Compilation of Sermons

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14 Sep 2010 04:34 #33129 by Mark Anjuu
Compilation of Sermons was created by Mark Anjuu
The following are sermons that have been posted in the Blogs section of the site. I have copied them here so that they are more easily accessible to future readers.

MTFBWY

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14 Sep 2010 04:37 #33130 by Mark Anjuu
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Sunday Sermon 9-5-2010
(Saturday, 04 September 2010) Written by Damion_Storm

Sunday Sermon September 5, 2010 Ethnocentrism

I felt compelled to write this week with a very special day approaching here in the United States. On September 11, we will be remembering the many that were killed in the attacks in New York nine years ago. Many nations grieved with us and we thank those who have offered kind words in remembrance. The towers now gone and a hole left where they once stood we are troubled again with conflict in the area as there is protest about plans to build a mosque near the area as mentioned in another blog recently. Another event that has led me to write this is a dispute between a couple family members about how Jediism is not real because it does not fall into their definition of their religion. As we are all individuals and entitled to our own opinions this is my opinion on matters of discrimination and the lesser evil of ethnocentrism.

Ethnocentrism is a term that until recently I had not heard. It was mentioned in an Anthropology class that I am taking this year and the book definition is “The practice of viewing the customs of other societies in terms of one’s own.” And “The belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others.” Where this sounds much like discrimination I see a subtle difference as ethnocentrism is more a mental view that can lead to acts of discrimination. Both however are in dire need of elimination.

As stated on this site one of our Jedi beliefs is stated as: Jedi believe in working towards a culture that is relatively free of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, degree of ability, age, etc. In order for this to happen we first need to find a way to stop seeing our unique cultures as superior to others. Everyone in this world and even the universe is as different as snowflakes. How then can we say that one is better than another? Are blue eyes better than brown? Is engineering knowledge better than security knowledge? Even though this is an apples to oranges look it also hold true to apples to apples. I may prefer green apples and you, red. The only thing we can really say is that one is better for me.

Focusing on the religious standing, nobody can say that they have all the answers to what is right and what is wrong. We must all look at our own life and figure out what works for us. How do we do that? The best way is started in our initiates program with a study of several religions. We can also branch out into studying as many other religions and beliefs as we can. In this way we are broken free or the known ideas that re are raised to believe and forbidden to question. Only after we have all the facts and once we see all the angles can we decide which view is right for us. The biggest mistake that many make next is that once we see what is right for us we then assume that it is best for everyone else. So, step two is to understand that different does not mean better. We do not have to go out and convert members to believe as we believe because we see our way as the right way. All that we can do is to hold true to our values and beliefs and if others choose to follow then we can guide them to understand what we see as right. The third step then is to accept others rights to believe as they choose.

Here at the Temple we believe in a Syncretistic look at religion in such we may remain members of whatever faith we have and add to it the belief and faith of the temple. This outlook still does not make us better than any other religion just better for us and different than others. Let us be free of the need to feel better than other people. Let us reach out and see that the acts of one person do not define the beliefs of the culture as a whole. Just because the terrorist that attacked the Twin Towers were Muslim does not mean that all Muslims are terrorist. Ethnocentrism in these cases can be stated in one of my favorite quotes saying: “We all judge by our own standards”. Let us judge by the standard of tolerance, understanding, and peace. May the Force be with us all.

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14 Sep 2010 04:38 #33131 by Mark Anjuu
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Achieving one's goals: Sermon 9/4/10
(Saturday, 04 September 2010) Written by RyuJin
Do or do not, there is no try. This one simple sentence can be applied to many aspects and tasks in life. When one tries to do something they don’t always put forth their fullest effort, usually out of fear of failure. When you decide you want something you should always put forth your fullest effort, and let nothing get in your way of achieving that goal. Fear is a beast that must be slain in order to reach one’s goals. Failure is not an option. When planning any undertaking, we never plan to be unsuccessful, only to be successful. We should never accept failure as being an option in any endeavor. If you fail in a task, you take what you’ve learned and apply it. As the saying goes; “I have not failed a thousand times, I have simply found a thousand ways that will not work”. When you wake up and make your plans for the day, put forth your fullest effort into achieving them. Say to yourself; Today I am going to achieve what I have planned. I will do it without failing. I will not try to succeed, instead I will succeed.

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14 Sep 2010 04:39 #33132 by Mark Anjuu
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Sermon 08.29.10
(Sunday, 29 August 2010) Written by Jestor
The Meditations

By Marcus Aurelius

Written 167 A.C.E.

Translated by George Long
One man, when he has done a service to another, is ready to set it down to his account as a favour conferred. Another is not ready to do this, but still in his own mind he thinks of the man as his debtor, and he knows what he has done. A third in a manner does not even know what he has done, but he is like a vine which has produced grapes, and seeks for nothing more after it has once produced its proper fruit. As a horse when he has run, a dog when he has tracked the game, a bee when it has made the honey, so a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season.- Must a man then be one of these, who in a manner act thus without observing it?- Yes.- But this very thing is necessary, the observation of what a man is doing: for, it may be said, it is characteristic of the social animal to perceive that he is working in a social manner, and indeed to wish that his social partner also should perceive it.- It is true what thou sayest, but thou dost not rightly understand what is now said: and for this reason thou wilt become one of those of whom I spoke before, for even they are misled by a certain show of reason. But if thou wilt choose to understand the meaning of what is said, do not fear that for this reason thou wilt omit any social act.

As a child, we all do good things to recieve praise for a job well done. As adults, many still see doing good, for the same reason. And then there are those who just enjoy that feeling that doing good brings to their inner self. Some, just don't know they are doing good, and improve the world along the way......
We forget we are social animals. We tend to think in identities of self, as oppossed to the human race. Other members of the animal kingdom work in harrmony for mutual benefit, yet man seems to forget this as a whole. Carnivores work together for food and rearing of the babies. Herbivores band together for protection from the carnivores as well as help with the young.
Yet, man forgets we are animal. Instead, thinking we are above those simple ideas. The line,\"...and indeed to wish that his social partner also should preceive it....\", shows a very human characteristic. The animals do not do their duties, expecting thanks from their flocks and broods.
Toward the end of this translation, it is alluded to by the author, that in his opinion of Marcus Aurelius thought of the human race \"we are the bodies of mammels, with the intelligence of gods\"
This section from Marcus Arrelius' Meditations is one of my favorites. The whole series was written in a manner to remind himself that he was a man, uncle, son, student, as well as the ruler of Rome.

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14 Sep 2010 04:39 #33133 by Mark Anjuu
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Sunday Sermon 8-22-2010
(Sunday, 22 August 2010) Written by Jasper_Ward

- Facing our Hidden Self

Everyone alive has two selves, some admit to it, some don't, and some may have more. My point in this statement is that we all seperate the self we allow others to see with the self inside that has worries... fears... wants... A warrior will hide emotions so that they may gain confidence, and not show weakness, A waitress will put on a smile to hide her anger or disgust at a situation, we all do this in varying degrees, allowing others to see what we want them to see, or when tempers flare, they may see some extra leaking out.

This isn't a bad thing, while we are at work and disagree about a policy, or situation, keeping it to ourselves may keep us our job, or allow us to go about our day without extra conflict. The problem is when we do this so long without realizing it, we get disconnected with our own inner self. Part of my own personal journey was coming to terms with both my inner self and the outer self.

Part of this is facing all the inner demons, the secrets that we keep buried, and even the memories that we don't want to face again, sometimes to the point of thinking of them as dreams or nightmares and not memories. We all get to a point and face parts or even all of this, some of us may have already done this, others may be getting to the point where they will need to. Note that I am not saying that these two selves need to merge, but they need to be on speaking terms or we become unbalanced, erratic, or even overly emotional.

There is no one way to go on this journey, it faces each person differently. Sometimes just recognizing it or even recognizing the wants that one may try to deny may begin the healing and communication. I won't try to go into how one may heal or re-connect, as that is a personal journey that I believe we all go through, but I will say that we should occasionally turn inward and look at ourselves to see how well we are holding the balance within our own mind.

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14 Sep 2010 04:40 #33134 by Mark Anjuu
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Sunday Sermon by RyuJin
(Saturday, 14 August 2010) Written by RyuJin
\"Who is more important, you or others? The conclusion is clear; even if minor suffering happens to all others; its range is infinite, whereas when something happens to me, it is limited to just one person. When we look at others in this way, oneself is not so important.\" ~ The Dalai Lama



All too often people think only of themselves. As you go about your daily life take notice as people sit by and watch bad things happen to others, or cause bad things to happen to others. Often they comfort themselves by saying: “better them, then me”. When something bad happens to someone else it affects not only that person but everyone that depends on that person. A mother, a father, a daughter or a son that’s waiting or in need of something, or someone.



When people act selfishly others suffer, but when people act selflessly others prosper.



In your daily life take notice when people help others. Something as simple as changing a tire for a mother on her way to the grocery store alleviates suffering not only for her but her family. This is where the idea of the golden rule comes into play: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. By limiting suffering to only one’s self we allow others to grow and prosper, if each person does this then suffering is removed from the world and everyone prospers, ourselves included.



Imagine a world where no one suffers.



As Jedi we must constantly and consciously remember this: By emphasizing the safety and serenity of others we in turn guarantee the safety and serenity of ourselves. For it is in placing importance on the self that the universe comes undone.



How does one accomplish this? Simple, by helping, whether it’s carrying a bag or changing a tire, nothing is too small to make a big difference. Lend an ear to someone in need of talking, bring a smile to someone sad, these may seem like trivial things yet to others they can make a mountain of difference.



When you wake up in the morning ask yourself: who is the most important person? Is the answer yourself? Or is it someone else? If you think of someone other than yourself right away then you are well on track to freeing the world of suffering and strife.

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14 Sep 2010 04:41 #33135 by Mark Anjuu
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Sunday Sermon by Kahlil Gibran 8-8-2010
(Sunday, 08 August 2010) Written by Br. John
Sunday Sermon by Kahlil Gibran 8-8-2010

No one can reveal to you anything but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his loving kindness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in The Force's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of The Force and in his understanding of the universe.

Say not, \"I have found the truth,\" but rather, \"I have found a truth.\"
Say not, \"I have found the path of the soul.\" Say rather, \"I have met the soul walking upon my path.\"
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

Your soul is a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, confines The Force; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

Consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows -- then let your heart say in silence, \"The Force rests in reason.\"
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky -- then let your heart say in awe, \"The Force moves in passion.\"
And since you are a breath in The Force's sphere, and a leaf in The Force's forest, you too should rest in reason yet move in passion.

Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.
For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
When good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.

You are good when you are one with yourself.
Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.
For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.
And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom.

You are good when you strive to give of yourself.
Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself.
For when you strive for gain you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast.
Surely the fruit cannot say to the root, \"Be like me, ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance.\"
For to the fruit giving is a need, as receiving is a need to the root.

You are good when you are fully awake in your speech,
Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.
And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.

You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.
Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.
Even those who limp go not backward. But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.

You are good in countless ways, and you are not evil when you are not good,
You are only loitering and sluggard.

In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you.
But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.
And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends and lingers before it reaches the shore.

Religion is all deeds and all reflection,
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying, \"This for The Force and this for myself; This for my soul, and this other for my body?\"
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
He to whom The Force is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.

If you would know The Force be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see it playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see it in the clouds, flashing in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see its beauty in flowers and find it waving to you in the trees.

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14 Sep 2010 04:41 #33136 by Mark Anjuu
Replied by Mark Anjuu on topic Compilation of Sermons
WEEKLY SERMON - Your own personal harvest Edit
(Friday, 30 July 2010) Written by Mark Anjuu
State: Published

This time of year (around the 1st August) is celebrated in Celtic traditions as the festival of Lughnasadh. The first of 3 harvest festivals, this is named for Lugh, bright Sun god of mythology who set aside this time with games and celebrations for the recently past life of his stepmother. In knowing this we get our first glimpse at the deeper nature of this occasion – for it is a time of maturity, when a boy becomes a man or a girl blossoms into womanhood, standing on their own two feet, independent from the security of that which raised them. Those that have heard the Joseph Campbell lectures (you'll find a link to them on the Front Page if you haven't) will recognise the ritualistic celebration of reaching adulthood, and of moving away from adolescence into an adult's place within the tribe.


But it's not just about a particular time in life – the flow of the Force is represented in many ways, all reflective of our total journey. It's a natural process with any venture to spend time analysing, researching, preparing, practising and improving but eventually we will need to take that one step further and out into the world. Lughnasadh invokes this spirit of determination and confidence in our abilities; all energies need to keep flowing and holding yourself back through fears or doubts only leads to stagnation. So trust in the Force to support you in your growth at this fertile time of year and put those plans into action!


The spirit of Lughnasadh can be seen in the bounty of nature at this time (in traditional Celtic lands, that is!). Corn ripens so that we may bake bread, berries burst forth to offer the sweet taste of joyous summer, the sun rises high in the sky and the land is warm and fruitful. In some Christian traditions, this time of year is set aside for the blessing of fields so that their offerings will be plentiful and the people well fed through the coming winter months. From this we derive the name of Lammas (or Loaf Mass), which is another name for Lughnasadh.


In older times, the community would share in the celebration of the harvest, with parties and family reunions and this still happens in many parts of the world today. So take some time to honour your own tribe: your family, friends, school, workplace, even this Order. We are all connected in the Force so allow yourself the realisation of the loving and supportive links that have enriched your life and maybe even set goals for how you wish to help others in the future.


There may be times when things look bleak, or situations are so difficult that it seems almost impossible to move forward. Know that there is always support in one form or the other, from those that hold you dear to the ever-flowing strength of the Force. Lughnasadh reminds us to “make hay while the sun shines” and be productive when we can while still basking in the radiant warmth of joy. I wish you all the brightest of blessings, now and always.


If you wish to join in the Pagan Rite's celebration of Lughnasadh (you don't have to be Pagan to join in – it's open to anyone!) and spread some positive energies into the world, please read the instructions here:

templeofthejediorder.org/component/optio...w/id,30272/catid,54/


May The Force Be With You!

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14 Sep 2010 04:43 #33137 by Mark Anjuu
Replied by Mark Anjuu on topic Compilation of Sermons
Sunday Sermon: The Importance of Practice
(Sunday, 23 May 2010) Written by RedHeron

We’ve all heard the joke: “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, my friend . . . practice.”

In my youth, I was trying to learn how to play the piano. I liked the sounds that came out of the old Winchester upright that was built in 1932, which was tuned every couple of years, as my grandmother could afford. There it sat, in the summer of 1979, on the occasion of my fifth birthday. My great grandfather was living in my grandmother’s home, and 85-year-old marvel who had never uttered a curse, never said a word which was untrue (to his knowledge), and who kept his father’s Phi Beta Kappa key in a glass case for everyone to see, just in front of his own electrical engineering degree. He was also an electrical engineer, and prone to be very particular about the way things were.

He stepped up to the piano and played “Chopsticks,” his gnarled fingers finding the notes without effort, his blind eyes not seeing the keys. I was amazed: he had played actual music with only two fingers!

“How did you do that, Great Grandpa Lee?” I asked with no small amount of amazement. I knew he couldn’t see, and that there was arthritis in his knuckles that made them hurt.

“Practice,” he replied. “You’ll be playing that in no time.”

He spent about 10 more minutes teaching me the tune, and I learned how to play it with the same flawless performance he’d given.

“Anything you want to do well, child,” he said in his Maine accent and a characteristic chuckle, “can be accomplished with practice. You just practice anything, and you’ll be a genius at it before too long.”

During the following school year, I didn’t really practice. I was too busy trying to learn my ABC’s, and trying to count as high as they’d let me. I was discovering the richness of books, and I loved them. The following summer, though, I found myself right in front of that piano again, racking my brain to try to rediscover how to play “Chopsticks.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked me with a smug smile.

“I can’t play it!” I complained.

“When’s the last time you practiced?” he asked.

“Last summer!” I cried out. “I practiced! I promise I did!”

“Practice isn’t something you do a few times,” he told me. “It’s something of an ongoing thing. You stopped practicing. Now you can’t do it. But if you start practicing again, you’ll get it again.”

“Can you show me?” I pleaded. He did, and I was grateful.

“This time, keep practicing,” he said. “If you stop, you lose it.”

This time, the lesson stuck. Well, until I decided that I didn’t want piano lessons any more.

This lesson also applies well to the spiritual side of things: when we practice what we are taught which is true, our lives move in far different directions than when we practice things which are false. In the practice of Jediism, this means a separation from dogma and a recognition that there are truths everywhere. When we are mindful of the present, we understand the impact of our timeline. We see that the past affects the present, and that the present affects the future. This was perhaps best summarized by Yoda’s line in The Empire Strikes Back:

“Difficult to see: always in motion is the future.”

And then combining that with lines from The Phantom Menace:

Obi-Wan: “Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future”
Qui-Gon: “But not at the expense of the moment.”

In fiction, it’s easy to see that the result of practice is success. But like me during that first summer playing piano, many people stop the moment they think they understand something. In films, people practice for a few hours and they are Jedi Masters. In real life, it takes dedication over many years to understand spirituality at a level where mastery is even possible. That kind of dedication comes of practical application of principles, and not simply looking up answers on some web site, and copying what others have written so that you can answer a test question. It’s one thing to attain a goal by cheating yourself of experience so that you can piggyback on the experience of others; and quite another to achieve success through experiences of your own.

To answer the question: “How do I get to Knighthood at TotJO?”

Practice.

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14 Sep 2010 04:43 #33138 by Mark Anjuu
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A thought for the week - Weekly Sermon Edit
(Saturday, 01 May 2010) Written by Mark Anjuu
State: Published

Right now, we squint at the world through muck-smeared glasses, tricked and distracted by actions and motives that don't quite match. In a week that sees thousands of gallons of oil gushing into the deep blue sea and turning it black, Russian's Vladimir Putin calls for a clean-up of Arctic waste while keeping his hands warm in the chill air by rubbing them together in barely disguised glee at the prospect of strategic military development in the area.


Compare this motivation with the Indigenous People's Declaration at the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the rights of Mother Earth:

”Mother Earth is a living being in the universe that concentrates energy and life, while giving shelter and life to all without asking anything in return, she is the past, present and future... we have lived in coexistence with her for thousands of years, with our wisdom and cosmic spirituality linked to nature...the aggression towards Mother Earth and the repeated assaults and violations against our soils, air, forests, rivers, lakes, biodiversity, and the cosmos are assaults against us.“


UK political parties scramble over each other in a frantic struggle for leadership, throwing promises around like confetti and hoping they stick to as many passing people as it takes to secure their ability to seize power and then change their minds. As ever-increasing layers of spin and bluster choke the airways of integrity, we begin to lose sight of the goal of democracy: that of acting for the good of the people. In Thailand, there is no such confusion and the broken bodies of thousands of downtrodden citizens lie bleeding in protest at a government that rode to power on the backs of the military and the financial elite.


There is a marked contrast between the socially-acceptable face of world justice and the bruised features of its less-developed cousin. In an effort to make themselves more “respectable”, people are in danger of becoming blind to the needs of the living Force, embodied by our planet and all that live in its embrace. As Jedi, we must strive to rid our eyes of the cataracts of confusion and open our hearts to the suffering of all things. When our motivations and desires serve the greater good, there is no longer a need for lies and subterfuge.


The Jedi way is that of toleration and understanding; not only of the differences that make us unique but also of the similarities that bind us together. Sadly, it seems that this viewpoint is being rejected in the worlds by an ever-increasing desire to maintain cultural borders and to shut out anyone that differs. Arizona's immigration law threatens to turn it from the Copper State to the Police State as the UK's Prime Minister dismisses casual enquiries about immigration as “bigoted”: two contrasting approaches to the same inability to listen and understand.


The powers of the West threaten to impose peace on the Middle East through the use of force. European nations wish to ban burkhas and restrict the freedom of religious expression, all in the name of increased civil liberties. The hypocrisy inherent in such actions are obvious and ridiculous: read (or re-read) The Book and see that Watts agrees. The problems imposed by dogma and intolerance reverberate throughout the world: as the emissary of a major world religion, the Pope should be inspiring and uplifting the people, not motivating them to call for his arrest!


Be mindful of your thoughts and see through the fictions that we weave to keep ourselves from the truth. Open your heart to the love and empathy that is so desperately needed all around the world. Trust in your intuition and the Force will guide your hand in righting wrongs and fighting injustice as a peaceful warrior. As Gandhi once said: “be the change you want to see in the world”. Being a Jedi means to hold a vision of clarity, truth, justice and compassion and to embody those principles in your every word and deed. My greatest hope is that one day all people will want this too.

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