Compassion and The Craft
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer
Our world is an ever shrinking place. The distance between me and brothers on the other side of the globe is now only a few mouse clicks. For good or evil, our communications network has expanded to the point that information can go through the news cycle and be forgotten within a single day. In the words of our great Brother Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. This has never been more true than today!
In the face of instantaneous communication, it becomes too easy to dehumanize the people we interact with electronically. Seeing others as a collection of characters on a screen, with the occasional icon to represent them, we can quickly forget that there is an actual person, with unique thoughts and feelings behind that representation. As that action becomes habit, it quickly can extend into our interactions with people in the real world as well.
Freemasonry offers us an alternative path through teaching empathy and compassion, although they are not easy lessons to learn. We meet on the level, and most of us assume we show this by treating the janitor the same as the bank president, but there is another, more subtle meaning behind it: we raise others up to the same level we put ourselves on, and treat them the way we expect to be treated. Viewed this way, Freemasonry is another reflection of the underlying golden rule of the universe.
We could spend pages discussing the role of altruism in Freemasonry, but those who understand already know, and those who don’t, never will, so I’ll conclude with a saying from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, which has been my ongoing guide for over ten years: “A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir - a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This is like a seed; when cultivated, gives rise to many other good qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity. The compassionate mind is like an elixir; it is capable of transforming bad situation into beneficial ones. Therefore, we should not limit our expressions of love and compassion to our family and friends. Nor is the compassion only the responsibility of clergy, health care and social workers. It is the necessary business of every part of the human community.”
Bro. Adam Thayer is the Junior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No 54 in Lincoln (NE) and the Worshipful Master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member of the Scottish Rite, and Knight Master of the Lincoln Valley Knights of Saint Andrew. Adam serves on the Education Committee of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org