According to Bing AI the answer to the question “How do I live like a Jedi“:
Living like a Jedi knight is not an easy task, but it is possible if you are willing to follow some principles and practices. Here are some steps you can take to become more like a Jedi:
Study the Jedi code.
The Jedi code is a set of ethical guidelines that Jedi knights follow to resist the dark side of the Force and promote peace and justice in the galaxy. You can find the Jedi code online or in various Star Wars books and comics. The code consists of five lines: • There is no emotion, there is peace. • There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. • There is no passion, there is serenity. • There is no chaos, there is harmony. • There is no death, there is the Force.
Meditation is the foundation of Jediism, as it helps you to connect with the Force and yourself. Meditation can also improve your mental and physical health, reduce stress, and increase your focus and awareness. You can meditate in any way that suits you, such as sitting quietly, breathing deeply, listening to music, or repeating a mantra. You can also use guided meditations from various Jedi websites or apps.
Train your body and mind.
Jedi knights are known for their physical prowess and mental acuity, which they achieve through rigorous training and discipline. You can train your body by doing exercises such as running, swimming, yoga, martial arts, or lightsaber combat (you can use a toy lightsaber or a wooden stick). You can train your mind by doing puzzles, games, reading, learning new skills, or studying various topics such as philosophy, history, science, or languages.
Help others in need.
Jedi knights are protectors of the weak and defenders of the oppressed. They use their skills and abilities to serve the greater good and not for personal gain or glory. You can help others in your community by volunteering for a charity, donating to a cause, tutoring a student, helping a neighbor, or standing up for a victim of injustice. You can also join or support various Jedi organizations that work for social and environmental causes.
Be humble and respectful.
Jedi knights are not arrogant or boastful, but rather modest and courteous. They respect all forms of life and do not judge others based on their appearance, beliefs, or background. They also admit their mistakes and learn from them. You can be humble and respectful by being polite, honest, grateful, compassionate, and forgiving. You can also avoid gossiping, lying, cheating, or harming others.
These are some of the ways you can live like a Jedi knight. However, remember that being a Jedi is not about following a set of rules or rituals, but rather about finding your own path and discovering your true self. As Yoda said: “Do or do not. There is no try“.
Recently I signed a one-year contract of employment. The terms and conditions on paper were excellent. I was excited about the new job and started a few days before Christmas after handing in notice and leaving my old place of work. It would be an understatement to say that I had made a mistake. Within 20 minutes of being in the offices of my new company I realized that I had been misled or rather had misled myself into believing something that was not true. Wishful thinking had replaced a rational mind. Instead of taking the time to carefully consider and maybe check in with a Higher Power (Force) I took a leap of faith. By the end of the week I had resigned and fortunately my old place of work took me back. So much for contracts that can be signed and broken by either party on a whim with a one-week notice.
Over ten years ago I entered into another contract. A contract for life. The agreement was made between me and my Higher Power. The terms were simple, I was to remain sober and in return I would have half a shot at living a reasonably happy life. The degree to which I took advantage of this new arrangement was up to me. I could use the second (third*) chance at life to grow in understanding of the divine principal which I call at turns “God” and the “Force” and lead a spiritual life improving progressively over time. The goal being progress not perfection on a path of self-realization and self-actualization. The vehicle that would take me there was the 12 steps of AA.
The 12 Steps is a program of continuous improvement. The steps call for commitment, action, review and adjustment. Like any contract our performance it is open for periodic review. Step 10 calls for a daily review so that any flaws and faults can be identified and rectified and amends made if needed. Daily review ensures that a backward slide towards old counterproductive habits can be checked and arrested. If we start wandering off the path we can reorientate ourselves and get back on the beam.
To be honest I don’t do a rigorous daily review. At best I might ruminate over cock ups and mistakes I’ve made and chastise myself swearing not to repeat them. I remember the need to take inventory and make amends but allow myself to procrastinate and rationalize reasons to put it aside. Complacency creeps in and eventually it catches us out. We forget that we are headed for trouble and end up doing something stupid like signing contracts without checking in with Higher Power.
Today is New Years day. It is just another day but it carries significance because if marks a full turn of the calendar. I read the “Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday every morning along with the “Twenty-Four Hours a Day” by Hazelden. Each day I turn the page and eventually I land back on December 31 at the end of the book and start the next day on page 1, January 1. New Years Day is a chance to start over. It is also a perfect day to review “The Contract” I made on September 23, 2012 with a spiritual power I barely understood but became willing to turn my life over to.
So today I renew that contract for another year understanding that the only way to break it is to return to alcohol and thereby renounce my Faith. Without the presence of a Higher Power in my life there can be no sobriety and in turn without sobriety there is no life worth living. Its that simple.
Happy New Year.
Personal Contract for a Jedi.
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you’ve got anyway.
No matter how hard you try you may never reach your goals.
Keep striving anyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and the Force;
“If your virtues hinder you from salvation, discard them, since they have become evil to you. The slave to virtue finds the way as little as the slave to vices.” – Carl Jung
“It is to surrender yourself, to make yourself a slave to a teaching or belief, that makes it so that belief will always rule you.” – Kreia
Recently I hit 10 years of sobriety. I have been sober and have abstained completely from alcohol since 23 September 2012. Ten years is an accomplishment, but it is just a number. The length of time sober does not guarantee a permanent reprieve from alcoholism or a fundamental and permanent character transformation. I always remember that my sobriety is a reprieve contingent on the daily maintenance of my spiritual condition. Complacency and wishful thinking could still lead to a slip and a relapse.
In addition, ten years sober does not mean I have a high level of emotional sobriety. A sober alcoholic can still be a dry drunk who chooses to abstain from alcohol. Constant work and vigilance are needed to progress. We may be recovered but we are never completely cured or rid of character flaws that could land us back where we started.
After ten years I paused to reflect on where I had come from. It is not easy to compare oneself to a former version after many years has lapsed. Character change in sobriety is rarely dramatic and sudden. Change occurs slowly and gradually over time. You may not notice but sometimes other people do.
“The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
If I am honest there are still many character flaws and faults that I need to work on. Many are relicts from my years of active alcoholism. They remain because I like having them or they are too hard to let go or because they are so ingrained that they have become part of my mental DNA. All that can be done is containment and mitigation to ensure that these faults do not cause more harm than necessary. This requires honesty. The honesty to admit to wrongs and the willingness to make amends for them is as relevant now as it was ten years ago.
As is the willingness to change.
I am no Saint, I am no Jedi Master. I can aspire for perfection but never hope to achieve it. All that can be hoped for is progress over time and growing self-knowledge. Steps 10, 11 and 12 are the maintenance steps that keep us sober and allow us to progress in recovery. Daily practice is essential. Any Jedi knows that one needs to practice, practice, practice to become better. This means practicing virtues that uphold our stated values and principles.
“Never step in the same river twice can you. Each time the river hurries on. Each time he that steps has changed” – Yoda
A value is something you hold as important. Principles are non-conditionals that govern behaviors that explicitly expresses your values. Virtues are character traits that underpins both your values and principles. For example, sobriety is a value, temperance is a virtue and complete abstinence from alcohol is a principle. Virtues grow with the practice of principals over time.
We may never gain mastery in the expression of virtue, but we can achieve desired change though effort and application of virtue.
Pursuit of Virtue
Practice virtues and live by your principles but become slave to neither. Once they impede or hinder your progress it is time to check in and see where you went wrong. The virtue may be correct but the application might be wrong. For example, rigorous honesty that harms others and yourself for the sake of honesty is counter productive. Excessive discipline that leads to an unbalanced life and strains relationships is also unhealthy. A sense of balance and pragmatism must be applied. Practice common sense. Be mindful.
“Compromise is a virtue to be cultivated, not a weakness to be despised.” – Yoda
Virtues are always used in a way that is beneficial. Being inflexible, uncompromising and fanatical may be unhelpful and lead to anger, resentment and bitterness. Being sane means being realistic with yourself and others. That means compromise.
The one exception is sobriety. When I hit 10 years the thought of having a drink came to my mind. I thought to myself “surely after 10 years I can have a beer or two and not let it get away”? Wrong. Experience and self knowledge taught me that most things I can compromise but with booze, there is no compromise. Abstinence means total and lifelong abstinence.
These are the virtues to work on through practice. They each reflect one of the 12 Steps. In some Steps more than one virtue is applied but there is a single principle at the heart of the Step which forms part of the 12 Step philosophy. Practiced daily without force and with right intent, these virtues will not only help you get stronger in sobriety but will help in your personal journey as Jedi. Here are the 12 virtues to Self-Knowledge:
“The story being told in ‘Star Wars’ is a classic one. Every few hundred years, the story is retold because we have a tendency to do the same things over and over again. Power corrupts, and when you’re in charge, you start doing things that you think are right, but they’re actually not.” – George Lucas
“You told me there’s a bar here” – Larry Kenobi
Every person has a story. Every story is unique. Everyone intuitively recognizes the importance of stories in their lives. We seek to share our story and learn the stories of others because it defines who we are in the shared experience called life.
Humanity is made up of innumerable individual stories woven together into the tapestry of human experience. Some of those stories become timeless myths which serve to communicate who we are and where we are going. Stories that let us appreciate the past, understand the present and predict the future. They provide us with a cultural identity and a chart with which to navigate our lives.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that mythology is really a form of archaeological psychology. Mythology gives you a sense of what a people believes, what they fear.” – George Lucas
Every time we read a novel or comic book, watch a movie or a play or listen to someone telling a story we are experiencing something that has been part of the human experience for hundreds of thousands of years, the sharing of stories. It is a sacred ritual passed down to us from the oral traditions of our ancestors.
Sharing personal stories is a fundamental part of the 12 Step movement and other group therapies that draw out an individuals experience so that others can identify, and the person sharing can heal. This works when stories are told with honesty, conviction and sincerity. People can easily spot a disingenuous, insincere or contrived story from afar. It is not hard because since we were children we listened to stories and learned to recognise the difference. We intuitively know when someone is being authentic or not.
“A special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing” – George Lucas.
There are also the stories that you tell yourself. Sometimes we can fool ourselves into believing a version of events that no one else would believe. The mind can play tricks and fabricate a story that we want to believe rather than know is true. For obvious reasons, this trap is dangerous for addicts and alcoholics. Sharing in a 12 Step meeting to complete strangers and making inventory reminds us that authenticity, honesty and sincerity is key to sobriety.
Star Wars is a story comprised of many smaller stories. Each story represents a fragment of the entire picture that is creative in nature and poetic in design. The story flows from one source and splits into many branches of a continuously growing and expanding mythology. Of this mythology, most people would only be familiar with the main titles of movies and books. Those that are familiar with the Skywalker saga know that story. Lucas did his best to keep Star Wars authentic. It was his life work after all and his vision.
“Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.” – George Lucas
In the past Star Wars was written and presented with the story and the audience in mind. The authenticity of the story was what was captivating about the Star Wars franchise. The story took us to another time and universe allowing us the suspension of disbelief because we trusted the ride and took faith in the journey because it was authentic. People enjoyed the story because it was genuine, sincere and honest as well as entertaining. Once any of those crucial elements are removed, the story loses its authenticity and begins to unravel as it did with the “Kenobi” series.
“Kenobi” was not authentic as a story because it was not about the Jedi Master. The story was not genuine, sincere or honest because it failed to respect the lore. The mythology of Kenobi was upturned if not ruined. The plot was pointless and had no meaning or point. Characters were contrived and had weak development. No inspiration could be gained from either plot or characters and therefore nothing could be learned or added to the Star Wars universe. Parts of “Kenobi” were entertaining or nostalgic such as the return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen but it was a missed opportunity and failed to do the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi justice.
“I am simply trying to struggle through life; trying to do God’s bidding.” – George Lucas
I know my story. Mine is a story of a deeply flawed individual that arrested his decline to mental and spiritual oblivion and struggles daily to live by principle. It is no fairy tale or Hero’s Journey. My story is not one I can be proud of, but it is authentic. By being authentic it has meaning, it keeps me sober, and the experience can serve as a lesson to others. That’s why Star Wars serves as an inspiration on this journey.
“Kenobi” reminded me how important mythology is. Myths and Hero’s provide examples and direction in living meaningful and virtuous lives. We draw inspiration from the heroic archetypes as role models and mentors. The story teaches universal truths in an authentic way. When the story unravels so does the message and that is a grave loss especially when it carries the name “Kenobi”. The power of the myth wanes and disappears soon to be forgotten and wiped from the collective memory.
“Star Wars’ is fun, its exciting, its inspirational, and people respond to that. It’s what they want.” – George Lucas
And… here is a story about an alcoholic named Larry.
“The boy you trained, gone he is. Consumed by Darth Vader.” – Yoda
Hatred is a powerful emotion and uniquely human. No other animal displays hatred. Unlike anger, which is a transitory emotion eventually burning out, hate will endure the test of time and be as potent as the day it rose. Hate is a disease that eats away at the soul and spreads far and wide covering everything in darkness.
Hatred flows in the blood. Hate is a living thing; it is passed on like a curse from one generation to the next. Wars, ethnic genocide, religious violence, terrorism, and oppression are all forms of Hate. In its purest form hate is devoid of emotion or passion. There is no anger or pride. The very emotion removes all humanity and commonality with the object of one’s hatred. Hate is the complete absence of love. There is no chance of mutual respect, cooperation, and trust where hatred exists. Redemption is impossible. To Hate is to separate.
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda
In the last month all I have seen is war and hate. It is pervasive and the world is awash with it. Where before I saw fear in people’s eyes as they contended with wave after wave of media hysteria related to the ongoing pandemic, I now see hate. At the same time the drums of war are beating as angry voices clamor for action and retribution. Fuel is being thrown on the Fire and it threatens to consume us all.
I know what Hate is. It is suffering. I lived in a household where the memory of ethnic and fraternal bloodshed was deep rooted, “the other” was the eternal enemy that had to be destroyed. The hatred of “the other” was fuelled by alcohol. A fire needs its fuel even if it burns the house down. In 1991 I saw that hatred explode into a horrific war that turned neighbour against neighbour and pitted brother against brother. Thirty years later I wonder has the world learned anything as it slides once again toward the heart of darkness.
Yoda saw Hate as the final descent into the Dark Side. Hate eclipsed any flicker of hope. The door has been slammed closed to the divine nature of the Force. There is no light, only darkness.
“To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.” – Yoda
Anakin was driven to the Dark Side through the hatred that grew within him like some insidious tumor. The fire of Mustafa ravaged his body, but hatred utterly consumed his soul.
Anakin’s Grandson, Kylo Ren, suffered the same affliction. Ren’s hatred was so deep that he became a psychopath. Hatred had driven Luke to almost kill his nephew Ben Solo. Believing himself entitled to Justice Kylo Ren derived sadistic pleasure and satisfaction in hunting and murdering those who had been close to him, who had hurt him. Hatred spurned him on but as it grew deeper it consumed him.
Anakin driven to insanity and complete loss of identity with his transformation to Vader suffered deeply. Vader was tortured physically, mentally, and spiritually with every breath. The Hatred was complete and transformed itself into raw power. The Shadow Form, the Dark Side dominated him. Vader no longer hated anyone or anything other than himself and his Master. In Vader lay no festering ordinary hatred. There was only a will to dominate and control all that is within a closed fist of absolute power. All of Vader’s will and intent was directed there.
“Oh. Great warrior. Wars not make one great..” – Yoda
Children learn to Love before they learn to Hate. Within our true self resides unbounded Love. That is why when we carry Hate we know that it is not who we are. It feels unnatural and heavy like a sickness within us. The feeling of “righteous indignation” and anger it gives us is shallow and leaves us feeling hollow and in conflict with who we truly are.
As an alcoholic I was prone to hate. I hated others, my life and God. Fear became, anger became hate. Surrendering my life to a Higher Power meant letting go of Hate. Although at times I get scared, resentful, or angry I find it impossible to Hate like I did in active abuse. The emotion is draining and like drinking alcohol it no longer brings pleasure or satisfaction, only a feeling of revulsion and regret. Now when I go online and see the Hate that pervades social media and news comments, I feel repulsed at the realisation that people feel empowered by their “righteous hatred” more than the vitriol they spew forth. Hatred is an illusion and a sickness of perception.
“Then came war. In our arrogance, join the conflict swiftly we did. Fear, anger, hate. Consumed by the dark side, the Jedi were.” – Yoda
When we open our eyes to the illusion of Hate, it becomes exposed for what it is. Hate is a wall that separates us completely from our inner divine more than any other emotion. Hate separates us from our true nature and from other people. Like a cancer it grows and ultimately it destroys us from the inside out. If you strike with hatred in your heart it will stay with you forever like a dark stain.
Love conquers Hate. It was an act of Love that redeemed and saved Anakin from his living hell. Love stayed Luke’s hand from inflicting a fatal blow on Ben Solo. Luke invited Kylo Ren to strike him down but warned him to do so with Hate would afflict him forever. Love was the final act which finally saved Kylo Ren and brought order to the Force.
There is enough Hate in the world. Do not add to it. Conquer Hate and never give in to it. Give Peace a Chance.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi-wan Kenobi
This post was published on 27 July 2017. As the clouds of war gather in Europe and the world one again faces the real threat of nuclear conflict I thought to repost now. MTFBWY.
“Wars not make one great.” – Yoda
A Zero Sum Affair
No matter what our politicians and leaders tell us, wars do not solve problems and they certainly do not make people or nations great. The killing of another human being no matter what the justification is never easy, we are not programmed to take life. Yes, there are heroes in war, acts of bravery under fire that are celebrated and remembered. War can bring out the best and worst in people but it should never be glorified. Very few veterans will relish war and only a fool brazenly seeks it. Speak to someone who has seen war up close and they will tell you it is never pretty and it is a waste of life an d treasure. For this reason it should always be a last resort and one that is never taken lightly by those that send others to fight.
As a society we seem to have become increasingly conditioned to war. It seems we are in a perpetual state of war while preparing for future conflicts. Today the United States is directly involved in conflict in no less than 15 countries on five continents. We have 300 bases in over 70 countries. A dangerous military build-up is also occurring between historic Cold War foes that is devoid of any of the mutual respect and constructive dialogue that existed forty years ago. Distrust, division and accusation prevails. Our world is headed to a precipice and indeed the Doomsday Clock overseen by a panel of international Atomic Scientists was recently adjusted to 2½ minutes to midnight, the closest to the point of Armageddon since 1953.
What can we do about any of this? Unfortunately not much. The Stoics suggested that in life there will be many things that disturb us of which we have no control. We can emote on a subject, we can commiserate on how terrible the loss of life in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine is due to conflict or bemoan the degradation of the global environment. Worrying or emoting about events that we have no control over does not alleviate the suffering or change a thing. If we can act, we do what can be done otherwise we focus on our place in the world and those that rely on us. We attend to our own battles at home and strive to make a better life.
The Fictional Jedi were keepers of the Peace but were sworn to protect the Republic and defend it. Being a real world Jedi means knowing which battles to pick and only ever accepting violence as a last resort and primarily in self defence, never attack. A Jedi abhors violence.
“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” – Yoda
Carrie Fisher once compared her battle with mental illness as akin to being in a war. The analogy was not intended to belittle the sacrifice of veterans who had fought in Afghanistan but to highlight the nature of the struggle she endured for years. Many of us fight our own inner battles, the prize of victory is survival and defeat ultimately means death. The courage needed to survive addiction and recover should never be understated it also takes a tremendous amount of balls.
“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside).” – Carrie Fisher
Alcoholics are not facing an enemy on a battleground or the threat of IEDS, they are confronting their own darker side. In recovery we change our lives utterly and in ways we could never have imagined.
A Crowded Hour
Soldiers are given medals for acts of heroism in the face of danger. Storming a machine gun nest, pulling a wounded comrade to safety while taking fire, jumping in to a burning vehicle to pull out unconscious casualties all take a tremendous amount of guts. The ordeal will last from seconds to hours. The “crowded hour” that Soldiers who have experienced in battle will know as the euphoria mixed with terror that is as addictive as a drug.
“Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.”
Thomas Osbert Mordaunt (1730-1809)
When the dust settles and the adrenaline wears off the Hero Soldier will be unable to explain his actions, he will simply state that his training and instincts kicked in, there was no time to think, just act. A true Warrior will never claim that war has made him “great”.
We Alcoholics also faces a momentous challenge in overcoming our addiction and starting the long road to recovery. In Step 1 we must admit our powerlessness to alcohol and accept that a spiritual solution is the only path. For many this can require rejecting a life time of prejudice and accepting something that before was completely unfathomable. We must dig deep and inventory our history all of our faults and all of the harm we have done others. Having admitted our faults to ourselves we must admit them to our Higher Power and another person. With our past clearly laid bare we must be willing to put it behind us and resolve to change and become who we want to be.
Our actions must agree with that resolve; we seek out those we have harmed and we make amends. We forgive others and we finally forgive ourselves. Living one day at a time we seek to improve ourselves and grow spiritually as well as mentally and emotionally. Our attention moves outwards and we seek to serve others, helping where we can. The journey can be terrifying but we find a type of courage and inner strength that endures and we change. It takes uncommon valor.
“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” – Proverbs 16:32
Whoever answers the call of duty should never be condemned and those that make the ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten but always honoured. War should always be regretted and never glorified. Never forget too that we as alcoholics face our own battles on a daily basis, often alone and without support. Our effort is worthy and honourable. We may not think it “great” but your recovery is a small light in a dark world, you are making the world a better place.
“World betterment through self-betterment” – The Jedi Circle
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.” – Yoda
Fear is one of the strongest emotions a human can experience. Fear is as primordial as life on Earth and ingrained in our biology. An element of fear underpins much of what we do and motivates us into action that ensures survival and well-being. Without Fear you would not be motivated to care for your health, seek out food and shelter or defend yourself against attack. You could not survive without the “Fight and Flight” response which fear elicits when it ignites the adrenal gland and fills the body and brain with adrenaline. Fear can be beneficial, but it can also be devastating.
Fear can make us do things that we would not normally do. Fears, imagined and real will convince us to accept treatments we would otherwise never consent to. It compels us to acquiesce to rules, mandates and restrictions no matter how severe or oppressive, without question. Fear is the the leverage others will use to deny us of our freedoms and liberties and do so with our full willingness. Until you have lived in Fear every day of your life you cannot begin to understand how powerful it is in shaping who you are. You cannot understand the power Fear has over your life.
“If you make decisions out of fear you are more likely to be wrong.” – Ahsoka Tano
Imagine being at the mercy of another human being. You live under constant fear of being punished and abused physically and mentally any time. Your loved ones are held in ransom and routinely abused in a similar way. You have no idea of what will happen and have no control over your life. Imagine being a slave living in Fear. It would be terrifying and soul destroying.
The child Anakin was a slave and grew up in an environment that was brutal and cruel. Anakin was not allowed to have a childhood and had to work to earn his keep and avoid punishment. Fortunately for the young Human he was intelligent beyond his years and already a skilled pilot before he was ten. Anakin’s owner, Watto, was able to profit from the boy which bought Anakin a measure of freedom that other slaves did not enjoy.
When Yoda met Anakin, he sensed the Fear and an emerging darkness in the boy. The Force was strong in Anakin but so was the fear he had grown up with. Fear can reside deep within for decades. With time it grows and shapes like a cancer. Life becomes haunted by fears both real and imagined. Fear manifests itself in poor choices, anger, resentments, aggression, ignorance, and hate. It did so with Anakin, as Yoda feared it would and Fear consumed him utterly.
“Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi.” – Yoda
Myths and legends remind humanity of the consequences of giving in to Fear. Most of the fears that are experienced are imagined. You fear an idea, an illusion, a nightmare, or a thing not yet realized rather than reality. People are terrified to leave their homes convinced that they may fall victim to crime or terrorism. The constant bombardment of the exaggerated dangers of a virus in the news and social media has led to a mass formation of social psychosis that has created a traumatised generation. People no longer consider the actual risks in their lives, they are willing to accept anything that may take the perceived danger away. They suffer in their minds more than in reality, in anticipation of something that will likely only ever occur in their imagination.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” – Yoda
The Hero overcomes her fear by confronting it. She will throw open the door on which fear beats and find nothing there. The Hero will stop running from fear and turn to face it. What was tangible, insurmountable and undefeatable turns out to be a harmless illusion that quickly fades away. The Hero realizes at the end that the greatest challenge is overcoming one’s own fears. True courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to continue on despite it. The Hero’s Journey is all about overcoming your fears.
Being alcoholic and a survivor of an abusive childhood I know what it is to live in Fear. I also know that Fear kept me back from doing so much in life. Every day lived in Fear is a day wasted. Living in Faith of a Higher Power has dulled that Fear by turning it over. I no longer have to be afraid of things that I do not control. My own Fear is a choice that I can control. I can take action and make decisions based on reason, not on Fear.
“I used to be afraid, all the time. Then I realized that a decision based on fear is usually the wrong one.” – Ahsoka Tano
Fear is a natural response to a threat. Sometimes that threat is real and sometimes it is exaggerated or imagined. Fear is sometimes the correct and appropriate response. More often it is an unnecessary mental burden which creates unnecessary barriers to progress. Fear will prevent you from taking risks worth taking, from making the changes needed to live a better life. Fear more than any other emotion will stop you being the person you were meant to be. The only choice you have is to “Do. Or do not”.
“Hmm. In the end, cowards are those who follow the dark side.” – Yoda
There is no shame in being afraid. Cowards are those who are unwilling or unable to face up to their fears. They choose to give in to fear and allow it to control them without concern for others. Anakin gave in to his fears by betraying everything dear to him for the illusion of security and control. To be Jedi is to acknowledge the presence of fear but train the mind to let go of everything you fear to lose. Never be a slave to fear. Be brave.
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” – Yoda
“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way” – Yoda
Why are you here? What do you want from life? Where do you want to go? How do you plan to get there? These are often the questions we ask ourselves as we face a New Year. We reflect upon the last year. Some of us take time to count our blessings and successes as well as failures. We assess what went well and identify where improvements can be made. We take inventory.
“What will I find?” – Luke Skywalker
As you begin to start the new year the chances are you are seeking to change. That change may be specific to your relationships, career, health, or finances. You may be unhappy where your life is currently at and you want to make broad and sweeping changes. Perhaps things are generally going well but you want to do better in some or all areas of your life.
“Only what you take with you” – Yoda
Self-reflection and introspection are a powerful act which can guide us on a path to enlightenment. The exercise is not meant to be self-absorption. We are not using it to think of ourselves only in a selfish or self-centred way. The goal is not to garner a spirit of self will or to blame others. Self-reflection is to realize our goals and understand where we are in relation to those goals. This leads to self-knowledge. With self-knowledge comes the freedom to change once we decide to act.
“It’s a chance for you to make a fresh start.” – Mon Mothma
Take some time to reflect on your life. Consider the past year and go back as far as you want to. List your achievements for the last 12 months. Highlight your successes. Now do the same for the last 5 years and if you dare go back as far as a decade.
The milestones of your life may be anything you consider significant. It may include finishing school and university, academic achievements, career highlights, military or community service, business achievements and financial growth. List the things that make you proud. Include your family milestones and relationships with partners, family, friends, and associates.
“Search your Feelings” – Luke Skywalker
List all your key attributes that you feel describe you in a positive way. Words might include trustworthy, humble, funny, determined, intelligent, kind, considerate and compassionate.
Now list where things have not gone so well in your life. List the areas you regret, or wish could be improved. Inventory your faults to others as well as your flaws and failures. Be honest but do not self-deprecate yourself in the process. Confronting our mistakes and failures are essential if we want to move on and improve our lives.
“To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose” – Yoda
List your character flaws and faults which you identify as negative or unproductive. These might be impatient, compulsive, obsessive, aggressive, resentful, demanding, inflexible, bigoted, and dishonest.
Take the time to meditate on this exercise. Self-reflection can be a confronting as well as a rewarding experience. Unless we know who, we are and come to terms with it, we cannot hope to move forward.
“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defence, never for attack” – Yoda
Self-reflection requires a lot of honesty and introspection. We must be completely honest with ourselves and realistic in the way we look at ourselves. A mirror must be held up and we must confront who we are and where we have come from. We must face the good with the bad to make the change we want to be. This can be hard but persevere we must.
“Use your time. You’ll find one day that you have too little of it.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
I have been thinking a lot about the Jedi Trials. I am at that part of the Daily Jedi Journal where I have had to take a hard look in the mirror and recognise my failings and faults and try to overcome them.
In your training how do you put yourself through trials to test your training as Jedi?
The last two months have been difficult due to things going on in my life. On looking back I realized that I handled them pretty well considering and managed to apply Jedi philosophy, simply put the Jedi Code, in dealing with each of them.
This is what has been happening:
In late October my younger sister was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer out of the blue. It was identified during treatment for an infection. It turned out to be Stage 4, multisystem and aggressive and she was given a very poor prognosis and told perhaps 6 weeks to 3 months to live. This was a bit of a shock. To add to the pain, the public health system in this country is not great and the bureaucracy is insane. Her treatment (chemo) was delayed by a month and with Stage 4 cancer it is vital that you act quickly and aggressively.
On the same day I visited the hospital to learn of the diagnosis my car was stolen from the parking lot outside…
A few days later I returned to work at a mining concern . I found in my absence some people had undertaken work without authority and broken several environmental and safety requirements. There was a massive investigation, finger pointing, blame game and anger. People were fired, lawyers were called in. Statements were read. People lied and betrayed others to keep their jobs. I was not even there when it happened, and I got mauled. It was a bad experience and left me to question my loyalty to the company I have worked for 10 years.
Soon after there was a restructuring, and I was moved from operations to corporate services within the company. The trouble of course is that my boss, the corporate general manager, is located 2000km away, is a micromanager and reminds me of Sheev Palpatine.
The difference between I and Anakin is I recognise the corporate general manager for what he is; an incompetent bureaucrat and power seeker that takes credit for other peoples work while undermining them and manipulating the hierarchy to elevate his power and position. Naturally I have clashed with this “Palpatine” character more than twice. Not a wise career move apparently.
The implication of course is that as my new boss he would find a way to restructure me out and now he has. On Christmas Eve I was told that after 10 years service my position was no longer required and was being purged. They have another person, a friend of the general manager, waiting to take my office. Rather than get angry I thanked the company COO and HR manager for my service and left without regret.
After all that, here I sit at home on Christmas Day, and I am a happy Jedi. I asked, “what trials can I put myself through to test my training”? I thought about things like running and hiking for miles, fasting for days, cold showers and various self-inflicted discomforts. In the end the Force answered and gave me a string of trials to navigate and use my Jedi training. It reminded me the real point of Jedi philosophy is not to create a fictional Jedi with physical and mental super powers but someone with the emotional intelligence and mental resilience to deal with life’s struggles and come away helping others. Its about training the mind, body and spirit to live as everyday people.
My sister’s treatment is going OK and she is responding well and feeling better. Living with cancer is a day to day thing. I realized I did not need a car and gave the insurance pay-out to my wife to spend on Christmas. The government sent a letter back to the company about the incident and said it was no big deal, so a lot of people got upset over nothing. I have come to accept my severance as an opportunity. I am better off working elsewhere and new opportunities have started coming in. I am still sober and did not think about drinking once.
The moral of the story is life is a training ground. We all go through our own personal Dagobah. We all go through our own trials in life. The difference is, we are never told necessarily when that will happen, the Force decides, and we answer the call.
Article first posted 4 May 2020 under the Title “Justice”.
“For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic” – Obi-wan Kenobi
“I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new empire”- Anakin
The Jedi were Guardians of Justice. As representatives of the senate they avoided political affiliations and were dedicated to promoting justice and peace in the galaxy. The Jedi did this by applying a code that was ethical, moral and balanced. In other words, they used the “Jedi Method” for dispensing Justice.
Despite their best intentions the Jedi ultimately failed in their mission and were at times a source of injustice in the galaxy. The Jedi were not loved everywhere they went, far from it. As the Republic began to unravel to its end the Jedi found themselves making difficult choices which conflicted with the Jedi Code. The Jedi were complicit in the erosion of the democratic rights of citizens. Their action betrayed the very principles they stood for hastening their final demise. The foundations of justice on which the republic was built were compromised. The failure of Justice led to the rise of Palpatine and the final fall of the Republic.
The Jedi lost sense of who they were. Along the way they compromised their principles for power, prestige and influence. The Jedi became political pawns and were eventually eliminated by Palpatine under Order 66. It was an ignominious end to a shining beacon of freedom and justice in a chaotic galaxy. With the fall of the Jedi came the end of Justice.
“Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
A Complex Moral Virtue
Justice is a moral virtue that is as hard to define as it is to achieve. Justice is rarely universal or perfect. For every Justice there is always a grievance left in its shadow. The scales will tip in favour for one party at the expense for another.
In a perfect world, every decision made in the name of Justice would serve everyone equally and no harm would result. We know this is rarely the case and one person’s gain will be another person’s loss. As hard as it can be to grapple with the outcomes, we should all strive toward “Justice for all” but be aware that mistakes can and will be made. Spend a day in the criminal or family courts to see this how Justice often plays out.
Humans are born with a sense of justice and become conscious of it at an early age. Children know intrinsically when something is unfair. They recognise compassion and empathy and carry an innate natural wisdom. As children age, they are influenced by parents, peers, teachers and the environment. Personal prejudices and biases creep in as the ego flowers. We never lose our divine sense of Justice; it only becomes shrouded.
“Truth never damages a cause that is just” – Mahatma Gandhi
No two people will have the same answers because everyone holds a different set of values which they define as stated principles. Each person has a varying outlook and idea on how Justice should be dispensed and appear at any given time for any issue. Every person has their unique set of preferences, bias and prejudices known and unknown. These vary and change over time with knowledge and experience. The exception is those that are told what to think. Without further thought or reasoning they blindly accept dogma and dare not stray from it.
Jedi used their sound judgement and reason. They were flexible enough in their thinking to not fall into traps or follow orders without question. Dogma was avoided. Jedi would at times question the sanity or the morality of decisions made. At the same time the Jedi were sworn to the order and were expected to follow orders. This conflict between personal judgement of what was right versus duty would plague many Jedi.
A real-world Jedi must confront the same questions and grapple with the same inner conflicts. Real-world Jedi are diverse, they are every race, colour, creed, gender, political leaning, sexual orientation and opinion. There is no die-cast Jedi with a “typical” appearance, character or set of ideas. People in general are no different. Regardless of who you vote for, the causes and issues you follow be they social or environmental how you define “Justice” in every instance may differ from that of others.
“The foundation of justice is good faith” – Cicero
Alcoholism distorts ones sense of right and wrong. I had a very skewed sense of justice as it applied to me. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, I was never at fault for any of the harm I caused. Restitution was for others, not me. Blame for my own faults could be assigned to others. I was never at fault. Even when deep inside I knew I had overstepped the mark I was able to rationalise my way out of it. I was the victim in all of this.
Recovery forces us to get honest with ourselves. We look back in to the past and list all of the people we have harmed. Character flaws are exposed for what they are. Mistakes and injustices are admitted. Seeking to put things right we seek to make amends as far as we can without causing harm to others. Our pride, ego and security is no longer important, we have to put justice first. Our sobriety depends on it.
Justice takes courage. It also takes a commitment to rigorous honesty and humility. Selfishness, pride and ego need to be put aside. It is not a case of saying “I am right therefore you must be wrong“. It is about looking beyond appearances and courageously seeking the truth.
“Justice is truth in action.” – Benjamin Disraeli
So be careful when you demand “Justice”. Things may not be as black and white as they appear. Bias and prejudice will only further cloud judgement. Be mindful of hidden agendas, ulterior motives and a natural desire for restitution or revenge. Be wary of the mob demanding retribution at all costs. Justice should contain none of these things. Justice should be Aequitas.
You must ask if your sense of justice correct? You can seek advice but decide you must, what is right. It may help to ask three important questions before you dispense Justice:
Is it ethical? Ask yourself “would you do something that you would consider wrong or questionable if it were done by someone else?”. If you cannot satisfy this test, then the thing should not be done.
Is it moral? Ask yourself before making a decision “Will I be able to sleep soundly tonight? How would I react if I were on the receiving end? Will I be judged harshly?”. Remember that each judgement that you pass carries consequences, for others and for yourself. Accept that.
Is it balanced? You must determine if something is fair. Does it respect the rights of others? Is it equitable (equity)? Is there also a degree of impartiality? Does it recognise the arguments and grievances of all sides equally (equality)? Is it fair?
Justice only holds if it is based on truth. Honesty is paramount. Lies, half truths and falsehoods negate justice. The truth is not predicated on the views of the mob and prevailing attitudes. Justice is predicated on truth which is immutable.
So, the question you have to ask is “what do you value? What are your principles and finally, how do you define Justice? What is your blind side, and do you know your own biases?” Are your decisions around Justice based on truth, fairness, equity, compassion and wisdom? Are you like the Goddess Aequitas, blind in serving justice to others?