Archive for October, 2014

Spirituality 101: Lesson One

Posted: October 5, 2014 in IJRS Courses

Exercise #1 —Meaning of the Myth

Assignment:
What are some of your earliest memories of watching Episodes IV, V, and VI? How did you feel? With what character(s) did you identify? What about the story resonated with you? What images remain with you to this day?

 

A character that stood out the most to me in episode 4 was indeed Luke Skywalker. Anakin being my favorite character from the first three episodes, Luke is very different from his Father in that he is reluctant to become a Jedi at first. He has become settled in his life as a moisture farmer and while (I think) he knows his true calling, he would rather lead a life without complication.
It is only when his Aunt and Uncle are murdered that he feels he has no choice. He still had a choice but felt as if he didn’t. He had nothing holding him onto what he held most dear anymore, so he decided to take up Obi-wan’s offer, travel with him, and become a Jedi.

 
While he seemed so scared of complication at first, it is Luke who would eventually step up and try and rescue the Princess, even though he knows the risks. It’s as if leaving that which had him so grounded made him a new person, almost as if a blindfold had been taken off from around his eyes.

 
Same thing goes when he signs up to try and destroy the Death Star. He was just a mere farmer not too long ago, and now, he has taken drastic steps and measures and is stepping into the shoes of a hero and a legend.
What stood out to me most in this episode was just the over all fear. There is hope that the people will prevail over Vader but you can see that while hope is there, fear reigns in that they are saying one thing, but they are thinking another. The people have doubts, they are frail. Even with the idea that a new Jedi will be made and that they can gain victory over the Dark Side, their faith is still very weak. That’s what I remember at least.

 
However in Episode V of the series, there are only a few parts that I remember. You have the giant walkers which are iconic . Then the part where Luke lands on the swampy planet to be trained by Yoda…again, completely iconic and this was the first Yoda I ever knew, and would hold this version of him closest to me. Yoda stood out as a character because he seemed quite mad. He was cooky, almost crazy…and for awhile, even after he admitted to being Yoda, I wondered if perhaps he really was Yoda or if this was just another trick. The character might seem wise, but something in his attitude also told me that his way of thinking as a character was much deeper than what was lead on, and that this thing could be very devious if he really wanted to be.

 
The last bit I remember is the part where Vader reveals to be Luke’s father and noting the anguish in Luke’s cry before he jumps off of a stand. I also know that this where Luke gets his hand sliced off, but as a child, I believe this part was edited out on the TV, and I did not see it until many many years later when my father showed it to me. This was also the episode where Hans and Leia really start to ship as a couple, but it never interested me at all as I never liked either of the characters.

 
In Episode VI I remember even less. Having grown up with episodes 1-3 as they came out to theaters, what I saw on VHS within my brother’s room or on TV every once in awhile did not really stick with me because I was too young.
But I do remember Darth Vader’s death as Anakin Skywalker…as the man who was once a promising Jedi and the Chosen one comes full circle, breaking free of the Emperor’s grasp and the Dark Side, and how he died slowly, but, he died a hero rather than the villain. He redeemed himself…and it was very emotional. In fact I never even saw the defeat of the Emperor, nor the ending from what I can remember.

 
Of course there was the part with the Ewoks and the chase of the Stormtroopers and such, but where that was in the movie, I cannot remember. Just that it is talked about and shown in images so many times that I know it was there. Also I don’t remember how Luke got a new Lightsaber…and I wouldn’t be able to tell you whether that was the end of Episode V or the beginning of Episode VI because it has been so long.

But, the part with Vader was always really touching…and I was actually kind of surprised that, as a villain, he never really scared me, but rather, he intrigued me…even as a child. But because I was so young, I can’t say that I identified with any of the characters at that moment in time. Nowadays I could easily point out whom I feel the most connected to out of all the episodes (Luke) with some of the trials they faced and things they had to endure. But, as a child, these were only characters to me…this was just a movie and held no deeper meaning to me other than the series was for mere entertainment and nothing more. Plus, my Big Brother loved these movies, so I had to watch them too, because I wanted to be just like him.

 
But nowadays, considering the fact that studying Jedi-Realism and becoming a Knight is just a fraction of my path and goal, things are much different than they were when I was 5-6 years old.

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Creed 101: Exercise 4 & 5

Posted: October 5, 2014 in IJRS Courses

Exercise #4
“There is no death; there is The Force”

Consider all the things around you and see their flow with in the Force. Where did they come from? Where will they go? How is your relationship with them? Is it something you need to let go so it can transform into its next form? Is your relationship with those people and things around you ‘in the present?

 

Before I begin on this, I will explain how I see death. I have taken several things from my time spent living as a “Wiccan” and one of those things is the view I currently hold on death and the beyond. I believe in reincarnation, I believe that we are all souls that come from a divine force, and when we are reborn in a new life, we are on a road to perfection. Every birth, every new life is an experience so that we might gain knowledge of all things. Once we have experienced all things, our souls are perfect and we then return to the ultimate divine where we help shape the universe while other souls continue on their path to perfection.
So where;as for a time we are merely souls being reborn until we are perfect, once perfection is achieved, we return to The Force (The Divine). So I agree that there is no death, there is only the path leading up to perfection which will again make us a part of the great divine Force so that we might be the creator and voice of all while other souls carry out their own missions. It sounds complicated, and might even sound weird to some, but to me, it only makes sense.

 
Therefore…I always see things as they flow within The Force; animate or inanimate, I can feel their energy and know that somewhere they are alive. when I meditate or take the time to concentrate, I can see energy moving within all things, it looks like blood cells as they rush through a vein. I know that everything as it is now it merely in one form and will eventually take on another. So, it’s rather hard for me to write about this exercise as it is asking me observe things and question things that I do not have to question at all.
I can look at a chair and know that it came from a tree and where that tree came from and only imagine where it might have been, or where the chair will go after it has changed form again, whether it becomes sawdust or ash and how that will help spring up new life. As far as the people I meet and know already, while I do have the tendency to think on the past, I am not lost in it, and every reaction to them or with them is always in and about the present time, the here and now.

 
There is currently nothing in my life that needs to be let go of so that it might take on a new form. At least, none that I can think on at this very moment. Every interaction with anything or anyone at this current time is still playing out its purpose.
For example…just the other day my partner said she needed a break from what we were. Changing us from an official couple to mere friends. Of course, this is changing the form of who we are, how we react to one another, and it played out its course. Slowly she began to miss me, this new form was doing its part by reminding her that without me she is not happy even though things are complicated at times, and we sewed things back together and are slowly stitching things up. Not sure if that was the perfect example…but this exercise is rather frustrating because whereas I normally have something that I can pick apart and explain and analyze, there is nothing here that I can think of that I can even begin to discuss or even talk about here.

 
I almost feel rather disappointed as I was waiting for this stanza because out of everything the Jedi Code has to offer, this is the one thing I agree with most and yet the assignment seems so…’trivial’ to me? So strange?
Perhaps I just need to be posed this assignment or question in a different way or different light in order to fully understand it.

 
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Exercise Five: The Other Codes

Odan-Urr Version add-on “There is no chaos; there is harmony”

Assignment:
Look for some physical clutter in your life. When you see it, confront it. Tell yourself, ‘There is no chaos, there is harmony.’ And then work to find a home for everything in that pile of clutter. If it’s not serving a purpose, recycle it or throw it away. Keep telling yourself ‘There is no chaos there, is harmony.’ Once you have finished take some time to use the space and see how you feel.
Please take the time to record your thoughts and experiences on this in your journal.

 

 

This is actually a perfect assignment right now as it draws closer and closer to that time where I move back to the USA from Germany. In such a short time, so much has happened which has caused much chaos to enter my life, and I have had to tackle these issues one at a time in order to bring…well, ‘order’ back into my life. Or as the author of the course wrote: “Find a place for all the clutter in your life.”

 
Moving to another Country is stressful, especially when you are trying to do things as someone who needs help via the military but is a non-dependent because you are not married to the person you came to the Country for. So, naturally, things have been stressful.
The first bit of chaos came with getting my plane ticket. Originally the Army said that they could get me a ticker for around $300 and I could fly with my partner so long as we got the signature from the Commander. The people said this should not be an issue, but it was. The Commander said that it was too much liability and too much paperwork and refused to sign.

 

So, instead of paying $300 for a plane ticket back home, I had to pay $870, and it was my fault for not budgeting it because I just assumed everything would be okay. So that was a major flaw on my part. Naturally, I just took a deep breath and accepted it how it was. I knew that I should not have assumed things would work, and merely told myself there was no reason to be stressed. I had the money and would just save more on the next paycheck. Everything was going to be okay.

 

 

It was actually my partner that ended up getting the most stressed out after this little ordeal and I found that I was easily able to brush this off. To me, it was not a big thing, something I would not have been able to do over a year ago. A year ago I would have freaked out, cried and complained, but, I merely breathed in, thanked my partner for trying her best, bought my ticket for back home, and continued to be happy because I would soon be back on familiar soil.

 

 

More stress and clutter came with my moving…I had to ship my stuff back, and while this ended up working out great, there did come a point where we were not sure if the Army would be able to ship my things. We had to pull some strings and for awhile I was frantic. I lost sleep, barely ate because I had so much stuff I would either have to pay to ship or throw away. But eventually, I took action and came up with a plan B and made sure that no matter what, my things would get home.

 

 

The thing is, I do stress…but I don’t let the stress keep me from solving problems. I do not let it completely wreck me, and I continue to push forward, out of the shadows, into the light where things are clear and sunny. A deep breath and then the making of a plan is how I handle most things. Not only has moving been stressful, but as usual, my relationship is stressful. While originally I had plans of being married once home, those are not going to go through as planned. It has really messed up some other plans I had in place, making me have to rethink all the things I had mapped out before, it left things scrambled, and, it had me in pieces for a couple of weeks. t was only this week that I finally decided it was time to stop.

 
I could see that a lot of things that had been stressing me out were actually caused by myself (once I took the time to really lay down and analyze things). Laying down and collecting my thoughts, I could see the landslide effect happening as my actions caused a chain reaction of things to happen, all of them coming back to hurt me in the end.

 

 

But, once this was finally realized, I could calm myself down, and again, make a plan. It was time to clean up the clutter from the fallen pile and reorganize them again, stack them more neatly this time and hope things don’t fall. We are human, and I feel this is all we can ever do but to keep stacking things differently in hopes that they stand firm and steady, and ultimately they do not fall.
I agree that were we to say there cannot be chaos in the lives of a Jedi then not a single person could call themselves a Jedi. But it is also true that chaos leads to destruction, and therefore it has to be met with something to stop it in its tracks before it destroys ones body, ones mind; before it destroys that very person inside and out.

 

 

I’m not really sure what the exercise expected other than this…other than how I deal with stress. It said to clean the clutter and this is how I handle things. A deep breath, warm drink, some time in a dark room to think and relax, and then a plan. I will forever keep moving forward. I refuse to sit still and become stagnant.

 
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