“Happiness is the struggle towards a summit and, when it is attained, it is happiness to glimpse new summits on the other side.” – Fridtjof Nansen

Nansen speaks from experience. An accomplished explorer, his “dash for the pole” has become legendary (if you’ve not read about it, I urge you to!). But Nansen didn’t stop there, and later in life devoted himself to the service of displaced citizens in the aftermath of the First World War, gaining a Nobel Prize in the process. Nansen embodied Jedi values in many ways – courage, service and a commitment to the world “as it is”. Nansen is in my mind when I speak to you today, because it was his ability to try new approaches, see new things, and live a new kind of way which let him become one of the greatest pioneers in history.

Every day the world is remade. An infinite waterfall of changes cascades through the universe, sweeping away what we knew, what we expected, what we believed. The universe does not know how to sit still, and our study of the Force shows us quite clearly: the only constant is change. That which is, will evolve. That which will be, will confound our expectations. The Force is chaotic and vast, and in such systems we can only expect a few things. How wonderful to know that we know so little! There is a vast universe out there, and even the same park, the same garden is new with each passing day.

As Jedi, we are more attuned with this constant flow of change than many other humans. Other animals seem, to me at least, more capable of holding this changing nature of the fabric of reality in mind. A birth, a sickness, a victory, a death. These punctuating moments of our lives can strike us hard and shatter our ideas of what was, what is, what may yet be. Causal chains ripple unseen in the dark, hidden waves and eddies in the surface of things. Tiny in comparison, we pilot our fragile vessels through the chaos.

The world itself is wide, strange, beautiful and terrible in equal measure. For me, my path as a Jedi is one of getting out amongst it. Seeing things with my own eyes, touching, tasting, smelling, hearing and truly feeling the terrain and cultures we find ourselves amidst. We are blessed with a menu as long as time, and can paint from a palette of undiscovered colours. Every space is wild space, because in every area of our life there is the potential for surprise. Likewise, every action we take is a new creation, with a life all of its own. By doing, thinking, just BEING at all, we contribute to the unpredictable nature of all that is.

Go boldly into that unknown, unknowable reality! Face the death of a thousand dreams and the birth of a thousand more with an explorer’s attitude, confident enough in yourselves that you may observe, experience, and then return home richer, wiser for the experience. Be brave! Bring back what you’ve learnt so that your communities may benefit from your new-found wisdom. Let yourself be wrong. Let your constants become your doubts, your doubts become your mistakes, your mistakes become your lessons. Let your lessons teach you. So often in life we “complete” lessons so we may ignore them, rather than to learn from them. Everything in this multifaceted, crystalline reality contains a lesson, if we only have ears to hear it.

Each morning remember you are reborn from the little death of sleep. Each night remember you die to the passing day. Every time you blink, open your eyes to a new world. Every time you breathe, breathe in the new air. Every time you look, see the difference; it’s there, even if it’s hard to see.

Be pioneers of this new world – our ever changing, ever growing, ever evolving universe.

I am a Jedi, a pioneer of the Force.

Let me see for the first time, every time
Let me build on what I have learned,
Let me find the lesson in all things.

May I embrace the ever-changing universe with my whole being.

Let me walk unafraid over new earth,
Let me discover all which awaits me,
And in this let me be renewed, each day.

I am a Jedi, a pioneer of the Force.