So you wanna be a Jedi?

So you want to be a Jedi, right? Do you really understand what you’re in for? I know I didn’t….

For those of you who don’t know, it’s been my lifelong dream to be a Jedi since the first time I ever saw Star Wars. Obviously as I grew older, I knew I couldn’t be one… not in the Star Wars sense anyway, so I started studying other beliefs that bordered on the same belief system as the Jedi. The one that came closest for me, which is also something I had been interested in most of my life, is shamanism. To me the life of a shaman is no different than that of a Jedi, so keep in mind that when I say Jedi, I also mean shaman.

And what is the life of a Jedi anyway? What is it that we all seek? Well I’ve always believed, contrary to the Star Wars rule, that anyone can be a Jedi. That we all have within us the power to do this, but I recently learned that while anyone can live by the ways of a Jedi, not everyone can actually be one… not everyone could pass the tests or trials, as they are called in Star Wars, and just like Qui-Gon says, Even if you succeed, it will be a hard life.

First of all, there is an initiation… this is not something that can be given to you by another person. You are born with it or develop it through a traumatic experience like a near-death experience or something along those lines. In the Star Wars universe, Jedi are discovered at an early age and trained until they reach a certain age… at this point it is decided whether or not this person has what it takes. It’s much the same for us in this world. You have to be chosen for this path … whether through a vision or actually meeting a shaman and being told that you have the mark of a shaman. Then as you train, you are tested and whether you pass these tests determines whether or not you will be a shaman… or Jedi.

Whether you are tested by a shaman or by life itself, these tests are mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining. Most people fail miserably and some do not even survive. Once you start down this path (and this can happen at any age), your life is completely changed. Your friends and family start believing there is something wrong with you and in some cases you are alienated from them (unless of course you’re lucky enough to be born to a shaman or very spiritual family). In a lot of cases you scare them away because of your beliefs, and you are alone. This is why shaman and Jedi, as we have seen them in Star Wars, are loners.

You will experience love in its purest and truest form only to lose it and in most cases you will never find love like that again. If you try looking you might catch a glimpse, but I promise it will evade you. You live, for the most part, in constant agony and everything you love or possess is taken away from you in some form or another. Even strangers will treat you like you’re from another planet and you become depressed and heartbroken… the deepest most darkest depression a person can experience.

During this time you can feel your awareness growing, but at this point that realization means very little to you. You start missing days … thinking it’s one day when it’s really another because the days and hours really just seem to drift into one another. You hear voices when you are in a relaxed state … sometimes they speak softly to you and you can barely make out the words, sometimes they yell so loudly that you are startled out of your sleep, and other times they speak in languages you’ve never even heard before. You basically lose control of your life and are on automatic pilot. Everything around you seems so surreal and you start experiencing things you never thought possible. Some of them amazing, most of them so frightening you just want to curl up and die.

The best part is just when things are starting to look up again, they get worse… and you sink lower than you did the last time. You get to the point where dying would just be a great relief, but like most people you just don’t have the power or will to do the job yourself. Every night you lay down and beg for death, but it never comes and you wake up the next morning feeling worse than the day before. Then one day you do face your death. You see it and feel it in every minute little detail.

Once you know death, the universe seems a lot different. You have a new understanding about the way things work, but you also realize that your life has changed forever. You can never be the person you were before or do the things you used to do. You’re in control of your life, but you’re not. You can make choices for yourself, but you can’t. Everything seems so big, yet it’s all so small. You’re here, but you’re not.

If you’re lucky enough to reach this point, you’ll be ready to start on your path to becoming a Jedi. And just because you’ve reached this point, it doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from here on out. For the rest of your life, you will have to make sacrifices and face loses in order to serve those around you. While you can still have your career and some even have families, your life is not yours. You now live in service to the Force and your community… This is the life of a Jedi…

Now I wonder… do you really want to BE a Jedi or do you merely wish to learn the ways of a Jedi and gather the knowledge that comes with it in order to become enlightened?

— Naya