ABOUT BEING A MASON
WHY DID I BECOME A MASON? WHY DO I CONTINUE TO BELONG?
by: Bro. Paul Schorak, Forestburg-Alliance #128, G.R.A.
These are great thought provoking questions, which I know are being asked in Lodges all across Alberta, indeed no doubt wherever there are Masonic Lodges. I also know that the answers to these questions will vary greatly for each individual Mason.
When in Lodge assembled, the Senior Warden is always asked; what induced you to become a Master Mason? We all know how the Senior Warden responds.
But you brother, must also ask yourself, what induced me to become a Master Mason?
I will share with you my response. I started off this paper with two big questions. [repeat] Another two questions have always been a part of my life, “always” WHO AM I? WHY AM I? The Who Am I Question is one most all of us ponder for most of our life. Many of us come to the conclusion that we are a creation. So, we then believe in a supreme creator. That supreme creator give us the gift of life in equal portions, namely 24 hours each day with the freedom to choose what to do, and then with a sense of humour [I think] gives us each an “ego” and a “conscience” which are often in conflict. Masonry re-enforces this, and that is what induced me to become a Mason.
Masonry also emphasizes my second question in life, Why Am I? This is why I want to continue to belong, WHICH IS NOT ALWAYS EASY.
Masonry explains that it is the inner person [your conscience, soul, spirit, heart] that will determine the direction your life’s journey shall take. In our opening prayer the emphasis is to do good unto all persons. In our closing prayer we ask that we be influenced to practice the great moral duties inculcated in the Lodge, and to study and obey the laws of the Holy Word. [THE BIBLE] Upon close study of this Holy Word, we will learn that our creator wants us to experience JOY. The word “JOY” is expressed many, many times in the bible.
During my life’s journey [ 80 on next birthday] I have found that there are 5 steps to follow, that will lead us to such JOY. These steps do work in all parts of our life, our career, our community, our country, and in our family life.
SO, HERE THEY ARE!
STEP # I GET RID OF HATRED FROM YOUR HEART.
You will never experience joy with hatred in your heart. Rather, hatred will promote negative emotions like, anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and vengeance. That will never lead you in the direction of joy and self esteem. It may lead you in the direction of self-destruction.
So, we must learn how to get rid of hatred from our heart. The best way is through forgiveness. There are two dimensions of forgiveness, forgiving others, and asking for forgiveness. You will quickly learn to distinguish what is needed when you genuinely practice forgiveness.
Changing your mind is the other way of diminishing hatred from your heart.
PROGRESS IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT CHANGE, AND THOSE WHO CANNOT CHANGE THEIR MINDS CANNOT CHANGE ANYTHING “George Bernard Shaw”
That means being more open minded about what happens in your life, which takes us to the next step.
STEP # 2 DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.
It is easy to get upset when things do not go the way we think they should. That applies to small and insignificant matters, just as often as major issues. We get upset because we did not get our way!
There is a prayer that helps us to avoid this undesirable habit. “SIR FRANCES OF ASSISIS” gave us this serenity prayer.
“ALMIGHTY GOD, GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE,
THE COURAGE TO CHANGE FOR GOOD THAT WHICH I CAN,
AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
This prayer is really all you need to stop fretting about things you cannot change anyway. It will also lead you to the next step.
STEP #3 ENJOY THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE
We tend to take for granted the beauty of creation, of which we are a part, and which surrounds us each day of our life. How foolish of us, as these joys are endless. We need to develop an awareness of these simple beauties such as; sunrises, sunsets, the seasons, the landscape, growing things, living things, and indeed the universe. While you will get some enjoyment from “ego” things like; big well furnished homes, fine cars, lavish clothing, gourmet dining, and great vacations, no doubt these are tempting but not lasting joys. It seems that once started, our ego wants more. Such expectations are very expensive, and may get stressful. Which leads us to the next step?
STEP # 4 EXPECT LESS.
It is a known fact that to expect a lot, too much, is one of the greatest stress factors that exist. Expectations can readily be identified as being twofold. What you expect from others, and what you expect from self.
What you expect from others is not really within your control. You may think that you have such control via authority, but any authority is always accompanied by well established guidelines, be it the law, job description, agreements, obligations. So, in all relations keep expectations at acceptable levels. Push an envelope too far, and all you will get is stress and disappointment.
Then, our personal expectations. By all means we should set goals for ourselves, to allow us to become the best that we can be, for whatever it is that we do. But, don’t race a Volkswagon against a Cadillac. Keep your goals realistic. When you have tried your best, be happy with your achievements.
Be aware, there is a risk side to your personal expectations! That is when you want to become rich, powerful, and have control authority. That is when you have become an “I WANT” person, indicating that your EGO prevails. History clearly shows that such persons might actually be envied by some persons, but the truth is that they have failed to find real joy. More sharing needs to become a part of our lives in order to find joy, which leads us to our final step.
STEP # 5 GIVE MORE.
Our first reaction may well be, “what kind of insanity is this?” But just a minute, in order to give, we must have! So the question really becomes, “what have I got to give?”
And believe it or not, we all have been given the same gift, 24 hours for each day of our lives, with the freedom to choose as how to use. We are all also given abilities and assets. These gifts are commonly known as our TIME, TALENTS, TREASURES. We can all give from each of these dimensions, our blessings. So, give, or horde for ourselves. To horde, is to again allow ones EGO too much control over our values. History tells us that when our “I WANT” ego is in control, we will achieve only temporary satisfaction, as our Ego always wants more. On the other hand, our blessings of TIME, TALENTS, and TREASURES, when shared, will result in joy, and further blessings. At this point I will refer to the scriptures, which we are to study. Consider 1St Corinthians Ch. 12 Vs. 4-7 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to everyone for their particular service. The spirits presence is shown in some way in leach person for the good of all.”
We need to think about these words for surely they will lead us to find JOY.
For me, they answer my question of WHY AM I? I am to serve with joy.
So, there you have it, the 5 steps to JOY.
GET RID OF HATRED FROM YOUR HEART.
DON’NT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.
ENJOY THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE.
We need to think about these steps regularly. I create daily meditation time for myself, quiet time, during daily walks. I always ask myself during such time, “How am I doing? Am I satisfied with my actions?” We should all find time for regular meditation.
Many of our great past leaders were strong believers in self meditation. Why don’t you try it? You will be amazed to discover how your ego [head] is competing for control over your conscience [heart] in deciding what you should do.
I know that when you try the 5 steps, and meditate regularly about, “how is It going?” you will experience changes in your life. You will become; MORE KIND, A BETTER LISTENER, MORE PATIENT, And BE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.
Stay the course, and you will find the answer to; WHY AM I? On the other hand, to become an island unto yourself concentrating on accumulating wealth, will only lead to your ego wanting more, more, and more. When you try the 5 steps to joy, you will find your purpose in life. And listen carefully to me now; “you will be practicing out of the Lodge those great moral duties inculcated in it”.
And always remember what Dr Wayne Dyer encourages all of us to practice.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS,
AND THE THINGS YOU LOOK AT CHANGE!
So there you have it, why I became a Mason, and why I struggle to continue.
SO MOTE IT BE!