Armonia: Events of Charlottesville

17 August 2017

America’s current political atmosphere serves as a reminder to us that walking the Jedi Path is not as easy as we would like to believe. Especially in a polarized atmosphere where we feel the need to pick a side. If we look to the Jedi Path, we have to take the most difficult side of all: The side of the people which either refuse to engage in violence, and/or those that only defend against an active assailant. This also means that we must take a stance against anyone which would promote speech that has inspired others to violence. People that meet this description are those that align with White Supremacy, the Klu Klux Klan, Nazism, and the modern organization ANTIFA ideologies (not to be confused with the commendable belief that fascism itself is evil).

Although it may seem like it is wrong to put these groups on the same moral playing field, it is important for us to return to the Jedi Philosophy taught by Armonia in order to see how we reach this conclusion.

Duty to All

Armonia’s Jedi Code states that “we face adversity with wisdom and knowledge”. If we look across the world, we see that these wars over ideology end in massive tolls to innocents. In the Middle East, Israel is targeted by a number of Islamic Terrorist organizations which incite the people to violence against a nation that could live in peaceful cohabitation. The cycle is continued when Israel retaliates. This cycle has continued for generations and continues to take the lives of innocent bystanders. On a smaller scale, this same trend is seen in famous family feuds which tend to end in a brutal way. The Strangio-Nirtas and Pelle-Vottari-Romeos feud, for example, resulted in the shooting of 6 men who were believed to have moved to Germany in an attempt to escape the clan’s fighting.

These incidents serve to remind us that people who want no part in the war can still get caught in the cross-fire. And in the case of the Strangio-Nirtas and Pelle-Vottari-Romeos feud, there may be no escape once the hatred has settled deeply in.

Respect the Law

We know and understand that neither the law nor humans are perfect. However, there is wisdom in having trained personnel deal with criminals instead of the average citizen. When an individual is faced with something they hate, they can no longer be seen as objective in their dealings with the person. It can be blinding, and therefore we call in trained personnel to help us deal with them.

This is where Armonia cannot stand behind the actions of anyone that strikes the first blow. The events in Charlottesville, VA revealed that those with ideologies aligning with White Supremacy, the KKK, Nazis and even ANTIFA lacked discipline when they faced what they hated before them. They decided , in those moments, that American law which gave them rights to peacefully assemble was not enough to win their cause and took it a step further: Assault.

Tolerance

Worst of all was the vehicular attack that left one dead and 19 more injured. The actions of James Alex Fields, Jr demonstrated extremist Right-Wing ideology in action. This is not the first time that ideologies have convinced people that could have once been considered good people to commit absolutely horrible actions against their fellow man. .

In 2015, under the influence of his White Supremacy research following the riots in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD, Dylann Roof went to a Black Church in Charleston, SC and murdered 9 members of the congregation and injured one. Between the violence of extremists that hijacked the Black Lives Matter movement and the passive yet “compelling” arguments of those that oppose the Black Community as a whole, a terrorist was born. Thus, we cannot support the ideologies that are promoted by the hateful or the ideology of wanton violence, for they lead to disregard for the law.

If we pay attention to what the Force tells us, we find that we live in a connected world, and as such must respect how inter-connected everyone’s actions are to one another. Our role in life is to support the people that we believe should inherit this world- and that is not the people who spread hate or those that spread violence.

(Armonia is the new name of Force Academy’s Light Aspect)

The Value of Literary Arts

By Alethea Thompson

For my middle school years, I attended a school that can claim Oprah Winfrey as an alumni. Much like Armonia College is the evolution of the Light Aspect at Force Academy, East Literature Magnet School (ELMS) was the evolution of East Nashville Middle & High School. I got to stand on the same stage that I’m sure Oprah stood on once before to deliver a speech to her classmates, or watched as a speaker spoke about something they were very passionate about. In knowing that Oprah had been to this same school, I always felt that the focus of the ELMS (Literary Arts) was very appropriate. While I was there, and even after I left for a new High School, I learned a great deal about the value of literary arts from ELMS. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of literature as a means of moving society towards a greater purpose.

Literature takes on many forms, it can be fiction or reality. It can be on paper, or produced in a way that can reach an audience through voice and action. Performed in person on a stage, in film, or on an audio format. It can be in a media platform, or in a book. Whatever form it takes, literature has had a special place in the life of man.

Literature not only represents to us our world but it also shows us ways in which we can change the world or adapt to changes which have already taken place without our realization. Literature’s cognitive dimension helps us cope with the current as well as future challenges by changing the way we think about ourselves, our society and those who are excluded from or marginalized within our society” (Mack, 2012)

Journalists may be tasked with telling us about things going on around the world. We often think of journalism in terms of political issues at the local, state, federal and international levels. But Journalism is used as a method to call attention to a problem, and in turn hopefully someone that has the ability to do something about the problem will see the injustices and work in a solution- whether it is by film, radio or written documentation in publications. Sometimes the target audience is the public, while other times the audience is a government authority. In the 1960s, video footage with a narrator speaking out against the sights in the video was sent to the United Nations with the explicit purpose of calling attention to a horrific slave trade bust that had occurred. The footage showed as a British soldier demonstrated on camera the devices that some recently detained slavers had used on children to reduce their condition to a point that people passing them by would take compassion upon them (2015). The narrator used his words carefully to cause listeners to feel as though they were somehow responsible for the what was going on in this part of the world. Using statements like “the duty of the civilized world” (2015), or “the world that calls itself civilized and feels smugly at peace with it’s conscience”(2015) were ways to call the ethical human being to action.

Speeches painted with beautiful imagery, such as the famous “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. were meant to inspire people to seek out a world that is devoid of social injustices. Prominent figures used written letters to express their deeply held values, and give credence to why the do things. One such letter that often gets missed in talking about American Policy is one written to the the Danbury Baptists by Thomas Jefferson. In the letter he explained that the reason he would not establish Christian specific holidays was because he felt that the best policy was “a Wall of Separation” (now referred to as “Separation of Church and State”). This letter, which acknowledged the individual value of religious practices by making the bold statement “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God…” (Jefferson, 1802), Jefferson befriended the Danbury Baptists and this later became the general policy when it was invoked in Reynolds v. United States in 1878 and McCollum v. Board of Education in 1947-1948 (Hutson, 1998).

In fiction, authors are allowed to explore the very depths of problems that exist in the world around us. In Middle School I read books such as “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” by Mildred Taylor and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell. Vastly different in their messages, both offered a vibrant method of exploring trust issues from very different prospectives. In “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry”, Taylor explores the mistrust that comes from abundant racism, whereas O’Dell explores the idea of mistrust as it comes from isolation. Where Taylor leaves the story open to show that racism continues in her story, O’Dell’s story is given a happy ending when the main character finds that there is value in accepting the society as where her future lies. These stories, when really read for the value they contain, can tell us a great deal about our place in the world. They teach us to value things that we might otherwise not feel compelled to. O’Dell teaches the value perseverance, friendship, and independence. Taylor’s story teaches the value of compassion, self-respect, and hope.

On the stage and in film, directors and writers show us stories that can exploit realities. Shakespeare used his creative mind to produce stories that many say painted the political issues of it’s time. But beyond his life time, his works have been credited as influencing people to both negative actions, such as inspiring the assassination of President Lincoln (Post Staff Report, 2011) and positive actions, such as inspiring African-American actor Paul Robeson who “prepared the way for the social-justice movement” (Post Staff Report, 2011). The entertaining story of Broadway Musical “Chicago” shows how we polarize to celebrities and miss their flaws, or get distracted from finding the truth in favor of the drama. Even our own community’s inspiration “Star Wars” worked to inspire a group of people which strives to improve the world around them.

The Literary Arts play a profound role in shaping society. About 2 years after I left ELMS, 9-11 happened. Although the school was not directly impacted by the events of 9/11, they saw an opportunity to produce a music video on VHS that would show their solidarity with other students in New York City. Defense of others comes in many forms, we can defend people against themselves by showing them better ways to live, or simply displaying to them that they are not alone. We can defend people by launching pre-emptive strikes against abstract concepts that seek to destroy and dismantle society. We can defend them by attacking the very ideals that harm them in the here and now. We do this by tapping into the the power of words, whether they are spoken or written. But as Jedi, we have to recognize what so many literary geniuses before us have understood: You cannot merely say what you think, you have to master the art of words and delivery to reach into the very soul of your audience.

CITATION

(2015). The Roots of African Slave Trade: who started it, and who stopped it (Documentary). Retrieved July 18, 2017, from https://youtu.be/iTDEgr0RLso?t=10m20s

Hutson, J. (1998). ‘A Wall of Separation’: FBI Help’s Restore Jefferson’s Obliterated Draft. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danbury.html

Jefferson, T. (1802). Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

Mack, M. (2012). How literature changes the way we think. London: Continuum.

Post Staff Report. (2011). Great Shakes. Retreived from http://nypost.com/2011/05/08/great-shakes-2/

I Remain Humbled

By Listener Trevus Morris Nethemia

Today I was humbled by the kindness and compassion of another. In the past, I have also shown such to this individual. This person I speak of is my land lady.

This month I was behind on my rent and unable to pay my rent at all. She showed me what I have showed me compassion, even when she did not have to. Because of this act I am forever humbled by the love and care shown to me and my wife. And I am reminded of the humility that is demonstrated between two people. It further reinforced to us that this virtue is so fundamental to day to day lives.

“Knowledge is learning something everyday. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday” – Zen proverb

Everyday should become a lesson that is created by the product of our actions. These manifestations are actually a product of who we are. When we show another compassion, in their time of weakness, we should be the best kind of person we can be. These actions make an impact that touch’s another, and we then become the product of inspiration for the individual to continue on giving back to the world in act of kindness towards others.

Reflecting on what happened today, I realize just how important my kindness was to another, as I was the recipient of my own kindness paid forward. I appreciate the gift I was shown today, and will never forget this day. It will always be a reminder that something so simple can become something much greater.

More than a reminder of what kindness breeds, it was also an important lesson on the value of respect. Just to live in her home is a privileged. As I meditation on this, I urged to remember to be humble for what I have. It is invaluable to remember when we are a guest, we must be respectful. Whether is a temple , a dojo, another’s home or even another Facebook group we must be the example for others to follow.

The path we walk is not always the path of another, but we ourselves still walk a path. Buddha said it best:

“No one saves us but ourselves no one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

This means we must be the example of the path we walk. We embody our training and integrity by being this example of vigilance within our servitude. No one is going to show us what we have not given. Nor will they respect us if we are not an example of our claimed path in the first place.

Finally, I note: You are held at a higher accountability of Jedi because you walk the path. Namaste may the force by with you.

Religious Thoughts: Can You Trust God?

Forethought: This is mostly aimed a Christians, however I find that explorations like this one can be integral to the exploration of any spiritual endeavor- especially one that involves some sort of loyalty or relationship with spiritual beings.  I want people to challenge the very notion of why they serve whom (or what)-ever they do.  Not just their existence, but the core of what they stand for.

Anyways, here’s my thoughts for the day:

We often speak of God as someone we can place full trust in.  Have you ever considered what that means?

Look to the 10 Commandments and we assume that everything is clean cut.  But there is one particular commandment that may not be fully understood.

‘anah sheqer ‘ed rea’

Or “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness against thy neighbor”

We simplify this to “Thou shalt not lie”, but that’s not really what it is saying.  It’s saying not to condemn someone for something they didn’t do.  The key is “‘ed”, which speaks for testimony, evidence, witness in the context of seeing something take place.

Understanding this is key to understanding the value of full trust in our Father.  Because, as much as we would like to believe God does not use lies himself, the truth is far from it.  God has, at least once, used deception to bring about His Will.

1 Kings 22:19-23

Then Micaiah said, “therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His Thrown, and all the hosts of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.  And the Lord said “Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Remote Gilead?”  So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.  “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said “I will persuade him”.  The Lord said to him “In what way?” So he said “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets” And the Lord said “You shall persuade him, and also prevail.  Go out and do so.”  Therefore look!  The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these propehts of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”

As you read the rest of the story, you find that it is true- Ahab followed the advice of his prophets and was destroyed in the process.

We believe that healthy trust is built simply on honesty.  But that is not what a trust in God is about, it’s about trusting in His vision.  It’s about believing that once we surrender completely to God, whatever God puts us in position to do, it’s not meaningless- that He will make our role count.

Simply moving to make the bare minimum commitment to being a follower of Christ is simple when compared to the reality of becoming a Servant of God.  The level of trust, even when God uses deception such as the story in 1 Kings, is something a true Christian has to come to grips with.  And that is the most difficult task of all.

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/

Election & The Jedi Code

A week after the results were announced to the world that Donald J. Trump won the electoral college the United States is still in shambles, and our counterparts across the world are just as emotionally polarized about it as we are.  Nothing is more frustrating than being on the opposite end of abuse, and that is the state of America we live in…for the time being.

If you were rooting for HIllary, you may be spinning from the knowledge that…we’re headed forward into a Trump Presidency.  You may have jumped on board for a petition to get the electoral college to change their vote come 19 December 2016, joined a protest in the streets or taken to the keyboard on twitter and Facebook to express your anguish.

If you were rooting for Trump, you are probably in a mixed state of elatedness and feeling a bit disturbed.  You might be angry at the people on the “Hillary Camp” lashing out at you for voting against them.  You might experience a sense of vindication or relief now looking at what is going on in various cities across the United States.

Some of you are simply hurt that anyone would make sweeping statements about everyone on whichever side you backed.

And then you have the very few of us that backed one, and are hurt by what they see from both sides.  Honestly, that’s where a Jedi should be.  If the Jedi Path means anything to an individual that claims to be of the Jedi Community, then they would look at what this election has done to everyone around them and not let the candidate they backed define their emotions towards either party.

The majority of you, backed Hillary Rodham Clinton.  A few of you backed Donald John Trump (yes, that’s what the “J” stands for, learned that from Nickelodeon!).  Very few of you backed a third party.  And it’s probably you 3rd party people that are sitting back laughing at the whole lot.  Which is fine, you didn’t contribute to the chaos, regardless of what anyone has to say.

Chaos, yet Harmony

What a line.  Jedi need to step outside of the chaos and look for ways to bring about harmony.  It’s not going to be easy.  People have done what they can to poke holes into the “You backed a Rapist” and “You backed a Criminal” since the election got really heated.  But here’s where a Jedi looks to another line for answers on how to cultivate harmony-

Ignorance, yet Knowledge

The reality is, if you step back from everything- this problem isn’t about HRC or DJT.  The media helped play these ideas up that one candidate was better than the other- and I’m not just talking about the Mainstream Media (commonly abbreviated to MSM), I’m also referring to polarized outlets that people ran to when the MSM showed they weren’t going to cover anything with a degree of fairness.  Occupy Democrats, RedState Watcher, Huffington Post and Breitbart News, just to name a few.

The truth is, these groups wouldn’t even be important to us if it were not for problems that existed long before this election began.  Things that existed before Black Lives Matter was a thought in the minds of it’s founders, but erupted like a volcano after the Michael Brown shooting.  These pre-existing cultural (race, sexuality, religion, etc) tensions are the root of our problem, and an excuse was to be found in the people that might one day become the leaders of the United States: Hillary and/or Trump.

Abroad, these stories circulated, and cultures banded together.  Although America is considered the free world, this isn’t about who runs the free world (well..perhaps to the leaders of every other country, but not to the average person)- it became an election that would define the very human rights that America represents.  It’s no longer about LGBT rights in America, it’s about LGBT rights.  No longer about American Black rights, it’s about Black rights.  Not about Muslim rights in America, it’s about Muslim rights.  This whole election has been turned into a platform to further world rights in various minority communities.  In order to move forward, this understanding needs to be at the center of a Jedi’s forward action to the future.

Emotion, yet Peace

Knowledge alone cannot help us move forward.  We must confront our emotions with this knowledge.  Which side are you on?  The question is not easy.  To understand the side you are on, you must recognize that your side is no more important that someone else’s.

Many on the right voted based on a belief that law is necessary for good society to function.  They wanted to protect a minority defined by choice, rather than something one cannot change about themselves.  These minorities are people of the groups such as Military, Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders.  Some on the right voted based on a belief that Trump had a stronger platform to improve the economy, rather than place any sort of emphasis on social special interests, and in the realm of improving our relations with foreign powers.

Many on the left voted based on a belief that society was in more need of assistance.  That the various cultures based on things they cannot change about themselves was necessary to improve their state of life.  Examples of these minorities are people of color, LBGT+ and women.  Some on the left voted based on a belief that Hillary had a stronger platform to deal with foreign powers abroad as they decimate cultures that are in desperate need of assistance and that Hillary represented a focus on helping break glass ceilings.

Understanding this, and moving outside of the realm that anyone sought to “normalize” criminal activity (HIllary) or bigotry (Trump) is the first step to overcoming hatred for the supporters opposite of whatever candidate you voted on.

Understanding this, and moving outside of the realm that either side is defined by Hillary or Trump is the first step in overcoming our fear for the future.  Because both sides now have something to fear from the other side if we fall prey to the rhetoric.

Death, yet the Force

The death card in Tarot symbolizes change and transformation.  A Jedi must find their role and adapt to the circumstances that shape the immediate world around them.  We must cultivate an atmosphere that inspires others to break free of chaos and move in harmony to a better world.

Passion, yet Serenity

We should seek to use our passion to aide others to help all find serenity.  To break out of the shell of condemning each other.  Helping people on both sides recognize that by calling each other names or lashing out at one another is only making things worse.  That by doing anything but trying to create a meaningful dialogue which does not call for condemnation of them or yourself, can anything be accomplished.

Here are some tips (mostly geared towards Americans, I can’t speak to other countries, but some of it is relevant where ever you are):

  1. Stop posting defamatory information about your opposite candidate.
  2. Stop listening to what the media (all of it, right-wing, left-wing, centrists, MSM, all of it) has to say about what is going on and focus on whatever special interest group you are in favor of.
  3. Express your fears without using bait words like “illegal”, “Muslim”, “racist” or “misogynist”.
  4. Research your rights and seek out solutions to the problem of ensuring your rights are protected.  An example: if you’re a woman, don’t let the media tell you that the law does not protect you against the wage gap.  But take a deeper look at what loopholes your employer might be able to exploit in order to pay you less.
  5. Join or form a group that helps and work for people in your special interest group.
  6. Support lobbyists for your special interest group, they are the ones that help push legislation through Congress.
  7. Without insulting or vilifying those in opposition to you, consider an ironclad argument that forces them to recognize they are not in control of your life.  An example: Christians often speak to death of homosexuals because it’s an abomination to God.  A member of the LBGT community can come up with a number of arguments, but the one that tends to be the most potent in my own arsenal is that converting to Christianity based on a fear that one’s lifestyle is abhorrent to the deity they follow is not sincere worship- and as such it would be the highest form of disrespect to said deity.  But if a member of the LGBT is given an entire lifetime for God to reach out to them, there will always be hope that one day God will turn them from their lifestyle. As Christians, it is not our job to condemn them for their lifestyles, but rather to open up opportunities for God to speak to them- for God is the ultimate Judge, and not man. Christ gave individuals the chance to live a Godly life despite being surrounded by those that do not follow Christianity, and it was only through that lifestyle that anyone opened up to his message via himself or his disciples.  So to, must Christians follow that example if we love God.  (okay, so this point was a LOT longer than I intended, but I don’t get enough chances to give this view, so I’m going to take my golden opportunity! 😉 XD! )
  8. And finally: Protest.  But protest when you are not so angry that you want to punch something- that sort of emotional state could lead you to doing things you regret later.  But DO protest when you can.  It helps demonstrate support for your cause.

Let your emotion tell you what is wrong, let your ignorance indicate you need to seek knowledge to bring about a sense of peace of mind.

Recognize the chaos around you and seek out guidance with the Force to transform it into harmony.

Let your passion bring about serenity around you.

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!