By: Sammy ( Silver Surfer)
As Jedi in the community we are often faced with the same questions over and over again, and we fall into this pattern of just simply spouting off the same answers over and over again. It can become taxing in ways, but we have to remember that we were once there ourselves. We shouldn’t kill their excitement, or bash their ideas and dreams simply because we have already tried to make things happen, or feel that we already have all of the answers.
Many members of the Jedi who have been in the community for awhile, can become stuck in this “everything has been done before” mentality. It can be very irksome for new members who have fresh ideas and want to convey them to these older members, but automatically get shut down by whoever is in charge. Or people who claim to carry the “Knight” or “Master” title. Rather than indulging a new mind and new perspective, often our leaders who set the example, the tone, the bar, reject this new input. It gives the mentality that one must follow your way, and only your way, because everything else has been done already. then this ideology that new members are much too ignorant and behind, for such a high esteemed member of the Jedi community to listen to them. This simply isn’t true at all. Anyone can watch the Jedi in the fiction and decide that they want to take what is actually applicable and make it part of their life; become Jedi. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. The amazing thing about our community is that every member brings something to the table, no matter how small, or new it is. We each have our own experiences where we find ourselves using our ‘Jedi minds’ to evaluate our situations and act according to the Jedi Path. Every Jedi is capable of bringing an idea to the community or an additional thought. In some cases they can look at areas where we have failed in the past and maybe take things to a much higher level.
For some, it can be infuriating when someone who is supposedly a higher rank than you, maybe even spent less time in the community than you, is given a high title, and then slams you down before you have really had the chance to convey your idea. No matter where you study, no matter how old you are, or how long you have studied, you really are no better than anyone else in the grand scheme of things. We all eat, breathe, sleep and die. Humility and respect is important, it’s how we learn and grow, once a person decides to stop listening, then they aren’t acting as a Jedi. Yes, a lot of this stuff gets repetitive, the code, our demeanor, the quotes, but if we get too caught up in “the been there, done that” we close ourselves off to new ideas and experiences.
Another problem we are faced with is a community full of ego. If a new member suggests that a member who has been around for years is not acting as a Jedi, those members act defensive. Instead of listening and learning from their mistakes they take things to unnecessary lengths. Arguing and bickering, or turning things around on the other person and challenging the other Jedi’s faults, instead of simply taking responsibility for their own mistakes and learning from them. When we watch the movies, and even read the literature, Yoda is constantly pointing out faults of knights, and fellow masters. We all make mistakes, even if we have been Jedi for awhile, and we all interpret things differently. It should be perfectly acceptable for a newer student to watch the demeanor of the fictional Jedi, and then point out that we are acting in a way that is completely opposite of the Jedi Path. You watch the Jedi in the movies, they are calm and collected, they seek wisdom. Wisdom comes from asking the right questions, and actually listening to what you are told. Not spouting off answers and telling everyone that only your way is correct. They respect the input of others, and are adaptable and fluid when they need to be. The demeanor of the online Jedi is vastly different than the Jedi we watch in the fiction. Those are the Jedi some of us have worked most of our lives trying to emulate, then you watch a Jedi “master” be closed off to ideas, or belittle new members. It’s saddening. Sometimes it feels like the label of Jedi doesn’t actually mean anything, when our members don’t even aspire to live like the Jedi who inspired us. It makes no sense.
Having been around for awhile, sometimes the gloss of being a Jedi rubs off, and it can be very refreshing to see someone come in, who is freshly enamored with the gloss of the Jedi Path. It can be inspiring, and I find newer views easier to work with, and fun to discuss with. It can bring you back to your own roots and make you remember how you were so inspired to live as a Jedi. Some of the older veterans keep recycling the same mistakes, and the same material that creates those mistakes, and never learn. Also, Jedi need refreshers, going back to the basics, making your foundation stronger-or possibly rebuilding it. It’s no shame to practice beginner lessons after you have been in the community for years. This takes work, and those who have stopped working, yet have taken a title, aren’t earning it, in my opinion.
In some of my own pursuits I have caught myself saying “I already know this,” “I have done this before,” or “I have done this for years.” I have to stop and think, “well maybe this person has different tools to show me that may be helpful.” “Do I possibly have more to learn on this topic?” “Perhaps it will broaden my understanding.” We have to fight the ‘I already know this’ with the willingness to be open and receptive to new experiences. And when it comes to new members, remember
“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”-Albert Einstein
Sometimes when we teach, guide, or show others, we have a better understand of things ourselves. However we have to be receptive to growth and understanding. I think a lot of Jedi take on students and instead of asking “what can I learn from this student?” They are too fixated on feeding them curriculum and giving them answers to pass a test some months later, and then that student is given an often unnecessary title. We should be asking: What was really learned? Is that student truly a full embodiment of the path? Can the student go out into the world truly capable of taking on anything they might encounter? Do they have enough tools? Is the teacher wiser?
Jedi training is a very personal experience and lifestyle. There is no quick path to mastery, and we each have so much more to learn, whether we just started, or have been here awhile.