Written by Kevin Trout, reposted from Jedi Living.
During an interview for the Jedi documentary (American Jedi) it was said that I was one of the founders of the Online Jedi Community. I was horrified. It simply was not correct. In the early years as the Jedi community was beginning to develop I was there. Quietly watching, reading, and looking to learn what I could. I didn’t really participate. I just mostly read and applied. It was trial and error even for those who were creating websites and gaining a following. But I was just a kid who wanted to be a Jedi Knight. A shy kid that would sooner be a doormat than risk confrontation. So I corrected the misunderstanding. There, yes, founder? Far from it. I was an observer, a student at best. I knew what I wanted to be and that I was far from it. I would need help and guidance. But I was a bit too timid to ask anyone vocal in the community at the time.
It wasn’t until 1999 that I really became active in the Community. Being a voice in debates and talking up applicable Jedi Ideals. In mid-2000 I created my own website after I was given the Jedi Master title from the Force Academy. I used homestead and ez-board as my site-builder and message boards. It was a fun little project and I had a nice little following. About five for so people that dropped in regularly. Of course the major boards in 2000 were seeing around 200 members a day, but the small community worked for me. Again, I was never looking for the spotlight or to be a leader. I just wanted a nice Jedi Community I could grow with. Eventually I simply joined as many Jedi websites as I could. Go all in for training. I also enrolled in college to help my Jedi studies. I majored in Philosophy, minored in Sociology, and took a side of Eastern Religion classes to round it out. Eventually I closed my forums and change the purpose of my site. No longer a place to share ideas, but simply to be a signpost for the growing Community. I had links and logos of the various sites you could join and train at.
Over the course of my time I received various titles. But I continued to submit to various training programs as I found them. I always knew there was someone else out there who had been doing it longer than myself. Even people who some considered my peers were actually people I looked up to because I knew they had more experience. We may have started near the same time, but they were active, engaging, and that gave them experience in the online community. Even recently someone commented that they had been following the Jedi ideals over 30 years, closer to forty. I was inches away from sending them a private message inquiring about training under them.
The reason I am writing this is because it is important to remember that there are many people out there who have been following the dream for years. Just because you read a book on Yoga doesn’t mean you open your own Yoga school. And you especially don’t do it right next to a Yoga school that has been running for over a decade. Same applies to the Jedi Path. If you are new and seeking guidance in how to live as a Jedi then feel free to partake in the many groups that exist. But please, pretty please, do your homework. Ask questions. Make sure there is some linage there, some experience. Because this recurring trend of so-called Jedi opening Schools for Jedi when they haven’t even been on the path for a month is wrong, irresponsible, and dangerous.
The Jedi Path is a lifestyle. It is physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual. It is something that affects how we live. How we approach life and those around us. When I first set out to learn the ways of the Jedi, as it were, I was very open to the process. Unfortunately that is a dangerous thing when you are talking online. Offline groups you have a bit more to judge character and qualifications. So you need to be very careful when picking a Jedi group to grow with. Ask questions. Seek qualifications. Make sure you aren’t their trial run. To be a mentor is a big responsibility. It is tough. It takes time and effort and is a huge commitment. This is especially true for Jedi Mentors. So don’t settle and don’t risk your own growth on some group with no qualifications. Demand the best. You deserve it.