Knowledge vs. Practice

Knowledge vs. Practice

 

Knowledge is a central tenet of the Jed Path. It appears in the second line of the Jedi Code (Ignorance, yet knowledge), and is the central Pillar of Jedi Strength (the other two being the Force and Self-Discipline). As you journey on the Jedi Path, the need for knowledge cannot be emphasized enough. In fact, one of the demonstrations of your advancement on the Jedi Path will be being able to display and pass on your knowledge. However it is not the knowledge itself that makes one a Jedi, but rather how they put it into practice.

 

Being a Jedi is not just who we are, but it is what we do. Knowledge without practice is only half the equation. While it is one thing to understand that compassionate actions are the most worthwhile, it is entirely another to exercise compassion in the world around us. It is one thing to know that the Jedi ideal is to be selfless, but the real work of being a Jedi is inculcating selflessness in our actions and interactions with people around us.

 

The first step to being a Jedi is to acquire knowledge about what it means to be a Jedi and decide what kind of Jedi you will be. But the second step is to test your ideas in the real world, by putting your philosophy in practice. I don't refer to the Jedi Path as a religion, but rather a philosophy. But it is not merely a philosophy, it is an applied philosophy. In a way, you cannot actually demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy without putting it into practice. For if you truly understand Jedi philosophy, you will understand the need to put it into action, and testing to see if it has benefit and utility both for yourself and for those in your sphere of influence.

 

The Jedi Path is a means to make the world a better place, by first making ourselves better. This does not come to pass by thinking about it or having good intentions, but rather by putting what we have learned and discerned for ourselves into practice. Our sphere of influence begins with us at the center, but as Jedi, we should strive to push that sphere to encompass those around us and our communities.

 

We live in the real world, although we take our inspiration from a work of fiction. The mythological underpinnings of Star Wars model for us just what we want to accomplish as real life Jedi. The first description we get of the Jedi is that they were guardians of peace and justice. The pursuit of peace and justice should be a defining aspect of our practice as Jedi. While we cannot right every wrong, we must cultivate a mindfulness on what positive impact we can have for those in our sphere of influence. We work to improve things in ourselves and in our sphere of influence usually in small, incremental steps. What we cannot do, is be quiescent in the face of injustice. We cannot remain silent. While there are real evils and hardships in this world, and our sphere of influence cannot reach to address all the world's ills, we cannot allow that to justify inaction. The effort we must expend to address what we can will be great. The work is hard. But we are not Jedi because it is easy. Easy efforts yield small rewards, it is the hard stuff that is most worth doing.

 

While addressing injustice may seem far away, it is pervasive in our culture, and if one cultivates mindfulness, you will see both injustices, and the opportunity to correct them. It will take bravery, and it will take work, two qualities that should be familiar to those on the Jedi Path. One aspect of using the Force is building an awareness for the presentation of opportunities to act, then boldly moving in a direction where one can accomplish something useful, something beneficial, or something advantageous.

 

 

The Jedi Path is not something that we study only in theory. The path is meant to be made manifest by our actions. That is what being a Jedi is. It is an application of the verb "to be". Be a Jedi.