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Morivou's Musings

January 26, 2012

No February for the Newsletter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 11:35 pm

Hi guys! I don’t have time to do a February article in time for the Deadline for the Newsletter.

But, I’m not despairing, I will write something for February (most likely about Love and some possible ways it can be handled Philosophically) and it will come out around Valentine’s Day. :)

-Morivou.

December 30, 2011

Ashla Article January 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 9:54 pm

Ashla Article for January 2012

The Effects of Technology on Development in Society

Part I

The Current State of Development and Internet Usage

Thesis: They call kids the Digital Natives (Prensky 2001). We are at a stage in our societal development when we no longer have to rely on interpersonal 3rd dimension communication in the workforce or even in consumer situations. People earn money over the Internet, and they buy pretty much anything they want from the Internet as well. This essay seeks to define where our society is in terms of being defined by this Digital Age, and I will talk about my opinion on where this is going to go in the future.

Not much emphasis is placed on history anymore. Our society is obsessed with innovation and forward thinking. Information is readily available at our fingertips, and the entire world is contained in a searchable database. Easy-to-find information creates a new way of thinking in the human mind. Once, people learned information and then needed to store it for a long period. Our brains were trained to remember vast quantities of information during our developmental years. As children, we learned mathematics, syntax, basic social procedure, and whatever else constitutes an Elementary education; yet, computers seem to be stopping that developmental part of long-term memory. I have often wondered if the storing of so much information online could be the decline of human thought; if the containing of life’s mystery on the web meant that we would not have to store it in our heads. That begs the thought of whether the human mind is a reservoir of “need”-based information or if it is a reservoir of “want”-based information. If we assume that the brain is “need”-based, then history is only something that needs to be documented, which can then be stored online. Therefore, the brain will have no need to recall it, and thus will not; however, the brain actually recalls everything you ever experience (sciencemuseum.org.uk). This is important, because it takes away the argument of “what a person can and cannot learn”. The brain learns everything.

So, why do we find ourselves increasingly dependent on the Internet for information? According to neurobiology, memories are stored according to importance, which is decided by the hippocampus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus). The information learned then goes through a process of repetition. There are two types of memory: episodic and semantic. Episodic memory is autobiographical in nature, and it is related to experiences and emotion. I am not focusing on this type of information because it is not particularly relevant to the discussion of “need”-based vs “want”-based information. Semantic information, though, is factual in nature and is the center for my argument (Shafy 2008). My most convincing argument for “need”-based memory is phone numbers. The brain does not need to recall these anymore (due to the advent of cell-phone number storage), so why should it? People only need to receive the number one time, store it in the phone, and then completely forget everything about it except for the name to which it is attached. I do, however, have a few numbers memorized. I can recall my mother’s cell-phone number, my father’s cell-phone number, and my house phone number. I learned these when I was young because the first cell-phone I had did not record numbers like the cell-phones of today do. A few weeks ago, though, I tried recalling my father’s cell-phone number and confused it with half of my mother’s cell-phone number. The semantic memory had begun to fade because I did not need it anymore. This sheds light on the argument of “need’ vs “want” based information. The brain IS need-based, but it is hierarchical. After a while, I could resolve the issue in my mind and remember the numbers clearly and separately.

This is the state of all things. Large abundances of factual information have become common luxury rather than necessary memory. We remember things in a present state, but over long term only recall things we need on a daily basis. Instead of knowing my mother’s cell-phone number, I know how to find it on my cell-phone. There is an equal amount of importance, but the latter takes precedence because of its daily pragmatism. As our generation (the Digital Natives) grows older, we do not use history on a daily basis. I do not use the things I learn in school on a daily basis, but I do use the techniques of learning that I acquired during my formative years daily. I cannot tell you what I learned in fourth grade, but I can tell you that I can recall the process I used to learn that information. It has not changed since then; I have similar learning strategies and similar dependencies. Technology is influencing the way we remember information not by changing the way we learn, but by restructuring our mind’s hierarchy of information storage (McKie 2011). This is what is changing. If you ask a teenager what George Washington’s birthday is, he/she may stare back at your blankly, but the moment you ask him/her to look up the date, they will have it for you in almost the same amount of time it would have taken them to recall the information in the first place. Memory has become a way of recalling information through a more reliable third party. This reaches into the very foundation of human need for power and “being right”. It really is a trust issue, not a social issue.

This is an excerpt from SherWeb blog, I thought it might be interesting to share here:

“Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking.” (see http://blog.sherweb.com/how-the-internet-affects-your-brain/ for the whole article)

We cloister away from our old form of reading to a newer form as technology changes. I have read a lot online where surveys show that the percentage of teens that read has NOT changed since the advent of the Internet. I wondered: how could that be when literature has become scarcely a part of childhood and the Internet can change so much scarcity into easy-access information. I think the excerpt above states it the best: we are no longer a community of slow-moving, deep thinkers. We are the Digital Age. It is immediate, fast, and to-the-point information that makes good reading now. The Digital Age has altered the way we remember and the way we store ideas. It is not a question of “want”; it absolutely is a question of “need”. The Internet has changed society’s method of being productive. Back before computers, life was slower in the sense of information travel. People did not always find out things right when they happened. Sans telephone communication, the main constant source of news was only daily, and it was centered in the periodical genre. Because of that, things did not “happen” as fast, if that makes any sense. People did not know who the president was until the morning after Election Day, if that! This is why there was so much emphasis on putting as much information into the daily events as possible. This is why the newspaper genre will fail as it is now. People are not as concerned with the deep meanings and intricacies of what happens in the world; they are interested in the events themselves as they happen. The brain is more efficient this way. Society’s “collective brain” shows that the Internet is changing how we perceive and therefore store information.

In terms of psychological development, the Internet is a beehive of social networking. The Internet has websites like Facebook that have changed the way people interact in the 3rd dimension, sometimes referred to as “Real Life”, as if the cyber-world is merely a mirage. It is purely hypocritical, social networking. Data shows that teenagers use the Internet more and more for social interaction, and it is constantly the top percentage of reasons why people in general use the Internet (Affonso 1999). The same data ALSO shows, hypocritically, that young people have become socially recluse. Teenagers, averagely, interact less with their peers face-to-face when they have Facebook as an interface (Affonso 1999). At New York University, there was a sharp increase in drop-outs as computer integration also increased (Wallace 1999). They dropped out because they spent too much time addicted to the computer instead of their schoolwork. I wouldn’t want to be those kids when the parents got the results of THAT study.

These two views really encapsulate what the Internet has done to the Digital Native generation. Growing up in a world of fast-paced interaction, information is not stored the same way that it used to be stored. Children growing up intuitively in the Digital Age learn the same amount of material that their parental generation did; they simply learn different information. They learn how to find information on the web the same way they learned to recall information simply from their head when the Internet was not around. This slight shift in ideology can make all the difference, though. I will explore the actual repercussions of society’s adaptation to Internet communication in Part II of this essay.

Bibliography

Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1,” On the

Horizon 9.5. October 2001. (1–6).

Weblink:

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/WhoAmI/FindOutMore/Yourbrain/Whyisyourmemorysoimportant/Whereareyourmemories/Howdoyoucreatememories.aspx.

Shafy, S. “An Infinite Loop in the Brain”. Spiegal.de. November 2008.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,591972,00.html.

McKie, R. “The Lost Art of Total Recall”. The Guardian. March 2011.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/mar/13/memory-techniques-joshua-foer.

Affonso, B. “Is the Internet Affecting the Social Skill of Our Children?”

Sierra Source. University of Nevada: December 1999.

http://www.sierrasource.com/cep612/internet.html#23.

Wallace, A. The psychology of the Internet. New York:

Cambridge University Press. 1999.

December 2, 2011

Break

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 3:49 pm

I am not writing an article for December, just so everyone is aware.

I am taking time off from everything until my school semester concludes. You know, things get tough around this time.

 

be back soon!

-Morivou

October 16, 2011

Ashla Article November 2011 – More Aesop!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 8:32 pm

Hey gang!

This month, we are going to continue to look at the Aesop stories in relation to the Path. The one we are going to delve into this time is “The Shipwrecked Imposter”.

The Shipwrecked Impostor    The shipwrecked Chimpanzee had been clinging for a long time to a slender spar, when a Dolphin came up and offered to carry him ashore. This kind proposition was immediately accepted, and, as they moved along, the Chimp commenced to tell the Fish many marvelous tales, every one of them a bundle of falsehoods. “Well, well, you are indeed an educated chap,” said the Dolphin in admiration. “My schooling has been sadly neglected, as I went to sea when but a week old.” Just then they entered a large bay, and the Dolphin, referring to it, said, “I suppose you know Herring Roads?” The chimp, taking this for the name of a fellow, and not wishing to appear ignorant, replied: “Do I know Rhodes? Well, I should almost think so! He’s an old college chum of mine, and related to our family by-” This was too much for the Dolphin, who immediately made a great leap, and then diving quickly, left the impostor in the air for an instant before he splashed back and disappeared.    “A liar deceives no one but himself.” (1.)

That’s one of my favorites. It tackles a moral issue that is not often discussed and is pretty taboo in normal Jedi circles. Honesty is a hard thing. Jedi have lied. Sith have told the truth. But, at the same time, the Sith deceive and the Jedi bring to light. And, what’s scary… they each do the same. Yoda keeps information to himself, Palpy has no problem telling someone “how it is”. This means that honesty is not a Jedi versus Sith issue. It is a people issue. So, in order to define how to lie, we must first realize the consequences that go along with deception. I had an interesting time looking up the consequences of lying. So, I will draw on what I found and from personal experience. I was doing some research on the placebo effect, the idea that your body will react by pure knowledge (even if it does not actually undergo a physical change). (2.) And, more scientifically, it is the use of inert medication that actually produces results. I found that if the body was not aware it was being deceived, the mere belief it worked had a hand in the healing process. This might explain the hundreds of years that primitive species used spells and worshiped the gods for health and prosperity. In those simpler times, they had less to go off of. They didn’t have medicine at all. So, this is kind of a placebo. Witch doctors said an incantation over a patient, and the patient had nothing else to believe but that he/she would get better. Lo and behold, sometimes it would work! And, the medicine man was heralded as a hero because he, too, believed in his magic. I don’t know how much of this is accurate, seeing as I do believe in Magick and everything else, but at the same time… it does bring up an interesting question. Does benevolence, defined as good wishing on the world, have some sort of ground? Does positive thinking, even if it isn’t real and it is based on deception, have some sort of physical grounding? This is where Absolute truth and Subjective reality comes in. We have to make a choice: Do we believe that placebo deception is not real and it is just talk. Or, is talk real? Can we invent our own reality from perspective and experience? Is it subjective? That’s where the ideology of lying comes in. Deception that is helpful is still deception. I believe, personally, that we DO create our own realities. I can use somebody else’s lack of experience to help them. I can heal someone by making them believe I know what I am doing. They feel comfortable and trusting, and their body is more ready to receive positive energy. Talk is very real. It is a way of introducing yourself and your reality into the world. Each person buys in to this Absolute Reality. And, sure, in that case, there IS an absolute reality. However, it does not exist if we each put in our own Subjective truths and experiences. Facts DO happen, but the only way they are proven is if they are measured against what we know or don’t know.

So, when ignorance comes into play, there are pieces from the Absolute Truth that are kept from us. Deception can be good or bad, depending on how you use it. This is where it begins to relate to the Path (year, 820 words into the article… haha). Funny, I was reading an article about the consequences of lying in relationships (4.), and I discovered that Jerry (from the article) believes it is ok to lie to your partner to protect them. And, he puts this under the motivation category. We define how we use Deception, for the path, by what makes us want to deceive. The “why” behind the deception is really what the Aesop story is about. Lying is not even the goal. If you look back at the Placebo article, you will find sections on the ethics of deceiving people in order to heal them. They had a reason for deceiving the people, and it was justified by helping them get well and healthy. This is ok, in my opinion. However, there is a problem with deception: it causes us to lose trust when those whom we deceive find out. (3.) This should play into your decision to lie, and it should also play into your decision to keep the lie going.

Here is where the real meat and potatoes factor comes into play. In the story, the chimp is grateful for the help; however, he also has a pretty good ego. He believes that because the dolphin does not know about the chimp’s life, that he can spew out anything he wants and it will be alright. The chimp has a real chance to impress somebody. Unfortunately, his stories were so out there that the dolphin had no trouble in discerning the chimp’s true intentions. And, even with no schooling, the deception was easily found out. What lessons do Jedi and Ashla people learn from this? My belief is that it is related to the ideology of intention. When we try to impress people with lies, we become arrogant. The selfish nature of our actions falsely gives US a sense of accomplishment. Funny how that works. We really only hurt ourselves. It should be a Jedi tenant not to be arrogant. It is not becoming and is not based on any sort of ground. I think this is where the line of absolute truth and subjective reality really falls in favor of subjectivity. If somebody else’s experience conflicts with yours, there is a problem. When you use “truth”, in the common sense of the term, you are matching subjective realities with one another because they do not conflict. This is important, I feel. We need to take a step back and realize that in order to be arrogant, we need to stop deceiving ourselves. It is the greatest crime. When we lie to ourselves, we immediately lose faith in our actions. We are creating a new Universe that doesn’t really exist. And, this seems like it is the same “contrived” universe that healed the patients by the hands of a Medicine Man; however, there is one key difference. This difference is that when we are deceiving ourselves, we are stepping into dangerous places. We are destroying our perspective when we start letting ourselves into the world of our own creation. This perspective is false, and will eventually lead to our demise. Just like the chimps.

So remember, when dealing with deception, think about the means. Think about the way you go about it. And, think about what would happen if you start believing in your own deception.

All three of these gone unchecked could bring about your downfall. J Have fun!

With peace,

Morivou

Source – 1. http://www.aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?sel&TheShipwreckedImpostor

2. Miller FG, Wendler D, Swartzman LC (2005) Deception in Research on the Placebo Effect. PLoS Med 2(9): e262. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020262

3. http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/lying-and-deception/detecting-deception/consequences.html

4. http://jerryjrelationshipcoach.com/Test/wp/blog/?p=107

Ashla Assignment #3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 6:52 pm

“Describe any concessions or adjustments made for your faith, spirituality or philosophy to accommodate aspects of your being and/or your life.”

I definitely addressed this point in assignment 2, but I will expound upon it here. I have always had to define my beliefs by the people I am around. To my mother, I am a Christian. To my friends, I am just a normal kid. To my Jedi friends, I am a padawan. This means I often have to deal with an identity crisis. I don’t know who I am. This is a primary reason I am searching the Ashla Path. I need to have some self-discovery and establish my present and my future.

When I was about 10, I split from the Christian faith. This was the first concession of spirituality that I experienced. I didn’t know exactly where I was going to go, but at the time I felt something missing. Again, as I’ve stated in the past assignments, I do not hold anything against the people of the Christian faith. There are some wonderful Christians out there, but I am not one of them anymore. I worked so hard, but I could not relate to a sentient, perfect being. How could I have a relationship with somebody who for so many people fought and died? I could not imagine a world where I was a best friend with somebody who was perfect. It was a crazy notion. So, I dismissed it. And, every time I have tried to go back, I could not. So, I ended up in a dark world. Alone. I read Ayn Rand (at age 10? Haha), and I searched for a religion that made me into a God. I found it. Sithism. This was no concession, so I won’t go into detail about this part of my life; however, I can say this: Sithism’s dark, religious path takes one very deep into the inner darkness of oneself. I was not prepared. Another thing happened at this point in my life. At this point (forward), my parents never knew of this part of my life. Hiding things from my parents was hard. I always struggled with telling them the truth, even though they probably know. I made it obvious. I was very interested in Star Wars and had them buy my SW and Philosophy and other such things. But, I could never bring myself to tell my mother that I wasn’t a Christian. It still hurts, a lot, just to think about it. I know she cares so much for my soul. It would break her. I care too, too much about her to let her grow old and think I was bound for Hell. It’s not worth it, guys. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be gay. Telling your parents. That’s just heavy. This has been a great concession to my faith. I cannot be whom I would like to be because it hurts me that my mother doesn’t know, and cares too much for me to tell her. I have to learn to let this go. I must let my fears fade.

As I grew older, I realized that many of my friends did not have a general understanding of the world as I have. I am not saying I have it better than they; I am just as ignorant and feeble. But, I do believe I am more studied than they are. Of course, in a world of subjectivity, study it moot. Somebody could have it all figured out just be experience. They are luckier than I. I am simply someone trying to understand everything. It is an impossible task. I am dirty from experience and I am clean in the eyes of the Force. It washes me and paints me neutral so that I can see with clarity. But, I don’t believe in a Force that does things for me. As Jax often taught me, I am a product of my physical, mental, and spiritual actions. No matter how often I try to attribute success to a deity or God or the Force, Jax always reminds me that in the end, I am the “hero” of my own distress. I can solve all of my own problems. This is a concession I have had to make. It has been a costly one, though. I have always been taught to be humble, so it is a challenge to constantly understand that I make my own success, and yet to never be able to share it because that would be bragging, that is hard. These are powerful issues of the human psyche. It goes without saying, of course, that the people of the Force should naturally be drawn to this if they follow the Jedi Path. When I began to quit Sithism and stop viewing the world as my oyster, I lost sight of this ambition (another concession). I was no longer able to commit to anything because I did not see things that I did as meaningful. I know that’s convoluted, but basically: if I was not to take credit for the things I did, why would I ever want to go through with actually DOING them?

That makes sense, yeah? I guess I had lost a sense of pride. And, that’s a good thing. But, in the end, we need that balance. Pride is a necessary evil. We must have a sense of it in a positive connotation in order that we make a better world. Things cannot get done if we have no drive, be it form the Force or whatever. I think that’s where my concessions begin to slow down. My friends didn’t understand why I was so successful, but I couldn’t be braggy. I couldn’t tell them WHY I was able to supposedly read their thoughts or anything like that. I could only lead by example. These changes happened because I began to realize that a little bit of mystery in life is ok. I was not drawn to my accomplishments, but I realized that I must continue to grow. These are very good things. These concessions have led to glorious enlightenment, Masters of the Ashla Council. Believe me when I say this: Life has no meaning unless you give it meaning. I am a living example of this necessary evil. We must charge ourselves to grow and give purpose to our actions without taking credit for the good we do. That is the Jedi Way.

And, that is my way. I am not going to be the next person in charge of the world. I know that I would fail, miserably. I would fall to my pride and garner power and make a dictatorship. Most other Presidents of the United States would be the same way if our election and check and balances system didn’t exist. It’s true! Bush would have tried to stay in office till the problems were fixed. And, under his leadership, it will never happen. So, we moved on. Obama isn’t much better. I must make the concession that I am not fit to lead the world. But, I must understand that as a Jedi and a potential Ashla Knight, I must lead by example and in my life. It is not my job to tell anyone else to lead. It might be my civic duty as an American, which is why I vote. But, it is not the reason I am sitting here and working furiously to fit these assignments in my schedule. This is important to me. I want to learn how to lead. I want to learn Self-Awareness and understanding the Living Force and the connections that penetrate all of us. I want to be a part of the world. That is why I am here. I will not make any more concessions for anyone except the denial of pride. I will continue to protect my identity from the world until it is ready. The Force will guide me in understanding the world’s perspective. That’s just my personal vice, though. Another concession to add to the stockpile. I will be drawn in by greed, but I will be led out by faith. I will not concede to the world any longer.

-Morivou.

October 9, 2011

JediLogs One and Two!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 8:49 pm

Hey! This is Connor (Morivou) here.

Here is a new thing I am trying.

I have started this video log online called: Jedi Log. And, the Holocron basically allows me to put a lot of my written thoughts into a visual representation. I will respond to lectures and maybe do some readings of my writing. Makes it easier to swallow. And, the community will get to know me. It’s just me getting to know everybody as a Jedi and an Ashla Knight.

These first two are “pretty” informal. Just about 10 minutes of talking. I might do a longer one maybe once a month or something if I have a really deep topic.

I also plan on devoting a week to discussing my monthly topic for the Ashla Knights newsletter! I might even make it a separate segment. This is kind of my way to get my own air time. As well, I get about 20 views a weeks. And, that is unique views too. 😉 So, I consider that with the size of the community, and the way I advertise, and the way I reach at least 20 people with just a BLOG, then I consider myself successful.

Thank you! Here are the first two weeks.

Week 1 – http://vimeo.com/29899546

Week 2 – http://vimeo.com/30250264

OH, and in addition: if you want to make your own vBlog and you do it on Vimeo (20 million times better than FB), then upload it and email (PM) me with a link and I will definitely add it to the Jedi Holocron. We accept Sith, Jedi, and anything in between material, as long as you are contributing to a path.

September 5, 2011

Ashla Article for October! :) 2011.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 12:15 pm

Disclaimer: Remember, these are MY personal beliefs. I am writing from the Jedi perspective because that’s what I am. I will not hide this behind any other philosophy, be it Ashla or otherwise. Darksiders, feel free to contest in the comment section and I will be happy for debate. :)

Also, this is a copy from the Force Assignment I did just now for a course I am taking at IJRS. It applies to the Ashla Path, of course, in teaching about connections and cites a great work of philosophical literature. The Source link at the bottom denotes where I looked at the side-by-side translation/commentary on Sun Tzu’s Art of War chapter on Energy. I encourage all trainees to pick up that book and read it from cover to cover. My favorite version is with a forward by James Clavell, a VERY prominent Eastern scholar (he was white). :) Enjoy!

—–> Ok. So, for the first part of the Force Assignment, I was charged to find a “Living Force” article in literature. I used a passage from the deeply metaphorical yet pragmatic: Art of War, by Sun Tzu. I thought it might be a little less obvious as to the explanation and definition aspects of the Living Force, but it certainly does coalesce with our belief of what the Living Force is. Here is the passage from the “Energy” chapter:

Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more… There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard… There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen… There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted… The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle—you never come to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?.. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat… The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals…

I think this describes the Living Force to a TEE. Maybe not “specifically”, but I’m not about specifics. I think, if you are thinking outside the box, this definition really gets into the nitty gritty of what the Force does to people and how it shapes our lives. Starting from the beginning:

Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more… There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard… There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen… There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted…

Reading that in the context of our question, I believe Sun Tzu was explaining the world in addition to battle strategies. His metaphors for battle are just as well equipped to apply to the interweb of the Unifying/Living Force. We all believe that our lives are shaped by relationships. We have a relationship to a deity. Or, if we don’t, we have a relationship with our view of ourselves. Obviously, in the Jedi world, we have a relationship with the Force. We have relationships with our friends and our family and our enemies and everything in between. And, this interweaving of life is not a product of the Unifying or Personal Force. It must be something in between. Therefore, you can use this situation as sort of a theological “proof” of a Living Force. Or, at least something that connects us. In the Christian Faith, it is referred to as the Holy Spirit. We are connected to God by this symbol for Freedom. Isn’t that cool? Christians believe, just like the Brahman and in other philosophical beliefs, that a relationship with the Universe (or in its canon, God) is freeing. Relationships FREE us from the stigma of the Self. Of course, knowledge of ourselves is paramount to the discovery of the meaning of life, but it is only in our relationships with others that this power becomes true and active. It “lives” because other people are witness to the Power of the Force that we exude if we so choose to apprehend it as our tool of communication. We are no longer simply a prowess of our own self-understanding, we are pragmatic in the influence we have over other people. It’s slightly manipulating, I guess. But, a lot of Eastern Philosophy is grounded in manipulation of self and others.

Don’t be bogged down by the negative connotations of manipulation. The Force is neutral; it contains all sides, and it contains no sides. It is a square and a circle.

So, here’s my point for the first half of the quotation:

The Living Force, as a connective Force, prevents us from solitude. We cannot be alone in the universe, therefore it is foolish (in my opinion) to pretend that we are the only ones around. It is not good for a Jedi to only serve himself; that is not the Jedi Way. Our way is one of servitude toward the World because of the Living Force. We have Personal Forces that penetrate our souls and carry these to the people we come in contact with. In that way, we are connected to everyone we meet. We are a part of everything we do. If I see it on TV, I was there. If I heard it on the radio, I am entitled to an opinion. That is how knowledge of the Living Force is so helpful and powerful. It is our activity that determines our reality. Now, I am a big proponent of Subjective Reality, and this is not the right topic for that, but I wanted to plug that in there, just because it’s a personal belief.

Of course, my belief in Subjective Reality means I cannot force you to believe like I do.

That’s Objective. :P hahaha.

But, anyway, back on topic. Keep this in mind when reading about the Living Force. Think of Mace Windu’s “Shatterpoints”. Think of all the ways the Chinese believe Ki binds people together. How sword fighting comes from the will of both minds working in tandem. How all of this life we live is eventually defined on how we impacted others, not on how we sat at our computers and typed out thousand word assignments every weekend. The world cares not for what you or I have to say until we actually do it. Words can only take you so far. Allow the Living Force to guide you in your relationships and see the billions of possibilities that lie in the connections you have with others.

Next month I am probably going to continue my Aesop’s Fables series since I got such a positive response in April and earlier. :) See you then!

-Morivou.

SOURCE: http://suntzusaid.com/

August 20, 2011

Ashla Assignment 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Morivou @ 10:02 pm

My path has changed over the years. I first started recognizing an independent path when I was 12 years old. It’s only been 7 years since that time, but I have practiced many belief systems since. Each of these has given me a different perspective regarding how to live life. I have practiced Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Sithism over the years, and all of these created a very conflicting self-view that I had not been sure how to deal with. I know this is a tad digression, but I plead you’ll understand what I mean by conflicting paths. Because of all this, I had never been a very social person with my peers. I could talk to adults, but to the people around me, I was just Connor. I knew, though, that I cared more than to just be Connor. I wanted much more out of life than to skate by. I was ruining my chances by shutting out my family, friends, and everybody else that cared about me. I realized, at this point about 3 years ago, that I had to stop believing in everything and nothing at the same time. I needed to focus on a purpose for my life and I needed it soon before my teenage years flitted away while I stood watching. So, I made a drastic move. I rejected all of my beliefs except my Christian roots. This led me, in the Star Wars sense, to accept Jedi Realism as a belief. A year later, when I was 17, Jackie Meyer, my Jedi Master, helped me realize what I had done to myself by keeping a closed mind. I had been accepted by all of my friends, but I was not able to believe in truth. Do not misunderstand, I am not saying that the Christian belief system is invalid; I am just saying that I voided my chances at a pure belief because I was jaded by past choices and that was my main purpose for joining the faith. Joining a religion out of fear or anger is never a good idea. That’s exactly what I did. That is the back-story of my beliefs.

Jackie has helped me since then to shed what I believed out of fear from what I believed out of joy and balance. I may, someday, return to a Christian belief system. I am not sure, though. I have recently found myself without so much of a religion as a lifestyle. My current beliefs lie in the Jedi Path. It is a place I can relate to good people around me and a place where my Path is equal to a healthy lifestyle. I will focus on this part of my life (the past year or so) as an examination of my current relationship to those around me, and how my path has directly influenced those relationships.

So, my main focuses are compassion, individuality, and the freedom of expression in terms of creative vocation. With my family, I really hid a lot of individuality. I mean, they knew I was “different” in a good way, but when I lived with my parents, I had to hide a lot. I couldn’t be who I really wanted to be because I knew they were judgmental about it. I grew up in the Bible Belt, see? And, not being JUST a Christian wasn’t acceptable in my family. Still isn’t. I still have to censor myself sometimes. So, my path hinders my relationship with my family. Of course, that it something that I would love to change! I would very much be happy with some kind of understanding. I have not, yet, the will to confront them with this issue. Maybe with more independence and more time, I will garner the strength to address this issue. Next, I have a wonderful, open relationship with my friends. They do not really approve of what I do, but they seem to understand. My compassion and good will has always been a sign of comfort for them. I consider this a very good thing, because they could easily be closed-minded and my efforts would be for naught. I also do some healing, and I know they appreciate that from me. I also am open to going to church things with close, religious friends. I still have ties to the church. So, I enjoy the worship experience and the camaraderie. On the esotericism, though, I do not share this with my friends and I wouldn’t know how to if I tried. My problem is that my path has set me apart from many of my lay friends. Now, I don’t pretend to think I am better than they; I’m not. I simply think it’s a part of my life that I cannot share with them. So, it keeps me from doing all that I would like to. With my intimate relationships, it caused tension. She talked of marriage (obviously, I wasn’t ready) and she didn’t want me doing all of these crazy things. I did share everything with her. It didn’t go so well. But, at least she understood and respected me enough to back off when I needed her to. As to the usage of my path, I have been successful at garnering friendship and trust. My sense of duty and loyalty to those for whom I care allow me to love and enfold my family and friends. It has given me perspective not to judge and not to worry. It has given me truth when all I received was falsehood. I treat my friends like they are the Force itself. I let my thoughts flow through them and allow them to feel safe around me. With my family, I am an obvious confidant and loved one. It’s not a haughty confidence, but I do enjoy the attention and the trust.

At work and school, it has allowed me to excel in my product. I work hard and I don’t stop till the job is done. I was always a straight A student. I loved what I did. And, I will continue to do so in college. My path shows a lot of discipline, and it serves me very well in that capacity. I used to procrastinate a lot. No longer do I wait till the last minute. I prioritize (hence why this assignment is a few months late. 😉 ), I try to keep everything in line, and I try to keep everything in perspective. It’s not all about me. I understand that. That’s why I am unique to those around me. I don’t judge from a pre-conceived perspective (at least, I try my hardest not to). My path is a difficult one to follow, though, and just for that reason. I am emotionally detached from my friends, even my close ones. They understand this and call me out on it all the time. They constantly remind me that I am not a machine. While I understand this as well, I do think there is merit in detachment in a relationship. That seems contradictory, but it is not. When I am a Jedi Knight, I hope that all of my friendships will be based off of this trust and loyalty. I want people not to see me as a human, but as a protector. Is this wrong? Am I getting to deep into this? I know my own perspective will change with time, as it always has, but one always has to wonder if this is the one that will stick. So, in that way, my path hinders my relationships. I am not sure, though, if I want relationships that go beyond this. That kind of attachment seems detrimental to what I want to accomplish. But, again, this may be marred by a lack of vision on my part. As an Ashla Apprentice, I will definitely explore this topic more and find out exactly what it is that I want. Thank you for your time.

-Morivou

August 13, 2011

September Newsletter – Vipassana and Meditation in Everyday Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 11:04 pm

Greetings, my fellow Ashla peoples.

I have been kind of in a forced hiatus as my summer became very busy. This was mostly due to the fact that I am making the transition from High School to College. I am moving from Texas to Indiana, which in itself is an enormous feat. On top of that, I have been academically and mentally preparing for college. All that being said, these months of extraordinary business gave me some insight into what I am going to write about for this month’s article.

This month, I would like to discuss the idea of “on the go” meditation. Not to replace your normal regimen, this is merely supplemental meditation to consider further study. I have had a lot of issues finding times, other than at bedtime where I control the clock, to meditate actively. As a result, my mind is often cluttered and I have trouble focusing. I have found, though, that certain times during the day can provide time for focus and reflection.

  1. Showering in the Morning! This is a MUST. Usually when we wake up, the first thing we do is to get ready for the day. If we want to be ready for anything, our mind must be clear. Here’s what I suggest. Take a moment or two, after or before bathing, to soak in the heat of a warm shower. Allow yourself to feel your body relax and undulate the fears and woes of a stressful day into the drain. I do it most mornings, and it makes my daily preparations much easier to handle. Relaxing is often a great thing for people who are not “morning” people. The whole morning ritual, if done in silence, can be a meditative experience if you live alone or if you get up early enough. It doesn’t have to be long, just a nod that you are aware of yourself and that you are ready for business.
  2. Car Rides. On the go at it’s finest, few people realize the merits of turning OFF the radio and just driving. No distractions. It’s a brilliant exercise they teach you in Driver’s Ed. But, I know that at least ONE car ride everyday, I turn everything off and just drive. There is something about the focus and adrenaline of cars roaring past that lets your mind have a hay day. It’s not reallllly a meditation, but it’s close. Another thing you can do is stare at the red light and try to estimate when it’s gonna turn green without looking at anything else (I know you all have tried it.)
  3. Cooking. I know a lot of people do not cook. But, I do cook. So, for those of you enjoy time in the kitchen, this little mental exercise is a great mindbuster. Having to keep things in your memory, try memorizing all of the times and recipes and just letting loose on a big project for the kitchen. Don’t have distractions like a TV or radio or music. Just you, the food, and your mind. These are all practical examples of how simply focusing on the tasks at hand will allow freedom and maybe provide insight into the mundane.

    You can also do it at the gym. Or, when you are preparing for a big meeting. Taking a step back for a few moments during the day can be SO beneficial. This leads me to the point of this month’s article. When I was a Sith apprentice LONGGG ago (I was like 13), I was charged with an assignment to learn, practice, and do a research paper on Vipassana Meditation. I won’t get too deeply into it, as this is no research paper, but you should realize that Vipassana is a way to rid yourself of stress and suffering. The Buddhists say it is one of the oldest Indian meditation traditions.

    From Vipassana.com “The purpose of Vipassana meditation is nothing less than the radical and permanent transformation of your entire sensory and cognitive experience. It is meant to revolutionize the whole of your life experience. Those periods of seated practice are times set aside for instilling new mental habits. You learn new ways to receive and understand sensation. You develop new methods of dealing with conscious thought, and new modes of attending to the incessant rush of your own emotions. These new mental behaviors must be made to carry over into the rest of your life. Otherwise, meditation remains dry and fruitless, a theoretical segment of your existence that is unconnected to all the rest. Some effort to connect these two segments is essential. A certain amount of carry-over will take place spontaneously, but the process will be slow and unreliable. You are very likely to be left with the feeling that you are getting nowhere and to drop the process as unrewarding.

    One of the most memorable events in your meditation career is the moment when you first realize that you are meditating in the midst of some perfectly ordinary activity. You are driving down the freeway or carrying out the trash and it just turns on by itself. This unplanned outpouring of the skills you have been so carefully fostering is a genuine joy. It gives you a tiny window on the future. You catch a spontaneous glimpse of what the practice really means. The possibility strikes you that this transformation of consciousness could actually become a permanent feature of your experience. You realize that you could actually spend the rest of your days standing aside from the debilitating clamoring of your own obsessions, no longer frantically hounded by your own needs and greed. You get a tiny taste of what it is like to just stand aside and watch it all flow past. It’s a magic moment.”

    That is a brief introduction of what I am talking about. If you allow yourself to get into this form of meditation in the mundane, then you will truly start to live it. Whether you do Vipassana or whether it’s just a self-check to remember who you are, you will be making strides towards a more balanced life and a more cherished life. Sometimes, even I let stupid things pass me by. I know it sounds cliché, but this is taking the idea of “stopping to smell the roses” to a new level. It’s very helpful in learning more about the Force and the creations it makes. We become closer to creation, we are more inclined to find more insight in the Force. So, bottom line, just relax for a little while every day and let your mind rest. Let it focus and get back to the task at hand, and you will find that a meditative state of living provides clarity and insight.

    I hope you’ll keep reading the blog. Next month (October’s letter), I will be returning to the Aesop’s Fables interpretations and applications to a Knight’s life.

    -Morivou.

    Sources (and further info on Vipassana Meditation): http://www.dhamma.org/en/vipassana.shtml, http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/mindfulness_in_plain_english_17.php

    April 22, 2011

    May Newsletter – Easter Lessons

    Filed under: Uncategorized — Morivou @ 10:16 pm

    Today is Holy Saturday in Texas. Holy Week is an important tradition, especially in the Bible Belt and in the Christian Church. Beginning with Maundy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday, this week is symbolic of sacrifice and service. This Month of May brings an end to the holidays and reaches into the Summer. It is a selfish time, almost, because people are worried about self-image and getting away from school and planning away time for vacations and such. But, I would like to challenge the Jedi to make something of their downtime and begin new habits of service and sacrifice. We can learn something from Jesus; so, lets take a good look at Holy Week day by day to see what we can learn.

    Jesus made it very clear at the Last Supper that “he who goes last will eventually go first”. That’s a paraphrase, but it is still an accurate statement. The Bible tells us that Jesus got down on his knees and washed the feet of his servants. He was very clear in saying that we should always be a servant to those around us who are our friends and enemies. How does that face up in our world of “eye for an eye”. Both are biblical principles, but a Jedi is forced to choose one. I suggest, for grins, that you try being a servant. I mean, our goal is to “protect the galaxy”. Here are some ways to try this:

    1. You could allow yourself to be a good, faithful companion to your friends.  Do not lie to them. Offer to feed them and give them what they need.
    2. Serve your family by always sending them cards updating them on how you are. Keep them aware of how successful or not successful you are. They want to help you. Have you called your mother or daughter or father or son today? If you aren’t close to your family, maybe it is time to set aside that pride and get a little closer to those you love and who love you.

    Yes, those methods seem to be cliché and not really worthy of a “JEDI”’s time. But, trust me, even the President of the USA is close with his wife and kids. Why should we serve? Well, think about it this way: If you were to only help yourself, then you would only be improving on your personal skills. I know, for a fact, you cannot get a CEO position without hobnobbing or helping others see you for who you are. If you think in a selfish way, you will not get promoted. You have to “kiss butt” and work up the ladder. The same works in life. You can never really reach your full potential if you only focus on your own needs and not those around you.

    On Good Friday, there is a Sacrifice. Jesus went to the Cross and was betrayed to die for humanity. What does that mean to us? What do we do to sacrifice ourselves for others? Here are some ways to sacrifice in order to better yourself:

    1. Do some service! Maybe sacrifice some time to go to the Life Shelter and help out with the less fortunate. You could also go and help on your own. Time is something we can sacrifice. We can go away from our “alone” time and spend it helping those who need it, even if WE need it.
    2. Another thing to sacrifice is perspective for a larger perspective. Jaxs recently told me to shed my human perspective for a larger purpose. I interpret that as the Will of the Force. No, the Force does not speak and have a conscience, but it is Living and flows through all. So there is no punishment for the bad things you do, there are only options to learn and consequences to take on! If you’re bold enough to change your perspective, you will learn that Love is much stronger than spiritual self-incrimination.

    Good Friday symbolizes taking the selfish out of life and making oneself available to the teachings of sacrifice. If we do not focus on ourselves, but make goals to help those around us, we will inevitably increase in our power and sphere of influence in the Force.

    Holy Saturday and Easter go together. They are symbols of the Lost and Found. This is a simple principle for the Jedi way. If we trust the Force in the good times and bad, then we will follow its path the way we were intended to follow it. By service and sacrifice, we will learn that others are just as important to focus on as we focus on our own training. This is part of the Ashla Knight’s Practice and the maxim of not being selfish. If there is a selfish Jedi, he might as well be a Sith. Not a problem, but not a Jedi. The Tao is something like this as well. We have to balance our needs with those that are not our own. If we reprogram ourselves to put other people’s needs as our own, then our service will be fulfilled. Do some meditations this month on how you can incorporate sacrifice and service into your daily or weekly life. I know I will. If you want to share on how people can serve in the real world, please do so in the comments section.

    Thank you all very much,

    Morivou.

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