Do Masons Move Quickly or Slowly?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

My morning meditations recently led me to a fork in the road into which I asked one of my mentors for insight. Do I continue at the same pace, do I speed up, or do I slow down? In our charity, our outreach, and our Masonic work we often find demands on our time that conflict with our commitments to family, work, and our focus on Deity. Should I speed up my personal practices, keep on track, or slow down?

The options intrigued me and may be fuel for additional meditations, but in the interim, I wanted to share my personal thoughts as to why I asked for insight from my own mentors. I recently misread some instructions in an Academy Of Reflection course with a form of discursive meditation. That is briefly, a meditation upon a phrase or symbol, or in this case, it focuses on a series of phrases. I missed the series part and focused only on the first phrase for several weeks. This mistake slowed down my progress, or did it? Focusing on that first phrase gave me insight that I journaled, and that insight didn’t occur until the last week of my exercise. By then if I had stuck to the schedule, I would have already passed that initial phase while moving on to two others. I might well have missed this insight had I stuck to the schedule and only allotted x number of meditations on that first phrase before proceeding to the next.

The insight revolves around preparing a proper attitude and atmosphere when meeting with others to meditate in a group, and my insight involved my own actions and responsibility. The phrase “If it is to be, it is up to me…” may be the best summation of my thoughts, but it is true at every level. If we prepare for a lodge meeting, a work presentation, a night out with my wife, or any number of personal tasks, the responsibility lies only with ourselves.

We rely on our spouses, family, friends, and yes, Masonic Brothers to complete their responsibilities just as we take on our own duties and responsibilities. We serve others out of this duty and responsibility, yet how often do we not take time to stop and smell the roses? If I hadn’t taken the extended time to focus on the one portion of that meditation, would I have missed the insight? I don’t know, but I do know that by my mistake of giving myself more time for that portion, I gained and grew from it.

There are advantages to working through things quickly. Bruce Lee is famously quoted from an old Wing Chun (and other martial arts) philosophy: Absorb that which is useful, reflect or reject that which is not. This nugget of wisdom applies universally to any education in that we should absorb what we can but not worry too much about what we may have missed at that time. We may not have been ready to receive all of the instructions. In many cases within Freemasonry, the lesson has depth meant to reach each person at the level they are ready to receive, and I often experience profound concepts revealed through reviewing past lessons. Yes, that means I missed some or many good points the first time, and at that time I absorbed and learned that which I was ready to receive. The same applies to traditional martial arts. Repetition provides insight. Bruce is often credited with another old paraphrased saying: Don’t fear the martial artist who knows one thousand kicks. Fear the martial artist who practiced one kick a thousand times.

That may seem the opposite of what I said about the advantages of working things through quickly and moving on to the next lesson. My point is to know a thousand things, then go back and repeat them a thousand times each. When we slow down, we learn our lessons deeply. When we move quickly we learn what we’re immediately ready to learn, then later our deeper lessons connect over time with additional reflection. When we slow down we find ways to connect that lesson to other lessons. When we move quickly that lesson may be connected to a dozen others with another flash of insight. See there are advantages to doing both, and that’s what happens with Masonic education for example. We read a book and absorb the authors’ thoughts typically in a quick manner as we probably do not meditate or reflect deeply on what that author wrote. Later, we sit in lodge and something that the author wrote pops into our minds. We now have a choice as to further reflection or simply letting that connection happen and then moving on. We have the choice to slow down and contemplate deeper meanings, or we might acknowledge the connection and move along until the next connection happens. Both have advantages, and both should be a part of our routine.

Do we move quickly or slowly?


Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a bachelor's Degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in Telecom IT management. He volunteers as a professional and personal mentor, NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer, and enjoys competitive tactical pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He has 30-plus years of teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy served as a Logistics Section Chief on two different United States federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams over a 12-year span. Randy is a 32nd-degree KCCH and Knight Templar. His Masonic bio includes past Lodge Education Officer for two symbolic lodges, Founder of the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Education Committee, Sovereign Master of the E. F. Coonrod AMD Council No. 493, Co-Librarian of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, Clerk for the Academy of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, and a Facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. Randy is a founding administrator for Refracted Light, a full contributor to Midnight Freemasons, and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy hosts an open ongoing weekly Masonic virtual Happy Hour on Friday evenings. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.

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