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  • #139493
    Jax
    Keymaster

    What do you think of when you read that title?  Luke’s challenge in the cave on Dagobah?  The upcoming trials on this website, or on others?  I think the first trial every Jedi undergoes happens far earlier than that, and is universal. 

    When someone finds the Jedi path, there is an initial rush of excitement.  They sign up on forums, enroll in classes, and post discussions.  They may begin their formal training and do well for a time.  Some don’t make it that far.  What happens is a test of commitment and desire.  Something happens in real life.  It could be a normal occurrence, like school starting back up or an increase in workload at work.  It can be something completely unexpected, like a family emergency or an illness.  Whatever the details, they all boil down to the same thing – a trial.  The Force is testing you – your desire and commitment to this path.  I’ve seen it time and again as a student and teacher over the past 8 years. Most people don’t survive this trial, and leave after as few as one post or one class.  A few push through this time of difficulty to train for quite some time.  A few also leave initially to return after a few months or even years.  Everyone’s experience with this trial is different. 

    Why would we undergo this trial?  The Force offers this trial as an opportunity.  This path isn’t easy, nor is it a fantasy.  Being forced to choose early is similar to making a pledge or taking an oath to walk this path, as we might at an offline temple. 

    I bring this up because I think it may help to view these time issues as a trial that everyone faces early in their path.  Perhaps it will help the new folks especially not burn out or leave after a short time.  Feel free to share your own ideas or experiences with this trial below.

    #151912
    Beral Khan
    Participant

    I, too have faced tests such as these.  Even recently I had to ask myself if the Jedi Path was one I felt WORTHY to walk.  It is a silly question, but it is something that I asked myself. ‘Am I Jedi material?’

    In truth, I know we all have the potential to be Jedi. The real question I was asking myself was, do I WANT to take the Jedi path. It’s hard, it makes me avoid the Dark Side, it questions my motives of everything I do.

    In short: it makes me a better person.  And sometimes, we don’t WANT to be the better person.

    I agree: The trials of the Jedi path starts very early on the path.

    #151913
    Aslyn
    Participant

    I prefer an alternative hypothesis: the entirety of training is a Trial.

    #151914
    inari
    Participant
    Quote:
    I prefer an alternative hypothesis: the entirety of training is a Trial.

    There certainly are days when it feels like it, at least.

    #151916
    Aslyn
    Participant

    That’s as it should be, Sandra – if you’re having an easy time of it, you’re probably not making progress, and as such, aren’t training properly. I’m sorry to say it, but if anybody thinks a constant regime of self-awareness work combined with various physical exercises, meditations, esoteric training and practical applications is not a trial, then they’ve either been doing this too long (and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t have the occasional bit of trouble), or they’re simply not working hard enough. It’s supposed to be a Trial – if anybody thinks a Trial is more like an end-of-term exam, you’re definitely not thinking straight.

    Insofar as it goes, the traditional Jedi Trials were designed to test a student’s learning and understanding – to force them to use everything at their disposal to achieve their objective, such that only a Jedi should and could make it out the other end with their equanimity intact. To face true challenges that would break someone who couldn’t handle the adversity, to try and force the student to act contrary to their training to see how deeply ingrained it was. The simple truth of the matter is that, for anyone properly trained, the Trials are really not all that hard to do. After all, they’re only supposed to make sure that you know what you know, that you can do what is needed when you have to.

    And, let’s face it – realistically, the hardest parts that come with the Jedi Way are the initial stages. They’re difficult because then you’re adjusting to a mindset that isn’t your own, forcing you to accept some pretty nasty lessons about yourself and the world around you. If you get past those, things become more natural, because you see the world with different eyes. The trial thereafter is one that requires strong self-awareness: it is the trial that seeks to counter complacency. It’s one of the reasons I disagree with ranks or formal titles online, because it generates a state of mind that isn’t humble, is not accepting of your position as a person with much growth and learning to do, but rather it establishes that you’ve been there, done that and bought the T-Shirt. If it’s a little wrinkled, well, who cares? You still earned it, right?

    Invariably, that’s the hardest part of the training process, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve seen people succumb to that a fair few times, and it’s never pretty, because that’s when the real egos start being thrown around – after all, this person is a Jedi, so if another person is disagreeing, blah blah. A Trial isn’t one of those things that needs to be static and singular, in the context of an event – rather, it’s one of those things that is part of a continuing process, to ensure that you make mistakes in a controlled way, and if you bump into an issue, you identify it and are able to deal with it.

    Trouble is, and here’s the thing – we don’t do enough of that in this community. I’ve looked at the training material around the net – hell, I designed quite a bit of it. Trouble is, and moreso when there’s more than one person doing it, the level of consistency isn’t the same. My standards are not the same as Jackie’s, and hers aren’t the same as Chris’, and his are different to Sandra’s, or Gabriel’s. As such, Jackie won’t test you the way I will, and she won’t test you the way Gabriel might, whereas Sandra might have different standards altogether and test you in a manner we didn’t prepare you for. As such, your Trials around here are never going to necessarily match your skillsets or even your preparation.

    Furthermore, and this is even trickier, we can’t account for outside experience. I started my training among the community when I was 14, so naturally my experiences and perceptions of the world were far different to those of say, most of my informal mentors (Chris, Sparky etc), and as such, my preparation for any tests and trials or difficulties I encountered would not necessarily be the way they expected. And that’s a major complication of the training process – the way we all react as we get more advanced in our training should become far more consistent, but earlier on, that’s far less the case. This is why Trials need to be tailored – if you can’t challenge me, your Trial is useless. Likewise, if you challenge me to an extent that’s excessive to the needs of the Trial, you achieve nothing either. The trick, then, is to balance the possibility of success with the intent for failure.

    The way I figure it, any good instructor should generate a test whereby they will intend to make their student fail, but give them the opportunity to succeed IF they put some good effort into it. If I can pass a test easily, there’s no point taking it, because it won’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, and like as not, it’ll just seek to appeal to the ego. Make it too difficult, though, and all you teach your student is that you didn’t prepare them for it, or (as is more often the perception) that you did and they still massively screwed up. That’s not testing your student so much as giving them a metaphysical punch in the jaw. And unless you’re looking to teach them that life is unfair sometimes, that’s a little unnecessary ;)

    Anywho, the overall point (it’s in there somewhere) is that you’re better off not thinking about static Trials that are the same for everybody. If you want to test your students, do so in a gradual way that challenges them, rather than simply tests what you think they ought to know. One of our greatest and most fundamental mistakes in training is doing so on a larger basis, assuming that the same things apply to everyone. In an ideal world, they do, but everyone has different needs. By the time they’re done, the basic knowledge base should be consistent across the board BUT prior to that, adjust for individual differences on a wider scale.

    At least then, you know who you’re testing, why and have some idea of what you’re going to do with what you both learn from that – the teacher’s job is to offer further guidance on the results, the student’s job is to work on that basis. End of song ;)

    #151920
    Jax
    Keymaster

    Aslyn, you bring up some good points.  That is why our trials will not be static, but created based on the needs of the person being tested. 

    I didn’t bring this up to discuss official trials, but to help the mindset of those struggling with time constraints, especially in the beginning.  When we call something a trial or test, we tend to meet it with more seriousness and commitment, because we want to pass.  It’s been ingrained into us to pass tests – at least when it’s a test in something we care about.  The Force gives us this opportunity often to show with our actions whether we care about this path or if it’s just a hobby, fantasy, etc.  What are your actions saying about your commitment?  I’m not saying that means you must spend your time online, as that is not the Jedi path. 

    While I say that, I think people use this as an excuse as well.  They say, I’ll just train on my own, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is often a way to avoid looking at areas that are challenging.  We have a natural aversion to things that cause us pain.  The Academy, as well as mentors and other students, more easily fill the roll of pointing out weaknesses or shadows.  This is a painful process at times, so it’s easier to just leave and train on your own.  If you find yourself in this situation – leaving the online community and formal training – challenge yourself to determine why.  Are you running from something, or toward something else?  Are your needs not being met here, or are they simply too painful and difficult?  Just some thoughts…

    #151936
    Angelus
    Moderator
    Quote:
    They say, I’ll just train on my own, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is often a way to avoid looking at areas that are challenging.  We have a natural aversion to things that cause us pain.

    As I was in seminary, one of my professors stated that to formulate a good theology, you must go where the pain is. Later, I saw that comment as something very applicable to life, particularly as I see so many people who are hurt, confused, worried, anxious, etc. I consider myself very fortunate to have a community, both online and offline, that helps me face my pain.

    Every so often a group of friends and I get together to put each other “under the microscope.” That is where we focus on a person’s issue and help them work through it. Many times the one who is the focus will state something that is really a cover for something else. As we get to the core, the person will often break down and start crying. But now that they have broken down, there is a break through. We can help build the person back up stronger. Having seen this process done on some friends can be a quite scary event However, we also see the results.

    When I was the one under the microscope, I knew what to expect. What I didn’t expect was how quickly I would break down. (It literally took like 5 minutes). We were examining my feeling of alienation. I thought it had been because I didn’t fit a “perceived” mold. I was a short, gay, intelligent Latino. But after a few questions it was revealed that it was my own spirituality that caused me to feel “alone.” I had grown frustrated with humanity. As I started crying I blurted out that it was like I could see people how God must … “from the inside.” People couldn’t see their full potential, the interrelatedness, the shared pain and joys. After that event, I learned not to be so frustrated. I am to help people reach their potential which they can’t do if they don’t see it themselves.

    Ever since that night, I have found that I am much more stable. It is now harder to break me down now that I’ve dealt with the issue causing me the most pain. Of course, this could not be done if not for the safe environment – the counsel of friends willing to make comments without passing judgment. Those same friends would then provide comfort and guidance.

    As an aside: I now warn my friends and colleagues that I will do the same process as well (provided they wish to be challenged). In fact, I have found that I have a knack for “getting to the pain”. It is probably one of the reasons why I make a good healer as well as a teacher.

    #151943
    Magdelene Nashira
    Participant
    Quote:
    What do you think of when you read that title?  Luke’s challenge in the cave on Dagobah?  The upcoming trials on this website, or on others?  I think the first trial every Jedi undergoes happens far earlier than that, and is universal. 

    When someone finds the Jedi path, there is an initial rush of excitement.  They sign up on forums, enroll in classes, and post discussions.  They may begin their formal training and do well for a time.  Some don’t make it that far.  What happens is a test of commitment and desire.  Something happens in real life.  It could be a normal occurrence, like school starting back up or an increase in workload at work.  It can be something completely unexpected, like a family emergency or an illness.  Whatever the details, they all boil down to the same thing – a trial.  The Force is testing you – your desire and commitment to this path.  I’ve seen it time and again as a student and teacher over the past 8 years. Most people don’t survive this trial, and leave after as few as one post or one class.  A few push through this time of difficulty to train for quite some time.  A few also leave initially to return after a few months or even years.  Everyone’s experience with this trial is different. 

    Why would we undergo this trial?  The Force offers this trial as an opportunity.  This path isn’t easy, nor is it a fantasy.  Being forced to choose early is similar to making a pledge or taking an oath to walk this path, as we might at an offline temple. 

    I bring this up because I think it may help to view these time issues as a trial that everyone faces early in their path.  Perhaps it will help the new folks especially not burn out or leave after a short time.  Feel free to share your own ideas or experiences with this trial below.

    I agree.  In fact I would go a step further and declare which step I think the first trial denotes.  I think it is the one of going from non-Jedi or initiate to Paddawan.  Then you pass from Paddawan to Knight when you’ve slain your biggest dragon.  Or at least that’s the way it appears from where I’m sitting right here today.

    #151947
    Jedi_Phoenix
    Moderator

    Trials…trials…..

    Yea my whole life is a trial.  i guess part of it is ‘growing up’ but for my age, and what I’ve dealt with I would have to say that the Force presents more than enough challenges, which I make trials.  Thus when they are completed, I can have a sense of accomplishment!

    Lol, interesting post and responses

    Phoenix

    #151955
    RiddleNox
    Moderator

    I am going to have to agree with everyone here, the Force provides for us a challenge, and we must overcome it. But, I am going to take the Living Force approach and go even further to say that every MOMENT in the present is both a blessing and a trial. Every moment you are thinking about problem solving, whether it be on a life danger level, or it be a simple act of making a PB and J sandwich.

    Food for thought.

    -Riddle Nox

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