Jedi are Spiritual Seekers

Jedi believe in and are a part of the Jedi Order

The word ‘Jedi Order’ gives connotations that the Jedi Path was something like a religion in the Star Wars Universe. The pure and true meaning of the word religion comes from the Latin word “religio” which was derived from the Latin word “re-ligare” or “to reconnect.” The purpose of the Jedi teachings were “to reconnect” a Jedi to the Force. Actually, we are always connected to the Force, but we have lost our conscious awareness of this connection.

(33 Jedi Traits)


One of the biggest misconceptions about Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is a religion or some sort of cult. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who come together with the sole purpose of quitting drinking, overcoming their addiction and finding contended sobriety. Similarly I have heard the Jedi path called a religion. To some people it is and there is indeed a campaign to have “Jediism” recognized as a religion. To most people however it is a philosophy for life, a formula for living that brings physical, mental, emotional and spiritual improvement in to their lives.

Whether someone considers themselves to belong to one Faith or another is entirely up to them. The beauty of the 12 Steps and the Jedi Path is that anyone can apply the philosophical teachings of both and practice them in their day to day lives. One need not have a religious background or even believe in God. Indeed there are Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Pagans and Wicca’s, Humanists, Agnostics and Atheists that are part of the 12 Step and Jedi movements. We believe that a religious conviction is not needed to benefit from the philosophy of personal improvement, self betterment and recovery.


Losing Religion

If someone was to ask me my “religious affiliation” I would respond “Jedi”. In fact I have listed it as such on census forms and on personal information. These days we rarely see that question appearing on documents. People increasingly are coy about their religion or default to the “NA” response preferring not to answer. Society is more secular. At the same time we are seeing an increase in religious extremism. Browse the news and you will be presented with human rights abuses and violence inflicted on others in the name of all faiths not just one.

The truth is I write Jedi not because I want to be different or I claim to be an ardent Star Wars fan who has taken it to the next level. I call myself Jedi because it best describes my own values and spiritual principles which I live.

Religion may have bought a lot of war, hatred and division in to the world but it has also introduced some wonderful and beautiful philosophies on how people can live in peace and harmony with others. I have found that there is so much in common between religions as there is so much in common between all people. The more the Jedi Path and 12 Steps has taught me the more I have come to realize that all the trouble in the world, all the strife, conflict and hate does not need to exist.


Take what you Need

I read the Holy Quran, the Bible, the Dhammapada and the Tao every day. Currently I am studying Kabbalah and the “A Course in Miracles” among other spiritual and esoteric texts. Besides that I consider myself a follower of Stoic philosophy and read the writings of the ancient sages and their contemporary counterparts as much as I can.

Recognizing the value of psychology I read books by Jung and Frankl as well as texts on CBT and ACT. None of this makes me an expert on any of the above. I am only a beginner on the Path. What it does provide me with is a rich world of knowledge and thought that I can use in my own way. There is so much to learn and I can take or leave whatever I want. There is no dogma to become tied down to. I take what I need and I leave the rest.


A Verb

Being Jedi is a verb, not a noun. I do not consider myself a Jedi but someone who takes inspiration from the fictional archetypes in the context of a practical philosophy. Apply real world ideas and philosophies that fill the gaps of what the Jedi represented in the fiction and you have a Philosophy. There is no hard dogma. I am not required to bow down to an effigy of the Force and pray to Yoda. In my view that would be ridiculous however I would not begrudge anyone who chose to do that. My goal is to be Jedi.

Similarly I recognize that the 12 steps were only ever suggested as a program, they were never mandated to Alcoholics as some form of dogma. The only requirement for membership was and is a desire to quit drinking. The promise is that the program had been tested and proved to work by many and if a person is willing to give the 12 Steps an honest go then they are sure to reap benefits.

There is no treating Bill W as some sort of saint or messiah as in some sort of sect or personality cult. Are there Big Book thumpers  and Step Troopers out there who would disagree with me? Certainly; there are extremists and puritans in every school, sect and religion. People who claim their way to be the only way. Some self proclaimed Jedi Masters are like that too.

Remember there are many people who are religious but not at all spiritual and there are many people who are very spiritual but non-religious. There are also many people who are neither. Some people like dogma, others don’t.


The Group

There is no Jedi Order and one never existed in reality. The closest semblance to a Jedi Council exists online. Most would be hard pressed to accept that one online Group or individual represents all people who follow the Jedi Path in one form or another.

Sometimes people lose sight of the forest for the trees. People get caught up in the trappings, the image and the labels. They want to call themselves something, they want a title and to belong to a discreet group. It is human nature to want to belong. We are drawn to the inner circle of the tribe where it is safe and secure.


Seek, it is there already

The truth is that all of us have our own individual needs. We are all seeking something. For many it is to reconnect with a spiritual source that has been missing from their lives. This is the case for many alcoholics in recovery. While we follow a path, many of us also seek to define our own higher power and purpose in life. Spirituality becomes a very personal journey that we must take alone; we do not need a Guru to take us there.

I used to consider myself a “Seeker”, now I know that that is not really the case. One only seeks something that is lost or hidden somewhere. The truth is that we are always connected to the Divine Source, whatever it is, the Force. There is no need to seek anything. We just have to be willing to be open to the possibility that something exists which is larger us. With that first step begins a journey of self discovery  and it never ends.


Only a Sith deals in absolutes” – Obi-wan Kenobi

When Obi-Wan Kenobi faced Anakin on the Planet Mustafa his friend and apprentice had fallen to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan Kenobi was dealing with a persona who had changed dramatically and who could not be reasoned with. Anakin had previously been a maverick, someone who bucked the system and stretched the rules.  He had been a Jedi who at times thumbed his nose at protocol and used intuition and initiative to get the job done however he was never uncompromising.

As Anakin fell to the Dark Side he became the complete opposite and accepted only an extreme and uncompromising view. There was no longer tolerance or a grey area but all the hard and narrow absolutism and narrow mindedness of a Sith, the sworn enemy of the Jedi. Darth Vader would only deal in absolutes, dogma, total submission, complete and blind obedience and the unquestioning acceptance of extreme ideology. The Absolutism of Power absolute.

If you are not with me, then you are my enemy!” – Anakin

Human Nature

Life is not about absolutes. The very nature of the Universe reveals anything but an absolute system. Everything is evolving and changing in nature and change is the nature of things. Human nature as well is contrary to absolutism nobody is hard wired to resist change. If humans were that inflexible and resistant to change we would not have lasted as a species. It is through a willingness to accept change, to explore new things and to question accepted norms that we have been able to grow and evolve.

I had an absolute and inflexible approach to my disease for a long time. Despite the obvious physical, mental and spiritual harm that it had caused I ignored the signs and the warnings from others. I was convinced that I was right and resented anyone who challenged that assumption. My anger and hatred for those who suggested I had a problem only worsened as my life unraveled.

A type of moral absolutism also applied in other areas of my life. I was never one to accept a differing opinion. I was closed minded. Even if the opposing view seemed reasonable, pride would not let me relent in an argument and accept that I might be wrong. In Recovery too I may have dropped the denial but I became inflexible and “righteous” in other areas. I adopted the manners of a person who had gone “God Crazy”. My spiritual fervor did not extend to tolerance of others and I set standards on myself that were inflexible and childish. I was missing the point and thinking in extremes only created negativity and unhappiness. I was missing out on life by boxing myself in.

Sanity in all Areas

Sobriety means finding one’s sanity in all areas of life. That means putting prejudices aside and reconsidering strongly held beliefs and opinions. I had to surrender many assumptions and adopt an open mind if I was to remain sober. I had to start to relax and take it easy. Even now I catch myself getting caught up in issues and becoming highly passionate about them. I see the old Alcoholic tendency of over doing it coming out and I have to rein myself in. Passion is good, but when passion over takes objectivity and starts to dominate us, we are in dangerous territory.

There is no Passion, There is Serenity” – The Jedi Code

Life is not completely black or white but millions of shades in between the two extremes. To take a hard line and extremist approach to anything means chaining yourself to that mindset and ignoring the endless opportunities that exist within the complexity of life. We can set ourselves principles and boundaries that give us more freedom without building walls around ourselves at the same time. For example, I am absolute in my abstinence and will not compromise on that however I do not enforce my standards on others. If someone has a problem with alcohol and seeks out my help, I am at their service but I will not preach or lecture. All I can do is offer advice. The Big Book does not offer absolutes and never said “Thou Shalt”, it made suggestions for recovery only.

“Our hope is that when this chip of a book is launched on the world tide of alcoholism, defeated drinkers will seize upon it, to follow its suggestions.” – The Big Book

Do question, challenge assumptions, avoid dogma, be open minded, get out of your comfort zone, be skeptical of Gurus. These are some of the things I have learned from the Steps and from walking the Jedi Path. I take what I need and I leave the rest.

The Middle Path

In the world today there is so much extremism. Whether it is religious, racial or nationalist in nature any form of extremism leads to tension, division and conflict. We only have to look and see how it is tearing the world apart. Within every person also resides a tension between opposing views and between our better nature and darker side. How we reconcile ourselves to the extremes in our lives and in our hearts is a personal choice.

The Stoics (like the Jedi) always sought the positive angle in every bad situation. Extremes in emotions were discouraged and avoided and the outcome was a deeper sense of serenity and acceptance in their lives. Gautama Buddha and Saint Francis of Assisi also lived to extremes of self deprivation and belief and found that it did not work so they taught their followers to walk a middle path to spiritual enlightenment.  To be Jedi is also to walk a middle path.

If we take a step back when things go awry and objectively consider every angle we will often find that our initial reaction may not have been warranted and things are not as bad as they appear. Extremist views and extreme emotions are rarely justified and seldom serve in any situation.

What are your views? Where might they be extreme or unyielding? How does that affect your life and the lives of others? Now ask yourself: Does it serve me?