Post number 12 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Progress… now. Progress is an interesting topic, which I’ve touched on in previous essays. There is often a conception amongst Jedi that one is “getting there”, moving towards some idealised version of the self, of “achieving” something. And that’s good, up to a point. I think we do need to “get there”, in the sense that we need to become open to the possibility of further openness, and that we need to “achieve” acceptance of the possibility of real change, real growth.

However, the “ideal” state, where one has attained mastery of the self, and of one’s circumstances and abilities, is a fallacy. There is no such ideal state; the Force is moving, in flux, as are our capacities and understanding. Where I am today is far from where I was when I started, but it’s wrong to think I wouldn’t have moved along my path had I not found the Temple. Rather, my progress has been in a certain direction, towards certain ideals because of my Jedi experience. I have progressed towards the ideals, but I will never embody them fully: accepting this is the first form of real progress.

Progress in the sense I believe the lesson implies, is about first opening ourselves to, and then studying and improving our facility in areas of difficulty. I have always found self-expression relatively easy. To congratulate myself on being able to complete the Ganymede Progression assignments, when I could probably have worked on them on day 1 at the Temple, would be meaningless. But they do represent progress; progress in my thought, in my consideration. The insights I have achieved here are not insignificant, and cumulatively the progress they amount to is genuine and valuable.

I feel this topic is a little confused for me, given some of that recent insight. I suppose the major one has been outlined above: rather than concerning myself with becoming a Yoda-like figure of calm, wisdom and universal understanding, I now press forward on the ongoing path which will be before my until my death. Some here talk about all Jedi being “practicing Jedi”, and I think that is wise. We work to apply the wisdom our lessons generate, and will always do so. It will always require effort, it will always take focus and knowledge. It would be “easy” to remain where I am now, but it wouldn’t embody growth. If my two years at the Temple have taught me anything, it’s that an absence of growth represents stagnation.

Progress, then, might be exemplified as the opposite of stagnation. It is growth towards an ideal, towards a goal. And that goal should therefore necessarily be open-ended, rather than a fixed plateau we hope to reach. I’ve thought recently about achieving the rank of Senior Knight, simply because I’d like to push on. Eventually I hope to achieve the further rank of Master. The reason I want to get to these things is the work itself. Yes, it would be “cool” to be a Master, who wouldn’t want that? But more than a dumb grab for rank, I look forward to the work it will take to get there. Significant personal study to become a Senior Knight, significant collaborative effort to raise three Apprentices to Knighthood. Those are “good things”, which I can achieve here at the Temple. I’d like to do those things.

I’ve also been thinking about progress I can make within my Clerical capacity, becoming more active in approaching members of our congregation who are in need. I’ve spoken with my Master about the possibilities of introducing a further training tier in Seminary in order to provide a contextual framework for Deacons to progress into Priesthood. Again, sitting at a certain level is a form of stagnation; stagnation is unhealthy.

I haven’t really covered why that is yet… I suppose it seems obvious to me. It’s unsupportable, for one. We will always change, we will always be different. What I am as a Deacon today is very different to what I was as a Deacon a year ago (the same could be said for my Knighthood). It should be different… it should be the consequence of engaging with the training programmes available here. It strikes me as “not very Jedi” to sit still, happy that we’ve got to a certain place. Life is like that… to stop moving, to settle down and stop learning, is to close ourselves off to the action and motion of the Force.

We are born, we grow, we learn, we die, we return to the base of the system and the cycle is repeated. Change is constant, and this pattern is consistent across all levels of reality. Nothing remains. Do we submit to entropy, or continue to grow? Do we sit still, experiencing the same things ad nauseum, or do we strike out boldly in the direction of our dreams? I believe the latter is the path the Jedi set before themselves. There will always be more dreams to dream, more places to see and people to meet. More lessons to learn and more wisdom to assimilate.

Change is the only constant. We can let it be bad, or good. To let it be good, to open ourselves to what it teaches, to become more rather than less, is to make progress.