One Jedi and the Jedi Code
Emotion, yet Peace.
Ignorance, yet Knowledge.
Passion, yet Serenity.
Chaos, yet Harmony.
Death, yet the Force.
We read them often. We share them, quote them, recite them. We live by them. Yet, sometimes the meaning is lost or confused. So I ask you today to follow with me in exploring the meaning of the original Jedi code. I do not do this as an authority. I do not do this to preach. I do this in hopes that we can find new wisdom together and strengthen our understanding of ourselves and the Force.
Emotion, yet Peace. From the moment we are born into this world, many of us come in kicking and screaming. All of these different sensations and experiences inspiring a sundry of feelings. Every moment bringing something new. As we grow older we start to recognize patterns and we become accustomed to familiar stimuli. Yet everyday we are affected by the events of our lives. This is what feelings are. This is how our brains and bodies work. Our emotions are a response, a very physical response, to what is happening to us in our lives. Much like our sense of sight, smell, touch, hearing, or taste our feelings help us to understand the moment inside and outside of ourselves.
Emotions themselves have no intentions or purposes. Our actions are our own to decide. If we react to our feelings without examining the aspects of that choice it isn’t our emotions fault. They aren’t some intelligence hoping to thwart our character. They are chemical reactions in our brain that were created because of something that happened. They are also created because of our thoughts. Just thinking has the potential to create a strong emotional reaction.
So how do we find peace within our emotional selves? We can’t stop our emotions any more than we can stop the tides from rising or the sun from setting. So what can we do? What I’ve found to be a solid answer is mindfulness. When we are aware of our thoughts and what we are feeling we can make better decisions, causing less conflict. We can feel our emotions and then let them go when they are no longer relevant or necessary. Peace won’t be found dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Peace comes from being present.
Ignorance, yet Knowledge. Life is filled with experiences for us to learn and grow. Everyday has opportunity. When we put our attention into what we are doing we can learn so much. We can find areas where we could use more information or more experience. In my experience the most important aspect of this line of the code is honesty and an open mind.
Ignorance is not something to be ashamed of. Ignorance is simply the lack of knowing and we all have areas that we are ignorant in. It requires honesty with yourself to understand and to be okay with the fact that we don't know everything. But we should always seek to learn, to experience. And we must be honest with ourselves on why. Do we seek knowledge to seem clever? Are we fueled by our fragile ego?
Keeping an open mind also depends on being honest with your self. We must be open to the realization that others will know more than we do. We must be open to the realization that we WILL be wrong. We must be open to the fact that it’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to not know. The only fault would be letting our ego get in the way of a learning experience or worse affect others in a negative way.
Passion, yet Serenity. We all have our passions. Those things that make us feel fulfilled and joyful. Like Joseph Campbell said “ follow your bliss”. Do what makes you “you”. I personally love to create things. Writing stories, drawing, creating video games, building fortresses with my son’s Legos. A lesson I learned the hard way was the difference between following your passion and letting your passion rule you.
Passion by definition involves strong emotional attachment. There it is. I just said the “A” word and half of you flinched. ;) It is easy to lose accountability of ourselves when our passion is involved. It’s easy to sacrifice sleep, community, friends, or responsibility for the chance to be engulfed in our bliss again. It’s far too easy. I’m extremely guilty of this myself.
This is why it is important to free from our thoughts. Living in a state of Serenity, of being at peace in the moment, free from distraction. Be here. Be now. Do what is relevant. What is necessary. Don’t grow irritated when something gets between us and our passions. This is a result of our desire for gratification. Nothing more, though it feels like it. The emotions involved with our Passions are not to be underestimated.
Chaos, yet Harmony. Life is chaos. The world is chaos. We are chaos. We can’t control what happens or who does what. Sometimes we can’t even control ourselves. The things around us are in constant motion. Shifting, changing, growing, and dying. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes life is down right scary. In this madhouse we call life, how can we possibly achieve harmony?
I work in management and leadership and it is a mess. No matter how hard I try to make a plan and stick too it…well Murphy’s law. My time here at the Temple has helped me create a comprehensive system designed to be impervious to disasters and surprises in the form of a flow chart. I’ll share my secret with you now;
Can you do anything to fix it? If yes then do it. Adapt. If not, don’t worry about it. Adapt.
You see everything changes. There are too many variables and moving pieces to try and make sense of it. And like a broken record I’ll repeat the importance of being aware of the moment. Because the moment is always changing. It’s always new. We may not be able to control that but we can choose how to respond to it. This is how we find harmony. By finding peace in the moment and adapting to the current of life. Imagine yourself in a sailboat out on the sea. You can set your sails to go in one direction but if you don’t adapt to the winds you will find yourself off course, or worse capsized. There will be times when you have to hide the sails wait out the storm. There will be times when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. This is the nature of living.
Death, yet the Force. Ask 10 Jedi what the Force is and you’ll receive 10 different answers. It’s a beautiful thing. It can also be frustrating. So I caution now that I will be speaking of my own experiences and my own opinions. I also invite you to share yours with me.
To me, the Force is the world. It’s the experience, the physical, the unexplainable. It’s all encompassing. There is so much involved with the Force, with living, that I don’t worry about death. I live my life doing the best that I can and I’m confident that whatever comes will be deserving of what I do right now. What happens is not something I can gleam or know. What I can do is leave the world better than the way it was when I got here.
Perhaps I will be born again. Perhaps I will find an after life. Perhaps it truly is the end of the line. I wasn’t scared or in pain before I was born and I can’t imagine it being worse after I die. So instead of fretting about the ineffable, I choose to work with the Force. I choose to comfort and to aid. I choose to forgive and to love. I choose because this is something I can actually control. Whatever happens will happen. There is no changing that.