Impression of the Second Degree
By Brother Greg Swanepoel
Two things stick in my mind from the second degree. The Sower, and a call to action.
In the offered readings, 3.1, extracted, I assume from ‘Addresses by H van Tongeren’, the Author refers to the options available to us in which we can practice our craft in the profane world. Because ‘a large part of the day is taken up by business’ and in my instance, family too, I find my study is in my daily vocation and life. I also took note of the passage, Freemason Work is Noble, Masonic Idleness Dishonor. Really?
Furthermore, that there is no test to pass, no right or wrong and each man must measure himself. ‘There is something in it to arrest the shallowest mind or appeal to the most frivolous moral character... occupied the thought and attention of the world’s greatest intellects...’
But what does this mean for me? How has this journey affected my life? This is, after all, the most intimate of journeys.
For me, We should seek our destiny in our hearts and our minds. This is where the real legacy is left. So many of us seek money and position. We must, because it is today’s only means to survive and provide. But we don’t just labour at it, we become slaves to it. In today’s society, a man’s car house money is the yard stick of his success as a man.
In Freemasonry, it’s a little more subtle. Worshipful Master, Grand Master, Provincial This, National That. Side degrees, Knights of St John, Fantastic. Some might correctly argue that these accolades are the result of meaningful labour and the fruits are just. I agree. I would never dispute the recognition of office and all its merits. But bear with me as I expand my thinking. My discourse is about man in the profane world. My reference to Masonic title alludes only to seeking position for the sake of position.
But who are you? What is your legacy? What have you sown?
At the end of the day, how will your actions in this world affect those around you?
Too much do we dally with our own salvation and redemption. We are too introspective. Modern man has become disconnected with his universality. Our actions, what we sow, are like ripples in the water. They affect everybody around us, Business, brothers, friends and most importantly, family.
The attitude we carry with us everyday in every moment is powerful beyond all comprehension. It is what we sow. Our attitude governs everything we are and have been and will become. But more so, it influences the people around us.
A man who lives his life with passion, discipline and excellence influences his children, spouse, colleagues and friends through his Vitality. He becomes an example on how to be a yardstick for others, thus creating an atmosphere of nurturing and growth for all. He sows wisely. He is a creator, not a lever being exercised without caution, exacerbating his strength beyond its requirement.
I have a very clear understanding that the temple is symbolic of our lives, the rituals and the temple layout is indicative of how we live. Sloppy ritual, sloppy life? Perhaps.
Excellence comes from discipline and intent. The discipline and commitment that says ‘if I’m here, why not do it properly, excellently. Why not actually show up in attitude as well as physically. Sow well so I can reap the joy of having done something well. Let me culture an attitude of excellence in my ritual so I can shrug off the ineptitude and apathy.’ As within so without.
Does sowing mean just turning up every week for a visit or a working out of duty? I watched Brother Hardiman deliver the Sower charge during a second degree working. Now there was passion. There was a man showing up in attitude, sowing to reap all the joys of life. Sucking the marrow!
I spend time with Brother Rozen. How passionately this man leads his life, he endures with love and laughter. They sow well these brothers. Their attitude affects my desire to be better.
Sowing for reward itself is to sow on barren or rocky ground. Sowing for the pure joy of the act, to know that you are part of some great cosmic mystery, that the joy in your actions is pleasure enough, that the pleasure harnesses an attitude that is pure and passionate and good, that this attitude will have an effect of all who witness it.
This is the fruit of our labour. This is what we must seek to reap. Nothing tangible, nothing physically manifest. Only that it makes a difference in our hearts and minds, only that we create an environment around us that is passionate, and excellent and good.
I believe that I have learnt through my practice of this craft that it is not so much that what we reap that God looks at, but how we sow.