Focus Within the Lodge

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We live in a society where we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and noise, and this does not stop at the lodge’s doors. We are constantly under pressure from our Grand Lodges and appendant bodies to boost membership, implement new initiatives, and do more. We renew our own efforts, focusing on Masonic activities here, a youth program there, or whatever interests us. In terms of my own Craft interests, I am completely guilty of this. Is it time to start over?

Focus Within the Lodge 1

The answer resides in our own rituals and how we view Existence’s cyclical nature. We discuss the rule of the day on a daily basis. Saints John the Evangelist and John the Baptist are our patron saints. We even commemorate the Holy St. Johns by the Solstices, with much written about how to incorporate that lovely symbolism into our everyday thoughts and prayers, and how we are taught to treat ourselves and others with love and compassion.

The cyclical nature of ebbs and flows, of wave-like patterns, applies to the Craft in the same way as it does to Nature. The sacred refuge from the outside world would benefit from more concentration from us, including me, on stillness and reverence during lodge, and careful consideration of being active outside of the lodge. The Sun and Moon’s regularity represent the everyday chores we must all complete, whether working a nine-to-five job or caring for family or loved ones. The consistency of such job is critical to our own personal achievements of providing for the family or giving back to society in some way. We take far too much pride in our charitable work, but I urge us to do more. Do more charitable work, but keep our pride in check and focus on our own internal sense of accomplishment without announcing it to the rest of the world. Is this my fault? Well, it’s one of the projects I’ve decided to tackle in the following year.

Why concentrate on a single year? Let us return to our ritual and lecture format once more. The Solstices divide the year in half, or the Equinoxes divide it in quarters. The year can be divided further, though not quite evenly, by the phases of the moon, which can then be divided further by the rotations of the planet for sunrise/sunset. Nature tells us that there is regularity, and we exploit that predictability by charting the progression. Time is what we call it. According to basic project management concepts, any complex activity can be divided into smaller tasks, which can then be divided into individual tasks or activities. Those can be tracked as they progress toward completion. We profit from assigning a goal and putting effort into that action, task, and complex task to make it happen inside the cycles we just assigned as time to do the assignment. Freemasonry teaches us the fundamentals of project management and time management years, if not ages, before the term “project management” was coined.

What does this have to do with the constant barrage of advertisements and background noise? I recommend that we discover ways to keep all types of advertisements out of the lodge room. Anything other than Blue Lodge should be relegated to and remain in the fellowship hall or dining hall, unless it is an instructional presentation or a notification of activities. We do amazing things in silence, therefore let us make that happen in the lodge room by requesting that sidebar talks end. How many of us have seen a newly risen brother be presented a petition for the appendant bodies as he is sitting among the brethren for the first time? Why is the timing of this action not scandalous, given that the Lodge is expected to close in the next half hour? We can refocus the attention on just permitting Blue Lodge within the tiled lodge, with discussion of other topics being pushed elsewhere in a fraternal sort of camaraderie. We can set the goal, establish time-bound targets, and monitor progress on a regular basis to ensure that it is met.

by Midnight Freemason
Bro. Randy Sanders

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