The Jedi Way, Part 3

At some point or another, many students experience a block in their studies. They get stuck on a plateau, apparently unable to progress further. Sometimes this is the fault of the teacher. If this is so, it is time to move on. More often, though, the problem is an internal one, caused by poor learning habits, problems with attitude or personal distractions.

When the student ceases to be totally self-involved, interested in his own growth only, he will begin to turn to helping others. At this point, regardless of prowess, the student becomes a true follower of the Jedi Way. One can study and study for years, hours and hours every day, and one may still remain a student. To leap beyond the barrier one must break the chain. Stop practicing and start doing.
A Jedi's most valuable asset is his code.

Whatever that may be, he must have it and be true to it. He who has no code is an animal. Every Jedi has his code. If a man tells you he has no code, that truly he is his own master, then his master is the dark side and we know how to deal with it. Honor, Virtue. Even the dark side has a code. The dark side and its servants cannot bear up in the face of virtue. Absolute honor destroys the dark side's power absolutely.

Weapons' training is essentially the same as training without weapons, only now weapons are used as an extension of the hands. Students practice basic strikes and blocks with their weapons in the same fashion that they practiced their bare hand techniques. With constant repetitions.

Many times on the journey toward understanding, one encounters crippling paradoxes.

Mastering others requires force; mastering the self requires enlightenment.

A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet, with the first step.

The Force is a bigger, broader concept then any one system of beliefs can necessarily encompass. Even the wisest of Jedi understand it imperfectly. The Force does not "root" for anybody, or anything not the light or the dark or even a balance of the two. The Force just is.
The Jedi student must not be deluded; do not deny that there is a dark side to the Force. That it can affect you.

Some may claim you cannot speak of the dark side until you have experienced it. In this they are wrong. A doctor need not contract a disease to diagnose and treat it after all. There may come a time when you feel embarrassed by how others perceive you. But what does it matter? What they or anyone else thinks of you is really immaterial. It's what you think of yourself that matters most.
The Jedi doesn't believe the Light is the only way to know the Force.

They just believe it is a preferable model to employ in understanding the Force, and a better long-term strategy. When speaking of the light side and the dark side. It all comes down to the nature of evil. Evil is selfishness while good is selfless. If you take an action that benefits you, only you, and hurts others, you are evil. If you do what must be done to prevent harm to others, if you become the buffer between them and evil, then your actions will be good. That is to say your intentions will be good. Your actions may still be evil. That is the problem of course, evil is always easy and resisting it is never so. Evil is relentless; and anyone, if they tire, if they are not vigilant, can fall prey to it. There are situations where opposing evil may result in harm coming to the innocent. Life is not without pain, but life concerns itself with how we handle that pain, or joy, or confusion or triumph. Life is more than time passing before death, it is the sum and total of all we make of it. Decisions may not be easy, but many is the time when not making any choice, not taking an action is worse than a poor decision. Evil flourishes where it is not opposed, and those who are able to oppose it must to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

A Jedi should know as much as possible about everything.

There are five dangers a Jedi must be aware of when he must fight --- being too willing to die, too eager to live, too quick to anger, too puritanical, or too sentimental. Any one of these in excess, he affirms, creates vulnerabilities that can easily be exploited by canny opponents. When he is waiting on the fringes of a situation, before the appropriate time to go to action has arrived, he must be steady and avoid giving in to impulse --- then he won't go wrong.

When a Jedi knows himself and others, he is not in danger.

The Force is a mysterious energy field, which surrounds and binds together everything in the galaxy. It is a neutral, impersonal power, which can be used for good or evil. The light side of the Force is selfless and non-aggressive. Those who follow it teach peace and harmony. The dark side, on the other hand, is a destructive and violent power. Those who follow it are consumed with the pursuit of power and a desire to dominate over others. At the start, a student of the dark side may be more powerful that a student of the light side, but as time progresses, a natural balancing effect takes place. The more powerful a dark side student becomes, the more dominated by the dark side he is. Light side practitioners, on the other hand, discover that the light side does lead to great powers in time, but only after years of patient study.

Some things cannot be taught directly. Some things you must find in yourself.

If it were to be shown to you, to be pointed at as if saying, "Look, here it is" you would not understand it. Jedi must be willing to look into their own hearts and spirits. If you do not … well, let us just say that you will never become a true Jedi. I would not discourage you from seeking knowledge of the dark side. To do so would only heighten your desire to possess that knowledge. I will not dissuade you, but I will warn you of the shadowy crevice you will enter should you choose to access that knowledge. First, don't be fooled. The dark side musters much of its energy to masquerade as the light so that it might lure the uninitiated into its grasp. By the time the hapless victim discovers his error, it is to late ---- the dark side has ensnared him, holding him in the shadow both by its own power and by the fallen Jedi's relentless hunger for more. Second, do not overestimate your own abilities. Countless Jedi have found themselves entwined by the dark side, unable to free themselves from the black hooks that they themselves have jabbed into their own souls. No matter how they twist, grasping for some strand of the light that still remains within their reach, they continue to plummet into the abyssal pitch of the dark side. These Jedi believed they were masters of the light ---and some were --- but they did not understand the nature and power of the dark side --- and they failed to listen to the warnings. Do not believe that the dark side is stronger then the light. It only appears to be more powerful because it is easier, quicker --- at first. It draws you in, offering you more power than you can imagine, but as you begin to use that power, the dark side lends it's assistance less and less, eventually sustaining itself by siphoning your own Force energy until you become its helpless host. You believe you have ascended to mastery, but in truth you have fallen into slavery.

Learn of the dark side. It will aid you in your struggle against it. But take care not to succumb to its sometimes-irresistible lure --- your chances of returning to the light are less then nothing.

When we seek the dark side, we seek our doom. Too often, we are successful.

The dark side's influence is stronger in moments of weakness. Do not let yourself be distracted.

No gain comes without a price. You will forever carry the distinguishment of your teacher's presence, as well as the taint, the traits of his own masters as well.

Never forget your training as an apprentice.

Even though the end nears with each passing day. You must remain dedicated to the Jedi way no matter the cost. Think of peace and honor --- and act upon that only.

The Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and negotiation, seeking the most peaceful solutions to every problem. As Force-users trained in the Jedi tradition, some students concentrate more on diplomacy, scholarly pursuits, and the spiritual side of the Force than on more physical activities. Healers and researchers seek to better understand the nature of the Force and their connection to it. Mentors and teachers hope to instruct others and pass on what they have learned. Negotiators and mediators are skilled at bargaining and striking compromises. Counselors train themselves to be versatile, able to handle many situations without reaching for a weapon. Other students concentrate more on combining physical training with mastery of the Force. They concentrate on battle prowess, defense, and physical training. They take their undertakings seriously, considering even mundane missions to be personal tests. Most of these follow the light side, but some become dark siders and use the Force for evil or selfish intent. Those imbued with the light side refrain from using the Force for every task, preferring to find other solutions and save the Force for when it is truly needed. Those who succumb to the dark side use every advantage, wielding the Force to solve problems, as a soldier would use a gun to destroy a fly.

Though one chapter of your training may draw to a close, you must never cease your practice. It will merely take on a different form, but still it continues….

Mastering the ways of the light side of the Force requires tenacity, serenity, concentration, and a willingness to remain open to possibilities that seem implausible. Most Jedi apprentices encounter difficulties with at least one of these areas, and therefore rely on an instructor --- usually a Master --- to help them recognize and overcome whatever obstacles stand in their path. Those interested in learning of the Force and the techniques that manipulate it should locate a teacher willing to impart such knowledge to them.

The Force like electricity, or even the wind, exists and can be felt, even though it has no color, no smell, and no shape. The effects of electricity or the wind or the Force can sometimes be seen, but the Force itself cannot. One can see a tree being blown over by the wind, but one cannot see the wind itself. Explained very simply, the Force flows through out every person's body along certain pathways. In some ways, the Force and these pathways are like electricity and circuits. When electrical circuits are clear and electricity flows easily, an electrical system will work well. If a short circuit occurs, or wires become disconnected or broken, then the electrical system will fail. In a similar way if the flow of the Force along the pathways in the body is interrupted or in some disorder, illness or disease will result.

Along with the instructor, a student of the Force also has duties. Typically, a Jedi apprentice spends the majority of his time attending lectures, receiving one-on-one tutelage, practicing Jedi skills and techniques, and reviewing what he has already learned. On rare occasions, he may find an uncluttered moment to enjoy a favorite pastime or just a short respite from his daily work, but usually he remains focused on his efforts day and night. In addition to Force-related study, an apprentice must also perform routine chores required by his life, such as going to work or school. For an apprentice though these tasks serve a more important purpose then mere upkeep, however. They teach a student humility and wisdom as well as simplicity, three traits every Jedi must possess to shield him from the dark side in all of its shadowy guises.

Learning to use and manipulate the Force occupies less then half of an apprentice's time. Rather, most Teachers concentrate on teaching the responsibilities of possessing such power and the role of a Jedi in the universe. Grasping the basics of any skill requires time, and great expenditure of effort on the part of the student (and the Teacher, as well, in some cases). Practice of the technique itself accounts for only a portion of this time, since the Teacher tempers progress with caution, ensuring that the would-be Jedi does not succumb to the lure of quick power. Those apprentices who ignore this aspect of acquiring skills often balance on a fine line between light and dark.

Your training will be a landscape of self-discovery. Learn new things and share what you have learned with others.

Be careful that you do not treat being a Jedi as a separate identity, as if on the right is who you are normally and on the Left is who you are as a Jedi. This is like trying to function with only one side of your body or the other. In doing so you make half of yourself oppose the other half, when you should be integrating both halves. You are not you as you are or you as a Jedi. You are both of them. You need to unify yourself and your efforts. Certainly there will be times when one aspect of your being would work better then the other in a situation. But you have to be able to use both sides if you plan to succeed in all things.

Have no hard feelings toward anyone who has not shown you enmity, do not fight with anyone who does not attack you.
A Jedi should try to breath like a baby. While this may seem a strange idea, adults do in fact, breath differently from babies. A baby breathes naturally from the tant'ien, and if you watch, you will see its stomach area move in and out as it breathes. If you watch adults' breath, you will see it is their shoulders and chests that move. While all people breathe naturally from their abdomens when they sleep, adults have long since forgotten how to do this when they are awake. Those who want to use the Force correctly must learn how to be in tune with nature once again. Lung breathing, although effective in the short run, and potentially very forceful, is nevertheless artificial and incorrect. It expends a lot of energy quickly, but it is not natural. In times of great need this type of breathing may be practiced as it makes everything become easier to learn. But always remember this type of breathing burns up and wastes far too much energy and does great harm to the body.

Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered; those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win.

A skilled attack is one against which opponents do not know how to defend; a skilled defense is one which opponents do not know how to attack.

Jedi plan in the beginning when they do things, they consider problems and prevent them.

Five things are to be assessed before undertaking any action: the Force, the weather, the terrain, the opposition, and discipline.
A Jedi should have these virtues: intelligence, trust-worthiness, humaneness, courage, and compassion. Toe-to-toe battle is the last resort of the skilled warrior. It is best to win without fighting. Wear them down with flight, foster disharmony within their ranks, manipulate their feelings, and use their anger and pride against them.

A Jedi must know when to fight and when not to fight.

Suspicion raises walls, allows fear to grow. That can interfere with your ability to use the Force. You will find, at some point that the dark side will speak to you. It is seductive, offering you everything with little effort on your part. Learn from the lessons others have endured, so their strength can become your strength when you face that test. It is not for you to sculpt the Force's flow to your purposes, but for you to be sculpted into that which more easily works with the Force. There is only one cycle that is without end. That cycle is life and life is what creates the Force. Success comes with feeling, understanding and controlling the Force.

When opponents come to attack you, do not fight with them but rather set up a strategic change to confuse them and make them uncertain, deflecting them from their original intention to attack, making them reluctant to fight with you. There are four kinds of mastery essential to the Jedi. Mastery of the Force, Mastery of the heart, mastery of strength, and mastery of adaptation. Persist too intensely at what is currently beyond your depth, and your fidelity to that course will bring misfortune and no gain.