Practicing Intentional Living

I continue to bike to work … occasionally, and I am continuing to look for daily adjustments that I can make to improve myself and to help others around me.

These changes do not need to be radical adjustments!! Rather, as Dana O’Driscoll mentions in her book Sacred Actions, you should look for small changes that you can sustain for long periods. Ideally, you should adopt changes you can make permanent habits. In my household, we are starting to consider our use of plastics and how we can reduce at least some of the plastic packaging that seems endemic.

For an example of something small, we love to feed the local birds, but wild bird seed comes in plastic bags that are not recyclable. Holding the intention of replacing the plastic bags, although not knowing how, we have been keeping our eyes open for solutions, assuming we would need to go to a specialty store in a nearby, large city. Much to our surprise, we found that the local farm supplier has wild bird food in bulk and will let us blend the mixes we want to haul away in our – reusable! – buckets. If we hadn’t had the intention/goal, we probably would never have noticed something that has been in front of us all of the time. As Qui-Gon Jinn said … “your focus determines your reality …. “

This week, if you want to deepen your living with intentionality, take a look at this article originally published in 2006 in the Jedi Temple forum: Living with Intention. Make sure that you not only do the reading but engage in some of the exercises at the end as well.

July: Philosophy & Living with Intention

Welcome to July!!

This month, the study theme is Philosophy. The practice focus is Living with Intention.

For me, these two are the core of taking the inspiration of Star Wars to living a “good life” in the sense of living in a principle-centered manner. In other words, to living as a Jedi Knight, when all of the myth and fictional gloss is removed.

Philosophy

There is no end to the reading you can do on the intersection of philosophy and Star Wars, but I commend to you two starting points: our growing collection of articles on philosophical topics and a collection of essays by modern philosophers relating to Star Wars: Decker, K. S. (2010). Star wars and philosophy: more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Some of the essays are available as PDFs, and I will link them for you as the month rolls by.

Living with Intention

I was pleasantly surprised to find articles and musings in the archives of the temple as I was investigating this idea. And I will gradually add them to our accessible collection.

In the meantime, I have made a small adjustment to my daily life that reminded me of how unfocused daily life can be …. and how to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones.

Biking to Work

With gasoline prices rising and the continued rising of temperatures due to climate change, I recently decided to bicycle to work whenever I can.

Now, understand that this is not a long distance … merely 1.5 miles. I should walk or bike this route every day, but as with most Americans, I have become complacent and rely on my car too much. On the other hand, two friends have been clipped or hit by careless drivers while biking recently … we do not know how to share the road in most areas of the United States, and our roadways are not designed – or maintained – to make bicycle commuting safe or easy. But having realized that this was one small change I could make, I decided to go for it.

The first thing that I noticed is that …. I notice many details that were previously hidden. Areas that I considered fairly flat, I now realize have rolling hills. Sections of roadway in the poorer sections of town are significantly more broken, dirty, and treeless than higher cost neighborhoods (where I live, mea culpa). I pay much more attention too to the direction and strength of the wind, because it can actually push me into traffic if I am not (ahem) paying attention.

I am also much more careful at intersections and while passing parked or stopped cars. Whereas a low-speed collision while I’m driving and listening to music would be annoying and mildly disruptive, the same collision between a bicycle and a car could be catastrophic. A new sense of risk sharpens the focus considerably!!!

Finally, ending on a high note here, I notice my body and appreciate it in new ways. I did become reacquainted with muscle groups that running and CrossFit somehow ignored. But after the muscle aches subsided, I noticed the wonderful, heightened sensations of the breeze, bird song, and smells of summer. I was amazed at how powerful and free … childlike really …. I felt when not surrounded in my metal (ok, mostly plastic ….) cocoon. I feel like I have woken up to a new world that is the old world without a coating of dust and grime.

So, if you cannot bike to work, and most of us cannot, I suggest to you to find something from your daily routine that you can shake up and change. See what you can do to change, and possibly enhance, your focus.