Connor's Journal

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Connor created the topic: Connor's Journal

Hey y'all! This is another Texas Jedi here. I have recently realized that if I want to have people read my stuff, it needs to be easily accessible. As of yet, my training off-site blog has gotten little to no hits from anybody here. And, I don't blame you. I'm not subscribed to many of yours. So, I figured that starting here and now, I will double my classroom assignments here as well as on my blog. I will also just keep a "life" blog in this thread. Good for archival purposes. I will begin that when I am headed off to college in 4 days. It should be an amazing adventure. Don't be afraid to comment on anything. I LIVE for constructive criticism and help along the way.

You all are a family to me. :)

-Riddle.

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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

Ooooooooooo  more stuff to poke with a sharp stick ( in lieu of a lightsaber ) !

Naw.. just kidding.
Should be instructional for us all to see how you are progressing and you methods of training and copeing with 'life in general'.
Students teach the Teachers as much as the other way about.

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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

Kol... Thanks. haha.

BUT! Anyway, it's Monday and night and I only have 2 full days left here in Agg-town. I haven't done my meditations today yet. The deal is, whenever I take a day off, it gets really easy REALLY fast to forget about them. But, I do feel like I need a day off a week to just give that part of my body a rest. I am not to the point where I can do that constantly ALL the time. I am excited about getting further along in my courses. :) Tonight after I sign off, I will be going to my room and doing the first Awareness exercises with the blindfold and the just being aware one. Force 101 and Meditation 101 together are GREAT to do together. I will recommend it to every other student here. Today's project though, was to examine some "un"-canon Meditation study. If you go to ashlaknights.net/blogs/morivou/ , you can see me talking about this more in depth.  :trooper These methods, pretty general, apply to me. On a more personal note, I have also found that composition (musical) brings me naturally into a meditative state. Anybody who reads this, are there personal tasks that you're passionate about that put you in a meditative state? I'm curious to see how the rest of the world views this.

I listened to Jax on the Ashla Blog show. You should all listen to it. Whether you agree or disagree with the topics discussed, you will learn something about some perspective. I am also listening to another show Jax was on. I like it just as much, if not better. Some main point that I took from it was this: Religion teaches fear. I recall that when I was uber-christian, I lived in a state of constant guilt and fear. I am glad that I no longer live that way. If I wanted to bring it to a Jedi perspective, I could quote Qui Gon: "Be mindful of the Living Force". I am a FIRM believer of living in the moment. If I feared my actions, I am either thinking of the past or I am fearing the consequences of the future. I understand it's important to consider these things, even so I live it out. Lately, I have just been focusing on what I was doing then and there. A lot of that comes from that article I posted at Ashla. Just turning off the phone and music in the car and just driving. Things like that. It's a great thing. :)

Also, my weight loss is going well. I have lost 20 pounds in the past 6 weeks. That's very good. I just have to keep it there and then keep going. I don't want to bounce backwards. This would happen:  :plight

;)

-Riddle.

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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

I wrote a bit on my experience with my relationships today as a part of my Ashla training. The question was: how does your path fit with your relationships? Here's what I had to say:

My path has changed over the years. I first started recognizing an independent path when I was 12 years old. It’s only been 7 years since that time, but I have practiced many belief systems since. Each of these has given me a different perspective regarding how to live life. I have practiced Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Sithism over the years, and all of these created a very conflicting self-view that I had not been sure how to deal with. I know this is a tad digression, but I plead you’ll understand what I mean by conflicting paths. Because of all this, I had never been a very social person with my peers. I could talk to adults, but to the people around me, I was just Connor. I knew, though, that I cared more than to just be Connor. I wanted much more out of life than to skate by. I was ruining my chances by shutting out my family, friends, and everybody else that cared about me. I realized, at this point about 3 years ago, that I had to stop believing in everything and nothing at the same time. I needed to focus on a purpose for my life and I needed it soon before my teenage years flitted away while I stood watching. So, I made a drastic move. I rejected all of my beliefs except my Christian roots. This led me, in the Star Wars sense, to accept Jedi Realism as a belief. A year later, when I was 17, Jackie Meyer, my Jedi Master, helped me realize what I had done to myself by keeping a closed mind. I had been accepted by all of my friends, but I was not able to believe in truth. Do not misunderstand, I am not saying that the Christian belief system is invalid; I am just saying that I voided my chances at a pure belief because I was jaded by past choices and that was my main purpose for joining the faith. Joining a religion out of fear or anger is never a good idea. That’s exactly what I did. That is the back-story of my beliefs.

Jackie has helped me since then to shed what I believed out of fear from what I believed out of joy and balance. I may, someday, return to a Christian belief system. I am not sure, though. I have recently found myself without so much of a religion as a lifestyle. My current beliefs lie in the Jedi Path. It is a place I can relate to good people around me and a place where my Path is equal to a healthy lifestyle. I will focus on this part of my life (the past year or so) as an examination of my current relationship to those around me, and how my path has directly influenced those relationships.

So, my main focuses are compassion, individuality, and the freedom of expression in terms of creative vocation. With my family, I really hid a lot of individuality. I mean, they knew I was “different” in a good way, but when I lived with my parents, I had to hide a lot. I couldn’t be who I really wanted to be because I knew they were judgmental about it. I grew up in the Bible Belt, see? And, not being JUST a Christian wasn’t acceptable in my family. Still isn’t. I still have to censor myself sometimes. So, my path hinders my relationship with my family. Of course, that it something that I would love to change! I would very much be happy with some kind of understanding. I have not, yet, the will to confront them with this issue. Maybe with more independence and more time, I will garner the strength to address this issue. Next, I have a wonderful, open relationship with my friends. They do not really approve of what I do, but they seem to understand. My compassion and good will has always been a sign of comfort for them. I consider this a very good thing, because they could easily be closed-minded and my efforts would be for naught. I also do some healing, and I know they appreciate that from me. I also am open to going to church things with close, religious friends. I still have ties to the church. So, I enjoy the worship experience and the camaraderie. On the esotericism, though, I do not share this with my friends and I wouldn’t know how to if I tried. My problem is that my path has set me apart from many of my lay friends. Now, I don’t pretend to think I am better than they; I’m not. I simply think it’s a part of my life that I cannot share with them. So, it keeps me from doing all that I would like to. With my intimate relationships, it caused tension. She talked of marriage (obviously, I wasn’t ready) and she didn’t want me doing all of these crazy things. I did share everything with her. It didn’t go so well. But, at least she understood and respected me enough to back off when I needed her to. As to the usage of my path, I have been successful at garnering friendship and trust. My sense of duty and loyalty to those for whom I care allow me to love and enfold my family and friends. It has given me perspective not to judge and not to worry. It has given me truth when all I received was falsehood. I treat my friends like they are the Force itself. I let my thoughts flow through them and allow them to feel safe around me. With my family, I am an obvious confidant and loved one. It’s not a haughty confidence, but I do enjoy the attention and the trust.

At work and school, it has allowed me to excel in my product. I work hard and I don’t stop till the job is done. I was always a straight A student. I loved what I did. And, I will continue to do so in college. My path shows a lot of discipline, and it serves me very well in that capacity. I used to procrastinate a lot. No longer do I wait till the last minute. I prioritize (hence why this assignment is a few months late. ;) ), I try to keep everything in line, and I try to keep everything in perspective. It’s not all about me. I understand that. That’s why I am unique to those around me. I don’t judge from a pre-conceived perspective (at least, I try my hardest not to). My path is a difficult one to follow, though, and just for that reason. I am emotionally detached from my friends, even my close ones. They understand this and call me out on it all the time. They constantly remind me that I am not a machine. While I understand this as well, I do think there is merit in detachment in a relationship. That seems contradictory, but it is not. When I am a Jedi Knight, I hope that all of my friendships will be based off of this trust and loyalty. I want people not to see me as a human, but as a protector. Is this wrong? Am I getting to deep into this? I know my own perspective will change with time, as it always has, but one always has to wonder if this is the one that will stick. So, in that way, my path hinders my relationships. I am not sure, though, if I want relationships that go beyond this. That kind of attachment seems detrimental to what I want to accomplish. But, again, this may be marred by a lack of vision on my part. As an Ashla Apprentice, I will definitely explore this topic more and find out exactly what it is that I want. Thank you for your time.


I definitely want to explore these things as I move through college. Speaking of which, I had a spiritual experience last night! I was sitting in my room, and Jackie had been asking me to try talking to my Guardian Angel. I was into that idea, so I asked a Most Benevolent Outcome for my GA to allow me to join it in conversation. I sincerely was interested in meeting it. Well, as I was lying down (the room was very still and quiet), I heard MANY voices in my head. I named it Legion (from Mark 8, the Gerosene Demoniac story after the crossing of the Sea of Gal.), and I heard the phrase: "sit up" repeated over and over and over. It became subtly louder till my head was just exploding with the sound. So, naturally, I followed its order against my physical will to do so. When I did, I felt a slight pressure pushing my back straight and I was kind of LED into the proper meditative state. Almost like guidance. I didn't really fight it. I accepted it. Well, then I walked down a flight of stairs (which this whole walkway was golden, pure gold). I touched the doorway. It was a wooden heartshaped double door. I walked through, and there was this HUGE light. It didn't hurt my eyes though, I think it was meant to hide the GA's form. It said (in the sexless, Legion voice) that I had much to learn and that I would return, but not tonight. It was glad to meet me, though. And, then I flew back into my head, and it was over. It was an interesting and welcome experience! I am glad that I am not alone in this either. Jaxs and another friend of mine are acquainted with their GA's, so I am just happy to be joining this crew of experience!

I will be chronicling my adventure with this angelic form as it develops. I will get better at hearing it and processing it. I hope people will learn from this as well! What are your thoughts on the Angelic beings? I've never had a spiritual encounter before now. So, I am glad I wasn't left out. :P

----

Also, for my first couple of days in college! It's incredible being independent. I am no longer a child; I can feel it. I am a singular person with strong values and an open mind. I think that's the best way to be. Go in strong, but be humble and willing to change. Don't  :fight it out. I think college has let me make the friends that I want to. It lets me believe how I want and express it how I want! Surprisingly, a lot of the people I met were JUST like me! How cool is that?

Other than that, there's not much to tell. Freedom. Responsibility. They go hand in hand. :) Only the unwise believe they have responsibility without freedom, and vice versa.

-Riddle.

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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

Greetings, my fellow Ashla peoples.

This month, I would like to discuss the idea of “on the go” meditation. Not to replace your normal regimen, this is merely supplemental meditation to consider further study. I have had a lot of issues finding times, other than at bedtime where I control the clock, to meditate actively. As a result, my mind is often cluttered and I have trouble focusing. I have found, though, that certain times during the day can provide time for focus and reflection.

    Showering in the Morning! This is a MUST. Usually when we wake up, the first thing we do is to get ready for the day. If we want to be ready for anything, our mind must be clear. Here’s what I suggest. Take a moment or two, after or before bathing, to soak in the heat of a warm shower. Allow yourself to feel your body relax and undulate the fears and woes of a stressful day into the drain. I do it most mornings, and it makes my daily preparations much easier to handle. Relaxing is often a great thing for people who are not “morning” people. The whole morning ritual, if done in silence, can be a meditative experience if you live alone or if you get up early enough. It doesn’t have to be long, just a nod that you are aware of yourself and that you are ready for business.
    Car Rides. On the go at it’s finest, few people realize the merits of turning OFF the radio and just driving. No distractions. It’s a brilliant exercise they teach you in Driver’s Ed. But, I know that at least ONE car ride everyday, I turn everything off and just drive. There is something about the focus and adrenaline of cars roaring past that lets your mind have a hay day. It’s not reallllly a meditation, but it’s close. Another thing you can do is stare at the red light and try to estimate when it’s gonna turn green without looking at anything else (I know you all have tried it.)
    Cooking. I know a lot of people do not cook. But, I do cook. So, for those of you enjoy time in the kitchen, this little mental exercise is a great mindbuster. Having to keep things in your memory, try memorizing all of the times and recipes and just letting loose on a big project for the kitchen. Don’t have distractions like a TV or radio or music. Just you, the food, and your mind. These are all practical examples of how simply focusing on the tasks at hand will allow freedom and maybe provide insight into the mundane.

You can also do it at the gym. Or, when you are preparing for a big meeting. Taking a step back for a few moments during the day can be SO beneficial. This leads me to the point of this month’s article. When I was a Sith apprentice LONGGG ago (I was like 13), I was charged with an assignment to learn, practice, and do a research paper on Vipassana Meditation. I won’t get too deeply into it, as this is no research paper, but you should realize that Vipassana is a way to rid yourself of stress and suffering. The Buddhists say it is one of the oldest Indian meditation traditions.

From Vipassana.com “The purpose of Vipassana meditation is nothing less than the radical and permanent transformation of your entire sensory and cognitive experience. It is meant to revolutionize the whole of your life experience. Those periods of seated practice are times set aside for instilling new mental habits. You learn new ways to receive and understand sensation. You develop new methods of dealing with conscious thought, and new modes of attending to the incessant rush of your own emotions. These new mental behaviors must be made to carry over into the rest of your life. Otherwise, meditation remains dry and fruitless, a theoretical segment of your existence that is unconnected to all the rest. Some effort to connect these two segments is essential. A certain amount of carry-over will take place spontaneously, but the process will be slow and unreliable. You are very likely to be left with the feeling that you are getting nowhere and to drop the process as unrewarding.

One of the most memorable events in your meditation career is the moment when you first realize that you are meditating in the midst of some perfectly ordinary activity. You are driving down the freeway or carrying out the trash and it just turns on by itself. This unplanned outpouring of the skills you have been so carefully fostering is a genuine joy. It gives you a tiny window on the future. You catch a spontaneous glimpse of what the practice really means. The possibility strikes you that this transformation of consciousness could actually become a permanent feature of your experience. You realize that you could actually spend the rest of your days standing aside from the debilitating clamoring of your own obsessions, no longer frantically hounded by your own needs and greed. You get a tiny taste of what it is like to just stand aside and watch it all flow past. It’s a magic moment.”

That is a brief introduction of what I am talking about. If you allow yourself to get into this form of meditation in the mundane, then you will truly start to live it. Whether you do Vipassana or whether it’s just a self-check to remember who you are, you will be making strides towards a more balanced life and a more cherished life. Sometimes, even I let stupid things pass me by. I know it sounds cliché, but this is taking the idea of “stopping to smell the roses” to a new level. It’s very helpful in learning more about the Force and the creations it makes. We become closer to creation, we are more inclined to find more insight in the Force. So, bottom line, just relax for a little while every day and let your mind rest. Let it focus and get back to the task at hand, and you will find that a meditative state of living provides clarity and insight.

I hope you’ll keep reading the blog. Next month (October’s letter), I will be returning to the Aesop’s Fables interpretations and applications to a Knight’s life.

-Riddle.

Sources (and further info on Vipassana Meditation): www.dhamma.org/en/vipassana.shtml , www.vipassana.com/meditation/mindfulness_in_plain_english_17.php

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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

I don't have a lot of time to type tonight, but I just wanted to update everyone. My classes start tomorrow (the 29th). So, please pray and send good thoughts my way. College is a new experience for me. I will try to approach it from a Jedi perspective, and I will definitely relate back my findings!

I am working on my 3rd Ashla assignment, but I wanted to post an except for anybody who wanted to read it:

When I was about 10, I split from the Christian faith. This was the first concession of spirituality that I experienced. I didn’t know exactly where I was going to go, but at the time I felt something missing. Again, as I’ve stated in the past assignments, I do not hold anything against the people of the Christian faith. There are some wonderful Christians out there, but I am not one of them anymore. I worked so hard, but I could not relate to a sentient, perfect being. How could I have a relationship with somebody who for so many people fought and died? I could not imagine a world where I was a best friend with somebody who was perfect. It was a crazy notion. So, I dismissed it. And, every time I have tried to go back, I could not. So, I ended up in a dark world. Alone. I read Ayn Rand (at age 10? Haha), and I searched for a religion that made me into a God. I found it. Sithism. This was no concession, so I won’t go into detail about this part of my life; however, I can say this: Sithism’s dark, religious path takes one very deep into the inner darkness of oneself. I was not prepared. Another thing happened at this point in my life. At this point (forward), my parents never knew of this part of my life. Hiding things from my parents was hard. I always struggled with telling them the truth, even though they probably know. I made it obvious. I was very interested in Star Wars and had them buy my SW and Philosophy and other such things. But, I could never bring myself to tell my mother that I wasn’t a Christian. It still hurts, a lot, just to think about it. I know she cares so much for my soul. It would break her. I care too, too much about her to let her grow old and think I was bound for Hell. It’s not worth it, guys. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be gay. Telling your parents. That’s just heavy. This has been a great concession to my faith. I cannot be whom I would like to be because it hurts me that my mother doesn’t know, and cares too much for me to tell her. I have to learn to let this go. I must let my fears fade.


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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

Today was hard. :)

Those are the best kind of days.

It's on my empyreal oasis site. Go check some of my stuff I posted today for details.

MTFBWY.

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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

Oh, enjoy these times, Geordi. You're the Chief Engineer of a starship; and that's a time of your life that'll never come again. When it's gone - it's gone.
- Montgomery (Scotty) Scott, Captain, retired


College.
Tons of coursework and homework.  A time to explore and grow... take time to do it all -- for as Mister Scott said, once it's gone -- it's gone.

Work hard, play hard and never doubt the goal is worth the striving for.
Good luck!

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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

Thanks! I appreciate it. College has been busy and successful thus far!

I am happy to report that I have completed the Force 101 course, the Intro Course, and the Meditation Course so far (as per my badges). I am now officially in the game since I officially started 5 months ago. 3 courses down, many more to go. But, I am going to slow it down and wait till after November 27th to begin my next "leg" of course work. I am excited to continue my journey, but of course, I must have some clarity for the course work I have already done.

So, I am going to take the next two weeks or so to read back over my journal entries from these past 5 months and come up with a consensus of where I am on my path. How far I've come, how far I have to go. I think that this should be a required exercise for every course. Jax can see how my entry goes and then think about it from there. But, I feel like it's important to review what you've done and summarize it. It's possible, if we don't, for the information we worked so hard to acquire to drip through the cracks of our mind.

I am also going to be working hard on my next Ashla Assignments for next two months. That's exciting because I will have a chance to get at LEAST the first two "Section" done. It's taken me 5 months to do 3 questions. hahaha. But, of course, I really only started 3 months ago on that. And, the questions are not easy. They aren't meant to be.

An essay style academy is good, though. It forces you to put your thoughts down on paper in an organized fashion. This is very Ashla in itself. haha.

Well, thanks for listening! Keep a look out for my blog: empyrealoasis.wordpress.com. :D (obviously my essay on my progress will be up in a few weeks. And, I have a special essay i am working on that will be up in a month or so. ALSO, I will be posting Ashla assignments there too).

-Riddle.

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Connor replied the topic: Re: Riddle's Repository of Recollection

As I sit here in my room, getting ready to write this reflection of the Meditation course, there is a chill in me. I am looking out of my window and I see the Masterpiece of Earth. During this course, I learned about the WORLD. I felt trees. I knew their stories.

There isn't as much to say as I thought there would be. But, I do have a little bit to remark on.

Here is the advice I would give somebody on Meditation (taking what I learned from the course):
When you meditate, live. If you cut yourself off from life when you meditate, you will miss the point. You will not feel the Force. You will not see the future. You will not be able to walk into a street full of raging cars and make it across to the other side unscathed.

Do not separate your Meditation from your thoughts. Let your thoughts come and go as they please. You will find that it is easier to clear your mind if you are not trying to dispel the unwanted thoughts.

When you stop having Faith in meditation to do something for you, and you start believing in it, it will provide insight. You cannot simple let your mind wash over you. You cannot simply let life pass you by as you meditate.

Of course, when learning to meditate, you must know the mechanics. This is why you develop peace by doing a "daily" meditation. You sit down and cross your legs and clear your mind.

This is not all Meditation is.

In my eyes, this is practice.

Meditation, in its entirety, is life.

They are of the same, but they are not exactly the same.

Meditation is a way to find clarity in your path and act according to the Code and to the principles of the Jedi way, unencumbered by the strains of being human. It calms you; it saves you.

Meditation is a new way of thinking. It is not interested in frivolity. It is important. It is urgent. It is NOW.

Meditation is, therefore, living in the Present. This is something all Jedi should strive to do.

This is where I have come. This is where I am going.

But, somehow, I'm not completely obsessed with either. I don't need to read over my past meditations anymore. I don't need to write them all down. I want to live Meditation.

Someday, I will learn this.

-Riddle.

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