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From the Grand Master

 

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

- Leonard Cohen, Anthem

 

Brethren,

During this time of isolation I have been rereading a book by Wayne Muller entitled Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives. He writes:

Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight.

Most spiritual traditions celebrate some form of Sabbath practice. Before the Hebrews, the Babylonians celebrated a lunar Sabbath, also a day of rest. Buddhists use a lunar Sabbath – on the new, full, and quarter moon – as a day for monks and lay people to feast together, meditate, reflect on the dharma, and recite the fundamental precepts of spiritual practice.

Muslims, Jews and Christians hold Sabbath on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

But Sabbath, he says, is not necessarily a day. It could be an hour of meditation. It could be a short break to pause and take three silent breaths as when the Buddhist Mindfulness Bell is rung. It could be a Sabbatical, lasting months, as university professors often get to take in order to work on their books or research. It is a time to rest, and a time to think.

We have been given a rare gift.

Better is one hand full of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. - Ecclesiastes 4:6

In 1606 when the theatres in London closed due to the Bubonic Plague, William Shakespeare went into isolation and wrote King Lear and Macbeth.

In 1665 Isaac Newton retreated to the countryside as Cambridge University closed due to The Great Plague of London. It was during this time that he invented calculus, investigated light dispersed by a prism and started to think about gravity.

Who is it that can make muddy water clear? But if allowed to remain still, it will gradually become clear of itself. - Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 15

This time of self-isolation has given us a chance to reflect upon what is most important in life. We may also want to reflect on what is most important about Masonry.

In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to. - Dave Hollis

Be safe; be still; be blessed.

David J. Cameron

Grand Master

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