Peace and Harmony
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian
Peace and Harmony, seemingly this should be a simple concept. In the aspect of “within Lodge” the peace and harmony starts with the abstention from conversations related to politics and religion. This is a good start as these topics generally have deep rooted beginnings, which are instilled by our parents and others that we hold as pillars in our lives. Even the most educated and fact based position can and most likely will be taken as an attack against one’s self. Also in Lodge, we are supposed to maintain a “Brotherly” discord when discussing all matters. Should the Brethren of the Lodge fail to subdue their passions, the gavel and word of the Worshipful Master is the final word.
Peace and Harmony in Lodge is also a pillar of the degree work. If you look at the teachings of all three degrees, you will find that topic repeated, either directly or through ritual and symbolism. Now if you also look at the teachings of the degrees, we learn that the Lodge or Temple is not just considered a physical building, but also to be considered as our mind and body as well. This is possibly easiest to be seen with the symbolism of the rough ashlar and the perfect ashlar. We are always supposed to be using the working tools to not only measure our interactions with the Brethren of the Lodge and those around us every day, but to ensure that we are living our life as upright citizens and continually working on our Temple or Rough Ashlar, molding ourselves into that Perfect Ashlar.
As in Lodge, at almost every point in our lives, we are faced with situations and questions where we as Masons are supposed to measure our decisions and actions by the working tools as they were described to us in our lectures. I will say that I do pride myself on the level of sincerity in which I hold the obligations and lessons which have molded my life thus far. I do try to make all of my life decisions by the Square and on the Level. I like to live my life by a few simple rules which I find are summed up fairly well by the “Templar’s Oath”:
Be without fear in the face of your enemy.
Stand Brave and Upright, that the Lord may Love Thee.
Speak the Truth always, even if it means your death.
Protect the helpless and do no wrong.
Given my past employment, these rules have served me very well and ensured that I made it home after every shift. I have also learned to endure the worst of times, alone. I like to feel that I do not “need” anyone, even though we all do need others to lean on at points in our lives. A basic level of programming as human beings is interaction with other humans, on several levels. Everyone, no matter how independent of a soul, needs companionship and someone to share the joys of life with. As Masons we love to meet and share in the bonds of Brotherhood. Some meet before and/or after meetings, some seek appendant bodies. I personally have found a deeper, tighter bond of Brotherhood overtime as I have found my way through different Masonic circles.
After my father passed, I found a great ability to use writing as a means of therapy and meditation, helping to maintain some level of “Peace & Harmony” within MY Temple. I get to write and work through the ideas bouncing around in my head and along the way, I hopefully get to find some answers and my readers hopefully get to take a journey and possibly find some answers of their own. I do know that some have, because they have reached out and become very good friends to me. It is safe to say that if you are in my life, it’s because I value you. If you are in my life, there is little to nothing that I would not do for you. Blood makes you related, Loyalty makes you family.
To get back on track, the need to maintain “Peace & Harmony” in OUR Temples goes for the questions and decisions that we face and make daily. What to have for a meal, what clothes to wear for the day, which route we take to go to work, where and how we choose to spend the eight hours of the day reserved for refreshment and those for service to Deity. The relationships that we maintain and those that we walk away from. All throughout our daily life, we make decisions, some are simple and some are the result of nothing more than muscle memory. Others are trivial and some, a result of a lifetime of observations, interactions, perceptions and past decisions based on the same.
So when we consider the “Temple” as our body and the shaping of our “Ashlar” as the decisions we are constantly making, all in a means of maintaining “Peace & Harmony”, what happens when you make a decision on a direction you want to go with your life and then all of a sudden something happens or someone you never expected walks into your life that seemingly changes you for the better? What if someone walks out of your life or are lost to the Celestial Lodge above? What if that something or someone challenges the past decisions that you have made, be they six days ago or six years ago? How do you maintain “Peace & Harmony” when you are made to question your own decisions?
Luckily the idea of shaping our Ashlar is symbolic and we do not regularly have to worry about the errant strike of a gavel on the chisel in an unsteady hand, removing more of the stone than we intended. Then again, inevitably the result of some decisions we do make will cause unintended results even when they are intended to be good, personal and/or internal. Once words have left your mouth, they can not be retrieved and as they say, actions speak louder than words. The best thing we can do to maintain OUR “Peace & Harmony" is to do everything in our power to bolster the same for those in our lives.
The more “Peace & Harmony” we as Masons and Men can spread, the more solid our base becomes from which to build ourselves. Even if time does lessen the pain, the damage is there forever. With the most abundant attempts at reconciliation, that scar can never be repaired. Much like attempting to make a precision chisel in a stone. Sometimes you take away more than you intended or created a crack that can only be patched. When we make personal decisions about what we are going to do regarding the manner in which we live our lives, the same damage can be done if we do not have the ability to subdue our passions.
We as Masons MUST learn to temper our responses in action and word. All the time, every time. You can not however affect a change in another persons level of peace and harmony if they are not already receptive to the ideology. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions and instead of asking why someone continues to hurt you, perhaps you should be asking why you keep letting them. Always remember that every decision we make is like a pebble tossed into a pond, there is always a ripple, if ever so slight.
For now, I am tempering my passions and sticking with: “Be patient, some things take time.” Regardless of how I feel or what I want, I need to be patient. Which is something I am not particularly good at… Don’t judge me, I’m working on it… One person can only do so much and “do no harm” , to me includes not influencing another's decision by being negative in any manner, as easy as it may be to do. I feel that to do so, I would be violating my obligations as a Mason and a man, I have to remember to use my working tools. I must make sure that my actions are Right and on the Level, spreading Love and allowing others to make their own decisions. That is the only way that I can see to maintain “Peace & Harmony” in MY Temple and that of those I hold dear in my life. Even if that makes me fall short of MY wants. At least I maintain my integrity and my word.
I will weather the ripples that come my way, as I always do.
Bro. Brian Schimian is Life of Member A.O. Fay #676 in Highland Park Illinois and the Medinah Shriners - Lake County Shrine Club. He was also the Past Master Counselor of DeMolay - Lakes Chapter in 1995. Most recently, Brian became a Companion of the York Rite, joining Waukegan Chapter #41 R.A.M. Brian is a father of two children. You can follow his blog "It is. In God. I do." where he publishes even more excellent content. "Start Square, Finish Level"