Jedi and the Force

What are Jedi? How does one live the Jedi life? What is the Force and how does the Force fit into who the Jedi are? There are many questions to Jedi-hood that a new student mulls and meditates over. As I've begun this path and begun to study and work the new information and concepts into my life, these are my present understandings.

What are Jedi?

Looking from Star Wars mythology to the Force Academy, the Light Jedi is the Order that most closely resembles the fictional Jedi characters. The prefix "Light" denotes those that follow what is only known as the "Jedi path" in the films, novels and comics; the Force Academy explores Jedi as three aspects of being rather than the fictional two (Jedi and Dark Jedi). In this Force Academy sense of the Light Jedi, JediKnight G wrote in the "What is a Light Side Jedi?" that "A Light Side Jedi is a force user that strives to use only the positive uses of the force to achieve a positive reaction. By doing this, we hope to achieve a unity of cause and effect. By avoiding uses of the force that may be effective (however not fully "light") we promote good acts through good means." Light Jedi seek to use their either natural-born or trained talents toward making the world a better place. Certainly, there are persons who've never been exposed to the term "Light Jedi" who still make the world a better place and find that their mission in life. I give my nod of respect to them as well. In the context of the Force Academy specifically, it is the Light Jedi who seeks to bring peace, joy and light into the world.

The present lectures describe "characteristics" of Jedi. To summarize from the "Characteristics of Force Adepts" lecture, the characteristics are as follows:

  • Use of the Force for knowledge
  • Application of emotional management and discretion for which emotions are acted upon
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Practice (of skills, meditation)

    Further, Jedi strive to uphold a life of:
  • Wisdom
  • Mindfulness
  • Determination
  • A sense or humor
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Selflessness
  • Gratitude

    (These latter are of course my own opinions and understandings and should not be construed as Jedi canon necessarily!) Taking these various traits into account and study, the Jedi strives to apply them continually and consistently in order to bring about positive change that works in keeping with the Force's will.

    How does one live the Jedi life?

    Again, I return to JediKnight G's lecture and summarize many of his ideas:

  • Make the choice to stay positive. Circumstances can be difficult - the Jedi need not also be difficult or swayed by circumstances.
  • Make the choice to live a life of integrity and honesty.
  • Follow the Jedi Code through understanding it fully! (I believe it's necessary to have a firm understanding of any code or religion to be followed - blind obedience doesn't necessarily equate to comprehension.)
  • Be grateful.

    There are those sayings from Star Wars that the life of a (Light) Jedi is difficult and there will be few rewards but many sacrifices. Is it so difficult? In my journey thus far, no. I have thoroughly enjoyed my studies thus far and have found delight in incorporating the ideals and beliefs of a Jedi into my present being. Perhaps I have an advantage in being versed in Eastern philosophies and operating already from a position of joy and gratitude. The path is only as difficult as we make it, surely. JediKnight G's lecture did reference the concept that the "strict code of conduct makes our use of the force the most limited...but also the most controlled." Living a life of control need not be difficult as the Jedi learns to find freedom through existing limitations.

    Since I've already made several references to it in this piece without explaining and providing explanations for it, I come to my final question: What is the Force and how does the Force fit into who the Jedi are? First, what is the Force?

    The Star Wars script comes most easily to mind, where Old Ben Kenobi describes it to Luke Skywalker: "The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together." In many ways, this Star Wars definition is fairly sufficient, I think. To go further, one might relate the Force to being God (or any other higher power), chi/ki, the Tao, intuition and the energy that we tap into with our "sixth sense." The Force may well be an all-encompassing term that fits with these previously stated phrases. That is how it suits me; I respect where other Jedi may find the term, The Force, to be separate and distinct from a deity as well.

    As I've often read, the Force simply IS. What is "is"? Taoism's explanation of the Tao comes to mind: "The Tao that came be Named is not the eternal Tao." JediKnight G's lecture, "Feeling the Force Like a Fish" makes the analogy that the Force to us, is like water for fish. It is all around us but how can we describe it? It is our life itself, one might say. As much of a koan as that makes it, the Force IS. It might more practical to ask how the Force manifests itself in the Jedi's life. With that question in mind, the Force shows itself in a variety of ways not limited to what I will outline:
  • Through meditation and visualizations
  • The answer to a question or an insight coming to being
  • Intuitions
  • Knowledge translated into wisdom

    The Force itself is boundless and vast. The Jedi makes the conscious choice of "using the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack" to quote Master Ellen and Star Wars before her. It is a respectful relationship that the Jedi has with the Force. The Jedi draws upon it for wisdom and guidance specifically, trusting that the insights gained lead toward a positive effect on one's goals.

    I'd been previously questioned on what I felt was "the Will of the Force" and what effect that has on the Jedi. I believe - from my own studies through my life - that there is a dynamic balance present in our lives where we both work at the will of the Force and we create the Force's will. Sometimes, the process could be simultaneously; at other times, the events could be unique and distinct. I believe that we are guided to certain experiences and that things do happen for a reason. At the same time, we can exert our will to make change and get places too. The question becomes whether we are forcing an event out of ego or desire or whether we are working for an event to come to pass for selfless reasons. The Jedi, I think, strives to "hold onto the center", to draw again on Taoism. The Jedi meditates on the best course of action in a situation and decides if action is even the best course, or if the Force's will is to step back and allow nature to take its course.