Post number 31 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

For once, I can vary my intro! This is not a very obvious choice for Jedi to consider and not something which will be relevant to all paths. Woo! I didn’t say “This is very important for Jedi to understand” for once!

This is something of an oddball topic here, it seems to me. Distance plays a part in all of our live, all paths. A path exists to bridge distance between things; therefore, walking our path is putting certain things in the distance behind us, and bringing certain things in the distance up ahead a little closer.

Another interpretation of distance is the distance with which we view the behaviour of others. As I spoke about in the previous assignment on perspective, the way we view actions and words is not universal and the provision of each of us with a unique perspective creates tensions and difficulties in our interpretation of others. If we can retain our awareness of this, if we can keep our gut reactions at something of a distance, we may be able to find more clearly the true intent of the person we are interacting with.

This is a distance from our own perspective, which is sensible for Jedi who wish to avoid the knee-jerk reactions which land people in hot water so often. But there is a balance to be struck. I have spoken previously about instinct and its use for Jedi, and that knee jerking is absolutely a kind of instinct. There must be some filtering, some awareness and some responsibility taken for ourselves, our actions and our reactions. Whilst there are situations where people are intentionally and deliberately rude, thoughtless and hurtful, often we cannot blame the world for our feelings and emotions; we should not, at least.

All that said, we should not sacrifice the authenticity of our reactions and experiences, our intuition and who we really are for this objectivity. We are allowed to feel, we are allowed to have opinions, and we are allowed to be hurt, sometimes. Jedi are human! That is a good thing. We are an aspect of the Force, as are our emotions, our reactions, our pain and our pleasures. The key is (drumroll please…) balance! Isn’t that always the way? Between the opposites we find our path. Yes, sometimes our emotions are valid and must be accepted, held close, and given light. Other times, we may chose to hold them at a greater distance, to not let them have such a direct influence over our actions and our perspective. We must accept what we can, and not what we can’t.

Distance means something when Jedi are spread so few and far between across the globe. Our Temple is digital, meaning we can interact with Jedi wherever they are in the world. My apprentices live in North America, and we’ve never met. My master lives in France, and likewise, we’ve never spoken face to face. Yet I feel these people are large presences in my life, whatever the distance. The Force allows us to communicate across these large distances, the Force in the form of human ingenuity, telecommunications, wires and waves and 0s and 1s. The Force allows for many strange things, and few are stranger than the kind of quantum entanglement of human hearts the internet and telecommunications in general provide for.

Distance has played an interesting role in my life. I grew up in a tiny rural village, fairly cut off from even the nearest town. Most of my friends lived there, and I was alone a lot. When I was 16 I struck up a relationship with a girl in Sweden over the internet, and we had a long distance relationship for 11 months. I learned that across those distances, communicating mostly via text, we learned a lot about one another’s interior lives, in a way I’ve rarely experienced with a less distant acquaintance. Similarly, when I was at university my girlfriend and I kept our home town romance going, so there were 3 more years of a long distance relationship there. And more recently, since splitting up with her, I now have to live with distance between myself and my kids.

Universally distance has taught me that we are more likely to appreciate that which is scarce, rarer, not our “everyday”. My relationship with my children is ironically far stronger than it was when I saw them almost all the time, even seeing them for around half a week now. My relationship with my ex was far stronger when we had a mutual adversary in distance. And my relationship with my girlfriend in Sweden was one of the most intense of my life. The reality is, distance can create closeness, in exactly the way we as Jedi might expect; things become their opposites.

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