Today I feel both inspired and compelled to record some thoughts on the current environment within our Temple.
Over the last few weeks I have read a number of posts and witnessed a number of interactions that indicate there is a disturbing undercurrent of frustration, disappointment, anger, and discouragement within these walls. It is easy to become focused on the negativity and feel like we are failing as Jedi, as a church, and as a community. This surge of negative energy sometimes feels like it is a current impossible to swim against, as if no amount of compassion can counter it. This cannot become the norm here. We must resist this urge to see only the flaws. We cannot surrender to these darker inclinations. We must recommit ourselves to being beacons of light. Perhaps most importantly, we must remain genuine.
As I examine some of the situations I see here, it occurs to me that the very behavior we are complaining about is behavior we are all capable of displaying ourselves. We argue about what to do about this so called misbehavior. We try to enact new policies or write new rules. We vent our frustration publicly and we are passive aggressive in our interactions with those we see as "others". We try to make everyone else as we would like them to be. We play semantic games and we debate in circles, all the while forgetting that there are other human beings on the other side of the conversation. Genuine human beings.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to both recognize and encourage genuine behavior here. Genuinely acting, speaking, and feeling is core to what being "Jedi" is to me. That means we must accept when we are overcome by emotion, despite our strong desire for peace. We must accept when our patience fails us. We must be genuine in our apologies and we must celebrate our small victories. We should seem happy when we are happy and let people see when we are hurting. We can be honest with each other when we feel attacked or betrayed. In short, we should feel comfortable being human.
When moments like this arise in our Temple, as they will now and again, I revisit our Doctrine and I remind myself of what is important. Here are a few particularly relevant pieces today... 9. Jedi have integrity. We are authentic to what we believe and are open, honest and true to our purpose and our minds. We remove all masks to reveal ourselves as courageous and noble of heart. We do not hide from fear of damage to our image because we know that our image cannot be blemished from the words and actions of others. 11. Jedi are mindful of their thoughts. We recognise the beauty in others and we provide help to those who come seeking it. Through our benevolent actions we strengthen not only ourselves but also our communities. Jedi act without prejudice.
12. Jedi believe that love and compassion are central to their lives. We must love and care for each other as we must love and care for ourselves; by doing this we envelop all life in the positivity of our actions and thoughts. We are providers and beacons of hope. 13. 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.
14. Jedi are guardians of peace. We believe in helping all those that are in need, in whatever form, to the best of our ability. We recognise that sometimes providing help requires courage in the face of adversity but understand that conflict is resolved through peace, understanding and harmony.
The most important reminder I have for you today is that I am alive and so are you. But for the miracles of modern medicine and a lot of positive energy, I could be dead from cancer right now, but I am not. I am alive, and I am grateful for every moment of it. Especially the moments when I am tested by those who seek to frustrate or annoy me. Especially the moments when others question my will and my faith. Especially when I am questioned as a Jedi. It is in these moments that I discover who I really am and how the world could see me. It is in these moments that I am my genuine self.
So, if I may offer some advice to anyone reading this today, it would be this. Be your genuine self! Allow others to be themselves as well. Do not despair when others do not act the way you would have them act. Rejoice in the fact that they are a part of your Path, but also able to experience their own. Do not be angry at the person who nitpicks your beliefs and argues incessantly. Learn from them and forgive them. Do not get frustrated with people who question your position or your moral authority. Thank them for giving you reason to examine your own position more carefully. Do not give up on your fellow Jedi in their moment of weakness. They will be the one's holding you up during your next one. Let's embrace our brothers and sisters and our Temple as it is, not how we believe it should be. This is the real us. This is genuine. This is exactly as the Force would have it be. Never forget that, and never lose faith.
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I honestly enjoyed this sermon and while being genuine and having good character makes a world of difference. However, change is natural and cannot be stopped if this change is to help others progress then I hope that much changes. Change the way...
I honestly enjoyed this sermon and while being genuine and having good character makes a world of difference. However, change is natural and cannot be stopped if this change is to help others progress then I hope that much changes. Change the way things are done can help the church and the Jedi within but it can hurt it to. I suggest that when you wish to change something be mindful of what it affects. Sure it can help you but it can also damage those around you as well. If you wish to change things be mindful and have others interest at heart and receive feedback on what they did and dis not like. I hope this helps when you wish to change something.
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