

As an active alcoholic I had no realistic grasp on emotions and rarely applied control. In addition I had no concept of the fact that some things were not in my control and I lived in a false reality where it was normal that the world should make allowances for me. Of course this continued in early sobriety when I thought that being dry gave me some sort of entitlement to be treated special and I would rebel when people did not conform to my expectations. Society does not function for me, I am a part of society and a small part at that. Over time I began to realize that I needed to focus on what I can change (myself) and do my best with what I had partial control over. I have to be prepared to accept and let go of the things I have no control over at all.

Understanding our limited influence, the impermanence of our impression upon the world and the fleeting amount of time we have to spend in the material plane within our limited bodies is both humbling and liberating. We realize that we are a minuscule part of the whole which makes up the Universe, that we are each a single beautiful note within the expanse of the grand symphony of life. The part of the whole. With your feet planted firmly on the ground ask yourself these three questions as it applies to what is happening in this moment, in your life and with what you hope to achieve:

  1. What is in my control?
  2. What is outside of my control?
  3. What are my choices and how do I act?

Then go out and act and do so with mindfulness, purpose and single-minded intent.


Remain on purpose

Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

In the scene in “The Empire Strikes Back”, Yoda was referring to purpose and single-minded intent when he advised Luke Skywalker on how he should not attempt to lift an X-Wing Fighter out of the swamp of Dagobah. The scene is a reminder of the power of the mind in achieving almost anything by simply focusing your intent and concentration on a given objective.

In life we often have the luxury to simply “try” at something, make an attempt and if it fails we can simply let it go and move on with the next thing. This is an acceptable and appropriate approach to most things in life and since childhood many of us would have heard the words of parents and coaches “Do the best you can” and “It’s not win or lose but how you play the game” and of course “Try your best”. As long as we try our best and give it our best shot we can be assured that the opportunity was not wasted whether we succeeded or failed.

In some cases it would be fair to say that “to try” is not good enough. For example would we be happy if we boarded a plane and the Pilot said he was going to “Try” to fly the plane and land at the destination? Would we be filled with confidence if before a major surgery our Doctor said he was going to “Try” to complete the operation without major complications? I would argue that in both cases the appropriate approach would be to go in with intent to succeed and a mindset that precluded failure as an option or not attempt it at all.

Jedi Philosophy requires that “We do or do not. There is no try” if we wish to succeed in its practice. A practical philosophy for life is not effective as a philosophy of life if we do not commit to its practice. One may simply “try” to apply a philosophy in their life and largely fail at the attempt, they are only really cheating themselves and missing out on the real benefits that consistent and disciplined application would bring.

Firstly we have to query our personal motivation for integrating Jedi Philosophy into our life. Determine whether it will work for you and commit to it if you want to honestly see if bring benefits. Any philosophy takes effort, energy and sacrifice to practice.

Jedi Philosophy if practiced diligently may not be as hard as say practicing Zen Buddhism and sitting for hours a day but it does still require self-discipline and dedication like anything else worth doing. If you simply “Try” to adopt some of the practices of being Jedi for a short period of time or do it inconsistently you will get some benefit but nowhere near someone who has adopted it as a way of life.

Focus, concentration and effort is the key. Someone who practices a musical instrument from time to time is not going to master it as fast as someone who practices diligently for an hour or more a day. The same goes with sports, martial arts, languages and behaviors.

Once I heard that it takes 1000 hours of practice and application to be proficient in something and 10,000 hours to master it. The point is, the more effort you apply to something, the more you get out. Tony Robbins was once asked how it was that he was such a great public speaker, his reply was “I just do it a lot”. Doing something for an hour a day will take a lot more commitment to do than one hour a week but it will lead to mastery quicker.

Ask yourself today, will you simply “try” to achieve what you set out to do  or will you give your tasks (and training) the mindfulness and purpose that it deserves? Will you give it the time that it deserves?

Jedi for Life

A Practical Philosophy

Many people today are finding meaning and purpose in attaining a philosophy for life which is both practical and applicable to living in the modern world. Whether that philosophy is taken from the eastern traditions of Zen Buddhism or Taoism or is drawn from the ancient schools of Philosophy such as Stoicism or Epicureanism, people are finding benefit in applying their chosen philosophy through daily practices and principles that improve their lives and allow them to meet and overcome daily challenges.

Psychologists have demonstrated that people who commit to a personal philosophy of life consistently practice principles and demonstrate virtues that lead to personal satisfaction and physical and emotional well-being compared to people that have  no philosophy of life at all. The revolutionary psychologist Albert Ellis was inspired by classical Eastern and Western philosophies in developing rational emotive behavior therapy to help people with depression and addiction issues (Ellis, 2001).

Depression, anxiety, anger, fear and conflict are many of the common problems that we see in society today and often we suffer them ourselves much of it through our own fault. We would prefer to blame others, our circumstances, bad luck and society for our problems without looking at our own part in the mess we find ourselves in. Through rigorous self-honesty, acceptance and commitment, each of us can choose how we respond to our negative emotions and thereby how we empower them or not and the degree to which they afflict our lives. Each of us can decide how we want to live our lives and what virtues we wish to cultivate and how we choose to respond to life moment to moment. Training in a real world Philosophy can provide us with the knowledge and skills to achieve equanimity, objectivity and harmony with self and others.

Many people also find a sense of spirituality through their Philosophy and a realization of a higher purpose in their lives than simply living to achieve instant gratification, material gains, status and fame. They realize they are part of something greater than themselves and become aware of their connectivity to other human beings, to nature and the universe and life becomes more meaningful and joyful than they ever realized before. They realize their place in the world and the impermanent and transitory nature of life.

Without embracing the doctrines and dogma of organized religion, one can achieve a good life that is spiritual, meaningful and powerful through training in a Philosophy of Life. One can live each day mindfully and spend their life in the moment rather than in regret of the past or fear of the future. You can be emotionally resilient, physically fitter, more aware of your own needs and the needs of others and ultimately more contented and happy in your existence than you ever felt possible. Once you change yourself for the better you will find that people treat you better and so does life, the clouds part and you have the power and confidence to deal with life on life’s terms. You also become an inspiration to others and in some small way you make the world a better place.

I practice Jedi Philosophy as a Philosophy for Life, in other words I am not satisfied to simply cite the tenets and take an academic approach as many students of Philosophy do. To be Jedi is to live the Philosophy because it provides the answers and a formula for living that works for me. This does not mean that I consider myself a Jedi Knight or Master of the Star Wars fictional universe and wear robes and carry a Light Sabre, far from it. I am a regular guy and today enjoy Star Wars as much as the next guy but I do not consider myself a Star Wars Geek. Yet I am inspired by the virtues that mark a Jedi and I emulate them in my life.

My Story

I grew up with Star Wars from the age of ten when “The New Hope” hit cinemas exactly 40 years ago today on May 24, 1977. Like many other children growing up in that time I saw the epic as more than a movie, it was something more powerful. Luke Skywalker was a kid who like me seemed to have been given a rough hand in life but yet  had managed to overcome that and find within himself an incredible power to change not just his own destiny but the fate of an entire galaxy! Living in State and Foster Care at that time and coming from a broken home rife with abuse and alcoholism, Star Wars gave me a sense of hope and a place to escape. The Jedi also captured the imagination of an entire generation and continues to inspire a growing global community of fans and real world Jedi.

While much of Jedi Philosophy is inspired by the fictional Jedi I still live in the real world and deal with real world problems. I apply many of the virtues and traits that a fictional Jedi demonstrate to help me achieve my goals and overcome problems, but that is not the whole story. From this point I want to stress that I use the word Jedi as a verb, not a noun, therefore the goal is to be Jedi and to act as if not to necessarily become a Jedi Knight or to follow the Jedi Religion known as Jediism unless that happens to be your personal goal.

Jedi Philosophy is a practical way of life in which we apply effort and aim to improve every day through daily practices and study. I train myself mentally, physically and emotionally and through study; I practice meditation everyday in addition to applying mindfulness to everyday actions. Although not a prerequisite I train in a martial arts and foreign languages and treat everyday as an opportunity to learn new things.

Five years ago I was staring into a chasm, a void of my own making through years of alcohol abuse, dishonesty, resentment, selfishness and fear. I had hit rock bottom and knew that before me was death or insanity or both. At that moment I realized that I did have a choice, inside of me resided a Force, a light that had been all but extinguished. I chose to surrender to that Force and to admit and accept my addiction and then to turn it over and let it go.

I knew at that moment my problem with alcohol was gone, I was pulled back into the light by some unseen power. A peace and serenity I had never known before fell on me. I embarked on a life journey of self-discovery and growth laying all of my short comings and failings bare, I resolved to overcome them. Putting the past behind me, I chose to forgive myself and others and to let go of the past and to make amends where I had caused harm to others. I knew that humility and rigorous honesty were virtues to be embraced. In time as I progressed in my recovery, I felt my anger, resentment, fear, anxiety and selfishness fall away.

There were days when I faltered and nearly relapsed. At two years my recovery hit a rut which I could not seem to get past. I rediscovered Jedi Philosophy.  Jedi Philosophy breathed life into my recovery program and it has become my personal philosophy for life, through it I aim for progress, not perfection in all aspects of my life and choose to be a better version of myself every day.

The purpose of this Blog is to tell a story but also to share how I choose to be Jedi and how doing so has helped me achieve recovery from alcoholism and depression, rebuild my relationships, improve my self-esteem, advance my career, become a better husband, parent, friend and boss, achieve the highest level of physical fitness of my life and cultivate a true personal spiritual foundation that far transcends any religious training of my upbringing.

This is not a Star Wars fan web site or even a voice for the online Jedi community, this is simply a blog by someone who has adopted Jedi Philosophy as a way of life, in all aspects of his life and wishes to share that journey and what I have learned along the way. I hope that my story may help anyone, especially those that are seeking their own path or struggling with a childhood trauma and abuse, depression and substance abuse as I have. I invite you to consider a Philosophy for Life and to explore the merits of Jedi Philosophy as it applies to your life.


  1. Ellis, Albert (2001). Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors: New Directions for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Prometheus Books.

Blog Release

The original release date for Star Wars was the 24 May, 1977. To celebrate 40 years of Star Wars I have decided to launch The Daily Jedi on the 24 May 2017.

A Daily Practice

Every day I will be posting articles and meditations on Jedi Philosophy and Recovery. I look forward to the journey and hope you can join me.

Source & Credit: Lucas Films, Disney, 20th Century Fox (1977).