For those affected by recent disasters …..

There is so much suffering in our world these days. Some is human-created. Some is the result of “natural disasters” (quite probably increasing in severity due to human actions). All in all, it often seems too much.

I’m still working on an article about how we can respond to these events as (Jedi) Knights, but in the mean time, I offer some ideas on how to respond in compassion.

One item I am adding to my day is to say the Litany for Those Lost to Climate Change from the UUA. Say it slowly, with intention and let the words sink into your soul.

Another idea would be to say the traditional Metta prayer with the areas recently affected as a focus for your prayer. If you are not familiar with this prayer, a 5-minute guided introduction can be found at Wildmind.

Finally, you may want to join the Jedi Community Action Network in a healing meditation (virtual) session.

Living as a (Jedi) Knight

I’m still thinking about paths and vocations, and so I present a few articles on how to live as a (Jedi) Knight.

While I agree that self-improvement is important, especially maintaining one’s health, I think we eventually – as individuals and as a community – need to reach out and address the needs of the world around us. What you choose to do – where and how you serve – is entirely up to you. But I hope you will find some way to serve others. These articles are offered as a way to start thinking about what you can do.

A Jedi’s Role by Steffan Karrde

A Jedi’s Role in the Community by V’tor and Ogion

Vacation musing

I had intended to publish some thoughts on Jedi Knighthood as a vocation … but I realized that I need to spend some more time on that subject.

In the meantime, I have pulled out a couple more articles from the archives for your consideration.

More is Not Enough was contributed by Ainar as a wisdom tale.

There is No Path was written by Demetrius Vorak

In the meantime, I am enjoying hiking in beautiful weather, eating too much food and reading a new book by Druid Dana O’Driscoll: Sacred Actions.

In Search of …

 It has taken too many years for me to finally cue into this, but Ally Thompson made a comment that started me in re-evaluating my expectations of the early Jedi community.

Many, many “students” came to the online Jedi sites for healing.  They were rejected by their peers for being different or being interested in ideas and topics and hobbies other than those popular with their social group and family.  They had suffered trauma.  They were disabled physically, mentally, or emotionally.  They suffered from addictions.  They had been abused and rejected by churches, teachers, families, and society.  Sometimes, they were people who just didn’t fit in.  

They came to a place to start over … where no one knew who they had been … so that they could start fresh and be somebody different.  To try on new roles and identities in a situation where people would not keep pushing them back into being who society expected them to be.

Yes, they came to role-play.  They came to role-play better selves.  Wiser.  Older.  Well-regarded by their social group.  Successful.  Valued.  Respected.  Members of a group of like-minded people.  Members of a social group.  People who belonged.  People who had a higher calling and a noble purpose.  People who, when they spoke, leaders listened.  People who made a difference.  Heroes.

We had high school students (and sometimes younger) who were role-playing adults who were role-playing Jedi Knights.  The multiple layers of assumed identities was sometimes mind-boggling and problematic.  It contributed to undermining the credibility of sites and leaders.  But this was a part of the growing and healing process for at least some of them.  If you don’t have healthy role models in your life, where do you turn??  If  no one in your “real life” community supports your attempts to be a different – better – person, how do you reconstruct yourself??  As high-performance athletes and other successful people remind us, you have to be able to imagine something before you can be it or create it.  Change starts in the mind before it can be manifested physically.

And most of us need a support group along the way. In one of his YouTube videos, Opie Macleod talks about “found family”.  In the International Fellowship of Chivalry Now Facebook group, we are talking about how to form honor groups.  Therapists use games such as The Sims to help people imagine undertaking pro-social behaviors.  I think many of our members and casual visitors came looking for others who would support them in envisioning (and creating) their ideal selves.  Found family.  Honor group.  Jedi community.  

If these people came to us, I am – in retrospect – grateful.  They could have chosen so much worse.  If they stumbled and fumbled and came up short while they were here, I hope their idealized vision of themselves – yes, expressed as role-play – took root.  They may not win Nobel Peace Prizes.  They may not serve long hours at a disaster-recovery site. They may not show up at online Gatherings in Jedi robes, waving play light sabers.  More likely, they will be dropping change in a cup or letting someone else have a seat on the subway.  But I have decided that’s enough.  

Jedi Temple History

I have to admit that a good deal of my motivation to finally re-publish materials from the Jedi Temple and the Blue Group was to provide our point of view regarding the early history of the Jedi community and to hold up the names of the early leaders. Many current Jedi did not know the pioneers or the names of the many sites that existed in the late 1990s, and I hope to rectify this lack through this site.

I also want to mention that there are a couple of other, similar initiatives in the works, and I hope that these will get published soon so that you have a variety of perspectives on the history of the formation of the Jedi (Realist) Order.

The first piece that I have is an abbreviated History of the Blue Group.

Jedi Exercise Programs

After starting meditation, the next item on the Blue Group syllabus was to review and update a student’s exercise program. And then to follow the plan. To exercise body as well as mind for the coming year …. and ideally for the rest of the student’s life.

Yoda famously stated that “… luminous beings are we … not this crude matter … ” and many prospective Jedi took that to mean that they didn’t need to work out, ignoring the fact that Yoda also had Luke doing advanced CrossFit routines in a hostile jungle!! In point of fact, we are complex beings with an embodied nature as well as a spiritual one, and the health of each component of ourselves affects the health of the rest. Hence, I required students to adopt some sort of exercise routine, no matter how minimal.

This Jedi Exercise Programs lesson was based on the fitness advice that we had in 2000. Some things have changed since then. Most advice, however, has not changed significantly. We now know that nearly any activity is helpful – it does not need to be identifiable as exercise nor undertaken in 20-minute sessions. Health experts are still trying to identify how little additional activity is enough to make a significant health impact, but I hope that you will aim slightly higher in your aspirations to become a well-rounded Jedi.

Luke doing a handstand with Yoda.

Ephemeral Nature of Things

I aim to publish at least one lesson per day, although I will not always succeed. This past weekend, a sudden ear infection reminded me of the fleeting nature of health … and the power of pain to recall us to the physicality of our existence. But also, it was a reminder that all things pass. Breathing through the worst of the episode was almost meditative as I held on to the knowledge that – with the proper application of modern medicine – this discomfort would pass.

But it inspired me to dig up this piece from Ainar, which was originally contributed to the Jedi Temple in 2000. “It Will Pass” ….

Relaxation and Meditation Techniques

Today, I have a collection of three articles that were submitted to the Jedi Temple by Steffan Karrde in 2000. These were some of the earliest writings in the “Lecture” section of the discussion forums.

Keep in mind that this discussion forum was the second one that we used after Olorin lost control of the first one. And before we used discussion forums, we communicated by email and IRC chat. So, these articles probably are older than 2000. Also, Steffan merely edited and submitted them …. and I only know the original author of one of these three.

One more caveat: articles on meditation and relaxation techniques are often very similar in content with minor variations. I present the variations because different voices reach different audiences.

Calming Breath edited by Steffan Karrde

Jedi Meditation edited by Steffan Karrde

Relaxation by Jordan Daeloth

Meditation

Today’s new addition to the Library is another lesson on meditation.

In the early days of the Jedi community, posts and articles on types of meditation techniques were common because the practice was still relatively new to the teens and 20-somethings that flocked to the new, proposed “religion” that was available and accessible to them through the new technologies of the Internet: articles, discussion forums, IRC relay, etc.

Most of the techniques we wrote about were not at all new but had been translated from the practices of long-established religions. The first Jedi to create sites, write articles and posts, and start structured training programs followed George Lucas’ lead and translated ancient practices for a new audience. Here at the Jedi Temple, we had a wide variety of types of meditation from which to choose. As I uncover them, I will keep adding to the Meditation Section.

Keep in mind that many of the earliest writings involved a little fan-fiction, but that was the practice of the time: to cast real lessons in a science-fiction setting.

Today’s Basic Jedi Meditation comes from an author who – like me – used Second Life as an educational tool.