Circumscribe Our Desires

What come you here to do? To subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry.
One of the exclamations you will here at each opening on the first degree in lodge is the statement I have used as a title. What come you here to do? To subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry. If you do this job, you will be doing the true work of a Freemason. But what exactly does it mean? What passions exactly do we mean? And for that matter, what does it mean to ³subdue´ them? The word ³subdue´ means to calm, vanquish, or tame. By passions we usually mean some kind of intense emotion. So we pledge to calm our emotions and master them, most especially when they are too extreme or likely to make us commit acts that are unwise and will lead to bad consequences. We might think of anger, lust, jealousy, envy, hate. I recently read a short story about one of the methods Eskimo's use to kill wolves that are ravaging their traps and dog teams. Without going into too graphic a detail, it involves the coating of a razor sharp knife in layers of animal blood so that when it is found by the wolf, and he licks it, his thirst for blood becomes so intense that he does not realize that he has uncovered the knife blade and cut his own tongue. His thirst for the taste of blood becomes so intense that he does not recognize that the blood he tastes is his own, to the point that he will eventually bleed to death on the spot. Freemasonry teaches us a lot about "circumscribing our desires and keeping our passions within due bounds". We as individuals can very easily become so focused upon one certain topic, that we fail to see what is actually going on around us. Sometimes this focal point, can be something less that admirable. We should count any man braver who overcomes his desires, than he who conquers his enemies, for sometimes the hardest victory is the victory over self. We should attempt to continue with self introspection on an ongoing routine. The business of Masonry is to make good men better. As Masons, we are engaged in the process of self-improvement, and that process must begin in each of us by taking control of our own bodies and personalities. It must be clearly understood that subduing the passions does not mean eliminating them! By the above definition, the act of subduing something is the act of bringing it under control -- conscious control, in the case of our passions. In each and every one of us there are physical and mental activities that take place below the level of our conscious awareness. These activities are always agreeable to control by suggestion, whether or not we are personally aware of making such suggestions, and they largely determine the outcome of whatever we set out to do. Our desires are one of the most potent forms of such suggestions, and without them we would have no "will" and would never accomplish anything, good or bad. By

taking conscious control of our passions. but are motivated by our own pride. one for each day of the week? Take just ten minutes to write about your state of mind on that day and whether you felt any of these Errors of Attitude. Or. our belief that we know what is right for other people because we are superior men. as well as all the other enemies against which man¶s spirit struggles are to be subdued and conquered. the passion of self interest. as to how may you help Freemasonry. not the end. the passion of materialism of deceit. The alternative is to allow our passions to control us. allows you to make daily course corrections. and to keep your own inner Helmsmen at the Wheel. therefore struggle against the same enemies. Step aside and look at your state of mind. Now. by helping your family. deliberately cultivating our desires and making them work for us. This is not intended as preaching. these. Remember brother. you must each day consult the designs on the trestleboard to make sure that no mistakes are being made in the building of your temple. Realizing that you have felt the tug of one of these dangerous currents turning your boat off course. as we might call them. put on your apron and try it. The passion of selfishness. As Freemasons we are taught that we came here to subdue our passions and improve ourselves in Masonry.´ What if you were to take each of these troublesome ³passions´ in turn. we accomplish the former only as we succeed in the latter. of un-neighborliness. of cruelty. by helping your neighbor and your friends. this is but a humble attempt to answer the question you are to ask yourself. of carelessness. the night we received our third degree marks but the beginning of our journey. and all these you may do by making Freemasonry the rule and guide of your daily life just as you make the Book upon the Altar the Rule and Guide of your Faith and Life. to use a more Masonic allegory. ³Passions. Subdue that desire to be better than others and then care about them. . we stand a much greater chance of attaining that of which we are in pursuit. in which case we are really working for them. and are left with "pot luck" on the outcome of any personal endeavor. Freemasonry has a way of reminding us of this on a regular basis. the more easily as we bring the fighting ranks of Freemasonry¶s militant teachings to engage them. we can uplift one another with "friendly counsel" and a sharing of values and enlightenment. and all of us. does not mean merely anger or lust. my brother. By congregating with our brothers regularly. Examine yourself frequently to see if you care.´ my brother. All of us have within us a something to subdue as well as a something which subdues. what lies behind your ego and your actions. Do you care? Or do you not care? And what is the nature of that caring? For too often we think we are acting because we care about other people¶s welfare. You may help her by helping yourself. That is the only way to ³Love your neighbor as yourself. All of us are human.

Travel light brothers. .

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