Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mystical Inquiry

a paper for Sequoia Council No. 228

“…So, my question is what exactly does Masonry say about these events and the process of change instigated by these experiences?”

An interested person asked “a simple honest question” regarding personal experience thinking that answer might be found within the teaching of the Craft. The unique inquiry delved into a subject that he explained as events experienced “beyond the five eternal senses.” An episode he depicted as “spontaneous shifts of consciousness on occasions: where ”there are levels and degrees of this, and including those which go way beyond the personality, time and space as we generally experience it. Indeed a timeless realm. … These events are very revealing, life enhancing and profound. But the most important feature being the effect which they have on people for change in this world here and now; and in the future.” Anticipating the difficulty of the question, a very civilized and educated way out was then offered.

A glaring dilemma one could see here is the assumption of what is Freemasonry. Ordinary members and for this matter, ordinary people do not normally “encounter spontaneous shifts of consciousness” and/or other “mystical experience” this gentleman has been describing about. By not being troubled to know a single Mason and then assuming that the Craft is "deeply into mystical experience," the gentleman unfortunately selected a difficult path of his chosen journey of Searching For That Which Was Lost. Like many others who embarked on their own discovery; those adventurous souls who tread the rough and rugged road bisected with trials and tribulations in search for personal Grail; seekers of truth who waged combat against his own dragon discovered in the midst of the battleground littered with broken lances and cracked armor, along with many free sprit found out that they already knew the answer to their search---had they only listened to their heart. The answer never left, it has been that way since time immemorial, only if we believe. But nay, man because of his nature has to ask questions, has to embark in a journey, and has to search for something he thought he lost.

Our inquirer from West Somerset was looking for a very definite answer to a query resulting from personal experience. As the issue has already been discussed with those who shared the same "spontaneous shift of consciousness," one has to wonder if the object of this inquest is to find out if the Brethren of the Craft goes through the same "very revealing, life enhancing and profound" occurrence. The question has the appearance of an honest and inquisitive in nature however, the message has a tone of someone who was been there and done that. In light of obvious less-than-glaring impression with "such things as AMORC," one has to wonder if any response that will be contrary to already perceived notion will merit the dubious consequence of being filed along with "few others of that ilk (like)."

Detecting a bruised ego from my response to his preordained concluding remarks, Brethren of the Craft, allow me to take the non-farmer from Exmoor’s offer—“you tell me.” One, you are wrong for “gathering” that Freemasonry and “mystical experience” are linked. Two, you are wrong for “gathering” that the Fraternity charge money for members to “learn something” from the Craft. And three, you are very wrong to bring forth a very complicated issue in our midst and expect a “simple honest answer” right away. Finally, Mr. Dick, let us put his issue in proper perspective, the Brethren of the Craft does not owe you anything therefore, and we are not obligated to respond to your demand. There is a simple lesson in humility and you should browse that one before probing into transcendental perspectivism philosophy or any outer body galactic adventures.

From A Concept of Freemasonry the following is being offered for further elucidation.

“From operative to speculative, from solving mathematical problems to philosophical issues, even distinguished Masonic scholars were at odds in describing what is Freemasonry. If this humble writer could hazard an opinion, viewing Freemasonry is similar to defining beauty. What viewers see will depend on many things including what the eyes want to see. Demanding for further light is of no use if the eyes remain close not to mention distortion of light waves if selected filter is involved. Some of us ended our search for that which was lost in the Royal Arch degree. Maybe because we believe that the search was about Faith. For those who did not waver in their Faith, it is beyond that—something filtered through the calibrated prism of his choosing. People wears different lenses, different filters. Some found their Truth by wearing their shades and discovered peace within their own temple, while some continue to remain on their steed to hunt the fire-breathing dragon or to seek out for their own personal version of Holy Grail.”

Esoteric knowledge may also mean a hard or difficult to understand discipline hence, available only to few "enlightened" or "initiated" individuals. There is a section within the Fraternity that believes in what they termed as "Esoteric Masonry." The notion is that there is a "hard to understand or obscure knowledge" buried within the rituals and lessons worthy of serious study therefore, the rationale for keeping "the secrets." When someone delved into Gnosis, alchemy, Rosicrucianism, etc… it is not fair to describe the individual as a "regular" free thinker. I submit that one has already crossed the Rubicon. If I may be allowed to offer a word or two— be careful of what you free thinkers read, for it might give you many nights without sleep.

"There are no magic words, formulas or proceedings that an individual will discover or receive in Masonry. He will find that there are more questions than answers for a curious/inquiring mind in our Craft. Often times, the answer is readily available, the real challenge is to know the question." Magic In Masonry.

Finally, allow me to commend our WB from Cincinnati No. 3 , Bro Tom Thornton for lighting up a dark alley where most seekers boldly rushed in. “Sometimes there are issues that can not simply written.” And as to “gathering” that Freemasonry is like other organization of being “deeply into mystical experience,” let me also quote a well respected Mason, Ken Giballa, PM, Benjamin J. French #15, Grand Lodge of Wash DC who said, “Those not holding membership on an organization best not attempt to describe the intricacies of membership.”

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