Archive for July, 2014

Creed 101: Exercise Three

Posted: July 15, 2014 in IJRS Courses

Exercise #3
“There is no passion ; there is serenity”

In your journal, make a list of 3 to 5 most important people, projects or objects in your life. What is it that you feel passionate about? These would be anyone or anything that comes first to mind when making decisions.

 

 

1. Tasmara
— As a partner, lover, I am in love with her, I am passionate about her, and would do anything for her. To me she is something of a challenge as she is always throwing obstacles at me, things in which I must overcome. She works with me towards obtaining the other things that I am truly passionate about. We have spoken about getting a house together, starting a family together, and she has even been paying my school loan while I have been overseas. I would say that at times I have been blinded by her…but as I grew older I started to notice that the choices I made were my own to control and that she had little to no influence over what I did.

 

 

2. My goals (career, home, a family)
— I always have goals, I am always setting short-term goals and always have a list of long-term goals. The long-term goals are generally what I am most passionate about as they take the most work and in the end, they hold the greatest reward (in my opinion). When moving to Germany, I crossed one long-term goal off my list which was to travel to a new Country, and now I am trying to focus next on my career. I would not say that these goals blind me to anything as they take so many things in order to obtain that I am constantly open to new and different things. Nothing gets sacrifiec by my working towards these goals and being passionate about them. The only harm they ever did was perhaps arguing with Taz because I might have made her feel a bit pressured in the past about settling down. But, all of that was resolved rather quickly.

 

 

3. My Path
—My Path is something that am passionate about because it defines me, it has been trail after trial, molding me into the person I am today. From a Padawan to a Darth in the Dark Side, this path has taken me many places. Have I ever been blinded? No. Does it distract me from other things? It does at times, but I would not call it blinded. Obviously my Jedi studies often suffer because I am more passionate about the things I have been working on within the Dark aspect of things. My Path includes the birth of my own Temple which does take away from my time spent at the Institute, same as my relationship takes me away from IJRS as well because I would never want to sit behind a computer when my girlfriend is over. Still…to say that I am blinded by the things that are helping me learn and grow, I think that is the wrong way to put it. While my studies at IJRS go neglected, it’s not at all something that has affected me in any negative way. I do these things at my leisure because I want to. I am not chained down to my laptop and feel I should never be forced to work on something when I do not feel up to it, especially something that is not a hueg part of my being.

 

 

4. My Happiness
—Happiness blinds many people. They will do anything to feel happy…and sometimes this heads down a destructive path with things such as alcohol and drugs. I will say that I am blinded by wanting to be happy, and will often do stupid things because of it. Video-games make me happy, and I will often sacrifice needed sleep just to stay up and play. YouTube makes me happy, and again, I sacrifice sleep and time I could be spending elsewhere watching YouTube rather than being productive. I have skipped work just to travel, I have bailed on a diet because ice-cream makes me happy. Silly things like that. I will do anything to have my happiness…and it can be destructive. Happiness can also be confused for obsession at times, and this too can cause a problem and blind people as well. I have some examples from the past, but, they are over and done with for over 5 years, and its best not to dig those up again. For now though, my want to make myself happy at all times only has minor negative effects and nothing that could not be controlled if I actually put the effort into it.

 

 

5. Empowerment
—Empowerment…accomplishment, that feeling of doing something and being stronger because of it. This is something I am passionate about. But, I don’t see it as a bad thing. Wanting to go out and learn new things, pick up new skills, take on a challenge and overcome it. Nothing gets left behind because of this, nothing gets shadowed over and forgotten…this helps me grow, this opens me up to new possibilities. This may one day help lead me to career, gives me more time with Taz, could be something I could teach my children, and it makes me happy. It’s like a burrito filled with all other things that I am passionate about and it helps me to better develop and define ‘me’.

 

 

Passion…can be described in numerous ways, and this idea that passion is blinding and bad is outdated to me. This fear that passion will turn someone to the Dark Side almost seems silly, and, while I agree that there should be serenity (while someone should always be at peace with themselves and aware at all time), there is a way to have serenity but still be passionate about something. Especially when it comes to love.
You can love someone but not be blinded by that love. Taz thinks my involvement with The Force is stupid and a waste of time, but that does not keep me from following this path. She may not like all the people that I talk to, but I do not stop talking to them. I do not give up my hopes and dreams of the future for her, and she does not define me and never will.

 

 

“Love doesn’t lead to the dark side. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled… but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love… that’s what they should teach you to beware. But love itself will save you… not condemn you.”
―Jolee Bindo, to Revan

 

 

This code continues to state that there should not be one option, there should only be the other option…but to me, there should be an equal balance. Life is not without its experiences, and again I will say that to completely eradicate that one thing is to completely deny someone what it is like to be human. You are cheapening the life experience by taking away what is meant to be there as a challenge and stepping stone. This is not doing anyone a favor, this will only make them weak.

 

 

“If you seek to aid everyone that suffers in the galaxy, you will only weaken yourself… and weaken them. It is the internal struggles, when fought and won on their own, that yield the strongest rewards. You stole that struggle from them, cheapened it. If you care for others, then dispense with pity and sacrifice and recognize the value in letting them fight their own battles. And when they triumph, they will be even stronger for the victory.”
―Kreia to Meetra Surik

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Creed 101: Exercise Two

Posted: July 15, 2014 in IJRS Courses

Exercise #2
“There is no ignorance; there is knowledge”

Over the next few days (as the Force moves you) pay close attention to when you or someone else asks you something and you do not know the answer. At that moment, tell yourself ‘There is no ignorance,there is knowledge.’
Then, if you can, consider taking some time and learning the answers. I suggest doing this a few times maybe 3 or 4 if you can. Again, it is up to your discretion. This exercise is an excellent example of how you can help yourself continue to grow in knowledge and with the Force.
If no one gives you an opportunity here are some examples:
How do you say ‘Hello’ in India, Egypt, New Zealand and Hawaii?
What do you do in a case of a choking pet?
Be sure to record your results in your journal.

 

 

If there is anything that I can connect to when it comes to the Jedi Code, it is this passage right here: “There is no ignorance; there is knowledge”. I am the type that never likes to be kept in the dark about things. While I understand that life has moments where things are meant to just ‘play out’ without an attempt to control the outcome, I also know that most of life and living requires action…and in order to have said-action or do said-action that takes knowledge. One of the ways in which and why we seek knowledge is via questions (whether asked by others or asked of ourselves).

 

After reading this passage, I was soon asked a question I did not know. My roommate (who is German) inquired on when I would be returning to the United States. At the time of his asking, I did not have an answer for him, I could not give him a firm answer because it depended on so many things. So, after explaining to him that I did not have an answer right away, I went back to my room and meditated on where my life was going, repeating this part of the stanza over and over again, until at last, I had to go to bed.

 

Sure enough, things started to unfold nicely over the next couple of weeks. My partner passed her weight-test so that she could stay in the Army. She was taken off the list for the move which would have otherwise kept her in German for the next couple of years. We found out that her new move date back to the US was in November and that she would now be sent to Oklahoma.
But, that still did not answer all of my questions. Sure this assured that I could at least go home by November if I wanted to go back to Indiana…but, if I wanted to be closer to my love, what then? While it was not a question asked by someone else, I figured I would put it here because this is what this passage is supposed to be about. The only reason I have been able to follow my partner is because I work for Amazon.com and it allows me to travel all over the world from warehouse to warehouse. Well, there is no facility in Oklahoma for me to transfer to…which made me look at a map of the USA to determine what my options would be.

 

In the end I was left with: Dallas, Texas or Coffeyville, Kansas — both would place me about 4 hours away from my partner. The next step was then asking what facilities might take me come November. I had to ask how to contact their HR department, then I had to explain my reasons for moving and the dates I wanted to go. I got rejected by all but 2 of the 4 facilities I applied for which then put into motion my internal transfer. While it was a lot of work, at last I got my answer which was my coming back to the good ‘ole USA in the middle of October at the earliest.
Still, I do not often get asked many questions that I have to look for an answer. Most of the time they are things I can give an answer to right away, like my opinion on a video game, questions about myself, or even questions about my Path and the courses I will be writing for a future temple-project. When I am asked a question that I do not know, then I am usually close enough to my laptop so that I can look up the answer straight away.

 

But, as far as me being the person to ask the question, that is a different matter. For me, knowledge is power and vice-versa. To not know something is a weakness (in my opinion). So, the minute a question enters my brain, I am compelled to find that answer else it gets in the way of sleep and sometimes even clouds my focus on other things. I am always asking questions because I always want to ‘know’. Whether the subject benefits me in any way or not, I would rather know than to someday run into a situation wishing I had that knowledge (and/or had learned in beforehand). I know it supposed to be a rather short-deal…so sorry for the spiel.

Disappointment I

Posted: July 15, 2014 in Ranting/Venting

Disappointment:
Here recently with the project which is my own Temple, I decided that I really needed to work on the fictional aspect of The Force in order to truly understand it as a whole. How could I claim mastery over something when I cannot even begin to discuss its origins and/or the people which helped shape how it is used in terms of both good and evil (light and dark)?
Still, the more I read about force-sensitives, the more I start to realize that there are some things that never change from fiction into reality. This is not always a good thing. Obviously with human limitation we cannot use The Force like those in the Star Wars universe. We do not wield real lightsabers, nor do we ship off to another planet to do our training. I don’t think the Jedi in fiction drove to any outlet every two days for a yoga session…
Also, we cannot shoot lightning from our fingers, force choke anyone, or use any of the other techniques that The Force enables Jedi and Sith to use in fiction. For us, it is merely a spiritual-thing…we follow the codes and creeds as best we can and apply them to what we can in this life, on this planet. But, the one thing that gets me, the one thing that really bothers me is how we can study the things that happened in fiction, we can change the mistakes made by others…and yet we do not.
I have been reading about many of the Darth’s lately, and there were some names that were given to me of people within the Dark Side who had a sense of ‘balance’, and who were not necessarily power hungry or evil, they merely existed and used the Dark-Side as a means of success in other parts of their life. But…there were two people that really stuck out (while Vectivus and Bane stuck out as well, they were pretty plain compared to the other two): Darth Traya, and Darth Revan.

Lets start off with Revan…
He was a Jedi Knight who saw that there was a war happening, and he wanted to get involved so that he could end the war and stop the bloodshed. But, every time he tried to get the Council involved, they turned down his idea, basically telling him that this was none of their business. They were supposed to be the defenders of the galaxy, defenders of the innocent, and yet they would not dirty their hands with war even when the enemy was right at their doorstep, killing innocents, and wreaking havoc. To this, Revan finally weaseled his way into the war, and through it, he found out that a Sith Emperor was behind the whole thing, and reported it back to the Council.
Again, the Council shook him off, they would not believe him, and so, he took it upon himself to investigate this matter. Eventually he took to the Dark Side due to his overconfidence in thinking himself and his pal Malak could defeat said-Emperor and they were overcome by his will. Had the Council only listened and not sat around twiddling their thumbs, Revan would have never left in the first place…but instead, he located the Star Forge, started his own Empire, and it was only due to Darth Malak’s greed that Revan almost died and came back to the Council, because otherwise…he would not have been able to be stopped.
Later on, after Revan came back to the side of the Jedi, he was married, and even with the title of Prodigal Knight and the Cross of Glory, he tried to show the Council how allowing relationships within their practices would make things better…make people stronger and keep them away from the Dark Side through such bonds (it is how he saved his wife Shan when she turned to the Dark Side)…but again, they would not listen, they scolded him and turned the cold shoulder. Still closed minded as always, still cold to new ideas and ways in which to improve their ways and make things better for everyone.
Always they turned away the new for the old, always they were clinging to their seat of power…and for what? That’s why people were turning, that’s why people were being exiled, this was what would lose them their home later on when the Sith took control again, due to stubbornness, due to being close-minded and belligerent. They were breaking their own code…and they were being ignorant.
I bring this up because too often I see this same type of behavior in the Temples we have today. Too many people being promoted only because they molded to a certain way of thinking and do not question it. We have people whom every day are experimenting with new things, trying to bring attention to some flaws in the system and things that could make experiences better. It’s not even those people who want to change things up…but what about people like me? Someone who uses both Light and Dark aspects are generally not welcome from what I have seen. Whereas I am allowed to join in on a place, the minute I start talking about the opposite side of their beliefs, I am attacked, viciously sometimes.
I see that people of higher ranking like to wag their fingers at people who think differently, and, rather than try and be understanding of them, they try making an excuse for the person, saying that they are merely “inexperienced” or that they “have not reached that point” of mastery or training yet. They try to convince someone of what they are doing ‘wrong’ (yes I have been told I am wrong many times, and outright), and how it goes against the belief and blah, blah, blah. Sound familiar?
Sounds like that Mother trying to force her child to go to Church when he isn’t sure that he believes in God. Sounds like that Pastor which is telling you that if you do not follow his way then you will burn in Hell. Their way is always the right way and your way is wrong…how is that understanding? How is that knowledge? How is that Jedi? Rather than try and discuss a point of view, they meet it with anger, with arguments, they meet change with fear and thus shun a lot of good points that they do not want to see because it’s against their ‘system’.
Granted, I have seen it more from Jedi but it happens in the Sith community too…Light Sith are looked on as weak, treated like a Bisexual who people like to point at and say they are “confused”. Many Darksiders and Lightsiders alike try and make it so that you have to be one thing or the other, and that should never be the case…again, it’s another act of ignorance, and such a thing not only moves them away from The Force, but in some way, some day, it will be their downfall.
While I will not discuss Traya just yet…I will use this quote:

“If a lightsaber loses its power, is it still a lightsaber? And if a Jedi loses her powers, is she still a Jedi?”
―Kreia

It was one of her many conundrums…and here is what it stated: Evenw ithout their weapon and even without the abilities, a Jedi is made in their dedication to their path, through their spirituality. So even when they lose their trademarks, it is what is in their heart that will make them and forever keep them Jedi. But, you know what? Most people that I have seen in the community as of late…without their title, without their ‘persona’, if those things were stripped from them, they would no longer be Jedi. They would show nothing that would dub them as such and make them stand out as someone who is true to their path and whom really understands The Force, and lives by it.
You would see a bunch of people running around still tooting their own horns, wagging those fingers, still ignorant, still beligerant, only this time, only there would be no rank to it, therefore no substance on those who would normally be ‘below’ them…just a bunch of bellyachers on a forum.
Speaking of moving away from The Force…Sithism tends to be just as much of a disappointment. Either you find yourself in the seat of some scam for money, or you find yourself in a group that is more like a group therapy session than anything spiritual. Since when has Sithism become all about questioning the moral standard? Since when has it become a contest of whose Daddy loved them less? Since when has it become something of inaction? Question after question but nothing that drives one forward to being empowered. That is why it sickens me.
The Sith Code speaks to me…its truth to me, and since Jedi live to their code, Sith should not be any different. I did not take the title of Darth just for the fun of it, I did it because I live by what I have learned. I know what it is to harness the power of the Dark Side. I am empowered by this…I take action with this, but, can other Sith say the same? Or are they just the ‘pretenders’ that Darth Bane spoke of; and in this life, they are nothing more than people hiding behind a computer screen and roelplaying?
Darth Bane said that to share power was to dilute it…and thus he came up with the Rule of Two. This helped the Sith survive, this rule made them prosper. He saw the weakness which was The Brotherhood of Darkness and so he destroyed it and then made everything anew. While his method was always meant to grow and change once the Sith came to power again, he brought glory back to the Dark Side. Again, I see this almost every day. So many Sith sites looking merely for the numbers…people that do not care for the path, for the code, for power, or even for action. People who come in and do not even try to better themselves but go around spamming Darth Vader pics or R2-D2 bikini girls. It’s sad…
That, and, even when there are those craving power…the greed of the Leaders that run them make it so that the sites generally destroy themselves much as all the other Sith organizations did before the Rule of Two in fiction. Bane took his title of Darth which had been banned (the title) from the Brotherhood of Darkness because it was thought that it would destroy the Order. He showed that true power was between those few who were dedicated to the Path and not for the masses. There are those who are meant to Lead and those were meant to follow…it’s natural order, and he proved that. Still…this finally leads me to Darth Traya.
Darth Traya was a Jedi Master whose students were considered failures because they either left the order or turned to the Dark Side. Her methods of teaching were met with harsh criticism because she wanted her students to ask questions, and she wanted her students to find their own way. She was in no way a ‘traditional’ Jedi because she knew that everyone needed to develop their own strength, to face the trials in life both good and bad, and she did not believe in making people dependant on others who did everything for them.

“If you seek to aid everyone that suffers in the galaxy, you will only weaken yourself… and weaken them. It is the internal struggles, when fought and won on their own, that yield the strongest rewards. You stole that struggle from them, cheapened it. If you care for others, then dispense with pity and sacrifice and recognize the value in letting them fight their own battles. And when they triumph, they will be even stronger for the victory.”
―Kreia to Meetra Surik

 

Eventually, she was sent into Exile where she fled to find her student Revan, eventually turning to the Dark herself. A powerful Darth, she trained others in the ways she trained her Jedi students, and they too would betray her, strip her of her powers (or so they thought) and leave her to die. It was in this moment that she realized that it was not the Jedi who were evil…nor was it the Sith, but it was The Force. It was the very thing that kept her alive which corrupted these factions. Neither was superior to the other…they never would be, They both shared the same crimes, thus, she tried to rid the World of The Force (or the ability to use it), even though she failed.
Still, this is true. The Jedi are no Saints, and the Sith will always have their flaws. Rather than work together, both point at the other as if they are a hinderance, a weakness, a boundry, when that is in no way true.
…Atlas will be different…my Temple will be different.
It will be a place where someone can bring their beliefs no matter how different, and they can belong. If the code I have presented them does not speak to them, if they can not apply it to their life, then they are free to leave, but, if they choose to stay and share their wisdom without trying to gain rank, without trying to force themselves into a way of thinking just to please a bunch of people stuck in a mindset that excludes others, they are welcome by me, welcome in my home, in my sanctuary. That is what a Temple should be…that is what The Force should be about. Understanding, cooperation, and ultimately about truth.
So for now I will continue down this path I have made, I know now more than ever that this is what I was meant to do. I’m going to make great things happen…I’m going to exceed others assumptions just because I know both Light in Darkness and can use them in a constructive way without it interfering with my spirituality.
…so here’s the first part of my many rants on what will come to disappoint me.

So much has been happening lately, and while now is not the time to give full details on everything, I have really started looking at myself, my habits, and really been evaluating myself more and more in order to do what this blog’s purpose stated beforehand—which is making a better ‘me’.

So, the future has been talked about a lot recently, and, while the details are still not set into stone about what might happen now or in a few years, my partner and I came to the conclusion that, if we do manage to stay together then there would be a marriage and children in our future. At the thought of having a child, I started thinking about how a child might view me as they get older. The thing is, children tend to pick up on things that we don’t really think about. Our small habits, even something as simple as the way we handle a pencil or fork…they see this and they mimic this. Sometimes the things that a child pick up can be corrected…but sometimes, the habits they pick up follow them for life.

I learned that, when I was little and could not sleep…my parents would take me on long car rides which would sooth me and I would fall into a deep and comfortable sleep. While many parents might applaud this, what they are failing to consider is that children develop a security blanket. Whether that be a position in which they lay or something that soothes them, this thing remains encoded in them and follows them to adulthood. Even to this day, even when behind the wheel, sleeping makes me very drowsy.

But, as mentioned before, children can also pick up on habits…they can pick up on mood swings, just behavior in general. They can pick up twitches and other quirks in a person, especially their parents…and while thinking about this, I started looking at my life. While I am generally organized and usually have my ducks in a row, there are some things about me that are…well, not really role-model worthy. I often have the tendency to neglect things (chores and etc) and even have the tendency to neglect myself when I am depressed and in ‘the pit’.

Simple things like taking a shower that night or brushing my teeth. I shirk it off. Granted, not to the point where I am disgusting, but, to the point where I know that I am starting to have a problem. Another bad habit of mine is never finishing something that I start. This issue began with the novels that I was writing. I would get an idea, write a few pages, then get a new idea for a new book and the old project would collect dust for the next few years until I would decide to re-write it…but then the whole process would happen again. I have about 30 novels that I have started with the whole plot thought out, but, they never see completion.

But that didn’t bother me as much as the fact that there are a lot of video-games that I have never completed. This would not bother me as much if video-games were not such a big part of my life. It wasn’t until I started beating a lot of video-games this year that I realized just how many I own that I never saw through. I would beg for a game, get it, play it, reach a hard part, rage quit, and just buy a new game.

These are all small things…but I noticed that such habits had started flooding into my actual life…my organized life. I would start a savings account, but would not save as much money as I wanted because I wanted something new. I realized that a few years back, I paid out so much in wasted tuition fees because I would start a college course, decide I didn’t like it, dropout again, then feel bad, and then finally I would start another college course, only this time I was going for something new.

Would I want a child to see me like this?

When Taz left for the military, I found that it was hard to handle the pets that I had. Whereas I loved them dearly and the cats were so spoiled before and love to death, I started getting angry at them, locking them out of my room…I couldn’t deal with them. I shirked that part of my responsibility as a pet owner to give them affection for at least a month or two because depression beat me. I got better, and they were loved to death again…but, I shouldn’t even be doing that to a beloved pet, so I can’t do that to a child!

The past is the past…but I decided that there were some things in me that needed to be tackled now. So, I took it one step at a time. I started reading a book that I bought forever ago because “I had to have it”, and, in a week, it should be finished.
I have started beating video games no matter how hard they get, and I keep trying. Because of this, I am finally getting through a game that I have been trying to beat for over 5 years. It’s crazy, because all these things may seem to some people, but to me, it’s really an improvement, and it moves me down the road to transformation. I even used an alarm to remind me to brush my teeth so I never miss a night by ‘accident’, and I have been a tad bit stricter on sleeping schedules to.

While I am also trying to be healthier, well, while I am still in Germany, that is still going to be a problem.

Speaking of problems…I ran into one. While Taz’s move from Oklahoma to Kentucky was a blessing, it’s still something of a curse. There is no Amazon close enough to her for me to transfer except for one in Jeffersonville, IN —but, with their new transfer policy in the US (you apply for a transfer and they hold your application for 90 days. Then, if they find that they have a place for you within that 90 days, they call you up and expect you to be there at their door ASAP. This sucks because I need 2 months free to get a house and etc. Then I wanted to start work in January BUT with this new policy…well…) I would have to stay in Germany throughout November and December just to hope they have a position open in January. Then, not only would I not be able  to fly home with Taz, but I would miss out on seeing my family like I had planned.

Not to mention I already got the same thing from Amazon IND2 (where I originally came from), Jeffersonville being 2 hours from Taz and then Indy being a little over 4 hours. So, my final option is basically to quit Amazon, move in with my Mother, and find another job in my hometown until Taz and I get a plan together.

So…thus goes back to the saving and having my priorities in order and blah, blah, blah. So, I have started looking at apartments near Taz where I could live, as well as jobs on base and jobs within the general area near her. It’s not going to be easy, but hell, I moved to Germany dammit! Still, I just figured I would let it be known how I felt.

I don’t want my children to look at me and say: “Wow…I never want to be like my Mom (or be in her position).” which was pretty much how I viewed both of my parents. I love them dearly, but I don’t want my child to see me constantly broke, out of work, dependent on others, and stuck in a corner due to a lack of skills which would otherwise allow me to progress in this world. Do I want them to strive to be better than me? Of course! But more than that, if they manage to get by just fine and have a little bit of  plain but happy life like mine has been so far, I want them to look at my accomplishments and feel satisfied that they could be the same way.

More or less this is just rambling, but it is also just a bit of food for thought. Still, I have the time to grow and will do so at my own pace. But yeah…that’s all I suppose.