Sunday, September 21, 2008

Putting The Cart Before The Horse

As the newly appointed Lecturer for the Dallas Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, I gave my first presentation yesterday 9/20/08. The paper I delivered was a scholarly work on "The Buffalo Soldiers" which I hope will be published elsewhere where you will be able to read it.

But before the Lecture I did a 5 minute warmup on an entirely different subject - that of putting the cart before the horse. You see I have witnessed the ill effects of rushing a candidate through the degrees and a lack of post Master Mason mentoring. Sometimes Masons are in too much of a hurry to get that new man on the books and out there helping the Lodge survive. They have numerous charitible endeavors with which they need immediate help and they are so desparate for money and membership that they cannot spend the time with candidates, for it is necessary that there be a quick turnover in order that they get onto the next group of initiates. The goal is to raise as Many Master Masons in a year as possible. And Grand Lodges give out awards for this accomplishment.

So the feeling is that we can hurry the candidate through his initiation process, because the activities of the Lodge, especially the charitible endeavors, will show a man what Freemasonry is all about and through time and experiince he will "get it".

My view was this was putting the cart before the horse and I used two quotations from other authorship to illustrate my point. The first was from The Positivity Blog:

Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World
Published by Henrik Edberg May 9th, 2008 in Personal Development, People Skills, Lessons I have learned from... and Success.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.

So let’s just move on to some of my favourite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.

1. Change yourself.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.”

If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.

And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.

And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.

The Second was some words by Neal Donald Walsch:

“Life is a decision conveyer. It conveys to the world the decisions that you’ve made about yourself. It tells people what you’ve decided about who you are, and who they are, and why you are here, and why you think they are here, and what life itself is about.”

“These decisions have greater impact than you could ever guess. They touch people in ways that go far beyond what you might have imagined.”

“Yet it does not begin by trying to change the world. It begins by seeking to change the self. Change the self and your inner world changes. And when your inner world changes, the outer world that you touch changes, little by little. And when the outer world that you touch changes, the world that it touches changes, and the world that it touches. Outward and outward and outward this spreads, like a ripple in a pond.”

“When what you are doing is a reflection of what you are being, rather than an attempt to create what you wish you were being, you will know that you have produced lasting change in yourself. This is what produces lasting change in the world.”

Neal Donald Walsch in talking about Gandhi says this:

“First he attained a state of being. This is work that he did from within. Then, and only then, did his outward ‘doing’ become the kind of ‘doing’ that changed the world.”
“He did not achieve a state of being as a result of what he was doing. What he was doing reflected the state of being he had achieved.”

So my point was that first we make a Mason, then we make a Lodge.

You cannot change the world until you change yourself. And the process of becoming a Mason should be a very personal journey of a change in heart, a rebirth of the individual, as he learns what the lessons of Freemasonry can do to change his life and make him a better person. Once having assimilated the knowledge and understanding of what Freemasonry is all about, then he can be turned loose onto the world. If we spend our time and effort with our new recruits to make them knowledgable Freemasons then great things will happen as with other like Brothers they toil in society in the quarry of everyday life.

This process looks something like this:

KNOWLEDGE (or Masonic Light) begets PRIDE which begets ENTHUSIASM which begets GROWTH (both personal and membership). GROWTH brings us back to KNOWLEDGE>PRIDE>ENTHUSIASM>GROWTH

So in the priorities of your Lodge life don't first try to make a Lodge. First make a Mason. Then the fully invested Mason comprehending the philosophy of the Craft will make a Lodge and the Lodge will do great things!

Don't put the cart before the horse. A horse trying to nose a cart down the road from behind will never accomplish what a horse hooked up to the front of the cart can do, not only for the horse, but for the cart, its contents and all who are in it for the ride.

First make a Mason and then all else will follow.


Widow's Son said...

Excellent post, Bro. Fred.

Everyone can benefit by reading and taking to heart the words of Gandhi and Walsch.

Widow's Son

Tom Accuosti said...

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Sometimes we forget this simple little idea. Thanks for the reminder.

The Palmetto Bug said...

Squire: Nice post. I enjoyed reading that one.