Can’t Be A Jedi If You Are Not Willing To Do The Work
It is the onus of everyone on the Jedi Path to answer the question that Master Yoda posed to Luke Skywalker on Dagobah: “Why wish you become Jedi?” Or if we don’t talk like a fictional Jedi Master, “Why are you here? What is your purpose for being a Jedi?” The answer does not have to be complex, and I am sure all Jedi of quality will have a different but similar answer. I hope your answer is something aspirational.
All Jedi of Quality should have the aspiration of improving the world. As Jedi, we do this by being a beneficial force within our sphere of influence. But if we are to improve the world, we must first improve ourselves. This self-betterment should be an ongoing process for Jedi of quality. We never get to the point where we brush our hands together and say, “that’s it. That is as good as I can get. No more need to train.” But the goal is to be the best version of ourselves that we can be in the here and now. This means always striving to improve ourselves physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. This improvement does not come from a half-hearted effort. This improvement does not come from watching and reading all the Star Wars Media you can. It takes training. It takes work. Can’t be a Jedi if you are not willing to do the work.
And let’s be honest, many people claiming to be a Jedi simply do not want to put in the work. Maybe they want a title. But being a Jedi is not about titles. Maybe they advertise that the work is too hard for them by calling themselves Grey Jedi or some other label that they feel is not such a high standard.
The Jedi Path website and Facebook Page is not about this. If you are not here to do the work, then I ask again as Yoda asked Luke when they met on Dagobah, “I am wondering, why are you here?” To make things fair, I will say why I am here.
I created the Jedi Path website many years ago when I thought I had enough of a handle on being a real-life Jedi that I might have something to share. I am here because I hope that what I have learned through the struggle of the work of becoming a Jedi of quality can benefit others on the path. As Jedi Padawan Corey S. Vespa of California Jedi once said, “The Jedi Path changes as we move through it.” While I started this website while I was solo-training, yet getting plugged into the community of California Jedi, and the wider Jedi Community, my training became more fruitful, because I had other Jedi to help guide me, as well as Jedi that knew the history of the community, and how Jedi all over the world have moved the path forward. By building community and record of my own thoughts, a new Jedi does not have to start from nothing. They do not have to do the hard work of figuring stuff out on their own. Not only do we have Jedi community, we have Jedi history. The first time I met Jedi Opie Macleod of Jedi Living, I had crammed his book, “The Jedi Religion” the night before. In our discussion, I mentioned that nearly everything in the book I had come up with on my own for Jedi Path and my own training. He told me that given the same source material, and sincere effort, we all end up in the same place. But in the history of the Jedi community, we have learned what works and what does not. What has benefit and utility, and what is cruft. These are things that new Jedi do not have to learn for themselves on their own, we have a community to guide them. And this site, I hope is a guide. I am not the same Jedi that wrote the early essays on this site, I have grown, as we together have moved through the Jedi Path it has changed, and we have changed with it.
Part of the work I have done to be a Jedi of quality was unlearning oppressive behaviors, a process that took a decade and a half so far and is ongoing. There is no short cut to this. It takes self-reflection, self-examination, meditation, and the hard work to change. Like Socrates is quoted as saying, “An unexamined life is not fit to live for a human being.” It is my hope that all Jedi take that quote to heart. It is my experience that our most oppressive attitudes and behaviors exist because they are unexamined. Do this self-examination is difficult work and demands the utmost in self-honesty. If you are to do this work, we cannot allow ourselves to lie to ourselves. Often being confronted that we have oppressive behaviors or attitudes is a shock. Often the first reaction is defensive such as, “I did not mean it in a racist way.” But this is a lie we tell ourselves to preserve our ego. It is a very uncomfortable feeling, but it is a feeling we must sit with, and not dismiss if we are going to do the work of unlearning oppressive behaviors. Many people, some of them claiming to be Jedi never get past that first step. Instead, the defenses come up. They try to use intellect to show how the expectation to not be oppressive is flawed somehow. They try to find fault anywhere but within themselves. They dig in with the denial that they can be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or have any other forms of bigotry.
If you want to be counted among the Jedi of quality, it comes with a responsibility. We must defend those that need defending. We must work towards equanimity and justice in our sphere of influence. We must not sit on the sidelines when others suffer because we think it is “too political”. We must put in the work, daily in bettering ourselves so that we may better the world. If you do not want to take on this responsibility and still call yourself a Jedi, I have one question for you: “Why are you here?”