Welcome to a New Year.
During the past year we have seen good times and bad. As a Temple, we have had several internal conflicts in which the membership has had to make choices as to the direction we as an organization should take. It has overcome these “obstacles” in great fashion and we are better for it. Yet within every battle there are casualties. Some friendships may have been lost, faith tested and lost, lack of desire to be active, and trust lost.
As a “Faith based” organization, we have a set of standards by which we base our beliefs. Among these are the 16 Teachings, the 21 Maxims, the Tao Te Ching, and of course, the Code and Creeds of the Jedi. It is important that we as individuals understand our teachings on a personal and spiritual level. If you are to truly connect to the Force, you must open your heart and mind to all the possibilities and paths that are made available through the Force. By having deep and personal knowledge and understanding of the Teachings, you are better equipped to face the onslaught of issues that the world throws at you daily.
Basic Teaching #1
As Jedi, we are in touch with the Living Force flowing through and around us, as well as being spiritually aware of the Force. Jedi are trained to become sensitive to the Force's energy, fluctuations, and disturbances.
During this past year, I have had many personal upheavals in which I turned to my beliefs in Jediism and in my background of Christianity, Buddhism, and other religions for guidance. I have had several tests to my beliefs in relation to the Temple, my family, my interaction with the people on this planet, and the future of my life. It is difficult to convey in any amount of words the lack of faith I have had in the human virus that infects this planet. There has been one beacon of light in the world that has offered me sanctuary, and that is the people that I have met here.
Through this Temple, I have an opportunity to read the words of people from many different backgrounds and cultures. I read your thoughts and concerns and find that they are at times as fearful as mine. I listen to you discuss issues and communicate in higher levels of thought that break through those walls of doubt I have created regarding others. As a Temple we have a melting pot of ideas and solutions to the problems of everyday life.
I am writing this on December 31, 2014 at 13:59 UTC. It is now in the final hours of a year that has seen my son go to war and return home safe. It is a year in which I have driven across this country to redeem a friend who was lost in the shuffle of life. I have fought the good fight on behalf of my fellow citizens as a Trustee in my Village. Some battles I have won while others were lost. I have given my men at the firehouse a safe environment in which to prosper and grow in their profession and yet I have been responsible for several mistakes. I have gained and lost Apprentices here at the Temple in which I have very mixed emotions. I have become drained by the news reports regarding racial and religious tensions. I have had to say goodbye to friends who have returned to the Force. I have had to stand up and face my responsibilities on issues in which I was to blame. It has seen a renewed vigor in my father’s cancer problems. All in all, the roller coaster ride has been thrilling and yet I have had doubt.
As you read this I am sure many, if not all of you, can relate to many of the issues I have faced this past year. Some of you have had much worse years than I. It is in this shared happiness and pain that we are connected and in which we can empathize with one another. It is there that I have found my connection to the Force. It is in that empathic relationship that I feel the Force energy that binds us to each other. It is in opening of my heart and mind to others that my connection to the Force becomes greater.
As Jedi, I have connected here with a living part of the Force, your words flow through me and around me, and I have become aware of your spirit in the Force. I have trained myself to be sensitive to your energy, your changes, the fluctuations in the world and the disturbances that affect us daily.
It is the Emotional connection to others that brings us the Peace we seek. It is in the Knowledge of others that we break the cycle of Ignorance. It is in our Passion to be better than ourselves that we find the Serenity within. It is dealing with and forging through the Chaos of daily life that we find balance and Harmony. By facing our Fears together we find the Courage to watch each other’s backs. Through understanding our Foolishness, we learn the Wisdom to speak only when necessary. As we face the Death of others and possibly our own, we are assured through our connection to each other, that there is The Force!