Beware the Pied Piper

by Justin Bane

You wake up and go get a cup of coffee or tea or whatever. You sit down with the paper, or your phone or tablet, in front of your computer, where ever it is that you get your information from. You are calm, sipping on your drink, and then it hits like a 10 megaton bomb………

“SOMEONE DISAGREED WITH ME ON THE INTERNET!!!!!” Oh, that’s not how it goes? Forgive me. Ok, let me try it this way….

“SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING THAT I DISAGREE WITH!!!!!” still not right? Darn it, let me try one more time……

“THE WHOLE WORLD IS GOING TO END BECAUSE SOMEONE TOLD ME IT WAS!!!!!!”

Beware of the Pied Piper my friends. It’s song is enchanting and inviting. It fills the air with it’s intoxicating allure. It goes past the logical, thinking parts and goes right to the heart. You try and resist at first, but it is no use. It has taken control of your heart, and then your mind. It makes you break oaths and promises. It makes you go against your better nature. It causes you to forsake beloved friends and family. It turns the things you Love into the things that you now Hate.

Social Media is a remarkable thing! Growing up in a time where cellphones did not even exist (I did not see my first one until I was about 19 years old), I never imagined that we would be able to share so much, so fast. People come together over anything and everything in a blink of an eye. People are empowered by so much information. Fast information with loose parameters. Fast and Loose information…. “Wait, don’t you share information on your pages and videos? Aren’t you talking about yourself?” I do create, teach and share information. I am honest about it. I have said more times than I ever care to count that you should not take ANYTHING I say as the gospel. You should always look deeper than is what on the surface, no matter WHO is providing the information to you. My job is, as it always has been, to create conversations and to provoke thought. I am not the end all, be all to everything.

Ashla Axiom #90 “Before you can break free of negative or improper influences, you must first recognize them.”

The greatest lie ever told, is the one we tell ourselves. You will do more harm to yourself than anyone else in the world ever could. Pay attention to what you tell yourself.

The music is playing and you begin to march forward. You do not know where you are going, but in this bliss, you do not care. All that matters in how you feel. All that matters is to be a part of something greater than yourself. You are not concerned with logic and thinking. You are not concerned on how others feel or think. All you know is that you are not going to let anyone stop you from enjoying the beautiful music that fills your senses, taking you to a far away land where only you and your feelings matter.

When I open my social media accounts these days, I see a lot of people, very smart and articulate people, spreading hate and discourse. Spreading lies, slander, and misinformation. People who swore oaths and made promises to uphold codes and mantras, are now encouraging violence in the name of some misguided sense of empowerment and new found purpose. All while still preaching those very codes and mantras, oaths and promises, from the side of their mouths.

No, this is not intended to be political. No, it is not intended for any particular generation of human beings. As we are made, we are bound to this creation. All of us. We all think and feel. We all have dreams and aspirations. We all have prejudices, in that, we all have things that we prefer and things we do not. There is something else we all have in common, we had no control over the conditions to which we were born of and into.

The Pied Piper continues to play it’s song, guiding you to an unknown destination. But you don’t care. Your feelings are more important that anyone and anything. Your new found sense of power and purpose, leading you to a better place, a better existence. Your rights and freedoms are all that matter now and you will see them had, even at the expense of another persons right to live in peace.

People seem to be giving away their power. Jumping at shadows and “boogeymen” that never even existed until someone else told you they did. You have the power to allow or reject influences from others. Only you have the power to influence your feelings and emotions. Only you can give that power away to someone else. Don’t trust others to control how you feel, trust yourself with this. If you allow others to dictate your feelings and emotions, you only have yourself to blame.

Who is this Piper? Who follows the Piper? I have a few ideas…..

They are the hypocrites who preach the loudest about love, compassion, mercy, acceptance, and peace. Yet who condones hate and destruction on innocent people by their words or actions. These very same hypocrites who they themselves are not accepting of others, unless they too follow the Piper.

They are the hypocrites who say “you are what you think you are”. Yet publicly deny others because of disagreements based on opinion and affiliation. A lack of emotional integrity and maturity can be found in these people.

They are the hypocrites who preach and teach a code of ethics, yet bully and disparage others because they can’t hear the Piper and follow it’s lead on the road to oblivion.

They are the hypocrites who by their very words and actions, defy the very thing they are “fighting” for.

I guess I can’t blame them, but I will not join them either. As I have said, the song that the Piper plays is intoxicating for those who choose to allow their emotions to guide their actions. I have chosen to not give away my power. I have chosen to employ my mind and to use reason and logic to guide my words, actions, and judgments. By the way, those who follow the Piper, should take care in knowing how that story ended.

I Love you all very much, and until next time…

Awaken the Knight within!

I am Blessed…..Truly Blessed!

By Justin Bane

Hello Knights, I hope this finds you well. It had always been a tradition here at the KOA to sit down and talk about what we are thankful for. Well this year, I am going to do something a little different. Given that I will be on duty for 12 hours a day over the next 4 days, I really didn’t have a whole lot of time to put together a video or live show for this. But I wanted to do something.

This year has been a very tough and trying one for me. I know it has been for many of you as well. And given that many things that have happened to me and tested me, I have already many times over throughout the course of this year, expressed my gratitude. I have said it in years past, Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only time of the year that we think about gratitude and give thanks for those things, people, and places that have helped shape who we are…….the good and the bad.

Here are a few that you can go and check out if you missed them.

The Road to Recovery and New Beginnings. Part 2: Gratitude- Fixtures in the background.

The Road To Recovery and New Beginnings: Part 7 Finale [Blog Talk Radio]

Knights Of Awakening: Androcles and the Grateful Lion

I am grateful for the moments in my life that give validation but also the moments that give me grief and make me uncomfortable and push me to my limits. I am grateful for the people in my life who offers compassion, comfort, love, understanding, and the opportunity to show them my gratitude and love in return. I am grateful for the people who push me to my breaking point and force me to go beyond that. I am grateful that I am able to live my life in a way that no matter what happens to me, it is still always on my terms. -Justin Bane

I am truly blessed! This has been the shittiest year on record for me, yet, I will say again that I am truly blessed! I will end this with a short list of things I am grateful for and why I feel that I am blessed.

I am grateful for the horrible injury I suffered in February, because this has shown me and reminded me how strong and resilient I am. It has also reminded me of the Love that others have for me.

I am blessed to have spent my entire life with my Nana. One half of a remarkable couple of people who guided me and helped shape who I am. I am happy that I spent my life with this woman and I am happy she is free from pain.

I am grateful to be still working in a job that was in danger of being lost to me due to my injury. I am grateful for those who stood by me and encouraged me to keep fighting and to keep getting stronger. They never gave up on me, even when it seemed like I was not going to be able to do it ever again.

I am grateful for the birth of my Grandson. He is a spitting image of me, his Papa! I Love him so much and are grateful that I get to experience this world with him.

I am grateful for my partners at the KOA, without their Love and support I don’t know if I would have been able to get this far. I am grateful for YOU, those of you who have stood by me here at the KOA and listened to my ramblings and have read my posts. I Love you all very much.

I am grateful for my friends and family. I Love you all.

I am grateful to those whose names I will never know. To those who serve and sacrifice for us to enjoy the freedoms that sadly too many take for granted.

I Love you all very much. Be safe and be good to each other. Until next time

……..Awaken the Knight Within!

Trust #1 “I will Develop my life for the greater good” [The 12 Trusts of Chivalry Now] part 1

by Justin Bane

Trust #1 I will Develop my life for the greater good.

There is a reason that this Trust comes first.   Today’s Knighthood, which we define as a meaningful, life-transforming commitment to the ways of chivalry, does not just happen by itself. It requires preparation.” -Brother Dean Jacques, Chivalry-Now

Most everyone, if not everyone listening to this video or reading this blog, is striving to better themselves in one way or the other. Those who have been doing this for some time, have started over many times throughout the course of their betterment.

One way to be sure that we are always working towards this ideal, is to ensure we are taking time to look inside of ourselves. Making sure that we are taking an inventory from time to time. Constantly challenging ourselves and the direction of our paths help ensure that we are maximizing our efforts. Being lovingly, yet brutally honest with ourselves.

Betterment comes in stages and depending on where you are at in your path, those parts can and will come to each of us in different ways and at different times. Many opportunities are found when seeking betterment in our lives. It is up to each of us to be on the look out and vigilant for these opportunities. Be mindful and ready to accept the challenges, once thru them, you will be better than before. Sometimes you Win and sometimes you Learn. Some times you win by reinforcing what you have learned previously. Sometimes you learn by doing and acting, and then learning how to do it better. Wisdom comes from acting with knowledge, this creates experience.

…If I want to be free, if I want to truly be myself as a person, I had to shape my own potential. I had to develop skills and talents and intellect in order to live confidently in the world, discover who I am, and direct my life accordingly.” -Brother Dean Jacques, Chivalry-Now

Thru introspection and careful study of the self, you can begin to see those things that keep you from the freedom you seek. Many times, we are our own worst enemy, when fear and doubt sneak past our defenses. We lie to ourselves in an attempt to protect ourselves. This is remedied by being honest with where we need work. Often, we find many parts of this journey is walked alone. Enlightenment is found in the individual who seeks it, and each alone can only find their awakenings.

However, communion with those who study and walk your path, is something I beseech you to do as often as possible. It can be difficult at times for us to be completely honest with ourselves, and we should seek out fellows to help us grow and forever moving forward. In a group that I follow, it was suggested that you should commune with those who oppose you as well. Within the struggle, there can be much learning to be found.

It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. To so love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.” -Henry Ward Beecher

Surround yourself with those who will lift you up, but at the same time, will not coddle you for the sake of your feelings. Those who will keep you honest, but also, expect you to hold them accountable to themselves as well. Tough Love can be the greatest gift that someone can give another.

We cannot enjoy a full, authentic life without taking strong efforts in developing the uniqueness of who we are and then extending that for the betterment of all” -Brother Dean Jacques, Chivalry-Now

Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We have heard that many, many times. If you wish to see the world better, if you wish to leave the world a better place before you go, then you first must make this change within yourself. If you are to make the world better, then BE better, seek this every single day. Defend against stagnation, laziness, absolutes, and dogma. Seek instead, knowledge, experience, open mindedness, and healthy sense of self.

Work on the individual parts of yourself, in order to strengthen your whole being.

Work on your body. Strive to be healthy by exercising, drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods. Learn a physical art such as; Martial arts, Yoga, Thai-Chi, or other body strengthening and self defense tactics and arts.

Work on your mind. Strive to learn and practice deep meditation and/or Prayer. Learn and study subjects from many different sources that not only support your beliefs and practices, but those that challenge your understanding, this will help you grow and see the world in a much larger way. Attend classes and workshops that help expand your knowledge, take this new found knowledge and put it into action.

Work on your Soul. Seek opportunities to be kind. Seek opportunities to be of assistance. Seek opportunities to commune with others. Seek opportunities to teach others. Seek opportunities to be YOU.

I will not tell you which of these are more important that the others. I will not tell you which meditations or martial arts are better. For each of us are at a different place within our paths. Try different ways to achieve these things until you find the ones that work best for you.

I will leave you with this…

Chivalry-Now talks about the liberation that comes from exploring the ongoing, never-ending process of personal growth. Self-development is more than learning facts and honing skills. It involves character building as well.” -Brother Dean Jacques, Chivalry-Now

If you are interested in furthering your study of “Chivalry-Now”, I will put links in the description down below this blog. Stay tuned to the channel and this blog page as we continue to explore the lessons to be found within the “12 Trusts” of Chivalry-Now. I love you all very much, take care of yourselves and each other. Until next time…….Awaken the Knight Within!

Conversation with Dean: https://youtu.be/aRqu7ZzNiMk
Chivalry-Now book review: https://youtu.be/J7wH7GqDijA

Chivalry-Now links:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/chivalrynow/
http://www.chivalrynow.net/

Back to Basics: “Knightly Virtues” part 1-Faith

The most common virtues found within Knighthood, can be found in many different works. Movies and books, art work, philosophies, and in many religions. You will find that these virtues are shared in a way that the feeling of the virtues are there, even though sometimes they are represented and presented to us in slightly different ways.

Hello and welcome back to the Knights Of Awakening. Today will be the first of many short videos and blogs that we are going to be exploring the basic and most commonly held “Knightly Virtues” found across all lands and found in just about every time period, not to mention in most belief systems. These virtues represent values that most of us, if not all of us, strive to embody.

As a side note: You will hear this in other videos and read it in other blog posts as well, I said in a post to one of our friends over at the KOA group discussion page, that I am going back to basics. I personally will be focusing on the basics, because for me, it is time to do that. After everything that has been going on the past several years, I feel it is time to go back to what go me started on this path. I will be focusing my attention on 3 separate mini series dedicated to this endeavor. I apologize in advance if you hear and see many recurring themes throughout. If you do find them, it is because I personally feel that they need to be said more than once. We start with values and virtues, because these are the foundation that the rest of our beliefs (whatever those are for you) are built upon.

These virtues are not in any particular order. I purposely did not assign value to one over the other. The reason for this, is because I don’t find that one is more important than the other. Each of these, in whatever shape or form they come in for you, carry their own weight and strength when understood and used in harmony with each other.

Faith

Faith is simply defined as; “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” That could be faith in God, the Force, your mentors and teachers, your friends and family, or yourself. To your philosophy or religion, your martial art or other discipline, to your group or order. To have faith in all or any of these, means to have full trust and confidence in them. When we have Faith, we tend to no longer question these in our day to day lives. That is until they are tested….

Faith is one of those things about us that are tested nearly every single day. In one way or the other, we have our faith tested when we interact with the world. Some will see this testing as a bad thing. They will stand strong and steadfast against whatever comes their way without sacrificing their faith, even if it means locking themselves into a pattern, a box, or a dogmatic view of the world. Even shutting out entire groups of people for fear that they will challenge them.

Others, when tested, quickly waiver and fold in the face of adversity and challenge. They find that they have false faith in whatever or whoever it may be. Those who do this, are quick to abandon their faith and often times feel lost and defeated. They search endlessly for those things and people who will fill the “emptiness” that they perceive to have in potentially unhealthy ways.

It is not for me to judge which kind of person is better off between the two examples that I have described here. I myself have been at both ends of this spectrum at many points in my journey. But as I have said many times before, there is more than two ways to see the world and our place in it.

These days, I find myself more in-between these two extreme examples. I suspect, many of us fall in the middle. This is the most healthy place to be in my humble opinion. Maturity is the key to this. Having emotional maturity; to be able to hear or see something that you do not like or that goes against what you believe, without getting “triggered” or angry. To approach challenges to your beliefs and faith in a way that allows you to learn to be strong, but flexible enough to find a potential lesson or opportunity to grow. To have enough maturity, to treat everyone, with at the very least, a basic respect whether you agree with them or not.

This reminds me of something I have shared before; an example of emotional control over ones self that I shared with someone in the comments. Emotional control is someone who can look at another point of view without getting all worked up over it. Someone who doesn’t need others to “protect” their feelings when they see or hear something that bothers them. Someone who has enough emotion maturity to accept the fact that someone has a different opinion than you. Having enough spiritual maturity to understand that growth can take place when you are offered a different opinion or perspective.

I believe that we only grow when our ideals and beliefs are challenged. So many paths have much in common with each other, if you open up and allow discussion without prejudging a persons POV, people from different paths can find value, especially the value from the give and take discussions. When I put content out, it is not meant to be an end all be all, it is meant to be a discussion starter.

There is a certain flexibility to be had when we encounter things that are in opposition to our currently held beliefs. Don’t remove yourself from the fray and chaos of life. Roll up your sleeves and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Faith is what helps us face our “Boogeyman”. Faith has a way of helping us all past those weaknesses that we may perceive in our selves. Faith has a way of keeping going in the face of unbeatable odds. Be strong in your Faith, but not so that you become brittle. Be strong in your flexibility, this way you will be able to withstand the storm without being destroyed and broken once it passes.

I Love you all very much, Take care of yourselves and each other.  Until next time……Awaken the Knight Within!

What the hell do we do now?

Hello and welcome back to the Knights Of Awakening. This first post-election blog post from me is of course after the recent Presidential election and may come across as bleak and miserable. But please bare with me. If we take the time it requires, and open our hearts back up to each other, we WILL get thru this and offer hope to each other at the end of the day. When we learn to understand that no matter who “wins and who loses”, at the end of the day the greatest loss that many of us have faced was the loss of those we loved the most.

These days when I open my eyes and look outside, I see gloomy skies and feel a cold chill on my skin, even when the sky is lit up and on fire from the Sun. No, it is not because it is November either (even though it has been a very warm Fall season). This isn’t just a reality because of the time of year either. This has been coming for a long time. It has just finally come to a head. Given the near 50/50 split, we are more divided than ever it seems.

I see people from this split ideology fighting a fight that comes from an attitude that is unlike them. Stooping to levels of fear and mistrust that I have not seen before in my lifetime. People’s who very ideology and path guide them to live a life free from fear, hate, doubt, name calling and other behaviors. I see GOOD people from EVERY walk of life, and every possible path and ideology adopting personalities that inspire corruption that seems to seep down to their very soul. I see Brother versus Brother, Sister versus Sister. I see people who used to embrace in Love, now nearly going to blows with their fists. I see Mothers and Fathers split down the middle with their children picking sides. A “Civil War” of ideology that has corrupted our behavior. People who would once use their lips to show us Love and fill us with encouragement, now fill their mouths with poison and use their teeth to bite. If I haven’t been clear enough, I just want to make sure that you understand that when I say “corruption” I am talking about that darkness that clouds our thoughts and actions. I am not talking about political ideology.

“Perfect Love and perfect Trust are not exclusive to a lover, they extend to our Friends, our chosen Family”

-Alethea

This too, has extended to those of us on a path of Light who have looked deeper and have seen the world from the perspective of “knowing” what the world holds for us and others. Those of us who walk this path and know better. I am not, and have not at times, been immune to this corruption of my soul either. Once realized, we get back up and cleanse ourselves of this sickness. Darkness, not the dark corners of our being, which help comprise who we are, but the Darkness that infects us with Fear, Doubt, Hesitation, and Hate, seems and feels like it is prevalent in our times. This quote attributed to Plato;

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the Dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the Light”  -Plato

The Light never truly abandons us. We get to a place where we refuse to look and embrace it. We adopt personalities of Darkness that are afraid of the Light. You are a beacon. You are the warm fire in a cold world. You are the Sun breaking through the clouds. YOU Are. You and I just need to remember that. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have left.

I am not sure who said this, you can let me know in the comments below; “Forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their words and actions. Holding on to Anger hurts you, not them.” We need to stop and be still in these moments. Close your eyes and reach out with your feelings, breathe and remember who you really are.

We have all lost friends over the past couple of years during this Dark and turbulent time. We have all lost people who were important to us. People who were Loved and cherished. Find them and reach out to them. Tell them you Love them, forgive them. Forgive yourself. If they hold on to the corruption and hate, then that is now their burden to bare, not yours. Free yourself.

Never hold on to resentment. Allow it to heal by forgiving others. Besides, if you are not willing to forgive and let go, how do you expect them to do the same?

I want to share with you some Lyrics from the song “The Light” by Disturbed. (Paraphrased for effect)

“The Light”

Like an unsung melody
The truth is waiting there for you to find it
It’s not a blight, but a remedy,
A clear reminder of how it began.
Deep inside your memory
Turned away as you struggled to find it
You heard the call as you walked away
A voice of calm from within the silence
And for what seemed an eternity
You wait and hoping it would call out again.
You heard the shadow beckoning
Then your fears seemed to keep you blinded
You held your guard as you walked away

(chorus)

When you think all is forsaken,
Listen to me now
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light

An unforgivable tragedy
The answer isn’t where you think you’d find it
Prepare yourself for the reckoning
For when your world seems to crumble again.
Don’t be afraid, don’t turn away
You’re the one who can redefine it
Don’t let hope become a memory
Let the shadow permeate your mind and
Reveal the thoughts that were tucked away
So that the door can be opened again.
Within your darkest memories
Lies the answer if you dare to find it
Don’t let hope become a memory

(chorus)

Sickening, weakening
Don’t let another somber pariah consume your soul
You need strengthening, toughening
It takes an inner dark to rekindle the fire burning in you
Ignite the fire within you

(chorus)
Don’t ignore, listen to me now
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness
Can show you the light

I said recently to Ally, that I was burned out. That I felt that I had nothing left to give Emotionally. That I felt tapped out. But this is because I forgot what got me to this point in my path. I remember. I move on and continue my journey.

I don’t care what your political ideology is. We all can learn to agree to disagree and go back to being respectful and loving towards one another. I forgive those who have slandered me and called me names. I forgive those who cursed me and abandoned our friendship. I hope you can forgive me too. Know that, if I loved you before, I still love you now. I can only hope that we can at least agree that love will always defeat hate.

We can do this! We can do this together, you and I. We will hold each other up with encouragement, love and understanding. We will respect each other, whether we agree on everything or not. We will not use our hands for holding onto our pride, but we will use one hand to help ourselves and the other to help each other. We will not continue to adopt corrupted personalities that belong to corrupted people, but instead, we will remember ourselves.

Very few in this world are undeserving of a chance at redemption. Luckily for us, we don’t have to decide who is and who isn’t. Serve all with Compassion, Humility, and Mercy in mind. Do this, and they will be the judge themselves. Lift each other up with encouragement and hold each other accountable to one another. Commune with your fellows and you will be more enriched and empowered. Like wise, If you see a fellow fall flat, encourage them to rise up and be better than before, do not cast them out, instead cast their corruption aside.

Always be flexible in your dealings with others. Give them an out whenever possible, and respect their right to an opinion different from yours. Misunderstandings happen when we refuse to feel and listen.

Ashla Axiom #83

Opposition hinders progress; consensus comes from an open and obstructed dialogue.

Listen and be open to compromise. Active listening requires not only open ears, but a closed mouth. A basic respect for one another.

I Love you all very much, and until next time…..Awaken the Knight Within!

Do politics have a place on a spiritual path?

By Justin Bane

We are on a fast track to November, 8 and I wanted to talk about a question that I posted a few weeks ago. I will not name those who commented, if you want to see the posts about this topic, head over to the KOA main Org page, the KOA discussion page, and the Ashla Knights discussion page to see the conversations.

I get accused of being political quite a bit in my videos and shows (even though I do not inject politics into nearly all of my videos with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 and now this one). It really seems to upset a few people that I do not talk about my political leanings more often and “admit” and to “Come clean” to whatever political conspiracy that they think I am “hiding behind”.

I asked these questions to all of you;

how important is “Political Affiliation” as it concerns your spiritual path? Do politics even play a role in your path and if so, does it guide your direction?

When looking at the leadership of a group on these similar paths, is it important to know what “side” they are on politically?”

I want to share some of the responses that I got and I will share my views on this with you….

JP: So the question was asked yesterday if politics is a part of this pages job, or of a Spiritual path.? I think the answer is obvious. Are Nazis Knights? KKK members? What is a knight, and how does one seperate their spiritual calling from the the rest of their life, or of the world. It seems to me that ones activity I. The world, ones “position” is a symptom, a result, of their belief systems, their moral and philosophical convictions, of their spiritual path. In fact, if you’re wondering where your Spiritual life is at, you might look at what it is you’re supporting, what you believe about the earths, or a countries, problems and issues.

You have to do it honestly, and ruthlessly, because we all tend to lie a little bit, or a lot, to ourselves…( one good reason for strong feedback, to actually get some perspective in ourselves from outside) Our world is small realtive to all the mythos that motivate and excite us. There are relative few issues to cull through to see where you stand on things…totalitarianism vs, democracy, oligarchy vs, republic,,,and I’ll contest that there are few better places than social justice…for a real earthbound knight to test their spiritual path, or contribute their energy. This one has posted regularly trying to dilute the Black Lives Mattwrs issue, supporting the system and even providing material that the activities we’ve seen lately in terms of racial tension and systemic discrimination and abuse aren’t really happening. I’ll suggest that this is as good a subject as Corporate deregulation or environmental pollution, for you to figure out how your spiritual life is doing…,,

JC: In regards to my path, I assign no value to political affiliation, as the majority of the qualities I see as part of my path fall outside of political affiliation (self control, self reliance, a calm mind…etc).
Political affiliation rears it’s ugly head not based on the objectives and qualities of the path, but how those objectives are reached.

DJ: I consider myself politically anti-partisan. Dividing politics into conservative and liberal separates what should be a single philosophy. We should be conservative in that we preserve what is best in our culture (not everything, but what is best). We should be liberal in that we work toward building a better world. When we separate the two, we get mired in nonsensical conflict — such as what we have today. It is up to those of us who understand this to rectify it.

VJS: Rather than politics informing the path, one’s path should inform their politics.

Perhaps to say that whatever your morals are tend to inform your political views. If your path is one of the Knight, then by the general archetype, you are a champion for the people. One who seeks not only to fight for the safety of loved ones, but strives to help heal this broken world and its broken people with kindness and compassion. Your political views should follow suit, as should all aspects of your life, I feel, or your profession of your path is only empty words

SF: Personally, I am not affiliated with any ‘Political Party.’ I always vote. I try to make an informed decision. I listen to both sides of the issues and then vote for the candidate who I believe will do the best job. It is not perfect……..but what is?

Do you think it makes a person more “knightly” than another solely based on their political affiliations or leanings?

I don’t think so. Just as a Knight’s ‘Religious Affiliations’ does not make them ‘more or less Knightly.

TTM: I have worked the ‘deep end’ of law enforcement. I have interviewed and written profiles on a lot of psychopaths and sociopaths, and various other criminals that felt they were infallible, and could do whatever they liked.

I have reached a point where, even as a Consultant in same, I seldom like to discuss it, My wife requests me to not discuss things like Politics, because I analyze each and every contestant.
I am fairly conservative, but Moderate in some areas, because I am explicitly a Constitutional.

For the most part, I support no Party. Part of this is my understanding of the patterns of human civilization, and part, because I would rather choose the “PERSON” than the party, according to the patterns the contestant shows me by their overall actions.

Today, Some in one party use words like Freedom to try to push socialism and Communism. These politicians I particularly despise as I have watched several countries fall apart due to these methods of rule. Socialism and Communism are also a great part of why I believe in the Republic, and particularly the Constitutional Republic, as it protects individual freedoms from mob rule.

Do you think it makes a person more “knightly” than another solely based on their political affiliations or leanings?

If someone is stuck believing that a political party is the whole answer, they left knightly thought behind.
The Knight thinks for himself. The Knight makes his choices based on virtues. The Knight uses Critical thinking, Adaptive thinking, Judgment of the situation, and mindfulness of cause and effect overall

JE: I am a Constitutionalist. Beyond that, I am also an Egalitarian and a little bit of a Libertarian (Constitutional Libertarianism, like what the founders set up). However, that is just political belief. It has no bearing on my following the Jedi path.

how do you reconcile the Libertarianism and Egalitarian? doesn’t one require more government and the other call for smaller ones?

My Egalitarianism is more of a social egalitarianism rather than a political, and more of a personal view. It is more the belief that everyone is equal rather than any one group is over another. I have often been called racist, sexist, and other names because I view races, sexes, genders, etc. as equal. It is not something the government can truly enforce. While I would like to see the overturning of any laws or rules that reflect one skin tone over another. However, such legislation would be called racist due to overturning such laws as affirmative action.

My Libertarianism is actually a Constitutional Libertarianism. I believe that our government should go back to the political size and consistency that our founding fathers designed. Congress is a part-time job being paid minimum wage, in session for six months and living with their constituency for the other six. During their six months in session, living with military benefits (food, lodging, doctors).

The Libertarian part also includes things such as handing some power back to the states that the federal government took through things like the Department of Education and IRS. It also includes things like a flat-rate tax and term limits for elected officials.

GT: I am right there with you on this political things do not even get any consideration where my path is considered.

A couple of people get upset that I seem to have certain slants and “political leanings” and that they see a conspiracy in all of my work. They try to label me and discredit me because I have a difference of perspective on certain topics. Even though, I opened the KOA to allow many different perspectives of those willing to come on and share.

I don’t vote with my emotions. I don’t vote with purely my heart. I vote with my mind, using common sense, reason and logic as my guides. This is my biggest problem with politics these days. People commenting using emotional knee-jerk responses anytime something political comes up. People attack and degrade each other because they do not have respect for each other anymore. People are offended that another human being would have the gall to dare challenge them on something. People are now identifying as a political party instead of what really makes them a beautiful and unique individual.

We live in an age politically where being objective is somehow wrong. Where using common sense is treated like a superpower. Where taking a middle of the road approach makes you either a racist or a traitor depending on who you are talking to. Where people are identifying with a candidate more than they identify with themselves. The problem with political seasons and elections is, that when you identify your being with one side or the other, someone ultimately loses, and with them 50% of the population loses too.

So why do I not personally talk very much about politics on the KOA? For a couple of reasons. 1. There is already a TON of commentaries and news and discussions about the topic already. 2. Politics is Ally’s thing with her “Lets Regroup” shows. 3. I like to produce shows, videos, and content that make people better, I like to focus on the individual. Governments cannot change who you are. Governments cannot walk your path. Governments cannot help you learn and grow.

Ironically, I will be joining Ally this week sometime to discuss the political climate in the country. She has asked me to join her and I will be a guest on her show “Lets Regroup”.

I don’t need to know who you are voting for before I decide to show you respect and to treat you fairly. Same goes for your religious preference, your sexual preference, your gender identity, your race, and so on. If you are respectful and fair to me, I will treat you in kind.

I love you all very much, and until next time………Awaken the Knight within!

Leadership and the Empowerment of others

To lead people, walk beside them. People do not notice the existence of the best leaders. The next best are honored and praised. The next, are feared. And the worst are hated. When the best leader’s work is done, people think they’ve done it themselves.” – Lao Tzu

A Knight teaches others the skills needed to navigate the tough situations they will find themselves in. The goal for a Knight is to bring others to a point to where the Knight is no longer needed, and a new Knight in that other person is born. A Knight knows and understands that not every situation needs a sword, sometimes bold action and a stance of defense is all that is needed. Their strongest weapon is not a sword, but it is the drive for wisdom, the wish for Peace, Compassion and Love for others, showing mercy in all situations, and understanding that there is more to all things than what one can see.

What I just said there, could be used to promote protecting others as well. But I think leadership is very important when walking this path, and many times when we step in, we are leading those who need our help. And how we lead others will determine a great deal, when predicting an outcome. The best kind of leadership is had through cooperation and empowerment. When we understand that we are simply part of a solution, and not THE solution, we can then minimize becoming part of the problem!

By leading this way, we are also teaching and empowering those around us in a way that they will be more capable, willing, and able to solve problems in the future. We empower others sometimes through example. Sometimes, it is teaching someone a new skill. Other times, it is through making them invested and part of the solution. For most of my adult life, I have been leading others. Whether that was leading a family to leading a team as my career, or taking lead during a crisis or issue that I was called to or happened upon, I have always lead through cooperation and empowerment and it has worked very well. Lets go over some things that I have learned over the years that I will share with you that has worked for me;

  1. ALWAYS be honest with your feedback of others, both good and bad. People can see through you if you are being dishonest towards them. Especially when you are offering praise and/or criticism. I learned from a great mentor years ago, that if you can’t find an equal amount of good in a person as bad, then you are not honestly looking hard enough at them. Don’t forget to ask for feedback too!
  1. Close mouth and open ears. It is important to genuinely listen to people when they are giving you feedback, suggestions, or offering a different perspective. The Leader, is just another role within the dynamic of a team. You don’t have to BE the solution, only share responsibility for the solution.
  1. Mentor those who are ready. I have always made it a point to share everything I know with those who are in a position that was under my own. I would mentor them and teach them everything they would need to know in the event that they would have to step up and take on my role and any given time. I have know leaders in the past that would horde such knowledge, in fear that someone was trying to take over or take their job. This is nonsense. We lead through empowerment, by teaching others what they need to assume a leadership role, we are making that person stronger and capable!
  1. Learn compromise and diplomacy. This kind of goes back to closing our mouths and opening our ears. A good leader does not have to always have it be their way. There is room for other perspective on a given issue and that perspective just may be the missing piece. There are parameters that we have to work within sometimes, but when those are not strict, empower others to complete things their own way.
  1. Empathy is important! Empathy is Important! Empathy is important! Understand who you are working with. Understand what they are going through. Understand how you can best serve them.
  1. A good leader understands that they are a servant to the greater good of the whole. A leader serves the needs of their teammates, and does everything they can to remove any obstacles that may be in their paths. Understanding that a leader, if not careful, can themselves become an obstacle to the success of their team, by forgetting that they are servants to the cause.
  1. Share in the spoils. In nearly every venue in life, it is the leader that gets the accolades upon success in a given area. It is important that we value the good deeds and hard work that everyone as individuals have given to the success of the team. Learn to be Humble in all occasions, always valuing first the contributions and sacrifices of others before your own. Others may tell of our accomplishments, accepting a gift or praise is just as important as giving, but in truth; a Knight cares not for these things, only their service to others and the common good of all is what matters.
  1. Encouragement is a better tool to help others realize their potential than criticism. But if criticism is a must, then it must be balanced equally with encouragement and praise.
  1. Like King Arthur of the movie “First Knight”, have a round table at your council. “in serving each other, we become free” is what was inscribed on the table. Never place more value on the contributions of yourself or others when working with together.

For the sake of time, I will stop there. These are not the end all, be all, ways to be a better leader, only some of the more important ones for me that I have learned and practiced over the many years of being a leader in various roles. If you want me to do another video on just the tips for being a good leader, like the video and leave a comment down below.

Ashla Axiom 75

Do not use your knowledge and ability to lord over others; this will only inspire contempt and resentment.

Empower others. Guide them to the best parts of themselves. You have done your job when people no longer need you for guidance.

Taking out the Trash

In a recent video titled “Very few are beyond Redemption” I talked about having patience with ourselves as we learn and grow. To take it one step at a time and not allow yourself to be defeated by the desire to force change and force betterment.

See video here

Ashla Axiom 44

What is done in haste will perish, what is done with patience will endure.

Build your inner temple with intended purpose. Erect each pillar carefully and build on a solid foundation. Your Philosophy must be one that can be practiced, your Practice must be done in a way that leads to Right action, and your Path must be one that is chosen by you.

Those of you who have been with us for a long time will know what I mean when I say “take out the trash”. Those who are newer to the KOA, let me quickly explain what I mean when I say this. Taking out the trash is when your philosophy, beliefs, and perspective no longer matches who you are and where you are at, at a particular point in your practice and path. This happens to anyone who is truthfully walking the path and is spending time in introspection along the way. We will talk about this more in another video, we call that “taking inventory”.

We would also say that taking out the trash is when you learn new things and keep what works and get rid of the rest. This also applies to people and social groups in your life who are damaging to your well being, constantly putting you down, detrimental and destructive to your health and taking you in a direction that is counter productive to where you want to get as well.

Be loyal to people who not only deserve to enjoy your loyalty, but who also gives it in return. Be loyal to those until they no longer deserve your loyalty. Be loyal to an Order or group who promotes and behaves in a manner that matches yours, inside and out. Be loyal to that Order or group until they lose their way and no longer emulate an image that you can be proud to be a part of. Be loyal to the ideals and beliefs that help you ‘hold the line’ in the face of adversity and unbeatable odds. Be loyal to those ideals until they no longer serve you, then be open and willing to find new ones that do.

We walk our paths alone, meeting others at the junctions for communion. When changing the Self, others may abandon you. This is OK. When we shed and change who we are, sometimes that means changing those who are in our lives too. As we change and shed falsehoods, so too we change those people and titles In our lives. Take stock in your loyalties and relationships. Keep them only if they are beneficial to not only you, but also to them.

If a philosophy cannot be practiced, it is not worth the paper it is written on. If a perspective cannot be explained and shared, then it is in need of a re-evaluation. If people in your life are destructive and harmful to you and your path, then you should look for those who are going to support and hold you up. If your beliefs no longer serve you along the way, then perhaps you should consider growing past them. We are all at different points in our journeys, be considerate to others and to yourself.

Very few are beyond redemption….ourselves included.

by Justin Bane

Ashla Axiom 100

No one is beyond redemption.

Perhaps in the truest sense of the word. For most, forgiveness can set them and you free. For some, redemption is only to be had in the afterlife.

Ashla Axiom 141

In your dealings with the corrupt do not cast them aside, awaken them with words, elevate them with deeds and repay injury with kindness. Do not cast them but their corruption aside.

We are all capable of falling and failing. Those very corruptions that we stand against could take hold in each of us if we are not vigilant. Lift your fellows up, do not keep them down. You never know when you may need help up yourself….

Can the corrupt and “evil” be redeemed? Can those labeled as criminals be reformed? This is a question that society has asked for as long as time has existed more than likely. I know it is a question that is asked even now. In the world we live in, punishments are handed out in vastly different ways. There does not seem to be consistency in how they are handed out, but instead, consistency is usually only found in what people around the world consider a “crime”. Some places are much harsher than others. In some places, people are put to death, or maimed for seemingly very minor infractions.

Corruption is something found in every corner of the earth as well. Greed, the hunger for power, looking to advance oneself or their agenda are all typical reasons why someone would become corrupt. Where do you typically find corruption? Public servants, politicians, business, and religion to name a few.

I would say that the Axioms that I introduced speak to both internal and external corruption. Today, I would like to focus on mainly the internal corruption that each of us are faced with from time to time while we walk this path. External corruption is the outcome of internal corruption. It is the part we can see once this poison has taken control of our thoughts and actions. They can be on a small scale or large, there are plenty of examples found within our human history and as well as today.

What causes internal corruption? For some, it is believed to be a bi-product of allowing negative emotions to control our temperament. Emotions such as; Fear, Anger, Jealousy, Hate, and others. For others it can be found in the “7 deadly sins”. And still others, internal corruption comes from ignoring or negating the virtues that make a strong and steadfast moral compass, also known as, the “knightly virtues”. One thing is for sure, most all traditions warn about the effects of these conditions and the peril they can lead a soul if left unchecked.

But one thing I have noticed in all the years of practice and teaching this path is that, on a very simple level, the biggest killer of those who are walking this and similar paths is that they lose patience with themselves. They get frustrated with themselves and lose the will to continue. They lose the will to put in the hard work. They lose the will to find courage when it is needed the most. They get so frustrated, that they lack the courage, will, and conviction, to seek the right path instead of the easy one. I can relate to this, as I am sure that most of you have faced this part of themselves as well.

It is easy to want to take the easy road, when faced with frustration, when progress in our studies and practices seem to elude us at times. I want to share a quote with you, that I have used more times than I can count when I was faced with those times where I was becoming my own worst enemy…

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them, every day, begin the task anew” -St Francis De Sales

A Knight has faith in what they hold to be true. Faith has a way of helping us all past those weaknesses that we may perceive in our selves. What ever the Knight may find themselves believing, they believe it strongly because that is what keeps them going in the face of unbeatable odds. The path is long and the road is hard. Following your path is not a timed exercise. You will achieve hallmarks and find many “Awakenings” along the way. These are merely “road markers”, dots on your map. Do not concern yourself with how much time this journey will take you. Be faithful to the Quest. Be faithful to the path. Be faithful to yourself. You will know when you have arrived.

Very few in this world are undeserving of a chance at redemption. Luckily for us, we don’t have to decide who is and who isn’t. Serve all with Compassion, Humility, and Mercy in mind. Do this, and they will be the judge themselves. Lift each other up with encouragement and hold each other accountable to one another. Commune with your fellows and you will be more enriched and empowered. Like wise, If you see a fellow fall flat, encourage them to rise up and be better than before, do not cast them out, instead cast their corruption aside.

Thank you for taking time to reading this.  I Love you all very much.  Until next time……

Awaken the Knight Within!

Androcles and the Grateful Lion

A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him.

As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live.

But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim.

But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.

The lesson here for me, is Gratitude. Androcles found a creature who was in dire need of help and did so, even at the risk of being killed or maimed. The Lion, being grateful, repaid his kindness in that he fed Androcles and kept him safe from other predators. A kinship was built upon this act of kindness and transcended beyond the relationship of predator and prey. When we help others and show them compassion, we do so at times at a risk to ourselves. But when we take the leap of faith, and show kindness and compassion to another who needs us, we also are at risk of making a new friend and ally.

It is a widely accepted belief that all things are connected, what happens to one, can most certainly happen to another. Because we strive to respect all Life, when we find ourselves dealing with a person who is in a bad spot, or even when interacting with others, we develop a basic Respect and decency for them and keeps things in a fair perspective.

 

Do you agree with the lesson taught in this story? What other lessons can we learn from it?