Higher Power

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

 

The God Question

What is God? Who do you imagine God to be? Do you believe in “God” or choose to reject the notion of a supernatural force? Would you consider yourself religious, spiritual, agnostic or atheist? Are your beliefs or non-beliefs categorized by a label? For example do you identify with a religion and call yourself Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan or other? Perhaps a blend of all of the above. Consider that there are Christians who also consider themselves Buddhist. Chrislam is also a growing religion in some countries.

Religion not your thing? Do you practice a personal spiritual path that is void of any religious doctrine and prefer to reconcile with your own view of “God” as you imagine it to be? Spirituality may also be a part of a philosophical world view that might be humanist in nature and may be non-theistic in nature. Then like many you may have long abandoned any notion of God or spirituality and take the hard and pragmatic view of new atheism.

 

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

 

 

No Religion

For some reason the concept of a “Higher Power” or spiritual source in our lives has become taboo for open discussion. If we broach the subject in conversation we do so at times reluctantly or we skirt around the topic completely. Conscious not to offend or appear like some religious bore we prefer to avoid the topic. Certainly there are religious communities out there that congregate and worship together but to a large extent in the west organized religion is in decline. Depending on where you live and the people you associate with you may be rarely exposed to any formal religious ritual or gathering.

Slowly but surely the hall marks of religion are being removed from public places in the west. Christmas is being secularized and sanitized for mass public consumption. Schools in the west are down playing or removing the traditional aspects of the holidays to avoid alienating or offending people of non-Christian faiths or the growing number of atheist families. We live in a society that on one hand promotes multiculturalism but on the other hand is uncomfortable with outward displays of religious faith in the event that someone may be offended.

 

Sinner

I was taught in several catholic schools and was indoctrinated somewhat unwillingly in to the church. I also spent years in catholic “boys homes”. My experience was enough to question at a very young age the apparent hypocrisy between what was taught and what was being practiced. For example, Jesus taught living simply and frugally, of giving willingly to others and sharing with them. It struck me as some type of enlightened communism. The reality was far different. The church seemed to horde money and property for itself. The Brothers and Nuns seemed to eat quite well while us children were fed more humble offerings. We were taught to be kind, gentle and patient with others and yet were often subjected to capital punishment that often crossed the line between “discipline” and “abuse”. I was a product of original sin and therefore eternally a sinner.

By the time I was 11 I had a strong distrust for anyone wearing the accoutrements of religion. Despite this experience I always felt intuitively that there was something bigger than myself. It was not the sometimes angry, sometimes merciful God who had been taught in religious lessons. This was something else. It was like a deeper consciousness, an inner light and a mystery that transcended all existence. The notion could not be described but it felt like I had been born with it and that feeling never left me. It was only much later that I somehow made the connection that this might be the essence of what “God” is.

 

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

 

 

As “I” Define

In the 12 Steps we are asked simply to consider that there might be a “Higher Power” that can lift us out of addiction. Many people have a problem with this, because the word “God” is used. No definition of God is offered. We are asked to define our own “Higher Power” that makes sense to us.

When I contemplated “God”, I started to explore religion and seek answers there. While religion has much to offer I was missing the point, this was meant to be how “I” defined my “Higher Power”, not someone else. For the first time in my life I was given the keys to the Kingdom, I could go out there and decide for myself and that was fine.

Some people in the program choose a religious concept of “God” to define their Higher Power. Others look to nature and the natural order of things and realize that they are not the cent re of the universe but a small part of the whole. Those that struggle with or resist any spiritual concept explore other ideas such as a “Higher Self” that transcends the Ego. The fellowship itself might become the “Higher Power”. A group of people together is stronger than the individual. The whole point of the Higher Power is not to direct anyone to a set of beliefs but rather to introduce the alcoholic to the concept of surrender.

 

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

 

Letting Go

Surrender is a dirty word for some. In fact when I first heard the word it sounded like I had to roll over and submit. Childhood memories were rekindled. The opposite was true. By “surrender” we are saying “I’m not the center of the Universe”. We are learning the very essence of “letting go”.

At last we realize that trying to control people, places, things and our own lives has been a futile exercise that has gotten us nothing but grief. By turning it over to a “Higher Power”, we are letting go of the insane idea that we have total control of our lives. We learn to accept the things we cannot change and gain the courage to change the things we can. By surrendering we are breaking the shackles of our egocentric thinking. Call it whatever you want, religion, spirit or “Jedi Mind Trick” psychology. The only thing that matters is a fundamental change of thinking that deflates the ego and results in a positive change to our lives.

 

I am with the Force. The Force is with me” – Chirrut Îmwe

 

 

Force Aware

Real world Jedi are also diverse in their concept of the “Force”. There is no uniform definition. Some people compare the Force to Chi or Prana as depicted in the eastern philosophies. The Tao is often used as philosophical and spiritual reference for the Force. Those that adhere to Christianity, Judaism or Islam might see God in the “Force”. There are also Pagans and Animists and New Age Spiritualists who fill the Jedi community and apply their own principles to the Force.Atheists and Agnostic sometimes have a scientific explanation to the Force and use concepts such as the Higgs boson theory and quantum mechanics to explain it.

Few, if any, Jedi choose to ignore and reject the Force. We are Jedi; the Force is an indelible part of our philosophy. To be Jedi and to reject all notion of the Force is like a cloud trying to reject the sky or a fish rejecting the existence of water. We do not need to agree with anyone’s concept of the Force. The beauty of being Jedi is we can decide for ourselves what the Force is and what it means to our lives.

 

Smile

Lately I came across a definition of “God” in an annotated edition of the spiritual tome, “A course in Miracles”. I discovered it at random as I flicked through the pages. The words jumped out at me. I don’t know if I accept it as it is but if asked to articulate “God” in my own words, I will call it the “Force”.

I don’t have to do anything or be anyone or believe anything, it is up to me to take what I need and leave the rest. Everyone is free to do the same. If asked to explain the Force I can default to Obi-wan Kenobi’s definition of an energy field or I can simply smile. I don’t need to define the Force but I can feel it. In a smile we can feel the essence of Force within us, that’s what I believe.

God or source energy is the First Cause. This “Force” always was and always will be. This “Force” is everywhere and in everything. This “Force” cannot be lost or destroyed. This “Force” is constantly moving in, out and through form. Theologians call this “Force” God. Scientists currently choose to call this “Force” energy. Both define it the same way; Call it whatever makes you feel most comfortable”. – ACIM

Jedi seek Balance

Jedi believe that they need to bring balance to the Force within

Jedi believe that they need to bring balance to the Force within, and not wait around for a Chosen One to do it. If our minds are negative, then the Force flowing through us will seem negative too; our consciousness will seem negative and dark. If our minds are clear and wholesome, then the Force flowing through us will be clear and natural; we will be full of goodness and light. Jedi are responsible for balancing their own minds, so that their minds are clear, good, positive, wholesome, and stay on the light side; this will serve “to bring balance to the Force” within us so that the light side is dominant.

(33 Jedi Traits)

 

Purgatory

The years I spent in alcoholic abuse were a journey through purgatory. Not in the literal sense but at the emotional and spiritual level. Drinking was meant to lift my spirits and bring pleasure to my life. I wanted the memories of my past buried and thought that the escape offered by alcohol could provide that. I was wrong on many levels.

It has been said that we addiction is the misguided attempt to fill a spiritual void in our lives. We seek direction, meaning and fulfillment. In the beginning alcohol seems to provide that and eventually we find that it has led us deep into a dark forest. We either lose ourselves there or find a way out. The darkness takes us or we follow the light out.

 

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life” – Buddha

 

The Light and the Dark

Life is an experience that takes us along a wide spectrum of emotions between two extremes; Fear and Love. The natural order is one of opposites; Fear and Love, Joy and Sadness, Good and Evil. When we live in harmony our emotions exist but we choose how to engage and respond to them. We are not swayed by out emotions as much as we were in active abuse. We can know equanimity, peace and serenity.

 

You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive” – Yoda

 

Our emotions can resemble a boiling ocean under a dark and violent storm. We can be tossed about on the waves and pulled under by our emotions of fear and anger. We can also choose to stand like a like a lighthouse on a rock, solid and defiant against the howling wind and lashing waves. Our internal world can also resemble a serene pond disturbed only by the slightest breeze but otherwise calm. We can be the candle in the dark.

 

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Life is mostly perception. The color and tone of our emotions depend largely on ourselves, not others. No one and no thing does harm to us any more than the harm that we perceive. A serene pond can be calming to some but not to all. Some people live in a perpetual storm. They crave drama and turmoil in their lives and constantly seek it out, creating it in their lives and drag other in if they can. This only causes suffering.

 

Find you Own Light

We can seek inspiration and guidance from those we call Gurus and Sages but the way we decide to live out lives is up to each of us. To blindly follow a message can be as bad as not having direction. A spiritual path is a personal journey to one’s own answers. We are all very much the same but every person is also unique. There has never been a you as you are now and there never will be again. Each of us has our own path to walk. We should only look to others for guidance.

Being Jedi and living sober has not solved all of my problems and it certainly won’t exempt me from life’s difficulties. What the path has done has taught me I always have a choice. I command my own thoughts, words and actions. Do I allow emotions to toss me like a boat beaten by waves in a storm or do I create my own shelter from the storm? Am I the person who loses his mind when crisis strikes or do I stand firm and resolute in the face of adversity?

The path has also given me a philosophy for life. The greatest tool we have is our mind. Philosophy trains both the mind and the soul. The 12 steps remind us constantly to raise to action, to never be idle and to do good works. The Jedi Path pushes us to strive further and to reach the limits of our potential and then go further.

“What shall I find?” – Luke Skywalker

“Only what you take with you” – Yoda

 

 

The Light in Dagobah

In life we face trials like Luke did on Dagobah. We must be willing to confront our doubts and fears and resolve to conquer them. Only by healing ourselves and putting our own lives in order can we start to be of real service to others. There we find our true inner light.

Our goal is world betterment through self betterment. How do we get there? One step at a time, one day at a time and one act at a time. Life is a string of moments, how we decide to use those moments is up to us. We can let the light in or we can choose to shut ourselves of from it.

 

“‘May the Force be with you’ is charming but it’s not important. What’s important is that you become the Force – for yourself and perhaps for other people” – Harrison Ford

 

In all our affairs

“Bringing balance to the Force”  is not just being more mindful of our emotions and learning how to respond productively to them. Finding balance in all aspects of our lives is important for our well being. We may look after our spiritual health but at the same time neglect our own physical well being.

People work tirelessly to help others without expectation of reward and neglect their own needs. In time they begin to suffer ill health and mental fatigue and an emotional toll sets in. Saint Francis of Assisi was an example of a very spiritual man who died because of the extent to which he neglected himself to help others.

This week the world has remembered the Emergency Workers who responded to 911 and continue to suffer. We are blessed to be protected and served by people who sacrifice themselves but we should always also care for ourselves and keep a healthy balance in our lives.

We are only human. Each of us is being comprised of a physical body, a personality with emotions, an intellect and a deeper spiritual essence. One can focus on one aspect of their being without working on the others and soon find an imbalance. Eventually all aspects of our lives begin to suffer. Always seek balance in your life be it work, family life, recreation, service, study and rest. The Force will flow better that way.

 

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” – Euripides

 

Clear your Mind

Sit quietly and meditate on the moment. Allow you mind to go blank of thoughts. Be aware of every tremor and sensation within. Relax you body and take deep breaths and relax further. Allow emotions to gently fade.

Focus on the breath, the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe deeply. Let thoughts enter in like clouds, without struggle, without resistance. Some thoughts are light and others are dark. You can watch those clouds pass by and keep focus on the breath. Close your eyes and allow yourself to go in deeper….

Imagine a bight light deep within yourself. See it as a small candle surrounded by darkness. Watch as the light grows brighter pushing back the darkness. The light continues to grow brighter until your entire consciousness is consumed by it.  Open your eyes, how does the world look when you put yourself completely in the moment.

 

The Window

When I started writing this blog entry I was in a negative mental state. My mood was dark and I felt cold and distant to those around me. I felt that everything seemed pointless.  Despite my mood I knew that the feeling would pass. To wallow in my self pity and frustration is a form of self indulgence. Entertaining negative emotions closes us off from the Divine Source. It closes the shutters and draws the curtains on the light of the Force.

I dislike feeling that way. Stinking Thinking was the harbinger of some of my greatest drunks and biggest mistakes. Getting drunk now is out of the question, that has been handed over to a Higher Power. What I can do is choose to open the shutters of my heart.

I can open the window of my soul to a wide blue sky over a green meadow. The sun shines brightly and I can see the divine light of the Force in everything. I can feel that light filling my being. The dark clouds over my soul disperse and the Force touches me once more. I have regained my balance and dark thoughts are gone. The sea is calm once more, it has turned in to a calm pond bathed in soft light. The gentlest of ripples play across the surface as a light breeze passes. Everything is well.

We are the temple which houses a spark of the divine in each of us. Every moment we have a choice; do we shut the Force out or do we let it in?

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 believe in life after death

Jedi believe that the soul survives death, Jedi do not obsessively mourn those who pass. There will always be some mourning, and missing of that person, which is only natural. But Jedi avoid the extremes of mourning that can be so debilitating, negative, and destructive. Jedi trust the Force to take care of our departed loved ones and ‘let go’.

(33 Jedi Traits)

We all die, that’s a fact. It is an inescapable part of our biology. The cost of consciousness is the acute awareness of our inherent mortality. We begin dying as soon as we are born. Some of us will live full lives reaching old age and a weary acceptance of the closing circle. Others will pass on much earlier and seemingly before their time was due. We do not like to remind ourselves but every soul who we know, younger and older and those not yet born but destined to be will all die.

Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu

 

The Final Act

Last week I pondered deeply on the meaning of life and the finality of death. I wondered at the prospect of a life eternal and whether souls do indeed depart the confines of the body and ego and return to a Divine Source. Experience has taught me to keep an open mind. There have been times when I am sure I have felt the presence of departed loved ones. I have sensed that love does not die but transcends to that place beyond the veil.

One of the guys at work took his own life at his home. It came as a shock to all as he was a young man with a full life ahead of him. There were no outward signs of depression and he had been looking forward to an overseas holiday. His career was tracking well and he had recently built a home. Engaged to be married he left behind a child hood sweet heart. No one could understand it, certainly I could not. Then, can we ever truly know a person? What resides with in the deepest recesses of a person’s heart can be far removed from what we see.

 

All Journey’s End

Like most people, I have grieved the Departed who were family and friends. Most of the time we would rather not think about death at all but the reality is that as we grow older we seem to attend more funerals than weddings. Life is a cycle of renewal and Death is a part of that. To seek immortality and cheat death is to go against the nature of things.

Death is one prophecy that never fails” – Edmund Wilson

Through life I have also been close to death a number of times both physical and spiritual. I was never afraid of dying from some misadventure. My fear was to die the slow death of alcoholism and arrive at that place knowing that life had been forfeit long ago. To live like that was to die every day.

 

A Crowded Life

I have worked with animals, some are rare and endangered. One species I’m very familiar with has a curious habit. The males live a single year. They are born and quickly leave the den to establish their own territory. From that point they live to eat as much as possible in order to build the size and strength to compete successfully for females.

When the females enter in to heat the males will frantically mate until they are physically incapable of doing so any more. They will copulate with as many females as they can in order to increase the chances of passing on their genetic baton. Once they have expended their energy reserves they drop dead. They literally shag themselves to death.

For a period there are few if any males in the population. The Females are able to take advantage of limited resources without competing with males for food and shelter allowing them to gestate and provide for the newborns. The young when they emerge have a higher chance of survival with the absence of grown males and disperse seeking vacant territory. The cycle continues. Death is a key element in the survival and evolution of the species.

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” – DH Lawrence

Humans are also subject to natural laws. If people were able to live forever or past several generations it would serve no biological purpose and stretch resources thin. Old men voluntarily give up their place in a life raft for a reason. They have lived and served their purpose. Each life is but a flash in the expanse of eternity. Our only purpose is to live our lives in the time we have. We choose how.

 

Luminous Beings

In the Star Wars saga death is a constant. We are reminded that those that die are returned to the Force from which they emerged. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another. Life Force transcends to the spirit. Certain Jedi were able to retain their consciousness of self after death would appear as spiritual beings able to communicate with the living.

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

I believe that death is not the end but a single stage in a broader existence. If we are divine beings having a human experience then it would make sense that our earthly confine of body, time and space mean nothing in the after life. To unite with the Force would be to become one with all that is. The nature of that source is the grandest mystery, but is it?

Deep down we know that when we say Goodbye to a loved one in their final moments we are saying “See you soon”. I have been present at the birth of a child and the moment of death of a person whose heart I felt stop. There was an air of reverence in the room on both occasions as if all who were present knew that they were experiencing a special and holy moment.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.” – Yoda

 

Love never Dies

We all miss those who depart before us and we grieve them. Grief is a personal expression of loss and love. Some grieve more than others. In some cultures they celebrate the passing of loved ones. Some societies expect a set period of mourning after which life goes on and grieving stops. There is no right or wrong but to grieve for years over the loss of a loved one does not bring the person back. It only leads to suffering.

We can rest assured that our loved ones suffer no more. I believe that they would not want us to suffer in our grief. Letting go of our attachments means accepting that death is a natural part of life and is not to be feared. We all want to live long and happy lives and wish the same on others, this is also natural.

I believe that our loved ones do watch over us and want us to be happy and not be bound by grief. We can keep their memories alive and celebrate their lives and know that some day we shall meet again on the other side. To Let Go is to express undying love.

Life is a gift, but by nature it is impermanent. One should live each day knowing that it might be their last. A sword dangles over each of us. We must be prepared for our own final destiny but we must also accept that those whom we love also share that same destination. In that way each of us are all the same and we are all are united in the end.

Let each thing you would do, say or intend be like that of a dying person” – Marcus Aurelius

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.

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

 

Not God

“It’s against my programming to impersonate a deity.” – C-3PO, “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”

In the Star Wars fiction, computers were fitted with a safe guard that prevented them realizing singularity and attaining a God Complex. Imagine C-3PO with a God complex. Scary. Now imagine an alcoholic with one. Its as bad.

As a drunk I did not believe so much in God as I acted as if I was one. I had to be able to control people, places and things and I didn’t get my way I would get resentful and angry.

The God Problem

Many of my friends and associates are Atheists and very few, if any, are religious. Spirituality is not something that is openly discussed. The God topic is something to be avoided.

I was also unsure of where I stood with the whole “God” thing for many years. As a child I had rejected the notion of an all powerful Deity as suggested by my religious teachers in Catholic school. Quick to detect hypocrisy I rebelled and refused to attend Church or any of its ceremonies.

Along the way I adopted a sort of agnosticism that grudgingly conceded I may be right or I may be wrong about it. I kept the “reserve” card handy in my back pocket just in case. Sort of like an emergency hip flask in case I needed a shot of “God” when things really got bad. Seems most people only turn to God when they have no other options available.

Alcohol becomes a surrogate to God for many alcoholics. For other people it might be money, sex, work, ambition, power, family or nationalism. The one overwhelming and dominant factor in your life can become “God like”. Religion in its self is not “God” unless you happen to be religious. In that case your chosen religion becomes central to your life and value system and “God” becomes central to that. For me Ego and Booze was “God” over the years. If there was a redeeming God it certainly felt it had abandoned me.

Rationalizing HP

When I found my recovery I found a “Higher Power”. I knew intuitively that it was there, in me and everywhere. The problem was I could not define it or even conceptualize it. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to visualize and rationalize my “Higher Power”. The word, “God” did not sound right. I mean after all, wasn’t “God” the deity which had made me feel like a worthless sinner in Father Duffy’s Bible study class. Confused, I entered in to a period that swayed between elated Faith to stinging doubt and back again.

My mistake was trying to rationalize something that cannot be rationalized. I am a scientist after all. My background is critical inquiry. I ask questions and I investigate and in order to arrive at a judgement about a thing I seek evidence and where there is no conclusive evidence I experiment. Failing that I simply turn to Philosophy and think it through. You can’t “think” or “quantify” the spiritual through.

Obviously what was required was a complete departure from all previous concepts. I chose to cast aside all ideas and notions I had about “God”. Whether they had sprung up during my early recovery or were religious relics of my childhood I decided to let them all go. I decided to “Let Go and Let God” and just let things happen as they would. At last I stopped trying to run the show and control everything. I started to attain Emotional Sobriety.

The important thing is that I was accepting a spiritual basis in to my life. I didn’t need to do anything more than accept that willingly and have Faith. This is the true meaning of surrender.

Dodging God

The easy thing for many is to dodge the “Higher Power” aspect of the Steps. Many in the Jedi community I have come to know over the last three years also choose to either ignore the concept of the Force or avoid discussion about it. They feel that the Philosophy has no room for a spiritual aspect let alone some “hokey religion” called Jediism.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” – Han Solo ‘Episode 4: A New Hope”.

Open Mind

No matter what your view is, most can agree that an individual’s spirituality is a personal choice. Some people choose a religion and lead a pious life, others are far more secular. Working among scientists I find that many are atheists, some are “moderate” in views and others are militant emulating Richard Dawkins. I would suggest that having an “open mind” is the hall mark of a Scientist and a Jedi.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

If there is one lesson I have learned after the years in recovery it is I am not God. Yes I am a spiritual being having a human experience; I am an aspect of the Divine, a part of the whole. I believe that the Force is everywhere, it flows through this plane and the next and that I am part of it and shall reunite with it when I die. However I am not God.

Death

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

Jedi do not fear death in the fiction as they know that the material plane is only one dimension of existence, that in time all life returns to the Force as all life belongs to the Force. Even as Yoda dies in the “Return of the Jedi” his body vanishes supposedly transcending to the Force.

Yoda struggles through his final breaths to pass on a final lesson to Luke Skywalker. Throughout the movies we are reminded of the continuity of existence after the death of the physical and in the “Return of the Jedi” as Anakin, Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda appear before Luke Skywalker in their ethereal forms we get a sense of peace and hope that even in death, love endures.

To Live is to Accept Dying

Why do we fear death? I was terrified of death and sought escape and succour in a bottle knowing that by doing so was a slow death. I’ve heard that alcoholics are not afraid of dying but fear only the long slow death of alcoholism, yet they drink despite this fear so strong is the compulsion.

With recovery we begin to see the sunlight through the clouds and with time the fear of death is replaced by renewed hope and a sense of love for life and compassion for others. We begin to love ourselves again and express true love for others especially those that we have harmed through our actions. We begin to reconcile ourselves with God “as we understand him” and put together a plan of action to make amends and rid ourselves of our character defects and weaknesses.

Fear of death leaves us entirely after having got so close to death in the past, close enough to feel its presence in the early hours of the morning. We have faced our fears of some unknown thing that clawed at our being, we are no strangers to it and come to realize that death is also a part of life. It is not death that causes us fear, we only fear the thought of dying.

“We do not fear death; we fear the thought of death” – Seneca

The Circle of Life

Do we not begin dying at the point of birth? Our lives are simply a biological struggle to offset death long enough to ensure that our genetic make-up is passed on to the next generation.  Our descendants grant us a type of physical immortality that will one day invariably fade as does the very memory of our existence.

Perhaps, it is the fear of being forgotten that strikes at the heart of most people; that their short life will have little meaning in years, decades and centuries and that those they leave behind will eventually also die, turn to dust and be forgotten. Most of us prefer not to ponder such things until we arrive at our middle years, mostly in shock at how quickly the years have passed, deciding to make the most of our remaining years and “really live”. Does any of this matter?

The end of the Road?

Depending on your view of the Force and belief around life after death you may have decided that life does not end with our final breath but continues “on the other side of the veil” in the afterlife. Conversely you may take the view that one a person dies that is it, they are no more and will not care whether they are remembered or mourned or not. As they are dead and completely oblivious to anything as much as a lump of wood is.

It is the right of the living to mourn the dead and to remember them. Whether a person transcends to the spiritual plane or simply becomes nothing with brain death should make no difference to the departed. With death comes the end of the ego and also the end of Fear. The great mystery and hope for all is whether Love transcends death as in Star Wars, I believe it does.

Twilight is upon me, and night must fall. That is the way of things, the way of the force” – Yoda

I have felt the brush of death and know within me that death is not to be feared, it is the destination for all and a part of nature. We can all hope for a long and happy life but we should also be prepared for a good death and how we choose to face our ultimate and final destination is also within our power.