All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with information, it is becoming increasingly difficult not only to find a quiet place in our lives but also in our own heads.
And can we rely on the reliability of the information we receive in never-ending streams? Not only from mainstream media but that other torrent of ideas, opinions and ‘fake news’ i.e. Social media.
Today, it is more important than ever to utilise the knowledge, lessons, and wisdom that can be found within Freemasonry.
To contemplate, understand and digest the allegory and symbolism, so that we may then implement this in our daily lives.
The practise of Masonic meditation is not new but has perhaps been viewed as being used by those with more ‘esoteric‘ leanings.
However, now that meditation, in general, has seen a more populist renaissance backed up by medical and clinical studies that underline the cognitive and stress-busting benefits, it makes sense that the twain should now meet.
Sitting quietly, contemplating symbolism or ritual could be this year’s new tool to aiding memorisation of your ritual, the symbolism, or just finding space to think about how you can use what you have learnt within the degrees within your daily life.
Meditation doesn’t have to fit the image of the bearded sage, cross-legged and attempting to reach ‘Nirvana’ – it can encompass many different ways of utilising both a calming state and a way of contemplating a particular subject.
It can be as diverse as walking in nature, deeply in thought and reflection; or similar to prayer, where the focus is to connect on a higher level.
Personally, I prefer the use of the term ‘contemplation’, meaning:
- the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time;
- deep reflective thought, or –
- the state of being considered or planned.
Contemplation, or reflection, are often used as a way to focus on a subject that needs deeper understanding – those kind of sessions where we can achieve those ‘Eureka!’, or perhaps less dramatic ‘a-ha!’ moments.
meditate and consider how Freemasonry is about to change his life.
He is given a series of questions to answer.
Typically, he is asked his duties to God, his fellow men, and himself.
In some lodges he is also asked to make a will.
At the end of this time, he is led to the Temple for initiation
– Source: Wikimedia
So, how do you meditate – or contemplate?
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do this – you don’t need to contort your legs into the blood-flow-restricting lotus position of the yogis, merely find a comfortable chair that allows you to sit in an upright position with feet placed on the floor.
Lying down is an option but you may find you fall asleep! Or, go for a walk in a quiet area, allowing your thoughts to flow from the subject you wish to contemplate.
If you like being told what to do and find guided meditation or visualisation preferable – see this video from Three Distinct Knocks – a website for Masonic education in audio, video, and written formats.
Here Bro. Chuck Dunning leads you through a guided meditation.
Episode 6.1 – Guided Meditation w/ Bro. Chuck Dunning – Youtube Audio only
♦ No requirement for ‘hippy-style’ stuff like incense, singing bowls, expensive meditation mats/cushions etc (unless of course you want to!)
♦ Breathe normally from the belly (not from the chest) – close your eyes if you wish, or otherwise look, in an unfocused way, at something benign – a candle flame, a log fire, the garden or vista from your window. If outside, sit somewhere quiet, beside a stream, on a hill, next to a tree – the list is endless.
♦ The main thing is to be in a quiet, undisturbed and comfortable place – which means turn off/mute the phone/computer/dog/children etc.
♦ Allow your thoughts to flow like a stream taking all the flotsam and jetsam gently along, you will find that you will then reach a state of calm, able to view things from a different perspective. Do not worry if your ‘stream’ resembles a tsunami of junk, it may be like this for days – or weeks – think of it as your brain ‘de-fragging’ and just let it go. Gradually, your mind will stop jumping around like a monkey on Red Bull and will allow you some clarity!
♦ How long should you meditate/contemplate? To start with – do what you can. Most forms of exercise, be they mental or physical need time to build up to a level where you feel comfortable – just do what you can and the main lesson to learn from this is – it’s not a competition, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t immediately do what some ‘guru’ on YouTube is doing!
♦ The main thing is to find your own way – and to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it – there are other ways to learn from the wonderful teachings of Freemasonry.
Some of the most useful books for meditation on Masonic ritual and symbolism are those by Jonti Marks – author, teacher, and Freemason.
This is what Jonti says on his website:
For me – and I know it’s not a view shared by every Mason – Freemasonry is a spiritual discipline and its teachings reveal fundamental truths about our individual humanity, our relationships with each other and our fellow creatures and our relationship with God – whatever we conceive Him (Her? It?) to be.
These four books – the first two of which address the two basic orders of Freemasonry – using quotations from Masonic ritual and writings, as well as non-Masonic material, explore the possibilities and implications of Masonic thought and ideas.
The third and fourth books follow the same pattern but uses the Psalms as their inspiration and starting point.
I believe that they have something important to offer to Masons, to the family and friends of Masons and to the world at large.
Jonti Marks has written five handbooks on Meditations for Freemasons
Level Steps: 100 Daily Meditations for Freemasons
By Jonti Marks
‘Level Steps:100 Daily Meditations for Freemasons’ is a beautiful and practical book offering insight and inspiration to all Freemasons who are interested in the deeper meaning of the Craft and who wish to make ‘…a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.’
Hidden Depths: 100 Meditations for Royal Arch Freemasons
By Jonti Marks
Following on from the success of ‘Level Steps: 100 Daily Meditations for Freemasons,’ this companion volume offers further practical insights into the deeper spiritual meanings of Freemasonry, with particular reference to the symbolism and forms of the Holy Royal Arch.
Still Waters: Masonic Meditations on the Book of Psalms Vol I
By Jonti Marks
In this new volume of Masonic Meditations, the author of ‘Level Steps’ and ‘Hidden Depths’ sets out to reacquaint us with the beauty of the Psalms – both their innate poetry and the richness and humanity of their teachings.
The accompanying meditations serve as inspirations for further contemplation and study.
With their underlying message of love of God and strength in adversity, these meditations are offered in the hope that they will deepen our love and understanding of Freemasonry and of life itself.
Still Waters: Masonic Meditations on The Book of Psalms Vol II
By Jonti Marks
This second volume of Masonic Meditations inspired by the Book of Psalms continues where the first one left off, thus completing the cycle which offers inspiring thoughts on all 150 Psalms in a series of 165 ‘meditations.’
365 Level Steps: Masonic Meditations for Every Day of the Year
By Jonti Marks
This newest volume from the author of ‘Level Steps’ and ‘Hidden Depths’ is a lightly edited compilation of all four previous books of ‘Masonic Meditations.’
Here, for the first time, all 365 inspirational quotations and meditations are presented together in a form that encourages us to consider deeply what it means to be a Freemason and to contemplate the true and timeless teachings of our beloved Craft.
This is a unique opportunity to make a genuine daily advancement in Masonic knowledge and to develop a real, heartfelt understanding of Masonic principles.
Secrets of Meditation: Simple Techniques for Achieving Harmony (Gateways to Health)
by Phillipa Faulks
The practice of meditation is an integral part of almost all world religions and its beneficial effects on the mind and the spirit have long been understood and celebrated.
This straightforward guide to meditation will tell you all you need to know about how this powerful practice works and teach you the key techniques to begin experiencing the benefits immediately.
Featuring a range of different approaches including relaxation exercises, mudras, mantras and mandalas, and covering various styles of meditation, this book shows ways to find inner harmony for everyone.
Day in the life of a Freemason
As we start a new year, maybe start it with a new habit? …read more
How to avoid confrontation
How can we use masonic leadership skills to avoid confrontational situations? …read more
making good men better
share the square with two brothers
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