Symbols as Principles of Personal Transformation
- The candidate enters the sacred space of the Lodge room in darkness—not because the room is unilluminated, but because the candidate is ‘blind.’ This is our position in the world, despite whatever position, rank, or wealth we may possess: without spiritual light, we are as good as blind.
- Our blindness is not relieved until we kneel at the Altar of prayer, holding fast to the Volume of Sacred Law (and Insight).
- A constant, unremitting effort to correct the defects of our characters, to chip off the characteristics we should not possess, and to fill in the areas we lack.
- A commitment to hold our behavior to the highest standards. There is to be no bending of the rules here, when it comes to our integrity.
- Determination to take a balanced approach to every day, and use our time wisely: to work industriously and diligently, but not to the point of exhaustion; to rest, but not to the point of sloth; to engage in recreation, but not to the point of indolence or intemperance. (I will consider service in another post in this series.)
- A lifelong, major effort to improve our minds and skills, in multiple areas of knowledge, the arts, the sciences, and the humanities.
- A firm commitment to keeping our word; to doing what we say we will do, when we say we will do this; to not doing what we say we won’t do, when we say we won’t do that.
- A determination to stick patiently with the Work and the Journey, not expecting results or progress that are not really earned.
A Contrast to the Ways of the World
- Spiritual discipline was largely a thing for monasteries, convents, and seminaries, not for laypeople in the world.
- Aside from the Jewish community, most Europeans were either illiterate or barely literate by today’s standards. In contrast, Freemasonry promoted ongoing education in the Arts and Sciences.
- Among the aristocracy, intemperance and indulgence were quite widespread. There is a reason why the English simile, “drunk as a lord,” has endured for centuries.