Freemasonry, as with all initiatic traditions, takes its members on a journey of personal and spiritual transformation. In order to accomplish this, our fraternity encourages its members to undertake serious introspection, because without introspection the working tools and teachings of our fraternity are useless.
The only real way to find Truth is to question everything. This is true in our daily lives in the external world, as well as in our inner personal and spiritual development. Introspection is a powerful tool that allows us to truly explore and examine our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and even our religious beliefs in a thorough manner, which can lead to surprising insights and positive changes.
In the external world, we should always seek to question and verify the things that our political leaders, news sources, and especially social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) tells us. I am constantly surprised by the amount of misinformation, contextual exaggerations, and even outright lies and hoaxes that circulate on a weekly basis in digital news sources, and especially in social media sites like Facebook. What is really sad and disheartening is that almost all of this disinformation could be proven false with a simple Google search; however, people are so eager to buy into the misinformation, because it confirms a belief or opinion, that they fail to take a few seconds to verify the authenticity.
In my professional life as an attorney, the first thing I do when someone, even someone I trust or work with, tells me that the state of the law is ____, I check their sources and read it for myself. I don’t do this out of a lack of trust, but since my professional life and credibility depends on accuracy, I need to ensure that what I believe to be correct, is actually correct. In the same way, if I receive a spiritual teaching, or interpretation of scripture, I read the scripture for myself to see if the interpretation given to me jives with the original context of the scripture, as well as my own beliefs and understandings. If we fail to examine all of our beliefs, including our prejudices, then we can easily become prisoner to our false beliefs.
The beauty of our fraternity is that it provides a system that allows for us to undertake serious introspection and transformative work among friends and brothers that are also undertaking that work. Also, pursuant to our oaths, we can discuss almost any topic in strict confidence, which in today’s world is a true rarity. This allows us a safe space to be vulnerable, a place where we can drop our persona mask and show our true selves. The Lodge also provides a place to have frank and open dialogue between members, which strengthens the bonds of brotherhood and allows us to better work through and navigate the trials of life. In fact, some of the best and easiest education sessions for Lodge consist of merely picking a discussion topic for the members to reflect on and discuss.
I know that our fraternity has played a huge role in my own personal and spiritual development. Freemasonry has allowed me to have a safe place to contemplate not only the mysteries of our fraternity, but the mysteries of life. It has also allowed me to meet and interact with brothers who force me out of my comfort zone, and who challenge me almost daily.
The labor of a Mason does not end when he becomes a Master Mason, it is a continuous process that only ends when we lay down the working tools of life to enter the celestial lodge above. Therefore, may we each continue our own journeys of introspection and discovery, and may we aid others along their path. While we each hold a lantern of light on our individual path, when we walk with our brethren our collective light illuminates the pathways of all craftsmen, as well as the world.
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