Being happy in the lodge
This is one of the objectives of the Masonic work.
In Human Law, it is even enshrined in the Constitution in its Article 3:
"The members of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry and Human Rights seek above all to achieve on earth and for all human beings the maximum moral, intellectual and spiritual development, the primary condition for the happiness which it is possible for each individual to achieve in a fraternally organised humanity".
Everyone can approach this subject in a personal way and what I propose in these lines does not pretend to be a generality.
If I take up the definition of the word Happiness (a lasting state of plenitude and satisfaction, a pleasant and balanced state of mind and body, from which suffering, anxiety and trouble are absent), being happy in a lodge can only be the result of an interaction between a human being (the mason) and a group functioning in a particular way in a particular setting. This group and this place is naturally the Masonic lodge.
This interaction can give a feeling of happiness for the person concerned and also for other participants, but each case is very personal.
As this feeling does not occur with every outfit, it is natural to try to understand what is happening; by analysing what it corresponds to, we could find four feelings :
The satisfaction of sharing moral values that radiate to sisters and brothers both in their personalities and in their speeches,
The feeling of a communion through the moments of concentration and meditation that the ritual conceals,
The impression of a collective achievement that transcends individuality.
The curious feeling of learning and understanding some of the mysteries of life.
Overall, this feeling of happiness is close to a serenity felt in a calm and benevolent collective atmosphere.
No mention will be made of the place that this time of happiness can have in the life of the person concerned, as this would require a long study evaluating the different possible situations.
Some people sometimes speak of egregore but the term is questionable because it can also refer to a "bliss" created by a certain "depersonalization" following the conditioning caused by the ritual practice, which in some shamanic practices can lead to a state of trance.
Happiness in a lodge must be lived in full consciousness; it is not to be confused with pleasure or enjoyment which are of a different nature.
Experience teaches us that the feeling of happiness induced by this interaction with a place and a group is not systematic and that, in order to feel it, several conditions are necessary:
The conditions specific to the human being mason or bricklayer, placed in this situation to participate in a Masonic lodge,
And those from the lodge concerned.
The conditions specific to the human being mason or bricklayer
As far as the Mason or Freemason is concerned, four elements would deserve to be met before taking part in the work of a lodge :
Not to be preoccupied; this is an extremely difficult condition to achieve as human beings live under the continual pressure of multiple preoccupations; and everyone knows that contemporary life has added many of them! And yet, it is absolutely necessary to obtain this abandonment of parasitic ideas before entering the lodge; the ritual evokes "the abandonment of metals at the temple door! ».
To be in a position to meet the requirements of the ritual; one cannot attend a ceremony dressed in a philistine outfit! This is true for every participant but all the more so for the officers who have the important responsibility of making the ritual "live".
To be able to listen: this is a fundamental condition that seems to contradict the participation that is often highlighted by being presented as a criterion of a "good" outfit! The words taken from the columns are often "chatter" worthy of commercial coffee! The ability to listen goes hand in hand with responsible and thoughtful speaking! This must remain exceptional!
Understand the functioning of the human group of the lodge concerned. This should be natural for the members of the Lodge but in fact it is often difficult to be "judge and jury"! It is often an interesting contribution that can be made by visitors with a more objective view; this effort of understanding allows us to judge whether or not there is a real open-mindedness in the functioning of the workshop; when this is not the case, the lodge seems to be stuck in a routine that forbids any authenticity!
The conditions specific to the lodge concerned
The lodge concerned is in a position to promote the happiness of being in a lodge if it can offer three elements :
A good mastery of the ritual used and of the agenda on the part of the venerable and the officers: the aim is to promote the highlighting of the ritual's high points by avoiding the "mishaps" of possible messes. Likewise, a balanced agenda with different types of boards is an excellent way of sustaining attention. This condition is associated with the influence of the temple setting and its decoration.
The absence of conflict between members of the lodge: the slightest conflict can have a deleterious influence that will inevitably be reflected at one time or another and often when you least expect it!
The ability to bring out a strong idea, especially because of the personality of the participants: the social mix present in the composition of a lodge is one of the fundamental elements that allows to combine authenticity and knowledge!
When all these conditions are met, it is possible to feel happy in a Masonic lodge when dressed in a Masonic outfit.
It is a special feeling that lingers in the memory after leaving the temple to return to one's daily life. It allows us of course to give credit to our Masonic approach by saying: "It is possible! »
This feeling of happiness is naturally fleeting because we know that the philosophical reflections on Happiness, from Aristotle to Kant through Seneca and the Evangelists, are only the expression of an intellectual exercise cut off from the lived experience.
To be happy in a Lodge, even if only once in a lifetime, is a fabulous stimulus for Hope and Perseverance.
What do you think?