Troward:The Hidden Power - Part 2

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Mark St. Cyr

Part 2: **The Central Principle of Life  

What is the central principle at the root of all things? It is Life. But not just the life we see in different forms; it’s something deeper and more unified. This "unity of the spirit" is pure and undivided because it hasn't yet diversified. This might seem abstract, but it's the foundation of all scientific understanding of spirit.  Without it, we can't explain the countless forms that spirit takes. 

Life, in this sense, is the sum of all its manifestations. It isn't any one thing specifically, but it holds the potential for everything. This is a highly abstract concept, but it's about the core from which growth happens, expanding in every direction. This core is "the unknowable" – not because it can't be thought of, but because it can't be fully analyzed. It's something we perceive rather than understand through relationships and comparisons. We've moved beyond questions of relationships and are faced with the absolute. 

At its innermost, this is absolute Spirit. It's Life that hasn't yet differentiated into  any specific form; it's the universal life at the heart of all appearances.  Understanding this is key to unlocking the true power and accessing the core of the Living Spirit. Some might argue it's contradictory to call this "the unknowable"  and then talk about understanding it. Yet, even St. Paul wrote about exploring the depths and heights of the inner side of things to attain the knowledge of love that surpasses understanding. If he could embrace such seemingly illogical  phrasing, we can also speak of knowing "the unknowable." This knowledge is the foundation of all other knowledge. 

This undifferentiated universal life is the ultimate fact that all analysis must lead to. Regardless of the level of analysis, it must always come down to pure essence, pure energy, pure being – something that knows and recognizes itself but cannot be broken down into parts because it is fundamentally whole. Pure  Unity. Analysis without synthesis is destructive; it’s like a child pulling a flower to pieces and discarding the fragments instead of understanding the flower's construction and appreciating the vast synthesis of nature's power that the flower represents. The value of analysis is to lead us back to the original point of what we study and teach us the laws that guide its formation. 

Understanding the construction's laws, we can reverse our analysis to gain the  power to build, always reaching beyond the limits of those who see "the  unknowable" as synonymous with “nothingness." 

This idea of the unknowable is the root of all materialism. Yet, no scientist,  regardless of their materialistic tendencies, treats the unanalysable residue in their experiments as nothing. Instead, they use this final unanalyzable fact as the basis for their synthesis. They find that in the end, it is some form of energy,  whether as heat or motion. They don’t abandon their scientific pursuits because they can't analyze it further. Instead, they embrace it, understanding that energy's conservation, indestructibility, and the impossibility of adding or subtracting from the world's total energy are the unchanging facts on which physical science is built. They base all their knowledge on their understanding of  "the unknowable." And rightly so, for even if they could analyze this energy  further, they would encounter the same problem of "the unknowable." Our progress involves continuously pushing the boundaries of the unanalysable,  always a step further back. But the idea that there could be no ultimate unanalysable residue is inconceivable. 

By realizing the undifferentiated unity of the Living Spirit as the central fact of any system, whether it be the entire universe or a single organism, we follow a  strictly scientific method. Our analysis leads us to this final fact, and then we accept it as the basis for synthesis. The Science of Spirit is just as scientific as the Science of Matter. Both start from the same initial fact: the fact of living energy, which defies definition or explanation. However, the Science of Spirit considers this energy under the aspect of responsive intelligence, which is outside the scope of physical science. The Sciences of Spirit and Matter are not opposed; they complement each other. Neither is fully comprehensible without some knowledge of the other, and they merge into one another in a borderland where no arbitrary line can be drawn. True scientific study reveals the dual aspect of things: the inner and the outer. Only a truncated and incomplete science refuses to acknowledge this. 

Studying the material world is not materialism if it progresses to its legitimate end. Materialism is the limited view that denies the existence of anything beyond mechanical effects and causes. A system that recognizes no higher power than physical force will ultimately resort to physical force or fraud as its highest appeal. I speak of the system's tendency, not the morality of individuals, who often surpass the systems they profess. History shows us the dangers of materialistic thought, whether in the Italy of the Borgias, the France of the First  Revolution, or the Commune of the Franco-Prussian War. To avoid these destructive tendencies, we must embrace the study of the inner and spiritual aspects of life, which leads to truth and love instead of deceit and violence. Some may wonder why the New Jerusalem is described in the Book of  Revelations as a cube, with "the length and the breadth and the height of it  equal." This is because the cube represents perfect stability, with all sides balanced. It signifies the manifestation of that central life-giving energy, which is not any one plane but generates all planes. It is the above and below and all four sides. At the same time, it is a city, a place of habitation, because the "within" is  Living Spirit, which resides there. 

Just as one plane of the cube implies all other planes, any manifestation implies others and the "within" that generates them. To progress in the spiritual side of science – and every science has its spiritual aspect – we must focus on this  "innermost within" that generates the cube. Our common language reflects this intuitive understanding. We speak of the spirit within, the spirit of a thing, the spirit of the times, and so on. Recognizing this animating spirit, we should understand it from within, rather than from without, to grasp its true nature. Thus, every symbol of a spiritual fact has its foundation in living reality, the same principle that flashes upon us intermittently and vaguely. We may realize that this universal and unlimited power of the spirit will manifest individually when we are attuned to the whole. Regardless of how far we go in our studies of spiritual science, we will find only particular expressions of this one universal life. The  "Unity of the Spirit" is the key. 

By understanding and embracing this unity, we unlock the deeper truths that lie at the heart of all existence, guiding us toward a more profound and comprehensive understanding of life and the universe.

**Denotes a subtitle added for a more contemporary feel that was not included or used in the original work. 

Adapted from the original work: Troward, T. (1921). The Hidden Power, and other papers upon Mental science. Robert M. McBride & Company.  All Material Cited is Free Use within the Public Domain.


Masonic Travel & Living a Masonic Life

By Midnight Freemason Emeritus Contributor
R.H. Johnson

Well, I’m writing this while on the last leg home from a trip to Eugene Oregon, where I was humbled to present and overjoyed to share in fellowship with Eugene Lodge No. 11

I arrived Friday and had dinner with Worshipful Brother Andre Cvitanich. I ate, probably the best burger I’ve had in years— so let’s say the trip would have been amazing even if it were just that conversation over lemonade and burgers. 

As the late Billy Mays always said, “But wait, there’s more!”

After dinner, WB Andre took me on an evening tour of Eugene Lodge No. 11 

The building itself was their third home. The first, a glorious purpose-built giant white mansion of a lodge, was taken by the government under eminent domain laws. Their second home, a smaller, yet still magnificent building, was also eventually taken under the same laws. 

Finally, Eugene Lodge found a permanent home in their third building, all three mind you, were purpose-built for Masonry. 

An amazing artifact the lodge had was a Trestle Board or Carpet made by John Sherer. It had recently needed some TLC, so it was laid out while a new frame was being custom-built by WB. Andre. The carpet itself is a rare item. There’s a lot to, “geek out on” with this item, and I could, but I’ll let Chad Kopenski of OH do that eventually. 

WB. Andre was humble about what he said was their small lodge. It wasn’t small. It was exactly right. A wonderful atmosphere, where care and thought was evident in just about every part of the building. After the tour, I checked into the hotel and went upstairs for some writing before heading to bed. 

The next day started at high noon when we arrived back at the lodge. I met a Past Grand Lodge Historian, Michael. He was a wealth of information and to be honest, a damn inspiration. He’s written a bunch books on local history, biographies on men of Oregon AASR who’ve had honors and high honors, and a bunch more. He was gracious enough to give me a copy of one of his books—autographed of course!

After some great conversation, we had an awesome lunch. As masons, we love to fellowship and that happens over food. But I’ve often wondered why we don’t have more healthy options. WB Andre put out a spread of breads, fruits, lunch meats, and cheeses. I know some of you might think, “Yeah yeah—sandwiches.” But guys, I mean it. It was a welcomed, wholesome, and blessed meal. I rarely eat before doing a talk. I ate. 

After the talk, we all engaged in discourse, and midway through, it was discovered that about an hour away, there was going to be an outdoor EA degree on a ranch owned by a Past Grand Master of OR. And you know what? We went. In my home jurisdiction of IL, I’ve been a part of, and sat on the sidelines of several annual outdoor degrees, but it’s always a Master Mason degree. I’d never seen an Entered Apprentice degree. 

The windshield masonry on the way to the ranch was outstanding. I think WB. Andre and I solved about every problem there is. Notably, I think we solved all the problems related to the Royal Arch system. ;)

Once we arrived, all I can say is, “Wow.” The land was lush. The surrounding forest, yeah I said forest, was green and mysterious. The birds were singing and the wind was blowing. The trees swayed above and the weather was 70 degrees. Perfect? By all accounts, it was as close as I could imagine to perfection. 

The degree was wonderful. Spoiler alert—the Oregonian work is SUPER SIMILAR to Illinoisan work. There are some significant chunks here or there that were added or removed but the work I heard, I could lip sync to. I have to give a shoutout to a Brother I met named Brian Tipsword. He gave the EA lecture and he did it with such care, meaning and intent, that I was able to witness the candidate make connections during the lecture. It’s what we all hope to accomplish when doing these lectures and Bro. Brian did just that. A different Brother, Mike, did the charge to the candidate and again, care and intent led to a meaningful connection by the candidate. 

After the degree, the fellowship began again! Would you believe they grilled everyone's steaks? Yeah. Delightful cuts of choice beef and served with beans, slaws, salads, and watermelon— it was just wholesome. 

After all that, more windshield Freemasonry. WB. Andre and I reflected on intentional and meaningful masonry in our conversations and we also had some great comparisons of rituals. They did this, and we do that. But we figured out that both our dispensation grants for IL and OR came from MO. So is it any wonder why our ritual was so similar? Oh yeah, and if that wasn’t enough - we got a rainbow on the way home :)

I got back to the hotel about 10 PM. No writing to do, so I sat back reflected on the weekend, and went to bed. The next day, I was traveling home. 

Truly, there is nothing better than getting out there and visiting other lodges for fellowship and education. It feeds the soul. It reinvigorates your call to the Craft. You just feel good. This trip to Eugene was wonderful. May the Brothers of Eugene No. 11 continue to grow, to teach, to lead by example. Eugene No. 11 wasn’t the only lodge in the area making waves that will lead to this Fraternity becoming better. Pearl Lodge and McKenzie River are all making strides. Thank you, Brothers!!  


RWB Johnson is an Emeritus Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 2nd N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Worshipful Master of Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183. He is a Past Master of Waukegan Lodge 78 (and sitting Secretary) and a Past District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He is the current V:. Sovereign Grand Inspector for the AMD in IL. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry. He is the co-author of "It's Business Time - Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry", "The Master's Word: A Short Treatise on the Word, the Light, and the Self - Annotated Edition" and author of "How to Charter a Lodge: A No-Nonsense, Unsanctioned Guide. More books are on the way.

An Outstretched Hand

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Jim Stapleton

Before submitting my petition, I had no personal connection to Freemasonry. No one in my family was a member. I also didn’t have a friend at work or in my neighborhood who was a member of the Fraternity. I found the Grand Lodge of New Jersey’s website and filled out the contact form, saying that I was interested in joining. Then they put me in contact with a local Lodge.

The Secretary of the Lodge said that I should show up at the building on a certain date and time to pick up a petition. So, that particular day I left work and went straight over to the Lodge at the specified time. I was nervous as I pulled up to the building and saw quite a few cars in the parking lot. I walked into the building wearing business casual clothes, and was surprised when I walked into a room packed with men wearing tuxedos. I knew the name of the Secretary but didn’t know how to pick him out of the crowd. I walked up to someone in the room to inquire about the Secretary, and they said that he was upstairs but should be down soon.

Since I am an introvert, I felt extremely uncomfortable. I was out of place and stuck out amongst the crowd. I was the only person not dressed in formal wear and didn’t know a single person in the room. Part of me wanted to turn around and head home. At that moment, a voice rose from the crowd saying, “I don’t think I’ve met this person before.” I looked up and an older gentleman was approaching me with his hand extended to shake my hand. While he wasn’t the Secretary, he was the first Mason to welcome me. That was my initial interaction with RW Brother Al Hann.

RW Hann was sadly called from Labor recently after many years of working in the Quarries of Freemasonry. He was a treasured member of the 18th Masonic District in New Jersey and throughout our Jurisdiction. He served as Worshipful Master of Laurel Lodge No. 237 in Laurel Springs, NJ in 1966. Eventually, he served as a Junior Grand Deacon. RW Hann was the Installing Marshall for the Lodges in our District for many, many, many years. As a result, he was an honorary member of my Lodge, and I am sure other Lodges also bestowed that honor on him.

Several years ago (when he was in his 90s), RW Hann “retired” from being the District’s resident Installing Marshall. However, when the spirit moved him, he would still sometimes help out with the installation of a Marshall. In fact, during USS New Jersey Lodge No. 62’s most recent installation (when I was installed as Worshipful Master), RW Hann stood up and helped to install our Lodge’s Marshall. He did so with skill and precision. That was the last time I saw him perform that role.

I was inspired to write this piece after attending a meeting at his Mother Lodge last night. The Brothers of Laurel Lodge had his usual chair saved for him - a very touching tribute. His memory will live on with many members of the Fraternity. I know that I will always recall that he was the first Mason to welcome me as I took the initial steps of my Masonic journey.


Jim Stapleton is the Worshipful Master of USS New Jersey Lodge No. 62. He is also a member of the New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786. Jim received the Distinguished White Apron Award from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. He was awarded the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award. Jim is also a member of the Society of King Solomon.