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August 8, 2018 at 5:38 pm #143624YinchanParticipant
Greetings to all,
I am Rahbert Awn’nyr from Kentucky. I will go ahead and use this first post in my training journal as an introduction as well. I have been lurking on the various Jedi sites for a number of years. I have lived as a solitary quasi-Jedi for most of my life, but this is my first actual reaching out to the other Jedis out here.
I am a veteran of the Air Force Security Forces which forms the basis of my worldview, that of constant diligence and alertness. To defend and protect those around me. This was combined with several years of martial arts training primarily in Chinese Martial Arts but now mostly focused on Practical Street Boxing. Spent several years in undergrad and graduate school studying Religious Studies and Philosophy. Focused mostly on the history and practice of Ch’an and Zen Buddhism, but with healthy bits of Religious Taoism and Chinese Religion thrown in.
Traveled to Taiwan for several years after graduating with my Master’s and become pretty immersed into Taiwanese culture where I continued my Buddhist and Zen training at Buddha Light Mountain monastery as a lay practitioner.
Following the path of a Warrior and Soldier has been my underlying path in life, with many wrong turns and sidetracks along the way.
Thus, wanting to really get into the structured coalescing of bringing these separate paths and move them into a more integrated whole which the Institute seems to do quite nicely.
First Assignment: Take the Intuitive Test and post scores
Taking the test was an interesting wake up for me. Why? Because I have always kept to the narrative in my head that I was a Stoic Zen Warrior who didn’t let emotions bother him nor affect decision making. However, this was a lie I was telling to myself. I am the guy who starts to tear up at emotional scenes in movies, which always made me feel disgust at myself. Real warriors don’t cry at such superficial things. Yet, I can’t deny that I am much more empathic than I want to admit.
I think accepting this and training myself in both the meditations offered and understanding that is a very useful way in which the Force guides and communicates is key for me being the full Jedi I hope to become.August 8, 2018 at 7:54 pm #194909Kol DrakeModerator
Yep… those who tend to have a strong ‘Emotional’ component tend to think it’s all under control… and then something triggers wet eyeballs. It’s my allergies, I tell ya!
As soon as I read Air Force Security Forces, I thought — He needs to get in touch with Alethea Thompson — who teaches up and coming Jedi and has ties to military security stuff. PLUS, she is close to your neck of the woods!
* * * * *
Also — welcome aboard!August 9, 2018 at 1:05 am #194910YinchanParticipant
Ah, very cool. I will try to send a message her way.
And yes, I have used the “got dirt in my eye” excuse before. I’m a serious, Stoic dude! Really!August 9, 2018 at 8:03 pm #194918YinchanParticipant
Force Exercise Two: The Lighthouse Meditation for Emotional Intuitives
I am not a huge fan of guided meditations or visualizations. I got into Zen Buddhism when I was very young, specifically the Soto style of just sitting. However, I have been opening myself up to more possibilities for meditation. Doing the Lighthouse Meditation was a good exercise to step outside of my meditation box and do something different.
One of the main things I took from the meditation was the reminder of the technique of letting go of troubling emotions on the exhale. It is all good to talk about letting emotions move through you and out of your mind, it is another thing to actually be able to do it with a degree of success. I found that exhaling the emotion did help to gain a better degree of calmness and relaxation.
Having the light illuminate the various emotions I would label as negative is also good, for I have too long been adhering to the story that as a man and a warrior, emotions were things to be suppressed. And that has not been working out for me. It only leads to deeper problems and trying to find ways of sedation to keep the emotions suppressed.
Having the light bring those emotions out into the light of the mind’s eye and being completely up front about their existence and negative feelings was a good affirmation.
There is a point in the meditation when you are enveloped by light and can ask any question that you want. The impressions I received were immediate to my queries. I asked what I should be doing with my life. Instantly, the light gives me the impression that I am supposed to be doing what I equate with the Jedi path. A lifestyle of training, discipline and service to the world. I don’t really need to overthink things anymore. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am not training as diligent as I should, but I am still doing it.August 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm #194919YinchanParticipant
Part One: Discovering the Path
What first inspired you to seek the Jedi path in your life?
During my time in the military, I also began my own self study into Zen Buddhism. I was not aware of the Jedi online community nor that it could be actually possible to bring together an actual path. But I knew as a teenager that I wanted greater purpose in my life. Never content with just being, I have always wanted to serve, to be better than I know I could be. I have trained in so many different branches that surely make up the Jedi path. Martial arts, scholarship, spirituality, service. But these were always somewhat separated and never thought of as a whole except under the vague notion of a “warrior”. But what does that mean to be a warrior? So after many years of lurking on Jedi forums, I have come here to put in the work of bringing all these different paths together into a Jedi Way
Were there any key events around that time that caused you to seek this path?
There are no distinct key events that I can truly identify as causing me to seek this path. It has always been a quiet pull, a distant calling to live my life a certain way, by a Code of conduct. I have been in one way or another trying to follow it for over twenty years when I just never felt comfortable with the options given to me by society at the time. I had an idea of what I thought Jedi might be like and how they might train, so I did that in most areas of my life.
Now that I reflect on it though, what caused me to finally move out of being a solitary practitioner and try to reach out to other Jedi would be a few years of darkness in my life where I really started to embrace the Sith Will to Power in my life. Thinking that through focus, emotion and willpower I could by sheer power mold reality and my life into what I wanted or needed. It did not yield the great things I thought it would. Because deep down, I knew I could be just as confident, assertive, discipline without being a massive jerk and empty egotistic guy who only saw the world in how people or situations could be used for advantage. It was exhausting, because it was not my natural path, I just would not admit the truth that I wanted to be a good guy and make the world a better place.
How did you find this training? Have you received any other training elsewhere (online or off)?
I found this training by researching the various online Jedi communities and then lurking for years. This seemed to be the community with the most cohesive training regimen and user friendly site. I have no received training from another Jedi from any place.
Part 2: The View Along the Way
How would you define a Jedi?
This is not as easy as I first thought. Jedi are warriors, healers, scholars and many other things. But is every warrior or scholar a Jedi? No. Obviously not. I still struggle with a definition thought. I think a Jedi is defined mostly by their actions. They follow a path of Training and Study that encompasses the body, mind, education, marital, service. But is this not just a scholar warrior? All of these things can be found in the classical Chinese scholar warrior.
Perhaps it is this then. There is a small central core to many warriors, scholars, healers in most societies that also incorporate a desire to live by a Code, a nebulous spirituality that sees the Force in its Universal aspects and who try to follow that path in service to the Force and others. That does not mean that every shaman, warrior, scholar is a Jedi. But it does mean there are a few within those paths who live like a Jedi, even though they never knew of the concept of Jedi.
So a Jedi is a practitioner that follows a path of Training that is comprehensive under a Code of conduct that generally has the goal of serving a Universal Force that promotes notions of balance, peace, and tranquility. But I am still not very comfortable with this definition. What about Jedi who do not believe in the Force? Is this a prerequisite for being a Jedi? I would maybe argue possibly. But again, tough question worth much more thought.
What makes a Jedi different from others?
This was touched upon in the previous answer and I am not so sure how to answer. At first glance, it is someone who exhibits discipline of character and action. Someone who has decided to dedicate their lives to study and training to help make the world a better place. How is this that different from a Christian who is a soldier, trains and exercises, prays and studies, serves their community and tries to make a difference? They for all purposes appear as a Jedi. We are not the robes, the Star Wars jargon, the light sabers…we are our actions.
Thus Jedi are different from others from their actions.
But those actions are not trademarked by us. The Jedi come from an amalgamation of other cultures that have these same values, Codes and actions.
What aspects of the Jedi do you aspire to? Or, what attributes of the Jedi do you want to incorporate into
By aspects, I am not so sure. Perhaps referring to the various paths of a Jedi? Such as healer, warrior, scholar, etc. If this is the case, then I aspire to the Scholar-Warrior aspect of the Jedi. I am no great fighter or warrior and do not seek confrontation or combat. That should always be the last resort, but never off the table. I train myself in martial arts and hone my body for when the time is needed for action that I will not falter nor fail. Scholarship has always been important to me. A Religious Historian by training and education, studying and research has always been something very integral to my path.
By combining these I see it as more of a Defender or Protector type of path as a Jedi. Always vigilant, always watchful in the community where I reside. Looking, waiting for the time that the Force puts me in the place to be of assistance to person, child or animal.
What does it mean for you to be a Jedi in your society?
It should mean service. Putting yourself out there in doing things to help others. It doesn’t have to be all out volunteer service, but it doesn’t mean going above the usual and really trying to push yourself. Doing a little extra to help a relative, a friend, a stranger. If it is not by our actions, then what use is a Jedi?
Part 3: Looking forward
What are your goals in your Jedi training for the next 3 months? The next 6 months? The next year?
Goals for the next 3 months are to continue to move through the online training materials. It would be really nice to have some correspondence of some kind with an established Jedi and to get their thoughts and ideas on all of this.
But distinct goals would be getting my body back into shape to pass the Air Force Physical Fitness Test as a minimum bar for getting back into physical balance. Increase my Zen training from one meditation to around two a day and increased study of Zen materials.
Six months: To become a formal student at the Zen temple near my home. To even begin formal Zen training with the Roshi there. I hope to have made some contacts on here, know a few other students or Jedi to correspond with. It is important to connect with people. Going about this alone as I have done for the last 20 years makes it very difficult sometimes.
The Next Year: Try to make it to a Jedi gathering. Keeping my target goals of training body, mind, spirit for the training never ends.
What do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge to reaching these goals? For instance, do you have
time constraints, family responsibilities, or health problems?
My wife and two sons are in Taiwan awaiting my wife’s immigration application to be approved. Being married with two toddlers is extremely challenging to balance along with training. But it can be done. My biggest challenge is not letting myself tell stories to myself that make excuses for not training. Using being tired as an excuse to be lazy. Laziness kills all targets and goals. So, just doing what needs to be done despite the fatigue is and has been my greatest challenge.
It feels great to be able to at the very least write this stuff down in a training journal and perhaps connect with a few other students and Jedis on here. I have been training myself in the various arts of the Jedi since I was a teenager, but only now have I have taken them, moved them together and been truthfully accepting of it being a Jedi Way. I am not a recognized Jedi, and do not think to call myself such here. But I have been walking the Path a long time and I feel with great gladness to walk it with the public affirmation of aspiring to be a Jedi.August 9, 2018 at 11:42 pm #194921Kol DrakeModerator
The instructor for these lessons should be around this weekend… (fingers crossed).
In the meantime, I want to touch on Stocism. We’ve hit on this in a few threads at the IJRS forum BUT, for a quick history, let me suggest reading this web article.
Stoics weren’t non-feeling robots or Vulcan ‘Mister Spocks’. They had all kinds of emotions; they just learned how to NOT let them become super passions — which leads to extreme (re) actions which can land one in a ton of trouble.
And suppression isn’t the answer either. Have emotions — just don’t let them outweight sense and sensibility.
Now… back to your lessons!August 10, 2018 at 2:09 am #194926YinchanParticipant
Good reminder about Stoicism. I have been a sort of on again and off again student of it. There are some really good contemporary authors out there that do a really good job in explaining it beyond the Spock stereotype that you mention and that I have myself fallen victim to using.
There is this very small part of me that just refuses to accept Stoicism completely, even though I concede everything it espouses is something both admirable to strive for and very useful to achieve. Being able to know your emotions, to feel them move within your mind and know where and how they are arising is no doubt of great utility.
Perhaps it is the emotional intuitive in me that I have begun to accept these last few years, coupled with my own fascination and pull towards fictional and historical warrior cultures like the Klingons, Spartans, Samurai, but most especially the Mandalorians. Other than their obvious open hostility and general love of combat, I have always felt that there are times when it is best to unleash one’s emotion.
Times of celebration, genuine sadness and loss and in certain episodes of conflict and confrontation. This perhaps gets into more about the Jedi Code I am sure. The First line, “There is no Emotion, there is Peace.” or the older “There is Emotion, yet Peace.” This line is the most challenging part of the Code for me. There are times I think it is of course best, strategic or most logical to remain calm, collected and in control. There are others where I can see channeling anger, frustration, fear at its appropriate target or focus.
It comes to sense and sensibility like you said. During a confrontation or a fight where your life is in danger…is it best to fight with calm collected attitude or channel your emotions?
I am not so sure there is an answer. It depends so much on the individual, but I do know the reason behind the choice is important. But I am getting way ahead of myself.
Still going to stick to the simple lessons for the moment.August 10, 2018 at 2:32 am #194927YinchanParticipant
What are your top 3 beliefs? Why? How did you come to those realizations? What was a situation where
this belief was exemplified?
My top three beliefs are:
1. There is a Universal Force in all things, between the spaces of things that guides, nurtures, yet it also decays and destroys. Some call it the Light Side and the Dark Side, the Yin Yang, etc. There can be no good without evil, no Light without Darkness. This is the Eternal Dance of Creation and Destruction. This Force can guide you as if it is intelligent and person. This Force can inflict immense suffering on you as impersonal cosmic laws that you must obey.
2. Humans can make an active choice what part we play in the Eternal Dance. There is Free Will yet a measure of paradoxical intervention in our lives by this Universal Force. As if it guides us without impeding on our Free Will.
3. The most important aspect of any Path is through Action. Action is what defines you, differentiates your from others, is through Action that you leave a Legacy through your family, friends and students. The most important choice we have as Jedi is what kind of moral action are you going to take each and every day. From the smallest to the largest choices.
Why do I believe these things?
Haha. Only the third lesson in my training and already you guys are asking questions that could require a book to really explain. My beliefs come from a long immersion in philosophy and religious studies both Western and Eastern. It is probably influenced a lot by my own Buddhist and Daoist beliefs. That still doesn’t quite answer the why though.
Why? Because after over twenty years of study, meditation and experiences, these three beliefs make the most sense to me and just intuitively feel as the right Path for me. I have been so long steeped in logic and emotional control that I have neglected my feelings, my intuition and I know that I have decided to just let my intuition guide me on questions like this, my Path feels more natural than it has….in several years.
The situation where these beliefs were most exemplified has to be the couple of years I really devoted myself to the Darkside, and then the Path of a Sith. The freedom and power of that I felt by living as a Sith was intoxicating, but I knew in my heart I was making a conscious decision that made my Ego the center of things. I was taking my Will and pushing the Universe. People became tools to be used and manipulated. I felt out of balance. I felt exhausted by the constant mind games and manipulation. My moral choices were changing world around me, for good and bad.
I had to finally concede to the Voice inside me. The Voice was telling me this was not the path it preferred for me, but I had complete control and Free Will to pursue it. But the Voice whispered that I could be so much more, walking in the Light. Now, this isn’t a literal Voice. I mean a intuitive sensation, pulling, an anxious tugging. This is when I understood that I could play a part in this Eternal Dance. But what would my legacy be? Would I be remembered as a guy who made the world a little bit better? Or a guy who bent people and the universe to his own selfish wants?
Action was my defining moment. What I did mattered so much more than I realized.August 10, 2018 at 3:06 am #194928YinchanParticipant
1. Where have your spiritual beliefs originated? For instance, were you raised with a religion, or were
religious and spiritual topics rarely addressed in your house? Have your spiritual beliefs changed over
time? If so, what contributed to the change?
My spiritual beliefs originate from my first understandings of God in Christianity when I was perhaps six. This is embarrassing to admit, but I have memories of singing to the Sun, little hymns of Love thinking that the Sun was the direct manifestation of God. I thought God was everywhere and saw everything.
Over time, modernity and adolescence cynicism erased that earlier devotional child. Science and modernity turned me into an atheist, but it only left a meaningless emptiness in me. There was no purpose. Buddhism, in the specific form of Zen filled that void as I began to read any books I could get on the subject. I began meditating.
Buddhism taught that one could still be spiritual without the need for a God. I have continued my Zen Buddhist training for over twenty years now. It has taken a bit of a theistic bent with incorporating things like the Universal Force. There just seemed to be too many instances where reality seems to interact with out consciousness as if it is in some way intelligence built into the system. Buddhism doesn’t really address this nor have much interest in it, but viewing the world or even the Universe as inherently intelligent turns me almost full circle back to the child singing devotions to the Sun. I still hold our minds determine our reality, but there is something out there greater than our minds. Separate, but Unified.
The Daodejing calls it the Great Unnamed Mystery.
2. How do you know when you are doing the right thing vs. the wrong thing? Do you base this on external
laws (like the 10 commandments, or the laws of your country)? Do you listen to your conscience, even
though it may go against the standard ‘rules’ of society?
First of all, intuition guides me for moral action. If I am that confused about right or wrong, if I quiet my mind and stop…feel…then the answer becomes clear. For most other cases that is where a Code is used. I used to think Codes were chains, tools of control and this is correct but for the wrong reasons. I lived a life without a moral Code (years as a Sith) and it nearly destroyed my life. So, it became evident that a Code was there as a tool to guide me. Codes like Bushido have helped me weigh a decision and the Jedi Code as well.
3. What are your beliefs about death? Do you believe we have one lifetime or more in physical
form? What do you believe happens when you die? Where did these beliefs come from?
I have no idea. But I personally think when we die, that is it. There is nothing afterwards. Our energy is returned to the Universe, but our specific consciousness ceases. But it gives me comfort to talk and joke about Valhalla or pets going to the Happy Hunting Grounds. But in the end, there is nothing. But I am in no way sure. Thus open minded.
I think most of my beliefs on this are colored by science and modern society. I have never experienced anything that would give me pause to change my views. While Buddhism officially espouses reincarnation, they do not really stress it too much, nor place it as the most important aspect of one’s practice.
4. Do you believe in God of some kind? If so, what are the primary characteristics of this God? If not, why
do you believe this?
I believe in a Universal Force that is in some ways intelligent, personal very much in the way the many theistic religions view their gods. But there is also an impersonal, almost scientific feel to the Universal Force as well. It defines hard physics, the drift of galaxies and these things cannot be changed lest our whole reality be destroyed. There are Laws of Physics that are crushingly coded into the Universe and they will aid you or crush you without any compassion.
5. What do you consider spiritual practices? Which do you practice (if any)?
I consider spiritual practices anything that helps a practitioner become more aware of Balance. Good, Evil, Light, Dark, and etc exist in a constant struggle for Balance. If one goes too far to the other, it causes a whole slew of problems. Spiritual practices help guide a practitioner to their proper place in the Balance, be that for good or ill.
I practice Zen meditation as a way to clear my mind and focus. In this way, I can follow the Path that is true for me. I off and on chant the Heart Sutra, which actually has several similarities to the Jedi Code.
There is also spiritual practice in discipline and routine. Getting up every morning and exercising the body, meditation, eating healthy, cultivating marriage and family, healthy attention to business and action.
Also some martial arts forms, Qigong and practice with my wooden bokken (sword) I view all as spiritual practices that guide and foster my relationship as an aspiring Jedi and follower of the Way.August 10, 2018 at 5:48 am #194931Kol DrakeModerator
I ask that you take a deep breath here… to give your instructor time to get to these posts…. and form any comments or questions they may have. Typically, our instructors are working / with families… so weekends tend to be their time to read & respond.
It’s all be very cool… what you’ve posted so far.
It should be interesting to see where this goes for you.
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