The ego which drives every one of us to achieve is an uncontrolled driver who does not really care what happens to you as long as good happens to me. Ego wants the best of everything it sees and everything it can conceive. Ego will cause things to happen to us so that those things are achieved without thought of other outcomes or circumstances. Ego can create very great things that will not last or things that will not matter much in the greater realm of things.
When we have earnestly and thoughtfully made the decision to control our passions and desires, we begin the process of change and use the tools of reason, compassion, and understanding to make our decision; decreasing the uncontrolled emotional decisions of egoism. We begin to look at how decisions that we make for our self will affect those around us. Our decisions become much less of what will this do for me and becomes very much more of how will this decision make things better for everyone.
But what about our Brothers at the Lodge? It is not really a matter of what they will do but what we need for our self to do. We need to consider how our timeliness effects them. Are we an officer so that we will need to be replaced? Do we have things that need to be said and will not? Will the Lodge just be less because of our absence? How will what we decide be an education for those who watch us and learn?
How we dress for Lodge is an indication of how we feel about the Lodge and our part in it. Our ego tells us that it is fine to dress comfortably as we have had a hard day. We deserve to relax and be comfortable. We can always dress up more when the work is more important. Even work rules have relaxed their dress code; why should we dress up for Lodge? Actually, the really correct question is, "Why shouldn't we?" In whom do we put our trust? Does not all work begin and end with words to deity? Are we not there to IMPROVE our self? Should we not be more concerned about how our dress will affect the other members of our Lodge? Will the new Entered Apprentices learn that dress is not very important from watching what we do? Will our dress take away from the spiritual atmosphere of the Lodge meeting? Which wolf are we feeding?
I have heard so many members tell about how hard it is for them to learn ritual. They are not as young as they once were and the mind just seems not up to the task any longer. That is the ego talking and giving very comfortable excuses not to do the work. Some people are gifted at ritual and others find difficulty. The gifted will work up to their potential with less effort but the regular guy will just have to work at it harder. It is possible for every member to learn the ritual word-for-word and present a more professional and conversational effort that will please and teach the young that good work, square work is very important. Everyone makes mistakes but those who are not prepared will do it with more vigor and more frequently giving an improper lesson. Take a few minutes each day to study something from ritual. There are times that can be found. In the bathroom, while driving to and from work, in the exercise routine, and before sleep are just a very few. Much may be done from little if it is consistent. Again, it is the lesson to the young member that is very important here.
Serving on committees and serving at fundraisers is also very important for the life of the individual and the life of the Lodge. We need accomplishment for positive self-esteem and the Lodge needs the service and income. We can tell our self that we are too busy or have more important commitments but now we know that that is our ego talking and justifying what we wish to do for our self. It does not take into consideration that we, too, are a part of the Membership and have an obligation to work. If we do not, we leave the job we would have done to another Brother to do. We actually make the work harder instead of easier.
How about singing the opening and closing odes? Does ego tell us not to sing because we feel we have a poor voice? Do we not want to embarrass our self in front of our Brothers? The sound made by a Lodge full of men singing is uplifting no matter how the individual sounds. It causes a feeling or Brotherhood and togetherness that cannot be achieved any other way.
Brothers, we cannot afford to let our unrestrained ego be in control of our lives. Brotherly love will not operate in that atmosphere. We will find the feelings of oneness with the Brothers that we seek by always using our mind to decide what is best for the Lodge not for the individual. Freemasonry is a decision to travel a different road from the unsatisfied others. It is about doing what is right and good for all mankind. This can only be accomplished by circumscribing our desires and keep our passions in due bounds with all mankind, especially with a Brother Freemason.