Meditating on Doctrine: One Pieace at a Time

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6 years 6 months ago #304161 by
Day 21: Where there is despair, hope.

Despair is defined as the complete loss or absence of hope. I've been tempted to despair before, and for me personally it has consistently come from considerations about things that I think will impact my life, but that I have no control over. So how can we offer hope to the despairing? I was able to pull myself out of it, but it can be a powerful sensation. I think applying Maxim 13 could be the best way, cultivate empathy. I know having worked in healthcare you can get overwhelmed, a potential precursor to despair, and I've vented to nurses, nurses have vented to me, yesterday I saw a member of the housekeeping staff venting to a nurse, and she stood by and listened. In a high-stress environment like that everyone needs someone to listen sometimes. When people are despairing, sometimes that may be the best we can do.

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6 years 6 months ago #304213 by
Day 22: Where there is darkness, light.

I don't take this literally. That might go without saying, but if not literal darkness then what is meant by this? Darkness is a very broad concept, but ultimately anything that could be called dark or light comes down to positivity and negativity. Where there is action taken that would lead to a negative outcome in my life, or the life of someone else, I will act to bring a more positive resolution. Where words are spoken designed to have a negative impact, I will speak something more positive into the situation.

I find that this is often difficult to do. We are conditioned in modern society to "mind our own business" at all times aren't we? We might often look at a situation and think we don't want to become entangled with it, we don't want to get involved, but as Jedi we are to have courage, the will to act, and we are to be fearless, to live with no self-imposed limitations. I have failed in this regard before. I have seen an opportunity to bring light into a dark situation, and walked right by it. I spent time over the next week considering what I could have done differently. It's not easy, because doing this might mean approaching people you've never met who are angry, and the average person would probably walk right by. But in these moments are opportunities. The opportunity to make an impact, the opportunity for sacrifice. And when you carry that torch into that dark situation The Force goes with you. More is happening that what we perceive with our senses, and there is no call for fear.

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6 years 5 months ago #304503 by
Day 23: Where there is sadness, joy.

This is another item I have seen in action first hand. When someone is ailing, upset, maybe even on the edge and all they want to do is focus on their misery, I will usually try and change the subject and make them laugh. This works better for sadness than it does for anger. I feel like it would be easier to make me laugh when I'm sad than it would when I'm angry. But this is one way we can also satisfy the previous line of the creed, where there is darkness, bring light. I've been shocked at the difference I've seen a little laughter make in someone's day. It may not be easy, but it's well worth it.

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6 years 5 months ago #304583 by
Day 24: I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console.

I am skipping the line "I am a Jedi," because I feel like that is what this entire exercise is about. The second section of the creed is about sacrifice. Teaching ten is Jedi serve in many ways. Service to others ultimately boils down to sacrifice. If we are to make this world better, make our lives committed to humanity and promoting a more harmonious society, then our lives must become the sacrifice placed upon the altar of the world. It's not always going to be something big. Odds are our life will not be taken from us suddenly by acting as a guardian of peace, but it's a thousand small acts throughout the day, one insignificant sacrifice after another that ultimately add up to making the world a better place. We need to find peace with that within ourselves before venturing out into the world. We are not to stay cloistered inside on the Temple website, or feel sorrow at the fact that our lives are not leisurely, but when we see someone ailing, offer a shoulder, offer a kind word. Even if they proceed to spit on your face and tell you that you know nothing of their struggle and they don't need your compassion, never stop showing up to console the hurting in an ailing world. Everyone has issues. Everyone has issues all the time, and if we just take advantage of the opportunities to sacrifice a little bit of our time to console the hurt when the chance arises, we get the satisfaction of knowing that we have helped another in need, and our lives, our sacrifice, becomes that much more fulfilling.

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6 years 5 months ago #304676 by
Day 25: To be understood as to understand.

Forgoing the desire to be understood is another form of sacrifice. This world is not about what you get out of it, it's about the value you add to it. Understanding takes patience. I had a run-in with that recently. I'm currently working on my web development skill set, and I had a project I'd been working on for four days that had me completely stumped as to why it didn't work. Turns out there was one detail of a JavaScript toolset called jQuery that I didn't understand. Once I understood that one detail, it was easy to put the pieces I already had written in the right places to make it work. This is a more mechanical, less personal example, but the same concept is certainly applicable to people as well. Specifically, other people don't need to understand why you're willing to sacrifice your time, or whatever else, to empathize and take the time to understand them. It is in doing so that we protect and enhance their peace, and develop interpersonal artistic unity: a sense of harmony among all parts, creating a sense of wholeness and completion.

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6 years 5 months ago #304758 by
Day 26: To be loved as to love.

There are several things I could reiterate here. About Sacrifice, selflessness, living the doctrine. Except that this one is more important than the others. Do not go seeking to be loved, don't follow the Jedi doctrine to gain the approval of others, but rather in doing so, demonstrate your love to others. Love isn't something you feel for people you're close to or share substantial amounts of genetic material with. Very often love can be a choice. Choosing to behave in a way that shows someone they matter, that someone cares about them, that they are important.

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6 years 5 months ago #304830 by
Day 27: Fot it is in giving that we receive.

It's easy to be selfish. Why me? Why do I need to sacrifice? Why should it be me who sacrifices? The last few lines of the creed dig into that. It is in giving, that we receive. What do we receive? Look at Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." The truth is we don't see the benefit of our sacrifice immediately. We might feel some satisfaction at doing something good for another. Do it enough and it certainly adds up. We starting getting a more positive attitude. We feel good. But that's not all we receive. Frank Bailey had dreams, he had goals, and when it came crunch time, he sacrificed that for the little people of Bedford Falls. It's a great illustration of this very concept, and that's a big reason why this movie has endured over generations. Then when he's at the end of his rope, all the rapport he's built, and loyalty he's gained over the years comes back to him in a big way. Every time you sacrifice, every time you give of yourself, you are making a deposit in an account for your future. Whatever you put in it will come back for you. This has been called the principle of sowing and reaping, it's been called karma, but the bottom line is what you put into life, life will come around and give back to you. So even if you don't see something immediately coming your way, other than the pride in doing the right thing, it is in giving that we receive.

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6 years 5 months ago #304886 by
Day 28: It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.

This takes me right back to the issue of grudges. If we don't forgive someone who we perceive has wronged us, it's we who suffer, not them. In the act of pardoning them, we are released from the hold of bitterness.

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6 years 5 months ago #305154 by
Day 29: And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This line speaks to me of sacrifice. Not necessarily physical death, but the giving of our life to others. The modern western perception of sacrifice is one of reluctance, and mourning. If we are to truly serve in many ways, sacrifice is a must. For a service to another to be genuine, it must be a sacrifice. If you pretend to act for the benefit of another, while only thinking about what you get in return, that's not sacrifice. It turns into quid pro quo. When you can make your whole life about opportunities for meaningful sacrifice, all that is gonna come back to you.

I love in Song of Ice and Fire, and I imagine its TV adaptation named after the first book of the series, the phrase Valar Morghulis, Valar Dohaeris. All men must die, all men must serve. And it should be true. Even as we look for ways to prolong our life, even unto immortality, I've always felt that we need to be able to die. We need to die some time. So if that's our end game no matter what, why shouldn't we take risks for the benefit of those around us? Live with Courage, Fearlessness? Those are maxims 5 and 8. If we walk in the knowledge of our own death, that's how we truly live for the time we've got. If we detach ourselves from our physical selves, and seek to walk in the Force, our daily activities become spiritual exercises, rather than physical tedium. Walk thus, and know that the Force is with you, and life will come in such abundance, that it's easy to make the sacrifices.

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6 years 5 months ago #305217 by
Day 30: 1. Jedi are in touch with the Force. We are open to spiritual awareness and keep our minds in tune with the beauty of the world. We are forever learning and open our minds to experiences and knowledge of ourselves and others.

To grow closer to the force we need to detach ourselves from our physical existence. Every exercise, every action we take should be done not because of physical requirement, in the realization that whatever driving forces are behind our actions it is really the movements of the Force. A spirit of gratitude, humility, and sacrifice is what I most frequently try to accomplish to maintain my connection to the Force. It is less of a bond, and more of an understanding.

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