Firstly, I’d like to thank you all for attending. It’s an honor to “stand” before and among you today. Not only have I just been Knighted and Ordained, but I’ll now be delivering my first Live Sermon.
I’d like to begin this service with a few moments of silent meditation, contemplation, prayer...whatever seems right to you, individually, in order to feel centered, relaxed, and present.
Like most sermons I’ve written, this one comes out of recent experiences and contemplation in my own life. This time, I’ve had the opportunity to be an open ear to several different people dealing with several different problems in their lives.
These people are nearly all people I consider family, whether through blood or bond, so it doesn’t take being a Jedi to make me want to make time to help them; however, as a Jedi, I tend to try to use what I have learned to ease their journey.
I’d like to draw attention to the thirteenth of the sixteen teachings in our doctrine: “Jedi cultivate empathy. We try to view things from another’s perspective, making us sensitive listeners. We provide the confidence people need when talking through their difficulties and we share our learning with those who would benefit. We do this to help create a more harmonious society. “
In these recent opportunities to be a “sensitive listener,” I’ve learned that when one allows the listening to do the talking (as paradoxical as that sounds), the right words to provide confidence come forth more easily.
That is to say, if one is truly listening with an empathetic ear, remaining present and trying to understand the perspectives that are involved, then they will not feel as if they are grabbing in the dark for what to say in response to what the person they are listening to has said.
In most of the problems that I’ve been trying to help people with, the pain being experienced is from a change that the person doesn’t want or isn’t ready for yet. Simply pointing this out and expecting them to be done with it doesn’t do much good, though; knowing why a knife can cut you doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Instead, when they’ve asked for advice, I try to go at it less directly; but trying to [b]think[/b] of the perfect thing to say all the time can make one end up speaking in poorly-written koans, and no one wants that.
There seems to be a balanced medium in being an active and intuitive listener, which allows the listener (Jedi or not) to understand the speakers situation in a way that gives the listener the ability to speak what they feel, rather than simply what they think. This seems to be more meaningful, helpful, and learning-driven than any spur-of-the-moment bit of “intellectual” conjuration I’ve ever come up with.
Again, this is all just personal experience. It’s possible that none of this may seem as ground-breaking to the rest of you as it does to me, but it isn’t every day that I get asked for advice, and when I do, I try to learn from the experience as well as do what I can to help whomever is asking.
I see such situations has opportunities for growth at both ends of the conversation. In such particular situations as these it really does become apparent that interpersonal relationships and the quality of the bonds between ourselves and others in our lives are very important factors in the thirteenth teaching’s mention of “creation of a more harmonious society.”
I’d like to close this service with another short period of meditation, contemplation, prayer, or whatever seems right to each of you, and then you may join in with the recitation of the Jedi Creed, if you choose.
I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred I shall bring love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
I am a Jedi.
I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The Force is with me always, for I am a Jedi.
I thank each of you for attending, and may the Force with with you all.