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Day Tight Compartments

by Bret Iddings

oday, my brother, who recently submitted his petition to join my lodge, brought an interesting topic to my attention. This concept is called “Day Tight Compartments” and was conceived by Sir William Osler, a Canadian physician and one of the founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is from a book that he is currently reading by Dale Carnegie. I have never heard of this concept but I can fully relate to what he was getting at when he brought it to my attention. It is a very useful lesson for those of us who are travelling East. Here is the excerpt from the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie, talking about Sir William Osler’s concept of “Day Tight Compartments”: “His name was Sir William Osler. Here are the twentyone words that he read in the spring of 1871: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

Forty-two years later, on a soft spring night when the tulips were blooming on the campus, this man, Sir William O s l e r , addressed the students of Yale University. He told those Yale students that a man like himself who Sir William Osler had been a professor in four universities and had written a popular book was supposed to have “brains of a special quality”. He declared that that was untrue. He said that his intimate friends knew that his brains were “of the most mediocre character”.
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What, then was the secret of his success? He stated that it was owning to what he called living in “day tight compartments.” What did he mean by that? A few months before he spoke at Yale, Sir William had crossed the Atlantic on a great ocean liner where the captain standing on the bridge, could press a button and presto there was a clanging of machinery and various parts of the ship were immediately shut off from another, shut off into watertight compartments. “Now each one of you,” Dr. Osler said to those Yale students, “is a much more marvelous organization than the great liner, and bound on a longer voyage. What I urge is that you so learn to control the machinery as to live with ‘day-tight compartments’ as the most certain way to ensure safety on the voyage. Get on the bridge, and see that at least the great bulkheads are in working order. Touch a button and hear, at every level of your life, the iron doors shutting out the Pastthe dead yesterdays. Touch another and shut off, with a metal curtain, the Future- the unborn tomorrows. Then you are Safe- safe for today! Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead.... Shut out the yesterdays which have lighted fools the way to dusty death.... The load of tomorrow, added to that of yesterday, carried today, makes the strongest falter. Shut off the future as tightly as the past.... The future is today.... There is no tomorrow.... The day of man’s salvation is now. Waste energy, mental distress, nervous worries dog the steps of a man who is anxious about the future.... Shut close, then the great fore and aft bulkheads, and prepare to cultivate the habit of life of ‘day-tight compartments’.” “Give us this day our daily bread.” Remember that that prayer asks only for today’s bread. It doesn’t complain about the stale bread we had to eat yesterday; and it doesn’t say: “Oh, God, it has been pretty dry out in the wheat belt lately and we may have another drought - and then how will I get bread to eat next autumn - or suppose I lose my job - oh, God, how could I get bread then?” No, this prayer teaches us to ask for today’s bread only. Today’s bread is the only kind of bread you can possibly eat. “Take therefore not thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”.” (End of book quote)

September 2012 Visit us online at: www.LivingStonesMagazine.com

Day Tight Compartments
I had not previously heard of the concept of “day tight compartments” but that is very similar to my concept of “living in the eternal.”

by Bret Iddings

man once told me that “everything is relative to your perspective” and he was absolutely right because at all times, we are willfully choosing our attitudes toward the present moment and the decisions that will mold all The only thing occurring or ever being experienced is future moments after this one. We forever linger in this the present moment. Our upbringing has taught us to moment of eternity. have “memories,” which are very useful but they can be problematic if we are constantly focusing on something “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a bad that has happened in our past. Also with that same gift because it is the Present.” upbringing, we are taught to always be anticipating, oftentimes worrying, about what the future will hold in store. The past and future are both polarizing concepts because if we are constantly either looking back or trying to look forward, we are disassociating our mind elsewhere and blocking out what is right in front of and all around us in the present.

If we take baby steps to fully live in the moment, our entire existence will rapidly transform... it’s inevitable. Heaven is right in front of us if we so choose to experience it. We can choose to have unconditional faith in God that we will always be safely guided to our destination. It takes time to realize this and wholeheartedly live it. I believe this is the true “test of time.” It takes the most noble heart and spirit to accomplish this task of living in the moment. It is possible; I know it is because I have, over time, transitioned myself into it. It is the eternal battle of Man vs. Himself. We too can live in “day tight compartments” as our ships journey on that long voyage across the seas to foreign countries and anywhere that we so desire. A wise

W. Bret Iddings Groton Lodge #496 NY

September 2012 Visit us online at: www.LivingStonesMagazine.com

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