Tidings from the West
I think many of us are looking forward to meeting again as a brotherhood and fraternity. The summer break is always nice, and very much appreciated, but to come back into the Lodge is something that we should look forward to, reconnecting with brothers and fellows.
Through the summer months, I have had the opportunity to discuss a unique question with fraternal brothers within our lodge and without. The question … “When is a Mason not a Mason?” I would like to think that such a condition never exists. When we kneel at our sacred alters and take upon ourselves the obligations of the craft, we are in truth sacrificing some of our freedoms in the realms of conduct, speech and presentation. In our desire to become better men, we must, “act the part”, until it becomes the truth of our reality.
“What came you here to do? To learn to subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry.” The common man may never understand or aspire to such ideals … and that’s what sets a Mason apart from the common man. We voluntarily choose to subdue our passions; we voluntarily kneel in the presence of God and these witnesses, and obligate ourselves to be better men. In truth we become the face of Masonry to the world at large. We must … daily, hourly and in every minute and in every detail manage the perception to the point of perfection.
A part of the Buddhist philosophy is the concept of living a contemplative life, of being aware of our thoughts before they become speech or action … and to manage those thoughts towards reflection and perfection. In our pursuit to become better men and improve ourselves in masonry, we may not become perfect, but we can work towards achieving perfect awareness. If we cease to be contemplative, we most likely cease to be masons.
When we look at the most prominent symbol of the fraternity, the square and compasses, a symbol universally understood as Masonic, it teaches us the importance of squaring our actions with morality towards all of humanity … and may I add to all life … and the compasses to circumscribe our passions within those moral and ethical boundaries established. And then with the letter “G” firmly established in the center, our focus being on God, the divine source of all creation, the bringer of all good things, we can begin to see the wisdom in the symbols and teachings that is necessary to achieve, before revealing the greatest of secrets.
From my previous study of the ancient mystery schools, one prominent commonality was the intention of establishing a moral and ethical floor before every bringing the adherent into the deeper mysteries. The understanding of this symbol sets the boundary conditions and establishes the vector and focus required before revealing the secrets of the hidden mysteries and the power contained within.
This begs the question, that needs to be individually addressed, “are we worthy of receiving the mysteries?” The ancient masters never revealed themselves, or their wisdom, to those that could not appreciate or make moral applications. That in part is why at the very beginning of our Masonic journey, we are asked, “What came you here to do?”
Kenneth J. Noorlander