Tuesday, 28 May 2013

"Living in the Moment" - Why I am Content with Where I Am in Life

Hello all, and welcome to another installment of The Ways of the Force! Tonight, I wanted to share some thoughts I've been having lately regarding life, the universe and everything. It has to do with the concept of mindfulness; a concept that forms a central part in a lot of different human spiritual paths, and one that has even worked its way into the common vernacular. In our crazy busy work-a-day world, such a concept may seem radical, but it is also essential for our mental sanity in a world plagued with financial crises, emotional turmoil and conflict.

Before I continue, I should explain a little about my own life at this point in time. I'm 25, recently graduated from a Masters program in History from a small Canadian university, and I'm currently working for our local cable company. I had gone to school to be a teacher, and hoped even to some day teach at the university level, but as often happens, life had other plans for my mid-twenties. I know many other young people my age who are in a similar position, and by all accounts, the global financial crisis has created a job market in Canada which is difficult to break into. Given all this, you would think that I would be upset and feeling as though I was not living up to my full potential. Granted, I have my moments (I may be a Jedi, but I'm also still human!), but to be honest, in a strange way I feel more inner peace than I thought I would given the situation. This is because to me, work is only the tip of the iceberg of the things that matter in life. Sure, money may be tight sometimes, but I can honestly say I like my job, I love the people I work with, and I have friends and family who I love and who love me. This might not be true to the "American dream" of Western civilization, but I think it teaches a valuable lesson. Would I like to be teaching? Absolutely, but amid all the hardships of life, we need to remember to be thankful for the things that we have and for where we are at this very moment.

There is a scene in the movie Star Trek: Insurrection that makes me think of the concept of mindfulness. Picard and the Ba'ku woman he had fallen for in this installment were talking and she explained to him that her people had learned to explore the vast universes that existed within even a single moment of time. To me, there is no better explanation of the importance of mindfulness. Living in the moment is essential not only because it makes us appreciate our lives all the more, but it also represents a chance to achieve some peace and connection with the Force in our daily lives. It's a chance to feel the healing energy of the universe if even for a moment, and realize that "okay, maybe I don't have everything I want right now, but there's time for that, and what I do have right now is really great!"

In closing, I'd like to share a thought I've always had about life. After being raised Catholic and embarking on a spiritual journey through which I've explored many belief systems, I've come to a conclusion. Whatever your faith, whatever you may believe happens after death (if anything at all), all any of us knows beyond a reasonable doubt is that we have this present life. I believe in reincarnation and rejoining the Force, my step-mother believes in Heaven, and others have many diverse beliefs in between, but can any of us know for sure that we are right? No, and in light of this, it is important not to waste our lives always pining for the next great achievement without taking time to be appreciative of what we have. It's important to aspire to better ourselves, but it is also important to be mindful of the moment and all that comes with it. To truly find a balance of the two is precisely what it means to be a Jedi, and it is a journey we will all be on for our entire lives.

Blessed be, Namaste, and May the Force be with you all!

Master Mike

Sunday, 26 May 2013

My Thoughts on the Jedi Code

I know I just started this blog, but there is something else which I felt had to be written about, and that is the Jedi Code. It is the foundation upon which being a Jedi is built, and I first found my way to it early in my Pagan studies. Shortly after I found out I was an energy conduit, I realized that I needed to find an inner peace and balance for my energies or else I would expend too much of my own energy. It was because of this that I seriously began embracing the Jedi path, and the first step, of course, is the Code. So, without further ado, here it is, along with my musings on it.

There is no emotion, there is Peace.

This precept cannot be interpreted literally. Emotion is, of course, an essential element of human nature. What this part of the Code advocates beyond all else is not the expulsion of all emotion (we are not Vulcans after all), but rather the healthy integration of emotions into our every day lives. All of us are human, and as such we have emotions, but what this precept warns against is allowing our emotions to consume us. Wicca and Paganism teach us that the universe exists in balance, and this teaching reminds us to apply this balance to our emotional lives as well. After all, the first step to mastering the manipulation of the energies of the universe is to master one’s own energies and seeking the balance within.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

This precept teaches us one very important thing. Namely, that there is only ignorance in the absence of knowledge. The cure for all racism, sexism, and discrimination of all forms in the world is knowledge. Learning about and embracing our differences is the key to appreciating each other as human beings. To acquire knowledge allows us to grow and expand our connection to the universe because, after all, no knowledge is harmful; it merely helps us to fulfill our own potential and that of the human race as a whole.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

This precept is a reiteration of the first one with a twist. Again, it is not that passion is bad. As humans, we all have passions; relationships, hobbies, interests, etc. What is dangerous, however, is to allow said passions to consume us. We have all been so deeply involved in our own passions that, at some point or another, we have shut out the outside world. What this precept teaches us is not to ignore our passions or repress them, but rather to embrace them and integrate them into our lives in a healthy way. It is okay to feel strongly and love, but one must always strive to retain one’s internal balance.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

This precept is an important one. A scientific understanding of the universe teaches us that it is vast, complex and seemingly random. To atheists and anyone without a belief in a higher power, the universe exists as a random convergence of energies with no purpose whatsoever. Everything is random and nothing exists for any reason other than random happenstance. To one who believes in the Force/the Universe/Chi/Life Force/etc., however, this is not the case. What appears to be random to our linear, corporeal minds actually has a function and purpose beyond our understanding. Everything is made of energy, has an opposite, and a path, and therefore nothing is random. The energy of the universe functions as a single, elegant machine, and the only reason it appears chaotic at all is because we are only capable of viewing sections of it, not the whole. 

There is no death, there is the Force.

As living beings, we are all intertwined with the life force of all of existence. We exist and breathe with one breath, and we are all a part of an energy greater than ourselves. Quantum Physics tells us that the universe itself is made up of vibrating wavelengths of energy, whose differing vibrations make up all that is. Neuroscience takes it one step further, stating that the electromagnetic energy of our consciousness matches that of the universe itself in terms of frequency. All of this serves to remind us that while death may be the end of our corporeal existences, it is not the end of life. The energy that forms who we are rejoins the greater life force of all of existence, and all energy in the universe is recycled. In short, we are all one, despite what the conditions of our physical existence may tell us otherwise.

That's about it really. Together, these five precepts outline concisely what it is to walk the Jedi path...at least for me. I would love to hear the input of others on this though! 

Until next time!


Greetings all, and welcome to The Ways of the Force; a blog intended to help shed light on the Pagan and Jedi paths and what they mean (to me at least)! This journey has not been a simple or quick one, and I realize that many people will sneer when they hear me refer to myself sincerely as a Jedi. I can imagine such a conversation going something like this:

Person: But you can't be a Jedi!

Me: Why not?

Person: Because its fictional! It doesn't exist!

The thing is though, that while the Star Wars universe is most definitely a fictional place, some of the ideas George Lucas used for his movies are age-old and originate from some of the most ancient schools of thought in human history. The Jedi philosophy itself is a mix of Buddhist, Pagan, Christian, Taoist and Samurai concepts packaged neatly in a way that most movie audiences would find accessible. The Jedi path is therefore a distillation of several different belief systems which exist in our modern day. It is therefore entirely plausible to refer to oneself as a Jedi, and its core beliefs are actually quite sound. Many belief systems have put forward the idea of a universal energy which surrounds, binds and is created by everything in the universe, and that we are all one within it. Pagans refer to this as Magick, Pantheists refer to it as the Universe, and Jedi, of course, know it as the Force. Whatever you want to call it, however, the fact remains that the concept is an ancient one. No, real life Jedi do not wield lightsabers, wear robes in public or possess the ability to use telekinesis (though I will go into great depth about energy work later on in this blog!) nor do we profess to be able to do the things that the fictional Jedi can. The Star Wars movies are a modern mythology of sorts, and within those stories, some of us have found a framework upon which to hang our beliefs and ideas on the workings of the universe.

After all, as Master Qui Gon has famously said, "Your focus determines your reality." Will you all join me in exploring this new reality together?