As I was meditating and dealing with some heavy stuff this week, I wanted to take a brief moment to reflect on what it means to become a Jedi Knight. I have never before really accepted the title. On many occasions, people have inquired why I haven’t been promoted before (at various sites and temples). After all, I have trained at Jedi sites for longer than some Masters.
Really, the epiphany came when I was thinking about what it meant to be a Jedi at all. Being a Jedi is all about the personal journey. And, the Knighthood distinction has no bearing on the standards of the community. We are not at a stage where we can dictate all Jedi lives. In the fiction, Jedi were promoted with standards attached because all Jedi were raised from birth. They were indoctrinated to believe certain things, and this leads to a very regimented growth. We at the Temple realize this is an impossible and unethical method of raising Jedi. So, we promote based on personal growth and rudimentary understanding of the Path itself so that we can follow it and know how to get back on when we fall off the wagon.
I have realized, then, that being a Jedi is about self-exploration rather than attaching standards to everybody. But, more importantly, it means that I have to attach my OWN standards to me. I have to become the person I want to become. This has less to do with seeing how fast I can run a mile… and more about realizing that a year ago I could barely walk a mile and now I can run one. It has less to do with being in healthy relationships and realizing that I have learned how to communicate with people in healthy ways. It’s about the journey I’ve taken and am taking.
A week ago, there were some problems on the Jediism subreddit. We had some issues with behavior, and I upset some people with my actions. And, ever since, I have been frantic with worry that I have ruined relationships with some people. I have been worried that I hurt somebody’s feelings… And, no, my behavior was not a Knight’s behavior on that site.
However. My feelings about the whole event are those of a Knight. Not the remorse. But, the will to want to fix the problem. The honesty and vulnerability that it takes to admit failure and take actions to mend the harm. That is what a Knight feels when he has done wrong. And, I realized that even 6 months ago, I probably would have walked away denying any fault and shrugged it off, proclaiming my proficiency in the Force.
That is not what happened. I’m so glad that I am in a place where I can feel badly about making mistakes, and infinitely more importantly feeling that I can make it better and strengthen my connections with people. Through this, I have become closer with friends and enemies. I hope I can someday mend the relationships I have broken, and that they will become stronger for it.
My meditations have led me to believe that I am finally ready to accept the Jedi Knighthood title as a part of my life. That I am ready to be a living testament of the Power of the Force. And, that I am ready to be the beacon of life in my small corner of the globe.
At the same time, this confidence comes with a great deal of humility. It was surprising, but I found strength in humility, rather than weakness. I’m ready to let go of my fake strength in favor of real love, which is a more powerful strength anyway.
So, to relate this specifically to our themes, I’d like to leave you all with this thought.
The Jedi Path is one of individual measure, but we’re all on our way to becoming intimate with the Force. Mistakes; yet Intimacy. Emotion; yet Peace. We will find ourselves in the midst of trials all throughout our lives, and when we finally learn to enjoy the progress and the sense of being HERE, then that’s when we can stop worrying about measuring up and let the focus fall to the Force.