Depending on where you go in the Jedi community, there is much talk of martial arts. If we take the fiction as our starting point, it goes without saying that those we emulate were competent in various forms of martial arts designed specifically for them ( forms I-VII). While we emulate the Jedi, and the practice of martial arts is certainly not without merit, it occurs to me that the application of the physical portions of martial arts can only occur in a narrow space (you or someone in your vicinity is in danger and you have exhausted all other options).

The same is not true of communication. The need for that has become more evident given the state of affairs.. But this is much broader than mediation between two or more parties. As it is broader, so it requires more considerations and a greater refining of skills. Before we can begin to talk about communication and improving our skills with it, we need to look at its purpose.

Human beings are social creatures and our success and survival depends on how well we employ the skill of communication. Each time we communicate, we can strengthen, weaken, or sever the connection between ourselves and another, or several others. In other words, we create, strengthen, weaken or destroy relationships. Not only this, but the way we communicate can also strengthen, weaken, or destroy other people. The old adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is not only wrong, but can create the sort of deep, dark and dank spaces in our mind and spirit which, though they still affect our self concept and our actions, are buried too deep or too frightening to shine a light on.

As Jedi, we certainly want to assist others in their journey to deal with some of the deep, dark places, but just as importantly, we don't want to be the cause of their (continued) pain. Here are some things to consider in your communication with others:

1. Your words have power and weight

This is true for everyone in the world, but not everyone is aware of it. I am telling you so that you are aware and without excuse. As a Jedi, your words must be measured against the potential impact of their weight and power. This requires awareness, self-discipline, a willingness to be corrected, and years of honing.

2. People respond to the words used around them, about them, and directed to them

Like the thrust of a lightsaber, so our words are. They inspire action, reaction or inaction. When we use our words to build up others we build them up. When we use our words to tear down others, they are torn down. Its simple. If we want to inspire an action, a perception, a thought or a change, we need only to speak with that intent in mind.  Sometimes, though, we may not be aware of the affect of our words, but that does not diminish it.  We are creating the world in which we exist and the relationships we enjoy or do not, first by our words. Other people are doing this as well and their words and yours are affecting you in ways you may or may not be aware of. Spend time meditating in order to make yourself aware of the ways words affect you.  Consider your mental or emotional reactions to certain words. What images, thoughts, or feelings do they bring up for you? Spending time considering these can help prepare you for the next consideration.

3. If someone says "Your words hurt me" you don't get to decide that they didn't

The idea that we ought to "grow up", "get a thicker skin", "not take things so personal" or "not get so easily offended" can cause us to hide emotional wounds for years because we feel our experience is being belittled. But phrases like this don't solve the situation and are a direct result of individuals trying to save face. The world uses those phrases. We are, by our training, set a part from the world in the way that we interact with it.  Our typical response may be to justify what we have said, but our attempts at justification prevent communication and don't deal with the wound.As Jedi, when we hurt another with our words, our first response should be an effort at restoration, beginning with an apology.

Putting it into Practice

Spend time this week completing the following meditative exercise: During meditation consider what words for you have powerful associations. You may even write them down, but sit with them for a while. Let yourself experience whatever those words bring up. Spending time doing this will allow you to develop empathy which will aid in communication. To exercise empathy we don't need to have had the same experience. We only need to be prepared to have similar feelings. So allow yourself to feel the fear, to feel the joy, to feel the anger, or the sadness. Knowing yourself aids in communication with others.

Comments (8)

  1. JLSpinner

Very good Ros. This consideration is both inward and outward however. We must learn to discover the intent of the written word rather than assume.

I will meditate on the subject. Thank you.

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  1. Atticus

Wonderful message, Ros. The practical exercise you gave is one that we all should put into practice. Thank you.

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  1. Reliah

This is beautiful Ros. The temple and its members are so lucky to have you, your sweet spirit, your genuine love and concern, and your voice. After meeting you in person and being able to see and hear your thoughts regarding things... I just...

This is beautiful Ros. The temple and its members are so lucky to have you, your sweet spirit, your genuine love and concern, and your voice. After meeting you in person and being able to see and hear your thoughts regarding things... I just can't help but feel hopeful for not only the future of TotJO, but the Jedi path as a whole.
Thank you for everything you do..

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  1. Dechlain

Thank you so much for this, Ros! As Steamboat often says, "words mean things". It would do for all of us to remember this before responding to a journal post without first giving it some thought and consideration. I hope to see a kinder,...

Thank you so much for this, Ros! As Steamboat often says, "words mean things". It would do for all of us to remember this before responding to a journal post without first giving it some thought and consideration. I hope to see a kinder, gentler interaction here at TOTJO in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

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  1. Tarran

Hey, this was quite insightful... thanks! ^_^

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  1. KalSterner

Excellent sermon. And even as you've stated given the state of worldly affairs I agree that the ability to communicate has a more keen edge towards change than a fight or war would. Thank you I look forward to the exercise it sounds illuminating.

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  1. Moon Child

This was an excellent sermon! Thank you for sharing your words with us all!

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  1. lefo

I liked the sermon very much. Thank you, Ros. There is another aspect to keep in mind as well, and that is Cognitive Dissonance. The following provided by Wikipedia:

n the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort...

I liked the sermon very much. Thank you, Ros. There is another aspect to keep in mind as well, and that is Cognitive Dissonance. The following provided by Wikipedia:

n the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person's performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.

In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. That a person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance: either by changing parts of the cognition, to justify the stressful behavior; or by adding new parts to the cognition that causes the psychological dissonance; and by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information that are likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.


This can take anyone by surprise during a discussion/conversation. Our minds, flowing through the Universe as they are, are constantly working to interpret data all the time. A viewpoint shared by some may not be agreed upon by another. It's important to make sure we never attempt to destroy another person's reality. Maybe guide and assist if needed, but never destroyed. You might also find that others will attempt to change your views, and they might consider your viewpoints to be incorrect. Be prepared to accept their treaties if they persist, and if they make you uncomfortable, do as Ros says and meditate on why. We all have this issue. No one is immune. If we react to it in an attempt to grow and expand ourselves, then we are on the right path. If we don't, we will forever misunderstand ourselves and others. Words meant in the kindest sense can have an adverse reaction unintentionally. Ros' teachings about this are spot on.

I personally hope that I understood the Sermon properly, and I will meditate on this.

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