Hello everybody, good time zone, I hope you can hear me well. It’s Thomas here! I thought I’d do something a little bit different this week and kind of use this time to do a video sermon; to not only present myself as a human being, but kind of talk to you more on a one-on-one basis. I know I promised in my first Ministry video that I would be more directed to this ‘person-centered’ approach, and I think this would be a good opportunity!
This month’s sermon topic “Fickleness Yet Discipline” – I have a very close friend in the temple, who she says disciple is her trigger word. It’s such a scary thing, discipline is. So let’s take some time to talk about discipline. So, the temple doctrine defines discipline as …”The ability to let the self be the sole master of the self.” It goes on to say, “… the Jedi’s mind is structured, peaceful, and unencumbered by emotions; physical state; or external stimuli.” Now, what does discipline mean to you? Growing up in the military, you know growing up as a young adult, discipline was taught as something to help us be more efficient at preforming a certain task. And a little bit later in this sermon I’m going to kind of demonstrate that. It’s how we can apply discipline in a healthy way that kind of removes some of the barriers to that; applying it in a non-scary way. I know discipline is sort of indicative to the thoughts of a strict order, ‘do this, say that, in a certain way’. But I seem to think of it as, you know, being able to concentrate our effort in such a way that the action that we do, the action that we do take, the effort that we pour into our action almost comes effortless. And a disciple to me is that effortful practice that we do, and do and do in repetition to sort of invest in our wellbeing and the future.
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Now, the people I work with and I serve on a daily basis outside the temple have really benefited from this exercise. I think it’s a valuable lesson, not only to kind of teach us about the transparency of some of the issues we face on a day to day basis, but it also serves to highlight the importance to how discipline can serve us as well as us being the ones who impart the discipline. I have a regular sheet of paper here; this canvas represents our perspective. You know, sometimes in life we’re going to have these big key words. I think that our attitudes and the perspectives that we hole really shape how we view things. So lets say this week hasn’t been so well. Some of our major hot points have been – oh, we’ve got stress. Everybody knows stress. Stress in one way… We have positive stress: new jobs, new house, doing things. Going on vacations can be stressful, but in a positive way. We’ve got these negative stressors as well, too, that can just impact our day and how we interact with others. But we’ve got stress. Some of us are dealing with mental health issues. Let’s say, some mild forms of ‘depression’; lets say we have ‘anger’. I know at times anger seems to be one of these trigger words of something that we typically want to avoid, but anger, and sadness and all these other emotions that we experience often do such beautiful jobs of illustrating just where we’re at in life – and sort of serve as focus points and guiding points of how we can move forward.
So we’ve got stress, we’ve got depression, we’ve got anger. Let’s say we’ve got some sadness coming on. Maybe we’re going through some things that we don’t know how to talk about… Loss, loss is a big word; grief; shame. Maybe we’re blaming. I think we’ve got a good canvas full of words here, of I think a good sort of wraparound of what some individuals will go through on a daily, weekly or sort of just revisit throughout their life. But, I hope to teach you a little bit of a trick on how we can move forward with topics like this. So what we’re going to do? We’re going to draw! Yay! It’s fun. I’m going to take a blue colored pencil here and we’re going to use this as a form of teaching discipline. I’m going to look at all of these key words: stress, grief, depression, loss, shame, anger, blame and sadness. In reality, we’re never going to be at a point to where each of these emotions, states of being, states of mind are fully going to just be wiped away from existence. These are recurring instances and experiences that are going to be surfaced and touched upon in life. So what do we do to sort of combat them, and to implement healthy techniques on how to work through some of these experiences? For blue here, we’re going to draw a picture of a fish. A fish represents that ‘suchness’ about our self, that main picture. It could be a state of mind in which you want to be in, it could be anything. But we’ve got this beautiful fish here. We have this idea of what we want, we have this idea of that discomfort, that comparison of life that is most satisfying, or stuff we want to reach for. And we’re going to draw a little happy face on this fish, just because. This is my purple friendly fish. We’ll name him…. let’s name him Frank! I like Frank the fish – Frank the Purple Fish. Now, in order for Frank the Purple Fish, he’s got a lot of stuff he’s gotta – this canvas, this illustration of our life is still littered with stress, it’s still littered with sadness and anger. So we have to do things to work through that. I’m going to take this blue pencil here and I’m going to say we’re going to implement one thing we’re going to do for us here. Let’s go for a walk out in the park – blue streak – that’s great! Okay, let’s say the next day we’re going to go out for another walk in the park. Maybe we’re going to illustrate something for a bunch of people on a temple, the coolest Jedi temple in the world! We have another mark. What we see when dealing with these extreme emotions is sadness ---
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As I was saying, we have these activates we do that really impact our overall interpretation of these major feelings. Of course, this is a very rudimentary example. We definitely don’t constantly experience sadness, or we don’t constantly experience depression at times. At times we will. But often we’ll experience these other positive emotions, but in the sense of working through and coping with these more difficult and negative emotions, really picking something… Let’s say we’re going to go for a walk on the park, we’re going to walk around the park and we’re going to feed some turtles. And we do that every day; that builds up. Every day we build a commitment, and what we do is, we are coloring this picture of our self. We’re coloring this picture. Each day we go out and we treat ourselves kindly, we treat ourselves with compassion, we treat ourselves with the intent to “build ourselves up” – as Carlos would say – to be in a point where we to where can be of service to other. Speaking of service to other! I like to compare that to the yellow of a sunshine. Use that as the light to be a beacon to other people. So when we perform these services for other, that light we shine, it also adds value to the canvas of life that we share. This dip of water into a cup of our current experience. That service we provide to others also provides that magnitude of self-worth and self-love, and it can be such a powerful, powerful tool, and mechanism for our own self-care and healing.
It goes on from there… let’s say we have connections with friends, or we want to explore something new that we’ve never done before. Each thing we do to provide that care for our self, to provide that love, to reach out to others, to make those connections, to experience the most of life, to connect with nature, to reflect on these stressors and to see their core meanings and where we’re being directed. They add that sort of beauty to the canvas of where. we. are. And the most valuable few lessons that I can gather, from this sense --
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The things we pay attention to in our lives, really sort of shift our perspective as to how we’re going to react to anything else. I’m not advocating that anything you can do will completely remove stress – if you can do that, please sign me up for anything you are willing to teach. Because stress is something that we are constantly dealing with, we’re dealing with grief, we’re dealing with these emotions. But the more we put into practice these tools, and these methods of working through these stronger, more intense emotions, they become a bit blurred into the background. Sure, in this example they’re crayon-ed onto a piece of paper. But maybe in your life, maybe on your canvas… they’ll dim. The images that you draw, the commitment that you make to improve yourself over time, will make some of these fade. They won’t completely go away…. But the more care, and compassion, and self-love, that you provide yourself; the more you go out and serve the community, within your means(!), the more these stronger negative emotions will start to vanish into the background. And through a healthy regimen of disciplined action, and pouring your effort, pouring your suchness…
There is an ongoing joke to where I clasp my hands together; there’s this thing about you, that suchness, that fuel, that flavor of you. That ruminates through your ever being, and it ruminates and vibrates out into everything you do. Everything you touch. The interactions with everything in existence. And through that disciplined action, through that effort to provide that care for yourself, these stronger emotions… they fade. They may rise again, but as we know, things will come to pass. The more we engage ourselves in activities that promote our self-love and build us up as people, and come together as a community, the better we feel and --- we have a good canvas! We’ve got Frank the Fish.
I want to thank everybody for taking the time to listen to me. This wasn’t planned, this wasn’t organized. I was going to write a discipline sermon on working out. You know? Working out. You can’t lift weights one time and see results. The same is for your fish, the same is for your Frank. We can’t do one brushstroke. One walk in the park is great. Committing to yourself, though, and ensuring that you have that recurring and nurtured care for yourself so that you can build up the community that you serve? It’s so vital, and is important to our wellbeing and development.
So from this, I want to thank you again for listening. Have a beautiful day, have a beautiful night, and may the force be with you all!!