I was doing a little late night sitting tonight. I have worked my body hard the last two weeks, all while fighting an illness. Tonight I zoned out, watching the tip of a candle flame dance. My thoughts came and went, smoothly, and without alarm. I didn't even seem to notice when one ended and another began. Eventually my mind flashed to Masonry, as it always does.
I am a problem solver by trade, luckily, since I had already adopted problem solving as a way of life before I was ready to find a trade. I often fight the impulse to step in. I put a lot of thought into how and why I do things, and it is pretty difficult to not insert my way into someone else’s task. My way is not always better, particularly when I am not the one completing the task. Over the course of several years I began to develop protocol. There is a certain way to do all things in my life, and I generally stick to those methods. Sometimes I don’t though, and that is where the magic happens.
I developed these pathways in my brain, they were old and familiar. Nary an obstacle dared to enter these roads, for they were well traveled. I began to see the world a certain way because I believed one thing which happened to support another that supported yet another. By the time I reached the third echelon of belief formation I was already in a pretty narrow spot. There wasn't much to choose from. Even though I had made these choices, I thought, I had little say in where my subconscious arrived.
Masonry blew the doors off of that cage. From the day I began as an Entered Apprentice I often repeated the mantra “open your mind." I purposefully challenged everything I thought I knew. I questioned my religion for the sake of others. I questioned my perception of personality types and stigmas. I questioned myself all they way down to the deep dark core. Everywhere I allowed myself to float, I found merit. And everywhere I opened myself to new possibility I found something worth changing for.
Suddenly the world became more colorful. Relationships and understandings deepened. Where I found that my beliefs were substantiated there was richness and vibrancy. The creator was in everything. The creator was in me. I found that he wasn't at the end of some long and arduous road of trials. The creator was in my friends, nature, and my brothers; she permeated my life already.
When we allow people to be themselves, discover themselves, and act for themselves they become who they were intended to be all along. Just as the perfection of nature cannot be improved, there can be no improvement made by an external source upon a person who is discovering themselves from within. A goat cannot be a good or bad goat. A tree cannot be a good or bad tree. Likewise a person will become perfection if only all influence, both external and self imposed, is stripped away. If we can do that, we can connect in the truest and most intimate way with ourselves, each other, and more importantly our origin.
We can begin to experience others, only after we first experience ourselves. If we can find those sorts of connections, there you will find god. It is a deep and rich wonderment, the beauty of the spirit. When you glimpse yourself, late at night, when you are tired and a little beat down from the day, you are seeing the creator. You begin to feel empowered, limitless, and strong. This is who you were intended to be. That reunion can be an emotional one, similar to embracing your lover after a long absence. What is that feeling? Relief? Love? Happiness? That feeling is the very reason for your forming the relationship to begin with. We call it love, but really it is simply the experience of connecting with another person as we were intended to.
So often, especially in Masonry, we project ourselves. We attempt to lead, but more often than not, Masonic Leadership is akin to herding or an attempt at conversion to the leader's view. If we love our brethren, we must let them be. If you are the one elected to lead you must lead yourself. The lodge is not “your” lodge. It is not “your” year. The lodge is the lodge and this year is simply 2015. It doesn't belong to you, or me, or the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the State.
We must step back from our own minds, brethren, and discover what perfection lies within. We are all on the same path. You might ask, “well what is the point of having a leader then?” That is a very good question. I believe that our Worshipful Masters are here to provide a spiritual center to the group. The tone of the frail egregore is in their charge. They are to take care to preserve and foster an environment where we may come together and learn from each other so that we may work upon ourselves more efficiently. They are here to run the meetings and facilitate the structured business dealings we must attend to. They are not here to dictate your Masonry. We must be so very careful to maintain the space where spiritual experience can happen. We must be attentive and wise to allow it to take different forms. It is quite possible that the direction of the lodge will go in the complete opposite way than you imagined, no matter how noble your intention. Give it space. Be a student at all times; you never know what unknown experience will change you forever.
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue. 
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 Tzu, Lao, and Stephen Mitchell. "10." Tao Te Ching: A New English Version. New York: Harper & Row, 1988. 23. Print.