Written by L. Christopher Bird, founder of The Jedi Path Academy
“… the Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice…”
The first time we heard the term “Jedi” in 1977, the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi linked the concept of justice as a fundamental attribute of a Jedi Knight. So as practitioners of the Jedi Path, what is our relationship with justice?
I think Jedi justice is personal justice. The concept of Jedi justice is tied to the concept of our sphere of influence. Simply put, our sphere of influence is the area in which we can have an effect. The size of our sphere of influence depends on a few variables including our ability, and the environment and context in which we are acting. We seek justice in our own little corner of the world, within our sphere of influence. It has an immediacy, and a personal connection.
It would be easy to get lost in a big picture. There are many societal ills, and miscarriages of justice in our world, however as a Jedi, it is important to keep in mind where we can effect change. I once had a teacher that asked, “do small things make a difference?” The answer is, “absolutely not. They make all the difference.” It is for this reason why I think that Jedi should be mindful of the small, the little things that you might give a pass, because it matters so little. But a small application of justice in the right place and time might make all the difference for someone else.
This is not to say that we should be unconcerned with larger issues. Societal ills will not be corrected by a single person. Even the most charismatic leaders had movements behind them that did the work of social change. It is these groups of individuals, working in concert making small, incremental changes, that over time lead to a large effect. But this is still the small, personal justice of a Jedi, just done in great numbers, and in cooperation with our fellow beings.
We must also be mindful of our own motivations. We should not clothe a desire for revenge in the guise of justice. It is my opinion that a Jedi should always favor corrective solutions over punitive ones. A Jedi of quality would not see themselves as a person that gives an evil doer “what’s coming to them”, but rather a person that tries to address and make whole those that are the victims of evil doing.
Cultivating mindfulness allows us to be aware of when we can be an agent of justice. We must be able to observe clearly, and couple that with a willingness to take action. Mindfulness takes into account not only where we are, and what we are doing, but also where we can be, and what can happen due to our choices. It is not enough to simply desire for justice to be done, but rather to have a resolve to act in a just manner in all our dealings. If there is an injustice we can correct, we must not allow it to continue through our inaction. It takes a measure of bravery to take just action. We must overcome both anxiety and fear of consequences. Such fears can be paralyzing, but we must not center on our anxieties, but act in whatever here and now we find ourselves in. We train ourselves to let go of fear, and assess the situations we find ourselves in without the clouding influence of strong emotion. We may find ourselves in a situation, where it seems none of the choices before us are good, and taking no action can certainly be one of those choices, but even doing nothing is a choice with consequences. Jedi of quality will choose to work towards more justice in this world rather than less.
More justice in the world is one of our goals of world-betterment through self-betterment. We can lend our voice to those that are not being heard, we can lend our bodies to help those who are not being seen. Jedi can be a force for good in this world, a force for change, and a force for justice.