Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters

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Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters 22 Jun 2007 06:07 #3442

  • Twsoundsoff
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I know I've spoken about this book before but I just finished reading it again and I wanted to share with you my favorite chapters.

Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters: Chapters 8, 10 and 30
Dick Staub

Dick Staub is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and speaker whose work focuses on interpreting faith and culture. The director of the Center for Faith and Culture and an adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University, he is also the radio personality behind the Dick Staub Show, an award-winning, nationally syndicated daily broadcast he hosted for fifteen years. He serves on the board of Image: A Journal of Religion & the Arts and plays a strategic role in the C.S. Lewis Society.

Chapter 8: The Seeker Is Sought

You're referring to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force. . . . You believe it's this boy? Bring him before us, then.
—Mace Windu, to Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace)

For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.
—Jesus (Luke 19:10)

Upon becoming aware of the Force, and seeing the work of the dark side in the murder of his Uncle and Aunt, Luke Skywalker was immediately eager to seek more knowledge, asking to accompany Obi-Wan on his journey to the planet Alderaan in order to learn the ways of this mystical energy and become a Jedi. As the Chinese proverb promises, when the pupil is ready the teacher will come; Obi-Wan and eventually Yoda both responded to the sincerity of Luke's initiative.

All spiritual traditions acknowledge the seeker's journey toward the spiritual dimension, but a distinguishing and defining characteristic of the Christian faith is the pursuit of the seeker by the Lord of the Force. Yours is not a one-way quest toward becoming a Jedi in Christian terms; the Lord of the Force is, and has always been, seeking you.

The Christmas story relates how God, the Father, runs to meet us. The manger scene heralds Jesus' arrival on earth, but the deeper truth of God physically sending His son for our salvation proclaims that ultimately it is God who actively searches for spiritual seekers. \"God so loved the world that He sent his only son into the world,\" or as The Message puts it, \"the Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.\"

A central theme in many of Jesus' parables is God's search for the lost. An old woman has ten coins, loses one, and sweeps her floor looking for the one lost coin; a shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep and will not give up until he finds the one that is missing. Perhaps the most famous of these stories is the one of the prodigal son, in which a young man has taken his share of his father's estate, and after squandering his wealth in wild living he finally comes to his senses and heads home. Even in this story, the father, who has been watching for him, sees him while he is still far away, inspiring novelist Tobias Wolfe to describe these words as the most beautiful in the English language: \"His father, when he saw him coming, ran to meet him.\"

Why is it important to know that the Lord of the Force is seeking you while you are seeking Him? The genuine seeker needs reassurance that though the dark side exploits diversions to inhibit our search for God, it cannot restrain the Lord of the Force from seeking us out. The light of God's love is too intense to be dimmed by the dark side. The old hymn encourages the seeker: \"O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of God's love!\" God's pursuit - is relentless, reminiscent of the Clannad song featured in the The Last of the Mohicans, about one who will find us no matter where we go, even if it takes a thousand years.

Knowing that God is seeking the seeker helps us avoid the pride that comes with seeing ourselves as the noble and heroic character in the drama of the spiritual
search. To believe that the primary search is ours, that we seek a God who is apparently indifferent toward us, implies that our love for God is somehow greater or deeper than His love for us.

Furthermore, even though some people sincerely seek God, often the last thing humans desire is to find or be found by God. C. S. Lewis, once an agnostic,
astutely observed that \"amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about 'man's search for God.' To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the
mouse's search for the cat!\" This is why some people, though found by God, foolishly choose to remain with the dark side. Polls regularly indicate that more than 80 percent of Americans are spiritual seekers, yet is it possible that God has already sought and found many of these seekers, who, after given the chance to know God, choose to retain their autonomy rather than yield to the authority of the Lord of the Force?

Jesus promises that those who seek will find, because he knows God pursues and finds those who search for Him. In our fallenness we are sometimes blind to the God who is already here, but once seekers find God His presence is so obvious that they often wonder how they missed it for so long. The late theologian Catherine M. LaCugna puts it this way: \"One finds God because one is already found by God. Anything we would find on our own would not be God.\"

The late Henri Nouwen came to this realization after years of struggling to know and find God and then described his radical change in outlook once he realized God had been trying to find, know, and love him all along. \"The question is not, 'How am I to find God?' but 'How am I to let myself be found by him?' The question is not 'How am I to know God?' but 'How am I to let myself be known by God?' And, finally, the question is not 'How am I to love God?' but 'How am I to let myself be loved by God?'\"

Aspiring Jedi, your success in seeking the Lord of the Force requires putting down your guard and allowing the Lord of the Force to find, know, and love you, just as you are.

Chapter 10: Don't Miss the Big Reveal

Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.
—Yoda (Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones)

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.
—Hebrews 1:1-2

Jedi Master Obi-Wan is searching for an assassin from the planet Kamino, but the location doesn't show up in the comprehensive galaxy maps archived at the Jedi Academy. Madame Jocasta Nu, a Jedi archivist, concludes that the planet doesn't exist. Obi-Wan insists he heard descriptions of this planet long ago from a reliable and trustworthy friend, and he surmises aloud that the archives are incomplete. Yoda mocks Obi-Wan: \"Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing. . . .\"

Finally one of the \"younglings,\" a child and prospective Jedi in training, suggests that Obi-Wan go just south of the Rishi Maze, in the quadrant where he believes the \"invisible\" planet is located, and then follow the pull of gravity to its center. Following this inductive process allows Obi-Wan to discover the
\"missing\" planet few believed existed.

When REM's Michael Stipe wrote the lyrics for I've Been High, he surrounded himself with dozens of spiritual books and manuscripts, among them the Bible. The song hauntingly chronicles the possibility of seeking and not finding the elusive truth that is right in front of you, somehow missing what he calls \"the
big reveal.\" Although our pure intellectual knowledge of God is forever shrouded in the cloud of unknowing, significant revelations from scripture and our experience of Him allow devoted seekers to discover what cannot be grasped by the mind alone. Tragically, many people miss the biggest reveal of all: God's revelation of Himself to humans.

Among God's big reveals is the created natural order, which conveys a complexity, magnitude, scope, and intelligence of design that all point toward God as a Force deserving our worship and praise. Also, the Apostle Paul describes the law of God as \"written in our hearts,\" a reference to human conscience as the internal, universally revealed moral law known to all humans and hinting at the existence of a moral force and personality who is the author of that law. Following the gravitational pull of nature and moral law alone are enough to pull the seeker irresistibly to God, but there is more. The Jedi possess archives of Jedi wisdom, and so do aspiring Christians, whose Holy Scriptures, inspired by the Lord of the Force, describe human rebellion and announce God's loving pursuit of His wayward children.

Christians, in the spirit of the Jedi, gain insight and understanding from another reveal, the most stunning of all, reported by the writer of Hebrews: \"Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.\" This Son, of course, is Jesus.

Today, virtually everyone who knows of Jesus describes him as a great moral teacher and prophet. It is true he lived an exemplary life, but he also claimed to die for our sins and promised to defeat death by his resurrection from the dead on the third day. Then his disciples report that just before they saw him ascend into heaven, he explicitly told them he would prepare a place for his followers and one day would return for them. To stop short of accepting Jesus' own claims is to miss the biggest reveal of all. As C. S. Lewis observes, Jesus made some stunning assertions, and we are left to choose only one of three options: \"he is either a liar, or he is a lunatic, or he is who he claimed to be-the Lord and only Son of God.\" If he is the son of God, it changes everything; we can no longer passively admire his teaching but must actively obey him as Lord.

In following Jesus, the aspiring Christian places all her trust in the biggest reveal of all, in Him who claimed to be the truth, the way to the Father, and giver of life abundant and eternal.

Chapter 30: Make Your Masterpiece by Living It

I'm standing here in pieces and you're having delusions of grandeur.
—C-3PO, to R2-D2 (Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
—Psalms 139:13-14

The spiritual life is about becoming more at home in your own skin,\" says the Quaker writer and teacher Parker Palmer. As the Jedi believed in the power of their destiny, Christians know our lives and passions are crafted by an infinitely creative Lord of the Force. By \"becoming more at home in our skin\" we discover our calling and make the masterpiece we are uniquely equipped to live. The Christian's call to grandeur is a duty, not a delusion.

The Talmud, the body of Jewish law, tells an illustrative story of Akiba, who on his deathbed worried aloud to his rabbi that he was a failure. His rabbi moved closer and asked why; Akiba confessed that he had not lived a life like Moses'. The poor man began to cry, admitting he feared God's judgment. At this, his rabbi leaned into his ear and whispered gently, \"God will not judge Akiba for not being Moses. God will judge Akiba for not being Akiba.\"

Your destiny is written in your onlyness. You are the only person ever to possess your unique blend of natural skills, temperament, experiences, and spiritual sensibilities. Observe your uniqueness and understand it. Be awake and attentive to the message God is sending you through how you are \"knit together,\" and then give it all back to the Lord of the Force. Remember the little boy who brought his loaves and fishes to Jesus, who then used them to feed the five thousand; in the same way, bring your loaves and fishes and offer them for their proper use, to be multiplied for the kingdom's sake.

Theologian Frederick Buechner described your calling this way: \"The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work that you need most to do and that the world most needs to have done. The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.\" Like Eric Liddell in the film Chariots of Fire, who felt God's pleasure when he ran fast, your gladness originates in doing what you love to do and are gifted to do well. Celebrate your talents, and then develop and express them in your work.

Because as a Jedi you are a servant in the kingdom of God, you must go beyond simply expressing your talents; you must invest them in a mission that matters. Finding your personal mission starts by identifying the need to which you are repeatedly drawn, the societal problem you most want to see fixed, the human sorrow your gifts might help relieve. Your life's irreducible purpose is found at the intersection of your specific gifts and the needs your life's work will address.

And what of money? The Jedi Christian seeks first the kingdom of the Lord of the Force and things such as food, clothing, and shelter secondarily. The culture tells you to make career choices first and foremost on the basis of money, but there are more significant rewards at stake. We do take seriously the need to provide for our families, because as the Apostle Paul said we are \"worse than unbelievers\" if we fail to adequately satisfy these earthly needs, but our primary reward is the spiritual satisfaction of meaningful work that contributes to the beauty of creation and furthers the will of God. Our wealth and riches are stored in heaven, not on earth.

Jedi invest their life in work that blends expression of talents, serving a mission that matters and making adequate provision for material needs. The result is your masterpiece, whether your work is sculpture or teaching, film or medicine, architecture or social work, rearing a family or software development. Your call to develop your gifts is where your masterpiece starts, and your ability to shape the culture around you for the glory of God is where it finds its fulfillment. In time you will also come to understand that every Jedi-like Christian has three general responsibilities in the world: to help create culture, to counter the prevailing culture, and to communicate in culture as an ambassador for Jesus.

It is said that the world is a stage; in creating the masterpiece that is your life, the Lord of the Force is the audience who matters most.

Re:Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters 22 Jun 2007 06:49 #3443

There is a lot of knowledge in this post that can be applied to all Jediism, not just those of the Christian Rite. With an open mind and willingness to learn, we can get knowledge and wisdom from numerous sources. All Jedi, no matter what Rite you may concider yourself under, can learn from and use the information provided here. Outstanding post Bshp Whiteman!

Re:Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters 22 Jun 2007 12:48 #3449

  • Jon
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I can only thank Master Tom for the gift of recommending this book. This is indeed a precious jewel. It is so simply written but speaks to the soul. It also manages to integrate the age old tradition of the Scriptures with the Star Wars saga. It certainly is not just a theoretical work, but something that can be applied in real life!

Re:Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters 11 Sep 2007 17:51 #6919

  • mojiimoto
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I have that book ,I have not started it yet but my intrest is peaked now.
In fact I have other people that want to read it also.

Re:Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters 12 Sep 2007 08:53 #6968

My first apprentice, Master Rachat (Bridgette) gave this book to me after she was Knighted. It has been a jewel in books for me and have truly enjoyed it and Highly recommended this not to only Christian Jedi but to all.

It is a book that one can place as a comparative religion study, a teaching tool for new Apprentice's and Knights, as well as a cherished book for Masters alike for a life time. This book has a way of bringing me back to the basics when I need a good thump to remind me when all the other teachings are knocking on my brain.

Dick Staub was able to do this to a level that places phrases from the Bible and quotes from the Saga's to see where the similarities can not be ignored, yet grasp you to read more. And then gives a clear interpretation of what it means and how it is realitive to the Bible quote.

A must read for Jedi all around!!
Grand Master Neaj Pa Bol (Rev. Patricia J. Bolcerek, D.D., O.C.P., O.S.M.)
Charter Member
Matriarch of the Order
Grand Master
SA & Bishop Abrahamic SIG

For today I serve so that tomorrow I may serve again.
One step, One Vow, One Moment...
Too always remember it is not about me....

Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see...
Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip...

Quiet your emotions to find inner peace.
Learn from ignorance to foster knowledge.
Enjoy your passions but be immersed in serenity.
Understand the chaos to see the harmony.
Life and death is to be one with the Force.
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    • CHAPTER VII: THE FIRST FORM OF CONTEMPLATION Concentration, recollection, a profound self-criticism, the stilling of your busy surface-intellect, your restless emotions of enmity and desire, the voluntary achievement of an attitude of disinterested love - by these strange paths you have now been led, in order that you may know by communion something of the greater Life in which you are immersed and which you have so long and so successfully ignored. You have managed in your own small way something equivalent to those drastic purifications, those searching readjustments, which are undertaken by the heroic seekers for Reality; the arts whereby they defeat the tyranny of "the I, the Me, the Mine" and achieve the freedom of a wider life. Now, perhaps, you may share to some extent in that illumination, that extended and intensified perception of things, which they declare to be the heritage of the liberated consciousness. This illumination shall be gradual. The attainment of it depends not so much upon a philosophy accepted, or a new gift of vision suddenly received, as upon an uninterrupted changing and widening of character; a progressive growth towards The Force, an ever more profound harmonisation of the self's life with the greater and inclusive rhythms of existence. It shall therefore develop in width and depth as the sphere of that self's intuitive love extends. As your own practical sympathy with and understanding of other lives, your realisation of them, may be narrowed and stiffened to include no more than the family group, or spread over your fellow-workers, your class, your city, party, country, or religion - even perhaps the whole race - till you feel yourself utterly part of it, moving with it, suffering with it, and partake of its whole conscious life; so here. Self-mergence is a gradual process, dependent on a progressive unlimiting of personality. The apprehension of The Force, which rewards it, is gradual too. In essence, it is one continuous out-flowing movement towards that boundless heavenly consciousness where the "flaming ramparts" which shut you from true communion with all other selves and things is done away; an unbroken process of expansion and simplification, which is nothing more or less than the growth of the spirit of love, the full flowering of a cosmic consciousness. By this perpetually-renewed casting down of the hard barriers of individuality, these willing submissions to the compelling rhythm of a larger existence than that of the solitary individual or even of the human group - by this perpetual widening, deepening, and unselfing of your attentiveness – you are to enlarge your boundaries and become the citizen of a greater, more joyous, more poignant world, the partaker of a more abundant life. The limits of this enlargement have not yet been discovered. The greatest contemplatives, returning from their highest ascents, can only tell us of a world that is "unwalled." But this growth into higher realities, this blossoming of your contemplative consciousness - though it be, like all else we know in life, an unbroken process of movement and change - must be broken up and reduced to the series of concrete forms which we call "order" if our inelastic minds are to grasp it. So, we will consider it as the successive achievement of those three levels or manifestations of Reality, which we have agreed to call the Physical World of Becoming, the Metaphysical World of Being, and - last and highest - that Divine Reality within which these ‘opposites’ are found as one. Though these three worlds of experience are so plaited together, that intimations from the deeper layers of being constantly reach you through the physical world, it is in this order of realisation that you may best think of them, and of your own gradual up-growth to the full stature of humanity. To elude the physical world, to refuse her friendship, and attempt to leap the river of life in the hope of finding God on the other side, is the common error of a perverted mysticality. It is as fatal in result as the opposite error of deliberately arrested development, which, being attuned to the wonderful rhythms of natural life, is content with this increase of sensibility; and, becoming a "nature-mystic," asks no more. So you are to begin with that first form of contemplation which the old mystics sometimes called the "discovery of God in His creatures." Not with some ecstatic adventure in super-sensuous regions, but with the loving and patient exploration of the world that lies at your gates; the "ebb and flow and ever-during power" of which your own existence forms a part. You are to push back the self's barriers bit by bit, till at last all duration is included in the widening circles of its intuitive love: till you find in every manifestation of life - even those which you have petulantly classified as cruel or obscene - the ardent self-expression of The Force whose spark burns deep in your own soul. The Indian mystics speak perpetually of the visible universe as the Lila or Sport of God: the Infinite deliberately expressing Itself in finite form, the musical manifestation of its creative joy. All gracious and all courteous souls, they think, will gladly join its play; considering rather the wonder and achievement of the whole - its vivid movement, its strange and terrible evocations of beauty from torment, nobility from conflict and death, its mingled splendour of sacrifice and triumph - than their personal conquests, disappointments, and fatigues. In the first form of contemplation you are to realise the movement of this game, in which you have played so long a languid and involuntary part, and find your own place in it. It is flowing, growing, changing, making perpetual unexpected patterns within the evolving melody of The Force. In all things it is incomplete, unstable; and so are you. Your fellows, enduring on the battlefield, living and breeding in the slum, adventurous and studious, sensuous and pure - more, your great comrades, the hills, the trees, the rivers, the darting birds, the scuttering insects, the little soft populations of the grass - all these are playing with you. They move one to another in delicate responsive measures, now violent, now gentle, now in conflict, now in peace; yet ever weaving the pattern of a ritual dance, and obedient to the music of that invisible Choragus whom Boehme and Plotinus knew. What is that great wind which blows without, in continuous and ineffable harmonies? Part of you . . . There is but one music in the world: and to it you contribute perpetually, whether you will or no, your one little ditty of no tone. "Mad with joy, life and death dance to the rhythm of this music; The hills and the sea and the earth dance; The world of man dances in laughter and tears." It seems a pity to remain in ignorance of this, to keep as it were a plate-glass window between yourself and your fellow-dancers - all those other aspects of The Force, perpetually becoming, changing and growing beside you - and commit yourself to the unsocial attitude of the "cat that walks by itself." Begin therefore at once. Gather yourself up, as the exercises of recollection have taught you to do. Then - with attention no longer frittered amongst the petty accidents and interests of your personal life, but poised, tense, ready for the work you shall demand of it - stretch out by a distinct act of loving will towards one of the myriad manifestations of life that surround you: and which, in an ordinary way, you hardly notice unless you happen to need them. Pour yourself out towards it, do not draw its image towards you. Deliberate - more, impassioned - attentiveness, an attentiveness which soon transcends all consciousness of yourself, as separate from and attending to the thing seen; this is the condition of success. As to the object of contemplation, it matters little. From Alp to insect, anything will do, provided that your attitude be right: for all things in this world towards which you are stretching out are linked together, and one truly apprehended will be the gateway to the rest. Look with the eye of contemplation on the most dissipated tabby of the streets, and you shall discern the celestial quality of life set like an aureole about his tattered ears, and hear in his strident mew an echo of "The deep enthusiastic joy, The rapture of the hallelujah sent, From all that breathes and is." The sooty tree up which the cat scrambles to escape your earnest gaze is holy too. It contains for you the whole divine cycle of the seasons; upon the plane of quiet, its inward pulse is clearly to be heard. But you must look at these things as you would look into the eyes of a friend: ardently, selflessly, without considering their reputation, their practical uses, their anatomical peculiarities, or the vices which might emerge were they subjected to psycho-analysis. Such a simple exercise, if entered upon with singleness of heart, will soon repay you. By this quiet yet tense act of communion, this loving gaze, you will presently discover a relationship – far more intimate than anything you imagined - between yourself and the surrounding "objects of sense"; and in those objects of sense a profound significance, a personal quality, and actual power of response, which you might in cooler moments think absurd. Making good your correspondences with these fellow-travellers, you will learn to say with Whitman: "You air that serves me with breath to speak! You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape! You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers! You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadside! I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me." A subtle interpenetration of your spirit with the spirit of those "unseen existences," now so deeply and thrillingly felt by you, will take place. Old barriers will vanish: and you will become aware that St. Francis was accurate as well as charming when he spoke of Brother Wind and Sister Water; and that Stevenson was obviously right when he said, that since: "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we ought all to be happy as kings." Those glad and vivid "things" will speak to you. They will offer you news at least as definite and credible as that which the paper-boy is hawking in the street: direct messages from that Beauty which the artist reports at best are second hand. Because of your new sensitiveness, anthems will be heard of you from every gutter; poems of intolerable loveliness will bud for you on every weed. Best and greatest, your fellow human beings will shine for you with new significance and light. Humility and awe will be evoked in you by the beautiful and patient figures of the poor, their long heroisms, their willing acceptance of the burden of life. All the various members of the human group, the little children and the aged, those who stand for energy, those dedicated to skill, to thought, to plainest service, or to prayer, will have for you fresh vivid significance, be felt as part of your own wider being. All adventurous endeavours, all splendour of pain and all beauty of play - more, that grey unceasing effort of existence which makes up the groundwork of the social web, and the ineffective hopes, enthusiasms, and loves which transfuse it - all these will be seen and felt by you at last as full of glory, full of meaning; for you will see them with innocent, attentive, disinterested eyes, feel them as infinitely significant and adorable parts of the transcendent Force in which you also are immersed. This discovery of your fraternal link with all living things, this down-sinking of your arrogant personality into the great generous stream of life, marks an important stage in your apprehension of that Science of Love which contemplation is to teach. You are not to confuse it with pretty fancies about nature, such as all imaginative persons enjoy; still less, with a self-conscious and deliberate humanitarianism. It is a veritable condition of awareness; a direct perception, not an opinion or an idea. For those who attain it, the span of the senses is extended. These live in a world which is lit with a more intense light; has, as George Fox insisted, "another smell than before." They hear all about them the delicate music of growth, and see the "new colour" of which the mystics speak. Further, you will observe that this act, and the attitude which is proper to it, differs in a very important way even from that special attentiveness which characterised the stage of meditation, and which seems at first sight to resemble it in many respects. Then, it was an idea or image from amongst the common stock - one of those conceptual labels with which the human paste-brush has decorated the surface of the universe - which you were encouraged to hold before your mind. Now, turning away from the label, you shall surrender yourself to the direct message poured out towards you by the thing. Then, you considered: now, you are to absorb. This experience will be, in the very highest sense, the experience of sensation without thought: the essential sensation, the "savouring" to which some of the mystics invite us, of which our fragmentary bodily senses offer us a transient sacrament. So here at last, in this intimate communion, this "simple seeing," this total surrender of you to the impress of things, you are using to the full the sacred powers of sense: and so using them, because you are concentrating upon them, accepting their reports in simplicity. You have, in this contemplative outlook, carried the peculiar methods of artistic apprehension to their highest stage: with the result that the sense-world has become for you, as Erigena said that all creatures were, "a theophany, or appearance of God." Not, you observe, a symbol, but a showing: a very different thing. You have begun now the Plotinian ascent from multiplicity to unity, and therefore begin to perceive in the Many the clear and actual presence of the One Force: the changeless and absolute Life, manifesting itself in all the myriad nascent, crescent, cadent lives. Poets, gazing thus at the "flower in the crannied wall" or the "green thing that stands in the way," have been led deep into the heart of its life; there to discern the secret of the universe. All the greater poems of Wordsworth and Walt Whitman represent an attempt to translate direct contemplative experience of this kind into words and rhythms which might convey its secret to other people: all Blake's philosophy is but a desperate effort to persuade us to exchange the false world of "Nature" on which we usually look - and which is not really Nature at all – for this, the true world, to which he gave the confusing name of "Imagination." For these, the contemplation of the World of Becoming assumes the intense form which we call genius: even to read their poems is to feel the beating of a heart, the upleap of a joy, greater than anything that we have known. Yet your own little efforts towards the attainment of this level of consciousness will at least give to you, together with a more vivid universe, a wholly new comprehension of their works; and that of other poets and artists who have drunk from the chalice of the Spirit of Life. These works are now observed by you to be the only artistic creations to which the name of Realism is appropriate; and it is by the standard of reality that you shall now criticise them, recognising in utterances which you once dismissed as rhetoric the desperate efforts of the clear-sighted towards the exact description of things veritably seen in that simplified state of consciousness which Blake called "imagination uncorrupt." It was from those purified and heightened levels of perception to which the first form of contemplation inducts the soul, that Julian of Norwich, gazing upon "a little thing, the quantity of an hazel nut," found in it the epitome of all that was made; for therein she perceived the royal character of life. So small and helpless in its mightiest forms, so august even in its meanest, that life in its wholeness was then realised by her as the direct outbirth of, and the meek dependant upon, the Energy of Divine Love which we call The Force. She felt at once the fugitive character of its apparent existence, the perdurable Reality within which it was held. "I marvelled," she said, "how it might last, for me thought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasteth, and ever shall, for that God loveth it. And so All-thing hath the being by the love of God." To this same apprehension of Reality, this linking up of each finite expression with its Origin, this search for the inner significance of every fragment of life, one of the greatest and most balanced contemplatives of the nineteenth century, Florence Nightingale, reached out when she exclaimed in an hour of self-examination, "I must strive to see only God in my friends, and God in my cats." Yet it is not the self-tormenting strife of introspective and self-conscious aspiration, but rather an unrelaxed, diligent intention, a steady acquiescence, a simple and loyal surrender to the great currents of life, a holding on to results achieved in your best moments, that shall do it for you: a surrender not limp but deliberate, trustful self-donation, a "living faith." "A pleasing stirring of love," says The Cloud of Unknowing, not a desperate anxious struggle for more light. True contemplation can only thrive when defended from two opposite exaggerations: quietism on the one hand, and spiritual fuss upon the other. Neither from passivity nor from anxiety has it anything to gain. Though the way may be long, the material of your mind intractable, to the eager lover of Reality ultimate success is assured. The strong tide of Transcendent Life will inevitably invade, clarify, uplift the consciousness which is open to receive it; a movement from without - subtle yet actual - answering each willed movement from within. "Your opening and His entering," says Eckhart, "are but one moment." When, therefore, you put aside your preconceived ideas, your self-centred scale of values, and let intuition have its way with you, you open up by this act new levels of the world. Such an opening-up is the most practical of all activities; for then and then only will your diurnal existence, and the physical context in which that existence is set, begin to give up to you its richness and meaning. Its paradoxes and inequalities will be disclosed as true constituents of its beauty, an inconceivable splendour will be shaken out from its dingiest folds. Then, and only then, escaping the single vision of the selfish, you will begin to guess all that your senses were meant to be. "I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete, the Earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken."
    • Leaders Eat Last (Leadership in Jediism) (Last post by MartaLina)
    • Quote: My question is: How important is leadership to you in your path as Jedi or Jedi Adjacent? Both to be the good leader for others, and to be a good follower? Do you feel this is an important aspect that should be taught? How does it apply to your life and your path? As a teacher i think i have enough leadership skills , that and the fact that i am a reluctant follower ( meaning i dont just follow , i need to know exactly what i am following ) make me understand that our paths are ever so different , i remember thinking that everybody is the same and tried to teach them the same things but failed. For a good leader i think its important to realise that you must be ready to follow aswell , even the ones that you are teaching , sometimes especially the ones you are teaching. To step back and look where you are is a good way to keep track of either proces. It does not hurt ones in a while to ask yourself the question : " Why am i teaching this ? Is this really what i want to get across? What has changed? " It may be necsesarry to put lessons aside and to get to know your pupil better by not following protocol but to dive in their motives. Do not forget that not any of us are really ever "ready" Or as i like to put it " When i am ready , bury me "
    • A brief matter of time.. (Last post by Kyrin Wyldstar)
    • I personally follow a Celtic tree calendar based off the Ogham alphabet. It is a 13 month lunar calendar and i use it to track seasons and lunar and solar cycles. However in real life i still use the good old gregorian calendar like everyone else and would see no reason to change that standard. Nothing wrong with following multiple calendars for yourself personally as long as we also have an agreed upon standard that we can all use to keep on the same page!
    • A World Without Ageism | Ashton Applewhite (Last post by JamesSand)
    • Quote: hell with the judgement of others (barring injury) a cane is what you need when youre too old to safely walk without one I use a cane in my private life, but don't bring it to work - Gotta keep up the appearances of being head-gorilla to these damn kids who are waiting for a sign of weakness to take me out behind the shed and put a bullet in me. (Fair enough, I'm not old, I'm injured* - but I suspect the logic is the same. Keeping up appearances in a competitive atmosphere. *A consequence of being old enough to have collected injuries :P) Quote: while a young stud MIGHT be biologically more attractive than a randomly generated 30 something, a man who is seasoned by that process is not only more attractive in terms of his personality, but also in terms of his resources and reliability It's easier to get rich young now (Probably? I didn't) - So there may be some disconnect being "Getting older" and "acheiving success" All these 22 year old football stars running around with their millions, ruining women for the rest of us :laugh: I don't know if I want to say "I'm not Ageist because I was raised by my grandmother and I have respect (generally) for experience" or "I have a different experience of Ageism because my country has better infrastructure to support the aging and keep them living with dignity and contributing to the community*" or "I've got my head so far up my arse I can't see the ageism for the trees" *Questionable. The retirement age/access to Superannuation age is set so that if you make it at all, you'll be struggling to "enjoy" it - If you've got a manual working job/trade, you'll be pretty wrecked by your late 60s. And yes, I can understand it would be difficult for someone who gets made redundant at 60 to convince an employer to take them on. They cost more, they are potentially more of a health liability, and they're not after a "career" - Unless they have specific knowledge and skills that the employer needs, it would arguably be the lesser choice against clamouring, eager-to-please career driven 20somethings.
    • Think... (Last post by Jack.Troutman)
    • Day 9 TE: Virtue The greatest virtue is like water; It is good to all things. It attains the most inaccessible places Without effort. Therefore it is like Tao, Which has the virtue of adapting itself. Like the heart, it is virtuous by being deep. Like speech, it is virtuous when it is quiet Like choice, it is virtuous in equanimity. Like a servant, it is trustworthy. It flows quickly sometimes, And at others it trickles. Like action, it has its seasons. And because it does not strive It has no enemies. From the Tao Te Ching
    • What do you think comes after death? (Last post by Senan)
    • Death, yet the Force or There is no death; There is the Force And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life Each of these would suggest that the Force is eternal, and as I believe that I am an expression of the Force, I too am eternal. So are you. Perhaps the "I" (*cough* EGO) that I currently know and love will cease to exist, but the Force will remain. I am born of the Force and I represent the Force expressing itself in a tangible way, as do you. I don't know how it will choose to express itself next, but whatever it is I will be included in it, as will each of "you". One day long after "I" am gone, someone will remember I said this and realize that we are all part of the salad they are having for lunch. That will be a great day for me :laugh:

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