Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time

12 Sep 2017 11:24 #301284 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 11: Focus is the art of pruning the irrelevant from your mind and pouring the best of your mind into what you are doing.

Focus is the key that opens the door to knowledge. It's useful in meditation, it's important in learning and accomplishing tasks. Given that focus is required for knowledge, and that application of knowledge is wisdom, it all stems from the ability to focus. Focus is a skill like any other, practicing that skill is vital to improving it, but it can be difficult to sustain. It is also the 13th maxim. I tend to feel that things that pop up repeatedly in the doctrine do so because they are important.

When I started this exercise I said that throughout the day I would try and stay mindful of that morning's meditation. So today is the day of the week that I clean my apartment and take care of general life business during the day. So for me that means I need to stay focused on being focused on these things, not let myself get distracted and idle.
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14 Sep 2017 10:57 #301512 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 12: There is no emotion, there is peace.

Emotion is the product of our endocrine system. Many cartoons and video games have explored the joyless rationality that our brains would supposedly exhibit without the burden of the glands to instill emotion that can frequently override our logic, but we can hardly shut off our endocrine system and enter a real-life version of this. I doubt any Jedi has ever taken this to mean that that is what we should emulate. The greater emphasis is on peace. Our emotions can batter us like a storm, or if we allow them lead us far and away from where, and who, we want to be. The real issue is when our emotions come, take the time to find peace in a situation before we either say something we regret, or do something foolish.

This can be especially difficult when we are close to a situation, or when we have something invested. Some outcome we would like to see. There's no trick to situations like this. I'm actually going through this right now. There is no answer I can find. Without going into detail it isn't a situation I can readily distance myself from. If I try and get far enough away to be objective I tend to agree with my own stance, but I'm not even sure how genuine that is because it's my own situation.

This is taking a very different turn than expected. I feel angry at my current situation, but I'm realizing that I can't go on and on about it without giving any details. So in this situation, I just need to accept what's been chosen, and allow the Force to work as it will. I hope the worst does not come to pass. That's as close as I'll get to peace.
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15 Sep 2017 10:56 #301631 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 13: There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

I see this line comparing knowledge to heat, or light in physics. Hot and cold, light and dark, these are qualitative, and dependent on biology to create context for. Really both just represent the absence or presence of energy. The hotter the ambient temperature, the more energetically the air molecules are colliding with our skin. The brighter something is, the higher the saturation of photons coming from it. Darkness and cold are simply the absence of energy, or the absence of photons. Knowledge is the same way. Ignorance is like the cold, or the darkness. It isn't a force or an energy of its own, it is simply the absence of knowledge.
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18 Sep 2017 10:43 #301783 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 14: There is no passion, there is serenity.

There is a reason that two versions of the code are given side by side, passion, yet serenity. I see this as a simultaneous call to serenity during those moments in our lives when we're feeling reactionary, and a call to balance. When something stirs our passions the impulse is to pursue it. In many cases this would be good, but it's important to do it while balancing the other parts of your life, not to the exclusion of all else. In terms of events that could lead to crimes of passion it is better to forgive, no matter how difficult, and go about your way. Like in the over-recited Christian prayer, "give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."
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25 Sep 2017 04:12 #302151 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 15 (sort of, it's been more than that but this is the 15th meditation): There is no Chaos, there is harmony.

I immediately think of the quote attributed to Morticia Addams that is floating around the internet, "Chaos is a matter of perspective, what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly." What seems like chaos is really just the natural ebb and flow of the Force. The Force is never static. It's constantly moving, changing forms in the way creatures live, thrive, and die. The deer who is one day vibrant, with his powerful crown of antlers declaring his status and power is laid low by the hunter. Thus the Force, in the form of the deer's vitality is passed on to the predator, who dies and passes it to the scavengers and decomposers. All this could be perceived as chaos, but there is a balance to it all. And more things are interconnected than humans typically realize. A great example of this is the wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone. I think I may have gone on about this in my initiate journal one time. As the wolf population thrived, the rivers stablized. This carnivore, this predator altered the very landscape, something park authorities had been struggling to contain, because of the unchecked deer and other grazers, the wolves solved by their mere presence. At first glance they might have sown chaos among the prey animals, but they ultimately helped harmonize the landscape. So many things are interconnected in ways that we cannot see. Looking at bits and pieces it looks like a great swallowing chaos. Terrible and tremendous, and to contemplate it and experience it, is to feel insignificant in its presence. But we are part of this great interconnected web. We are each of us a single note in a symphony, and playing our part looks chaotic. But when we look at our lives against the cosmic tapestry, our one strange, chaotic melody fits seamlessly into the harmony of it all. I think when we can manage to glimpse that, we are moving in tune with the Force in the most powerful fashion.
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25 Sep 2017 10:23 #302155 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 16: There is no death, there is the Force.

This line serves two purposes. First it brings to mind for me the law of conservation. The physical law stating that energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed, they can only change forms. This is true of the electrons flowing through our bodies, keeping our heart pumping, our diaphragm pumping, moving my fingers around these keys to type this. When my body dies, that vitality, that energy that makes this form move will not simply vanish. It will only change form. Second it teaches us not to fear death. The person who cloisters themselves behind stone walls, never venturing out, never having an adventure for fear of death, never truly lives. The stories about the Knights Templar during the crusades say that they fought like they didn't fear death. That this is part of what made them so fearsome. Living the life of a Jedi is not done on the temple website. It's out there in the world. And as we carry our message of love and peace to the people out there, we will be much less effective as instruments of peace, if we never take chances for fear of death.
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01 Oct 2017 11:17 #302637 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day17: I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace.

The teachings, the code, the maxims, the creed is about applying them all. The first line of the creed is the end to which they should be applied. To be an instrument of peace. To sow peace in your passing, to further peace in your life and the lives of those you touch.
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11 Oct 2017 11:15 #303698 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 16: Where there is hatred I shall bring love.

It's easy to see the adaptation from Christianity here, because this is right out of Christ's playbook. In Luke chapter 6 there are several verses describing how to treat others, and it starts with "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you." It expands to talk about how everyone is good to people who are good to them, so it's no credit to your character if you follow suit. Rather show love to those who show you hatred. But this statement is broader than just that. It's not "when people give me hatred I will reciprocate with love," it's anywhere you find hatred. Yes, show compassion and caring for those who mistreat you, but also show love to the downtrodden, the unloved. I'm would be shocked to discover that this act wouldn't improve your life even more than theirs.

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13 Oct 2017 15:43 #303892 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 19: Where there is injury, pardon.

At first glance this appears very similar to the second line of the creed, but I feel like this references something even more specific. When I read this I immediately think of how it applies to grudges. Carrying the weight of some insult, real or imagined. There are two anecdotes of my own life that apply here in a powerful way. One was the time I forgave my mom for leaving my dad. It was something I carried with me for longer than I should have. It was something she did for the right reasons for herself at the time, and more importantly, didn't need to apologize for. It wasn't a matter of me receiving an apology, but me forgiving her, letting go of the resentment I harbored for her.

I also once worked with a man who acted like he carried his entire life with him. I worked overnight, and it was just he and I for hours on end. When he would think back to it, he could carry on for hours, and be really hurt from the death of his father 20 years prior, either of his previous failed marriages, his current marriage troubles, and decisions he made that he regretted, even ones from a decade or more earlier. He would also glow, and get super excited about people who had been a positive presence, and positive experiences in his past, but this was rarer. Through it all, he depended so heavily on me to hear him out, but would ignore or dismiss any advice I offered. His dependence on my validation became such a burden on me that for the last few months we worked together, it took over my own life away from work. It wasn't even until months after he left that I brought myself to work through my anger at him, rebuke his presence internally, and ultimately forgive what I had suffered from him.

It's not having forgiven my grudges in the past that makes this line so important to me, it's having seen first hand a life lived letting nothing go, and how miserable someone can stay as a result. So where there is injury, bring pardon.

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16 Oct 2017 15:30 #304104 by MAGNUS
MAGNUS replied the topic: Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time
Day 20: Where there is doubt, faith.

In Maxim 18, Morality, it says, "A jedi does not force their values upon others." So what this does not mean is that we will proselytize to people who doubt the supernatural part of our existence about the virtues of the Force. We are not to bring our faith to the doubters. So what does this mean?

To me there are really two ways to apply bringing faith where there is doubt. One is to have faith in yourself. When you are plagued by the internal voice of doubt, do better instead. Keep pushing forward. When you're ready to give up on a goal, instead, have faith. Replace your doubt with faith, and know that the Force is with you.

The other way is to have that same faith in others. When someone you know, or happen to meet and talk to feels discouraged, is despairing, demonstrate, or tell them how much faith you have in them. Obviously if they're intent on giving up you can't drag everyone in the world to the place they want to be, but maybe you tell enough people that they shouldn't give up, that you have every confidence in them, that their doubt is unwarranted. Demonstrate the faith you have in people enough, and maybe that will be the push that some of them will need to get back on their feet. And if even one person, even if it's you, perseveres through their challenges and has faith in the hard times, then haven't we lived up to enveloping life in the positivity of our thoughts and actions? Having faith when others, or ourselves, are doubting is how we are providers and beacons of hope. Do it enough, and we have done our part to create that more harmonious society.

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