Masonic Reflections

Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 8:22 PM

The Masonic Mind

Three Masons visited me at my house to talk about why I had decided to join a lodge. During the visit, I immediately felt a connection with one of them as a kindred spirit, WB William “Stan” Paulson. A few weeks later, informed that I had been elected to receive the degrees of Masonry, and subsequently receiving my first degree and assigned to WB Stan, who was to be my coach. What followed was the beginning of a life-changing relationship, a friendship based on the values of freemasonry and a life lesson in transformative sharing. I learned from Stan’s life and experience, and he from mine. Perspectives, knowledge and experiences were exchanged. Ancient Socratic dialogue, sprinkled with some modern science and a few pipe-fitter jokes. I learned the Posting Lecture for each of the degrees, and also studied the New Candidates Proficiency Handbook recently supplied by Grand Lodge. I had the best of all worlds in Masonic Education, a mentor, friend and spent my time wisely in this manner. Eventually, I learned some of the lectures of the degrees, became an officer and took on my own students.

Now, years later as Master of the Lodge and responsible for bringing in vast numbers of new masons, in a short time, I am asked “What makes a person a Mason?”

We all know the rote answer for this, but more importantly, what lessons or educational material do I provide and how can I mentor 40 people in a lodge in which there are few people willing or capable of being mentors? And how are the lessons of Freemasonry, irrespective of the ritual, taught in a contextual manner, relate to the lives and experiences of our modern day brother, and how can this be communicated to them on an ongoing basis?

The initiatory experience bonds all brothers together with those that have come before and will come after us. All masons in sharing this common bound have been apart of a an experience of transformative sharing and can so trust each other to continue to share an aspect of their lives. And yet, the awakening of Masonic Thought or the Masonic Mind is not accomplished by a single deed; or by completing the three degrees. The awakening occurs gradually, beginning in the heart and developed over a lifetime and influenced by countless lives of people before us. The evolution of the human consciousness to the ideal Masonic Mind has taken hundreds of thousands, if not several million years to achieve.

What information must be learned or is in our individual experiences that contribute to make men noble, wise and contribute to their continued growth as individuals? Acting under the assumption that as long as we are alive, we have the ability to learn, the daily distribution of art, wisdom, beauty can only serve to make us better men and citizens. As part of Bremerton Lodge 117’s Education Program and to promote Masonic Awareness we present The Masonic Mind: a daily reminder to incorporate the tenants of freemasonry into your life, meditate on Masonic ideals and/or revisit thoughts of brethren, ancient and extant.

The first edition of the Masonic Mind was issued on October 1st, 2006. The idea of a daily consciousness tuner as part of a Masonic Education program was inspired in part out of the necessity and need for Masonic Mentors. Membership in our lodge has increased beyond the capability of present members to have one-on-one mentorships. Addtionally, it is apparent membership development encompasses many aspects of the collective experiences of humanity; religion, philosophy, art, history; science; from our ancient operative brethren spanning the centuries to the modern day. Living up to our charge to make better men through Masonry, the Masonic Mind is available to be shared with all Masons, it is encouraged that others share in the teachings, make them interactive, and contribute. You can sign up for the Masonic Mind by going our website : http://www.lodgesite.com/~Bremerton117/Trestleboard.html and clicking on the sign up for the Masonic Mind Link.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 at 10:51 AM

Walk With Me!


The path winds down thru the forest; majestic trees guard conversations of busy birds and shelter the smallest of creation. The effluvia of mint and skunk cabbage mingled with stirring shadows.

Brothers greet as elemental air accepts us and seals our presence. Counsel we seek from each other and the natural world. A strolling pace, we travel thru the winding forest until a path opens before us.

Nature, She graces our footsteps as life surrounds us. Our voices quicken as we approach the arched boughs, the tree cave admits us as all living things. Sparrows call to us and answer the important questions. Our hushed silence answers.

A day contrasted, separate life' adversaries darken the quantum shadows.

Observed and unseen our inattentive brains comprehend not the significance of the conflict and resolve of our fellow animals. Nimble and perforce wings dance through the green.

Remembering the light of truth, we are certain of its brilliance. The cares of our employment melt away as we share and together step into the light.

The Law of Certainty in action.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 at 2:51 PM

Yoga in the Elfin Forest


Living in the now! Each moment, a culmination
of your life's experience and purpose. No thought.
contentment, joy, and love. The Law of Certainty
and God's plan fulfilled.

My visit to the Elfin Forest will remain as one of the most memorable experiences in my life. The Elfin
Forest is located on the southeastern
shore of Morro Bay. It is a diverse and complex
assemblage of natural plant communities. Rich
thickets and the effuvia of sage brush, a visual
texture of nature paused in evolutionary marvel. This
Coastal oasis of brackish marsh mirages by a finge of riparian
woodland and colored with pygmy oak, woodland,
grassland, coastal dune scrub and
oak manzanita.

The Elfin Forest supports a documented 25 species of mammals, over 110 kinds of birds, and 11 species of reptiles and amphibians.

Like the Yellow Brick Road, a path puts you on a
journey into dream, a delight of the senses and
a wonder to behold.

At the end of the trail you can look out over the
estuary and behold the monolith of Morro.

It was here that We Three paused in our journey to
breath and live in the moment. A minute became an
eternity, and the eternity was ephemeral. Blazen
memories and sunburn archived in Time's pillar
.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 at 6:05 PM

Who can deal an order on God’s ardour?


Species go extinct every day on our planet. Usually the problem is air, water, or habitat destruction. It's a loss that humans don't notice much. A little, gray, pygmy rabbit species just became extinct today in Washington State. I do mourn its loss. I think people should know that it's gone.

A few years ago, a snail species was lost forever. The last one was in an aquarium in a science lab at a university. After its death, they put a little sign on the aquarium:

NAME OF SNAIL SPECIES
150,000 YEARS B.C. TO JULY 18, 2004

The loss of a single species of life, forever affects the makeup of the Universe. I can only offer the words of Villanelle: “from the bitter searching of the heart, we rise to play a greater part”.

at 6:00 PM

The light beyond the door

I would like to explore various tenants of masonry, and perhaps some of the abstract lessons of the degrees. My hope is that we can take some of these lessons to the next level and give them a form that allows us to bring the principals to life in context of our own lives and experience and that of the modern world.


The example I would like to use is from the 1st degree where the candidate takes the first step to knock on the door. We ask him 'being in the dark, how did you know it to be a door?" His answer "by first meeting resistance, and thereafter gaining admission"

The concept of revealing light thru resistance is present in every area of our lives. . When we listen to a violinist play an instrument, the resistance of the bow against the strings creates the sound waves.

The green color that we see in plants is actually the chlorophyll molecule resisting or reflecting the green wavelength of light, while it is adsorbing other wavelengths.

When have you had a strong urge to resist something, an idea, an emotion? Have you ever worked thru this resistance?

When we are in darkness, at the door, can you remember what your impulse was, was it to run, to say no. But we all resisting our impulses and knocked on the door.

Resisting reactive impulses creates light.

When was the last time that you resisted a reactive impulse? Resisting our reactive impulses is refined and perfected as we continue to undertake it. We become more proficient as we experience this process and internalize these principals. Do you notice is any of the other tenants of masonry have to do with resisting our tendency to be reactive.
· Diligent
· Prudent
· Temperance
· Discretion
· subduing your passions.

The four key attribute of the light
Being the cause
Being a creator
Being in control
Sharing

In other words being PROACTIVE
Can you transform your impulses or influence those of others from being a reactive being to a proactive?

Sunday, June 04, 2006 at 10:00 PM

About Light

What do the compasses teach?It reminds us to circumscribe and keep ourselves within due bounds with all mankind, more especially with a brother mason. For most, this is an admonition and a lesson to not stray “out of bounds”. This is not a “little lesson” of masonry but worth much study, care and thought. The ancient truths, the lessons and emblems chosen to celebrate and value the “human and spiritual truths” should be cherished and held sacred and inviolable by every living soul, more especially a brother mason. This one symbol, the compasses, chosen by the wisest of our Masonic brethren for its relevance, signification and timelessness, is prevalent in every decision we make in our lives. To live up to the realization of its meaning and its full potential should be the goal of every mason serious about the ritual and form of Freemasonry. Masons are the free thinkers who invented religious freedom, and set the tone for societal and social advancement not only thru fellowship but through philosophy, open- mindedness, and the advancement of Human Rights. To dismiss any of the lessons of masonry or to ignore one of the tools of Masonry is an aberration and tantamount to changing the ritual or leaving a degree out on the journey to Master Mason. The ego that gives you opinions on yourself, others and your relationship in the world can stifle advancement on the road to self improvement. When you are so sure of your own opinion and importance that you have not room for advancement do you not stop receiving the light? The search for light should be your constant joy. To put the meaning of the compasses in contextual meaning or everyday linguistics, we can speculate that “due bounds” may also refer to setting appropriate boundaries for ourselves, and the manner in which we deal with other in our life. Setting boundaries can be difficult, especially when mixed with the fear of conflict. But setting boundaries is a positive experience, and a proactive exercise is keeping “harmony” in all situations. Personally, I have always had a hard time setting these boundaries, and in essence “standing up for myself”. The experience of being Master of the Lodge has provided me with many opportunities to practice not only observing due bounds, but setting due bounds. So, I find myself advancing these questions for consideration. Is the primary concern for the form of the ritual, irrespective of the meaning of the ritual? For, to do so sets form over substance. Why did you join masonry? Did you join it for the right reasons? What can you offer to Freemasonry and your lodge that is positive and proactive? As a Mason from whence came you and what come you here to do?

Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 6:31 PM

Friends Night

DISCOVER THE TREASURE!

The Ancient Mysteries of Freemasonry Revealed

The Freemason Lodges of Kitsap County invite you to a Friend To Friend Night:

Visit one of the most beautiful and historic Masonic Lodges in Bremerton

A program on the history, culture and tenants of Freemasonry will be presented

Refreshments and Fellowship to Follow

7 pm Friday, April 21st 2006
Bremerton Masonic Temple
878 5th St (corner of 5th and Warren)

RSVP to Jeff Parham
360-271-3971

Freemasons of Washington are recognized as a relevant and respected Fraternity, committed to attracting and retaining all men of high quality who strive for self improvement and the opportunity to make a positive difference in their community.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 9:33 AM

One of my favorite psalms

When you come to the Red Sea place in your life
In spite of all you can do
There is no way back, there is no way round
There is no way, but through
Then know God with a soul serene
and the dark and the storm are gone

God Stills the wind
God Stills the waves
God says to your soul "Go on"

from Teaching of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird T. Spalding