Brother Decoskey uses the term East in both the Masonic and cultural meanings. Among his many credentials are twenty years of work experience as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense, and an MBA degree. This book does not have a New Age vibe at all. Instead, the writing is concise, direct, honest, and sometimes blunt.
At just 95 pages, this book can also be read quickly, and that may be the best way to approach it. Read it quickly one time, dog-ear and mark the pages that grab your attention, then come back for another, careful, deliberate read. The author says that his goal is to avoid any sort of indoctrination, a goal that he achieves, and asks instead only that you consider the information that he provides.
The three parts of this book focus, variously, on exercise and breathing; diet and nutrition; and spirituality and community. Much of the content will be familiar to most readers. We already know that we should move more than we probably do; eat less and better than we probably do, and connect with the Supreme Architect and our personal communities more intentionally than we probably do. We have this information, but it sounds a bit different when coming from a brother, who has our interests at heart. The author also frames his suggestions in terms of making us fit to be of the best service to our fraternity, building on our own worthwhile reasons for changing our habits.
Brother Decoskey is careful to connect Eastern ideas with Western science and his own opinions of his with support from someone else. There are seven pages on poop, used as a gauge of overall health. There are ten pages on religion so that you can meet brothers of different faiths on the square. There is a page on chakras. However, the author also teaches the reader diaphragmatic breathing, used by U.S Navy SEALs as well as Eastern practitioners, and known to this reviewer as tactical or four-square breathing, used for stress control by emergency responders. It’s also useful if you have to speak in public, like, say, from the Worshipful Master’s station.
Look to the East seems to be written mostly for brothers in middle age and older, the men who are seeing the limitations that come with age, but this book may appeal to anyone who wants to delay the onset of those limitations. Any brother who is interested in his health and remaining strong to continue his good work in Freemasonry may find value in this book.
Brendan Hickey is a Past Master of Thomson Lodge No. 340 in Paoli, PA; King of Howell Royal Arch Chapter No. 202 in West Chester, PA; and Pursuivant of Pennsylvania Lodge of Research No. 1. He is also a Master Masonic Scholar through the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge. Brendan works as a school psychologist and volunteers in emergency mental health in Pennsylvania and Delaware.