Perfection is not a Requirement to be a Jedi
Perfection is not a requirement to be a Jedi. Not only is it not a requirement, it is not even attainable. While the Jedi Path is one of self-improvement, we will never get to the point where we brush our hands together and proclaim that we are done improving. We will never be the best we can ever be, so we must be content with being the best that we can be right now.
There will be times in our struggles that we are not the best example of a Jedi. Often times our peers and loved ones will try to shame us for our failings by saying we are not being good Jedi. These criticisms come from a misunderstanding of what the Jedi Path is. It is not a destination, it is a process.
When we are committed to the Jedi Path, we approach life as a Jedi would. Our cornerstones being selflessness and compassion. We inculcate the positive mental traits that are exemplified by the mythical Jedi archetypes. There will be difficulties in our lives, as there would be for anyone. It is how we respond to our trials that set us apart. But being a Jedi of quality does not mean we will always rise above it all. We cannot allow our non-attachment to become detachment where we think ourselves unconnected and unaffected by the suffering in our sphere of influence, which I should remind you always has ourselves at the center.
Responding to our life's trials in the manner of a Jedi of quality is something we should train ourselves to do so that it becomes habitual. This is not to say we train so that it becomes easy. I have a saying that goes, “easy efforts yield small rewards.” Living as a Jedi is difficult work. But it is the hard work that makes it worthwhile. When we cultivate peace, knowledge, serenity, harmony and the Force, it has an impact on both our perceptions and our responses. These five things do not come to us without sincere and sustained efforts. While emotion, ignorance, passion, chaos, and death can come to us with no effort on our part at all.
While perfection is not attainable, the standard for a Jedi of quality is still high. We must demonstrate our commitment to the Jedi Path and the principles it embodies in our lives in such a way that it will be clear to others that we are indeed Jedi. There will be times, however, when we fail. It is not a matter of if we will fail, but of when. When this happens, we do not cease to be Jedi. We may not even cease being Jedi of quality. The determining factor is how we address and recover from our failures. The ability to honestly asses ourselves and where we went wrong, and take corrective actions is an essential skill for a Jedi of quality. While it is important to be able to acknowledge one's shortcomings, our shortcomings should not be chronic. That is not to say that they are always resolved quickly, and definitely, our shortcomings are not addressed easily. But it is important to be making progress. Not repeating our less than stellar behavior, even if the correction is in very small, incremental steps. It is these small steps rather than large impressive ones that are more important. A small improvement is more attainable to achieve, and more likely to be built upon. It is this process of constant, small improvement, that over time yields an impressive result.
There will be times that we do not live up to the ideals of what it means to be a Jedi of quality. This has surely been my own experience, and I suspect it is a common one. But in times of difficulty, I have persevered, I have kept to the path. There have been setbacks, and times, when I have really struggled and, failed. But understanding that the Jedi Path is a process and not a destination, I did not allow my setbacks and failures to perceive that the path was insufficient, but merely my training. So in time, I picked myself up. I did better. With sincere effort and a good foundation of knowledge, anyone can do the same.