With Each Upright, Level Step

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If you think about it, your Masonic journey to the East began the same way, from the West
with one upright regular step. When I was advancing through my degrees I couldn’t wait until
I was raised to be a Master Mason. I was so excited to receive my “Masters wages”, which I thought would be the right to wear a Masonic ring and have all that insider information and of course, the secrets and such.

As I was going through the degrees, several learned brethren said to me “Don’t forget the Master Mason degree isn’t the finish line. It’s truly the starting line.“ I smiled like I believed them and drove myself insane in anticipation. When I was raised as a Master Mason, my feet barely hit the floor and I was running! I wanted to memorize every piece of ritual I could. I started out with a piece which impressed me so much during my Master Mason degree called “the Optional Charge". Many know it better by the “On Yonder Book” lecture.

The Brother who performed the piece for me impressed me so much I wanted to learn it, not just of the beauty of the piece but to honor that brother who performed it so beautifully. I continued my run for a long time. I read, I studied, I memorized. I took a lot of offices and I wore some funny hats. My Masonic journey had become a long-distance marathon. One day a lady in my family who had been a rainbow girl started asking me questions. Simple questions in which an Entered Apprentice should have been able to answer. I became embarrassed because I couldn’t answer them. I remember hearing the lecture in which the questions were answered but I couldn’t give her an answer. Luckily the subject was changed and the conversation moved on but the embarrassment was still there. 

I realized instead of taking upright, regular steps I was running and my journey had become tunnel vision. I realized I forgot one of the first things I memorized: “To learn to subdue my passions.” In pursuit of “Trying to improve myself in Masonry.” I was off on a pursuit with no goal, no map and no direction. Instead of advancing to the East I was just like Moses, walking around in the dessert aimlessly. I tried to cram everything in my brain instead of taking a slow journey of upright steps -- reading, thinking and conversing with Brethren who have been on their journey longer, who can help you in your journey. I know now what the guys at my lodge all those years ago were talking about. I used my Master Mason degree like a race horse uses a starting gate. Off on a dead run to cover miles and win the prize, I’m not sure they were referring to an actual Masonic Education. 

I’m sure many of them, in their minds were referring to titles which I might receive and experiences I would have. But in the end, they were right. Brethren, this is just my opinion but after giving the matter some thought, I feel now that the prize I will receive at my journeys end, will be a sprig of acacia and my own white leather apron, because I truly believe the “finish line” is when I take my last level, upright step at the West gate of the Grand lodge above where (I hope) I will hear the Tiler tell me ”Well done, good and faithful servant!”

I am now trying to bring focus to my studying. As I am writing this piece I have just mailed the last lesson in The Scottish Rite’s Master Craftsman program number one: The Symbolic lodge. I can honestly say, now that I have completed the course it was a very challenging and thought-provoking course, and an excellent foundation for my remaining Masonic studies. I hope to start Master Craftsman 2 in the fall. I still read as much as I used to but now I am also trying to think about the words I just read on the printed page. Like if I were attempting a lavish banquet instead of trying to devour every morsel of food there is to offer and make myself sick just pick a few of the tastiest treats and savor them. Eating this way is better for your body and I believe studying this way is healthier for your mind.

I hope this will not only help me retain more information but also, maybe help provide more inspiration for my writing. I guess what I am trying to say Brethren, is like I was told in the North east corner “At your leisure hours, that you may improve in Masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well-informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give as you will be ready to receive "instruction.” Improve in Masonic knowledge or as I am trying to get through my own dented skull “learn and retain it!”

So Brother, just remember “...We are traveling upon the Level of time to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns.” Take those upright, level steps slowly so that you don’t miss anything that life is prepared to give you.


WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.


  1. I needed this article! I have just recently been initiated and sometimes feel like I want to rush to the 3rd degree as fast as possible, but I should be plotting out a course and enjoying every well thought out step. Great article, very very helpful. Thanks Brother!


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