Archive for Mind

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.

Time flies so fast . . . .

Whoops!  Where did the time go?

I was under the impression that my new schedule was going to give me some extra time to do some writing.  As for September, I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  Work was extremely hectic and fast paced.  The first part of October wasn’t much better as I not only worked a hectic schedule but also had to deal a sick wife, sick Younglings, and do some extra studying outside of work.

But now things are settling in and . . . . . . . . .

FINALLY!

So, enough of the excuses.  On to what the Jedi really want to know.

I have made a few more technology changes that will facilitate writing the book even more.  I have embraced the cloud and given myself numerous options as to what platform and which computer I can now write on.  I find this extremely exciting!

So what does that mean?  Even with my frantic schedule I did compose the outline for the final and as-of-yet unwritten chapters.  I then went in and did a very dirty rough-rough-rough draft.  The data in the final chapters is more notes and thoughts, but from these fragments the chapters will spring forth.

Thanks for checking in on this update, and may the Force be with you!

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.

One of our readers had posted a link to a Jedi training manual on our Facebook page a while back and I finally got around to reading it in its completion.  The Book of Jedi by Dogen Elohim Altieri is available as a free download, you can get it by clicking here.

So, what are my thoughts?  When I first started reading The Book of Jedi I was uninspired.  The content was just short little quips and quotes and I didn’t feel like I was learning anything from it that I didn’t already know .  At 78 pages in length I was worried that I would quickly finish the book and emerge none the wiser.

However, somewhere about half-way through the book the content definitely changed.  The PDF book actually started providing instruction, giving direction on real ways to harness the power of the Force instead of giving short, cryptic movie quotes.  The lessons are insightful and will definitely help you in your journey while the appendix takes up too much of the book to be an appendix, instead it should be its own chapter.

My final thoughts?  The book is available as a free download so you are only out an hour of your time to read it.  Even if it was horrible your investment wouldn’t be too large.  But I think you will get something out of reading the book.  The book offers unique insights into Jedi training and I believe you will emerge from your reading a better Jedi.  Go to the website and give it a download.

Have you already read The Book of Jedi?  What did you think?

Image courtesy of zenhabits.net

Mindfulness.  This is something that I have been saying over and over again.  It is a very integral part of being a Jedi, especially in this frenzied time.  I ran across another post over at   Zenhabits.net and instead of writing the same thing he does I thought I would just share it with you and let you take a look at it.

More words of wisdom

by Jetsi

Image courtesy of Michael Jaco

I just finished reading The Intuitive Warrior by Michael Jaco, a book about the experiences of a Navy SEAL and how he has learned to harness the capability to perform acts that many claim are impossible.  I found the book to be an interesting read, one that had me pause and reflect on what he had written on numerous occasions.  It is also a book that any Modern Jedi Knight could learn something from as his beliefs are very similar to ours.

The Intuitive Warrior chronicles the journey of Michael Jaco from his youth to entering the United States Navy as a diver, going through SEAL training, and then serving on SEAL teams and as a SEAL instructor before leaving the service and working as a security contractor in the Middle East.  For those that aren’t familiar with the Navy SEALs, the Navy’s Special Operations unit that arguably goes through the toughest training out of any military unit on the planet, you will truly appreciate them and their service by the end of the book.

Mr. Jaco goes into detail in the book about many experiences he has had through his life where he was able to save himself and the members of his unit through his developed sense of intuition.  This sense of intuition is what us Modern Jedi Knights would refer to as the Force speaking to us.  Regardless of what we call it, this intuitive sense is something that I have discussed many times on this website (click here and here and here and here and here and here, for example) and the information and evidence he provides is invaluable.  Later in the book, however, he starts to look at other things in the world from a different perspective and brings up some interesting thoughts on ancient but advanced civilizations like the Mayans and their calendar, purported myths like the Lost City of Atlantis, reincarnation and past lives, and additional extra-sensory abilities such as telepathy.

To be honest, the latter portion of the book made me a little uncomfortable.  I read the book with an open mind and paused many times to contemplate what Mr. Jaco had to say about many things and to process the information in my own way.  Mr. Jaco does provide very compelling arguments that do make you think.  The Modern Jedi Knight project has never been about developing the Force powers like we know of from the movies, shows, books, and video games.  It has been about learning real-world techniques and practices that protect us and the members of the human race from the predators who prey upon the weak.  The Modern Jedi Knight project is learning how to be healthy, happy, powerful, and enlightened.  I have had my experiences of intuition, synchronicity, and the feeling of the energy we refer to as the Force.  With no direct experience to the other capabilities and concepts Mr. Jaco talks about and knowing the history of those who have claimed the same and later been proved as charlatans and scam artists I do remain skeptical.

However, with that being said, I am reminded of the wise words of Yoda.  “You must unlearn what you have learned” comes to mind quite easily.  I also think of Yoda’s admonishment to Luke’s “I can’t believe it.” when he says, “That is why you fail.”

With all that being said, my overall review is a positive one.  If you are interested in the Force, developing yourself, and being of service to others (which you are because you are already reading this) then The Intuitive Warrior is definitely a book you should read.  The book doesn’t really teach you how to develop this intuitive sense in a classical sense but talks about it more as a recounting of experiences by the author.  However, when you pair that information from book with the training provided by the Modern Jedi Knight project it becomes a very valuable source of knowledge.  You can buy the book from the author or you can get an e-book version of it from Amazon.

Have you already read this book?  What were your thoughts?  Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and we will chat more on Monday.

Shmi the Jedi?

by Jetsi

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

One of the reasons that Jedi weren’t supposed to get married, besides the problems with attachment that Anakin exhibited with Padme, is because it was felt that it would prevent a Force using family lineage from being created.  Remember when Darth Vader tried to get Luke to join him so they could rule the galaxy “as father and son”?

Remember this scene from The Phantom Menace?

QUI-GON : The Force is unusally strong with him, that much is clear. Who was his father?
SHMI : There was no father, that I know of…I carried him, I gave him birth…I can’t explain what happened. Can you help him?
QUI-GON : I’m afraid not. Had he been born in the Republic, we would have identified him early, and he would have become Jedi, no doubt…he has the way. But it’s too late for him now, he’s too old.

Would the Force pick some random lady from the galaxy to give birth to The Chosen One?  I don’t believe so, I believe that Shmi was a very powerful Force user in her own right.  Had she been born in the Republic would she have become a Jedi?  If she had, would Anakin still have  been the virgin birth with Shmi as his mother?

Regardless of those hypothetical questions, Shmi was indeed a very wise woman.  I believe she was powerful in the Force, even if she didn’t know how to channel it properly.  She would have been more like a Jedi Consular, one who spent their time getting more in touch with the Force and philosophizing than battling on the front lines with a lightsaber.  Even without formal training, though, the Force channeled itself through her and gave her knowledge that a normal slave simply would not know of.

Impermanence

by Jetsi

Courtesy of wookieepedia

Yesterday we began talking about the concepts that were contained within The Phantom Menace that are important to the Jedi.  We have already talked about attachment and I asked the question with the gist being, “How do you remove attachment?”  The first step to removing attachment is to understand impermanence.

Yesterday we used this scene from The Phantom Menace and it applies to today’s topic as well:

SHMI :  Son, my place is here.  My future is here.  It is time for you to let
go…to let go of me.  I cannot go with you.
ANAKIN :  I want to stay with you.  I don’t want things to change.
SHMI :  You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from
setting.  Listen to your feelings; Annie, you know what’s right.

Shmi certainly understands impermanence.  It is the concept that things are always changing, dynamic, the whole circle of life and death.  Attachment is the clinging to a person, an object, a situation, a concept, your own ego or body, without understanding that it will not always be there.  Understanding impermanence frees you from attachment.

Some may find the concept of impermanence morbid as you start to think about death.  There are meditations on a corpse where you envision your own body as it decays from death until it is fully returned to the soil from which it arose.  You will hear some people refer to others already being dead, or that the warrior’s purpose is death.  While it may seem ghastly when you fully understand impermanence it is far from that.  This is when you truly celebrate life as you live it in the moment, being mindful of all the experiences put before you.  You truly treasure the time spent with a person because you already understand that they (or you) will not be around forever.  You may even think back to all of the circumstances and decisions that had to occur for you and that other person to be in the same place at the same time for your first meeting, and when you do it gets quite mind boggling.

Had Anakin truly understood impermanence he wouldn’t have struggled during his years training as a Jedi.  He wouldn’t have returned to Tatooine to slaughter the Sandpeople for kidnapping and killing his mother.  He wouldn’t have listened to the dark ways of Chancellor Palpatine as he started leading him down the path of the Dark side in an attempt to save the life of Padme.  Things would have been quite different, indeed.

Meditate upon this.  Do the meditation on a corpse, imagine a loved one of yours has passed while also remembering There is no death, there is the Force, think about what you would do it your house was burglarized like mine was.  Take note of your feelings, analyze them, and see how close you are to truly understanding impermanence.  If you aren’t there yet, these tasks will start you on your way.