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.

Continuing Formation as a Jedi Knight

I am finally coming back around to an idea that was shared by an anonymous Jedi during the 2022 Virtual Life Reflection Day on January 1st: of having a regular cycle of focused study, reflection, and renewal of practice. As he noted in the presentation, this idea exists as part of continuing spiritual development in mainstream religions, such as the common Protestant Christian liturgical calendar that is used to define a three-year cycle of readings and an annual cycle of celebrations and rituals.

While this site is a Jedi Realism (vs. Jediism) site, the idea of continuing spiritual formation is appealing … especially since we have not, as a loose community, figured out what life after elevation to knighthood should entail.

I am also putting out this idea … I can’t even call it a draft … for those of us who have returned to the Jedi community recently. As a loose community, we could pick a topic per month on which to focus, picking up what we remember, polishing off skills, growing a bit, and sharing what we know with the next generation.

This list is a loose collection, conveniently 12 in number. I do propose that we think about behavior change theory and practice in January, since that is the traditional time for “New Years Resolutions” in many cultures. But for the rest, I am wide open as to what month could be their focus period. Or if there are others that we might propose instead.

  • January – Behavior Change Theory and Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Capability
  • Meditation
  • Conflict Management
  • Service
  • Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Spiritual Formation
  • First Aid and Emergency Management
  • Teaching and Learning Theory and Practice
  • Collective Action and Forming Community

Place ideas in the comments or find me at one of the many Jedi sites …..

Bibliography

“Building a Real Jedi” by Outback Jedi, presented as part of the 2022 Virtual Life Reflection Day available at the Jedi’s Lighthouse YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/WGHqr_a5dtw

Welcome Back

With the new TV series just released, many Jedi groups are gearing up for new students and returning Jedi. If you are a new student, this post is not for you, but I hope to have something to say for you in a day or two.

For those who are returning after an absence, long or short, I want to welcome you back to the community. I hope you find a niche somewhere among the many sites and schools. While you are getting re-oriented, I have a couple of observations that I hope will be helpful.

Jediism vs. Jedi Realists

The division still exists between those groups that primarily think of Jedi as a religion and those who regard it as a philosophy, path, or vocation. The Temple of the Jedi Order, for instance is a Jediism site, while the Force Academy seems to put itself under the Jedi Realist umbrella. Some, I admit, are a little harder to categorize.

Starting Over

Unless you have some connections, you will be expected to start over as a novice (or whatever the lowest rank may be) with most organizations. At some sites, this is not a major source of irritation, but others have become even more enamored of titles and color coding than those of us who were hounded and harassed because we used the titles from the movies in the early 2000’s.

To the best of my knowledge, no one is offering any sort of re-certification, orientation, or refresher course. I will continue to look while I also start to craft my own over the summer.

Drama

I am sorry to say that most groups have members who are just as quick as ever to take the worst interpretation of a comment and run with it. Now that we have not only discussion forums, Facebook messenger, Discord, Zoom, and Force only knows what else ….. the problem is of greater magnitude.

Insularity

Which brings me to an old problem. Most groups are still operating in isolation with little sharing between them. There is some attempt on Discord to form coalitions, and I hear rumors of cross-organizational meetings of leaders. There is a newsletter that was recently published. But finding a way to learn about groups and get to know anyone has been frustratingly difficult.

A Curriculum for Returning Knights?

In the end, those of us who have been knighted but are now homeless may have to find our own way to refresh our skills and get re-oriented. I’m working on this for myself, and if you want to join me, stop by this discussion forum or drop me a line.