The Jedi Community has grown tremendously from our roots. The first people on the path had so few resources for reliable training, and so few other people to train with or ask for advice. Now we have a community of thousands across the world, we train in person, and there is a veritable dragons hoard of academies, lectures, and training materials available to the would-be Jedi. That support and those resources are absolutely invaluable to the path. Our groups, our Jedi friends, our history, and our writings all make being a Jedi easier and more wonderful.
But if tomorrow you woke up, and none of that existed, you still have to be a Jedi.
Being a Jedi, walking the path and embodying those ideals, is not dependent on academies, groups, mentors, or circumstances. You don’t need the robes or the lectures. Are they useful? Absolutely. Do those things make you a Jedi? Absolutely not.
I attended a Jedi Gathering a few years ago; it was the first year of the Jedi Federation knightings, and I was still a padawan with knighthood as my focus. But since it was the first year of the system that now runs more smoothly than ever, there were kinks to work out. People had issues, there was distress and disagreement. It even got a un-Jedi-like at times. I remember walking outside and sitting down on the grass and wondering why I even wanted this. If these people who were being knighted weren’t behaving like Jedi, why on earth did I want to be knighted? What is this path worth if the people I look up to always fall off their pedestals?
The answer, I realized, was that none of that mattered. Of course I’m grateful for the friends I have in the community, and all the support it gives me, but in a fundamental way that doesn’t matter. I am a Jedi, and all I need to be a Jedi is myself and the will to continue down the path. We each walk our path alone, collecting ideas and resources from our community, refueling with the support of our friends, but no one but you can walk your path or help you down it. Be your own Jedi master, and walk your path with your eyes forward, confident that you can do it on your own, no matter your resources or the kind of support you receive. We walk alone, and that’s a good thing.