Archive for The Spirit

Book Update: PUBLISHED!

by Jetsi

Greetings!  It is with great enthusiasm that I am formally announcing that “The Project” as it has been known for the last seven years, has finally reached fruition.  A week ago I pressed the submit button and The Modern Jedi Knight is now available as an e-book in the Kindle format from Amazon.com.  The Kindle reader can be downloaded for all platforms, phones, and tablets for free from the appropriate app store or through Amazon itself.

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Published!

The book is available for $3.99 USD and is a real bargain for being the equivalent of a 249 page paperback book.  I initially offered the book at $9.99 based upon a few other books from traditional publishers, both in hardcover and e-book format.  One book I just read in the last few days echoes many of the thoughts and processes that I describe in my book, although the author did not use Star Wars as a central theme.  Luke Skywalker and the Hero’s Journey were mentioned a few times, though.  This book I just read is available for $14.93 in hardcover and $11.88 in e-book format so I felt my product was competitive.  A pricing  calculator that took data from similar books and previous sales, along with the input from a few initial readers, said my initial price was too high so I lowered it and am offering refunds on the price difference to those who were first to purchase the book.

Even though I followed all of the protocols while formatting the book I do notice that there are some issues with paragraph indention that I am going to need to work on.  Otherwise, I am very happy with how the book turned out.  It appears that I will be able to edit the book and add new content, such as illustrations, at a later date for no additional charge to the reader.

With the project now completed, I am ready to begin working on the website once again.  I will be working on adding content to the Modern Jedi  Knight YouTube channel as well as adding regular content regarding current affairs and the Jedi as I did before concentrating on writing the book full time.  There will be other symbiotic projects that will be worked on as well.

I want to thank everyone who has already purchased the book and also thank those who provided me with feedback and inspiration to complete what turned out to be a truly daunting task.  Writing a book is substantially more difficult than I imagined the process to be.  And I am crazy enough to have two more book ideas, albeit much smaller projects, in the works.  I must be crazy.

two-suns-tatooine-star-warsWishing all of the Jedi a happy Equinox today!

The book progress is continuing nicely.  I had some insights that are causing me to move some chapters around and move information from multiple chapters into a new one.  This has reduced the amount of new content that I have written but in the end it will be a first class product.  I am getting excited as we are approaching the final push to eBook publication and continuing to solicit traditional publishing sources for a printed product.

Earlier in September I received a free month of guided meditations from Headspace as a reward for consecutive days of meditation.  As part of my work on the book I have been using many different services and products to determine if I could recommend them in good conscience in the book.  I decided to give it away on Facebook in a random drawing contest.  I also posted notifications of the contest on our Twitter and Instagram feeds.
Headspace-Logo  I don’t know any details about the Twitter or Instagram success but I can imagine that few saw the information.  I do know that only eighteen people saw the Facebook post and that, out of those people, only one person commented on why they should win.  Needless to say, it wasn’t really a random winner.

11998985_10153174743755003_5170829773761076510_nWhy do I mention all of this?  Because Headspace just gave me another free month of guided meditations.  I will be posting another contest on the Facebook page tomorrow.  If you haven’t liked our Facebook page yet, get on over and do that now.  Don’t forget about our Twitter and Instagram accounts as well.  If whether you have already liked our Facebook page or are a new participant, be certain to Follow and click on the See First option to see all of our posts on Facebook at the top of your page.

Thanks for reading, good luck on the next contest, and I will be in touch with more updates next month.  May the Force be with you!

 

Memorial Day

by Jetsi

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States, a day where we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  These fallen soldiers were Jedi, whether they used, believed, or maybe were even unaware of what a Jedi was.  The majority of these who died for their country did so for just causes while some died in wars that did not need to be fought, but that is not the focus of this post.

The focus has to deal with flags and their effect on us as a species.  In a quote often attributed to Patton but actually from the movie of the same name, the character Patton said, “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.”  In this case flag and country are synonymous.  Why are we so willing to fight and kill over what makes us different?  Flags, lines on a map, religion,  political affiliation, and skin color are just a few examples of ridiculous things to fight and go to war over.  Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot does a good job of putting this into perspective.

So what is the solution?  One I believe in would be a flag for the planet Earth and the human race as a whole, one that would unite our species and help us realize we are all in this together.  There has been a recent proposal for this, as well as numerous real and fictional variants throughout history as well.

Would this work?  I don’t know but I would be willing to give it a try as a short term initial trial run.  But I feel that this would always act as a dividing line.  The minute we encounter an alien race our flag would indicate that they are not part of our group.  Where do you draw the line?  Our galaxy, galactic cluster, the entire universe, or maybe even different dimensions?  I hope you can see the folly in this.

There is no real direction to this thought train, it is simply a rambling investigation of our attachment to our identity.  This will be discussed further in the book when I discuss the Republic, my term for our collective in the universe.  What are your thoughts on this?  Am I a traitor to my country or a patriot for my species?  Or something in between?  Let me know in the comments.  And if this made you think a little please be sure to like and share it.

Greetings to all my fellow Jedi!  With a pot of Rootleaf Stew simmering on the stove top, I thought it appropriate to get a post in.  So, here is the March update!

First off, as you can see by the pictures attached, I had an opportunity to visit the Yoda Fountain.  If you are unfamiliar with the fountain below I have included an excerpt which I pulled from the 421st revision to the book, or was it the 501st or the 1,138th revision?  Needless to say, between all the adventures and additional revisions I am losing hope that the book will be completed in time for Celebration this year.  However, just past Celebration is Star Wars Day, so that is my new target.  If I get it done before then, I will consider that a big bonus.  I have made great progress towards completion in the last few weeks, plus I had some insightful inspiration occur to me while cooking my stew just a few minutes ago that I can’t wait to share with everyone.  Regardless, I have made what I consider to be the final revisions to the first 5 chapters (except for the new addition below) so I can now include them in proposals in an effort to get this book printed by a traditional publisher.

Now, to the Yoda Fountain.  This small excerpt is in a part of the book where I try to explain the following two questions.  Why Star Wars?  Why the Jedi?  I want to go through this at least one more time to possibly clean it up and revise it some more but I think this is pretty close to how it will appear in the book.  Enjoy!

But just in case all of those reasons were not enough to convince you of the need for heroes in general and specifically the Jedi, let me tell you a story about an experience I recently had.  It was just a short time ago in March of 2015 (it was on Pi day, to be exact) when I went on a pilgrimage to the Yoda Fountain.  For those that are unfamiliar, the Yoda Fountain is a 26 inch “life size” bronze statue of Yoda sitting atop a fountain in a small alcove at the entrance to Lucasfilm, which is located in the Presidio area of San Francisco and just a short distance from the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a beautiful day in the Bay Area, with high cirrus clouds to diffuse the intensity of the midday sun.  My journey to the fountain involved a hike of over seven miles from the light rail station at the Civic Center of San Francisco.  I enjoyed my stroll through the neighborhoods of the City by the Bay even though the trip to the Presidio seemed to be entirely uphill.

Shortly after entering the Presidio area I found the statue after a little searching and took the obligatory tourist photos and selfie, but instead of the other tourists who came and quickly left, I stayed in the small courtyard for a little more than an hour.  While I was there I must have seen at least 100 people stop by and visit their favorite Dagobah resident.  They were ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fans of all ages, ranging from a few months of age to some octogenarians.  They were of all ethnicities and races, and I personally heard Russian, French, German, and the Queen’s English being spoken.  And out of all of these diverse groups of people, all of them, without exception, began to smile when they rounded the corner and caught their first glimpse of Yoda standing atop his burbling fountain.  Their happiness was a palpable vibe that was joyous and overpowering, and you didn’t need to be a Jedi to feel and experience it.  People feel happy and secure and like they are a part of an order when they are around Yoda.  That is why we are drawn to the Jedi.

The recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have caused much public outrage and raised many questions.  I received this message from James last week:

Hey, I’m a college student and big fan of your blog. I hope things are coming together well for your book. I do miss your daily posts, especially the ones concerning recent events in the world. Right now in the news media the Brown and Garner cases are huge topics that are fueling a lot of debates concerning larger issues. With all of these different opinions and sides I find myself lost and uncertain. I was wondering what would a Jedi knight do in this situation? What stance would he take in this debate?

I gave James a quick answer, one that I could type out on my phone.  But I realized that I have had this discussion with my children as well and thought that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.  So I am going to expand upon my answer to James.

First off, these two deaths were completely avoidable.  Had both of these men complied with the police officer’s requests, they would have been arrested and had their day in court.  But they didn’t comply.  They both resisted arrest.  And in doing so the responding police officers did what they had been trained to do, they attempted to restrain these men and take them into custody.  Had I been in Brown’s or Garner’s shoes, I would have complied with the police officer’s demands and the incident wouldn’t have even been a blurb or a sound bite on the evening news.

Following these two unfortunate incidents, grand juries were formed to determine if any charges should be made against the officers.  In both cases, the officers were not charged with any criminal acts.  This caused outrage in the community, but the outrage is based upon a trial by media and not all of the facts.  Many years ago the police were very much a family that would try to protect one of their own.  But recently this has not been the case.  If you don’t believe me, ask a police officer in Internal Affairs how popular they are among their peers.  If Internal Affairs and an impartial grand jury didn’t find enough cause to take these officers to trial for their actions then I accept their decision.

That is my take on these two situations.  But before you crucify me, hear me out.  My take is based upon who I am.  I am a white male, a man who carries a badge and who is the son of a police officer as well.  I am not a black male.  I am not a member of a group that is treated so very differently than I am.  So I can understand how their actions, born of distrust and fear, would be very different than mine.  Remember this quote from Obi-Wan:

Luke, you are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

My point of view is that the police are there to serve and to protect.  My point of view is that the police as an entity are a safe and secure group.  My point of view of the police is different than the point of view of other people.  And this isn’t just a difference between white and black.  It crosses gender, race, social, and economic lines.

Opinions and points of view are also being shaped and, dare I say, manipulated by local, national, and social media.  The news is being written and delivered in a way that attempts to polarize the community with anger and hatred and incite further protests and violence.  Instead of trying to heal this wound, relieve tension, and mend the community, it either causes cries of “police brutality” or “inner-city criminal”.  Social media does no better.  I see posts and pictures that are supposed to be funny, or to show the irony or hypocrisy of the actions of both sides.  But even if they do make you laugh, chuckle, or smile, those pictures are unconsciously trying to deepen and widen the divide that exists between both sides of this issue.

So, what is a Jedi to do?  What stance would a Jedi take in this debate?  In this situation your role as a Jedi is to act as a healer, mediator, and arbitrator, helping both sides come together.  How does one do this?  Keep reading.

First, you need to search your own feelings and be honest with yourself.  Are you choosing a side?  Don’t misunderstand me, the police need to be held to a higher standard because they are there to protect us.  They are to be Jedi themselves, whether they like Star Wars or not.  But a badge and a gun doesn’t give them the right to invade and violate your own rights.  If you do find yourself choosing one side or leaning to one side, spend some time meditating to try and understand the thoughts, views, opinions, and feelings of the other side.  By fostering this sense of empathy it will allow you to connect to both sides with compassion and help them meet in the middle.

Next, when given the opportunity try to act as as a mediator.  If a family member, friend, coworker, or a crowd on the street expresses an opinion that is indicative of a highly polarized view in either of these cases, try to understand where they are coming from and then help them release their anger by showing them that their own point of view, while not wrong, is clouding their judgement.  Talk to them, listen to them, let them know that you understand their point of view.  But then try to help them understand the opposing point of view.  You wil find that the majority of their issues are rooted in fear, and the same goes for the opposing viewoint as well.   Police officers are not killers intent on genocide and all people not of your race are not criminals and thugs.  Yes, there are bad cops and there are criminals, but we can’t stereotype and assume that all people of a certain group are.  There can be no trust when there is fear involved.  Instead, reach out and be a bridge between both sides.   When one can see both sides they can then meet in the middle.

Many will not listen to you, desperately clinging with attachment to their anger and hatred, but you will make an impression on a few.  Remember these words by Mother Teresa:

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Your empathy and compassion will open the hearts of others.  They will begin to understand interdepence, the understanding that there is a symbiosis and interaction between all people and events, and that what one does to another is the same as doing it to onself.  This will remove the fear, anger, and hatred, and replace it with love, trust, and understanding.  And then they too will act as you did, and an awakening will slowly happen across this country and eventually to the whole world.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

That is what I feel a Jedi would do.

I would like to thank Jamie for the question, and I would like to thank you for reading through this post.  I hope it inspires you to go out and make a difference.  Share your message and get the word out.  May the Force be with you!

Book Update for April 2014

by Jetsi

“…Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  -Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker

Remember this quote when I give the following update:  I have not done any writing in April and will not write until after May 8th.

Is this good news?  Is this bad news?  Or is it just news?  Is it even news?

On April 4th I learned that my promotion at work was finally becoming a reality.  I started training that day for that promotion and began my actual classroom training on April 17th.  There simply has been no time to write between 8 hours of classroom instruction or work and then studying in the vast majority of my free time.

Why would this be bad?  Because I am not writing the book that I know so many of you are looking forward to.

Why could this be good?  This job promotion will allow me the financial opportunity to work on other aspects of this website and give me publishing options that I didn’t have before.  It will also give me many training options and opportunities that I can discuss here on this blog.  Also. once my training is complete I should then go from having no free time to having an ample amount of time to write.

With these changes I anticipate the book being ready by late summer or early fall if I will be self-publishing.  I will still be looking at other alternatives as well so that may cause some delay but it is too early to tell.

Lastly, I will be training on Star Wars Day.  I am not very happy about it as I had planned a Star Wars marathon by watching the movies in order while enjoying some of Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew and some blue milk.  I still will be making the stew for dinner and I recommend that you do the same but I will not have the luxury of watching that many hours of Star Wars.  There is always next year.

Thanks for reading.  I will give another update next month.

Book update for January 2014

by Jetsi

I must admit that last year I had been somewhat of a lazy Jedi.  No blog posts, only some intermittent writing, but plenty of excuses.  I had started to succumb to the dark side of laziness and sloth.  But that has indeed changed.

It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, it is something that had started back in early December.  Part of it is increased self-discipline.  Part of it is technological changes that allow me to write in many more locations and without having the need for internet access.  Part of it is a change in thought processes, knowing that I don’t need “an uninterrupted hour to write”, I can chip away at it one sentence at a time.

There are going to be many changes coming in my life in the next few months that are going to make things very hectic for a while. I realized that if I don’t get this book done soon, that if I wait for the perfect opportunity to come along, that I am not going to follow through and finish this project at any point in the near future. And that would be bad for both you and me. Bad for you because, while I don’t think I have all of the answers, I believe that if you read this book you will improve your life in some way, whether you want to be a Jedi or not. Bad for me because this book is forcing me to thoroughly examine my thoughts and beliefs and without it I would have made no spiritual progress in the last six years.

So, where are we at? The first four chapters are complete and now I am tackling what I truly believe to be the “meat and potatoes” of the book. Chapter 5, The Jedi Mind, is the largest chapter in the book and contains a ton of information and it is almost completed. The remaining five chapters will be much easier to write as I already have much of the outline for these chapters laid out and the associated data ready to insert. Once writing is complete I will work on the illustrations, a task that should only add a few weeks to the publishing date.

In regards to publishing I am planning on releasing the book as an e-book through Amazon and will work on getting it published in a traditional format after that. If I can’t get a publisher to be interested I will be self-publishing a limited number of books for those who are interested.

I want to thank everyone for their continued patience. The book will be worth the wait but I will be the first to admit that you should have already had the finished product in your hands and have read it by now. You will have it soon, I promise.

And just in case you want to watch the entire Lazy Jedi video, here it is for your enjoyment.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1NIlWCj–Vg

This is a play on the quote by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;

I think too many people are more concerned with the title of Jedi than by actually being a Jedi.  They seem to be more concerned with what the martial arts training and the lightsaber than the self-reflective and compassionate diplomat that are the hallmark of a true Jedi.

Instead of the Jedi we could be training as the medieval knight, the samurai, the ninja, or the Shaolin monk.  No matter what path you choose, however, you still end up at the same destination.  All paths up the mountain end at the summit.

Don’t get too wrapped up in calling yourself a Jedi.  That is an ironic statement to come from a website aiming to train you as a Modern Jedi Knight.  But the true paradox is that as you advance in your training as a Jedi you will associate it as “Jedi Training” less and less.  It really is training in being a good human and humanitarian.

Resilience

by Jetsi

Every Jedi will stumble and fall at least once in their lifetime.  We have plenty of examples of the movie Jedi, such as Anakin’s fall to the Dark side, Luke’s failure at the cave in The Empire Strikes Back and his attacks on Darth Vader and the Emperor aboard the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

Never give up!

The stumbles can be internal, external, or both.  But the cause is the same, which is the ego getting in the way of channeling the Force through mindfulness.  Fear, anger, hatred, revenge, or physical hostility all come from the same location, the ego.

So what is the solution?  Continue to meditate and get used to being mindful so you can carry it over into your everyday activities.  When eating, eat.  When walking, walk.  Don’t cloud the Force with memories of the past or thoughts about the future.

Every Jedi will stumble and fall at least once in their lifetime.  The difference between the Jedi and the Sith?  The Sith remain fallen while the Jedi pick themselves back up.

Should a Jedi be Vegan?

by Jetsi

A few weeks ago I did a review about The Book of Jedi by Dogen Elohim Altieri, and in this review he mentioned that Jedi should be Vegan/Vegetarian.  With a daughter who has recently decided to go Vegetarian on moral principles I thought I should look into this a little more.

Most Jedi who follow a Vegan (from this point on Vegan will refer to all forms of Vegetarians, including octo-lacto, etc.) diet do so because of the Jedi Code as re-written by Luke Skywalker that says that Jedi respct all life, in any form.  Vegans and I will agree that commercial food lots that hold their livestock in small pens and feed them an alien diet full of drugs are very disrepectful of animals.  However, people have spoken with their wallets and livestock raised humanely in large open fields and fed a native diet are now available in grocery stores at a small premium to conventionally raised meat.

So if the animals are being treated with respect while alive and throughout the butchering process I ask the question, is eating an animal a form of disrespect?  I say no.  It is a biological fact that the human body is designed to be fueled by animal products and my point is that it runs optimally on a diet that imitates the diet of the human race prior to the advent of the agricultural revolution (discussed here and here as the paleo/caveman/evolutionary/primal diet).  Like the story of the frog and the scorpion, it is in our nature to eat other animals so there is no disrespect in doing what we are designed to do.

So, what can we do as Jedi to respect the life of all of our food (remember, plants are alive as well!)?  The first thing you can do is buy the right food.  Buy organic and free range.  Buy your beef and bison grass-fed and finished.  Let your chicken not eat Vegan and live on a diet of bugs and larvae like they are meant to.

The second thing we can do is recognize the sacrifice the animal (or plant) has given to become our food.  Say grace if you are so inclined, or do like the Japanese do and say “Itadakimasu” (literally means “I will receive” but said in thanks prior to eating) or something equivalent.  Give thanks again when your meal is complete, to what you just consumed and to whoever created the meal for you (yes, you can thank yourself!).

The third thing we can do is be mindful while we eat.  Pay attention to the food as you put it into your mouth, truly taste it as you chew it and swallow it.  Do not sit in front of the TV, or the computer, or the iPad, or be on the phone while you eat.   Be here and now and enjoy.

You can still be a Vegan Jedi if you so desire.  Just be certain to do it smartly and get all of the nutritional components that you need.  However, don’t feel pressured to do so to live up to the Jedi Code.

Are you a Vegan Jedi now, thinking about it, or were you one in the past?  Let me know what you think!