G. Davis, 33
For many, our life is half over before we discover
our real quest for happiness is just then beginning.
It has been said that happiness is in the here and now and not in the “somedays” and that the pursuit of it has always been man’s favorite sport. It was even written in the Declaration of Independence that we each possess an “unalienable” right to “the Pursuit of Happiness.”
So, on the surface, most of us could agree we ought to be spending a good portion of our lives either embracing it, or chasing it. The obvious challenge is how do we know when we have found happiness?
Do we get happiness because of what we own? Do we acquire it through personal wealth? Do we find it in our relationships? Do we inherit it from our families? Is it ours because of the titles or honors we have earned or the awards we have won? Or are we happy just because we are having a good time?
In today’s materialistic and visual world, it’s indeed easy to suppose that happiness must come with the acquisition of things, or, at least, the appearance of affluence. We worry about what we have, what we look like, what we wear, what cars we drive. After all, commercialism is bred into our culture at a very young age. More Americans own televisions than have indoor plumbing. And we watch an average of 13 hours of commercials each week. It’s no wonder we think of happiness in terms of dollars and stuff.
And when we get out of the house (and we are out of it most waking hours of each day), we spend most of our time either working for someone else, doing something for someone else, or driving to and from someone else’s world. Again, we are program-med to think that the busier we are, the more fulfilling our life will be.
So, we acquire, accumulate, invest, spend, work, build, serve, grow, sacrifice—until, finally, we reach the midpoint of our life.
And then we wake up.
We wonder where the years have gone, what we have accomplished for ourselves, what we have missed in life, and why we are not fulfilled. And we begin to take a self-assessment; we become more internally focused.
For many, our life is half over before we discover that our real quest for happiness is just then beginning. At this point the Scottish Rite has the most powerful influence it can ever have on a man.
It is at this point that every Master Mason should consider what the Rite has to offer, or (for those who are already members of the Rite) return and relive the Scottish Rite experience again. Now, am I suggesting that everyone should actually go through the Scottish Rite Degrees again? Perhaps not literally, but when we are intellectually and spiritually receptive to receive what the Rite has to give, it is, in fact, the very best time for each of us to become Masters of the Royal Secret again. It is the very best thing we could do for ourselves!
For it is at this point that we are finally prepared to discover what makes any of us truly happy in life. We are finally ready to learn the real “secrets” of our Craft and Rite.
The principal theme of the Scottish Rite is to show us how we transfer our relationship with the world and others into ourselves and thus become obedient to who we are. The Rite teaches us how to take our life experience to a new level of freedom through intelligent self-discipline and discovery. It gives us the tools to discover who we are so that we can know what makes us happy as individuals. After all, in the overall scheme of things, it is the personal journey we make to our own happiness that is most important.
The Degrees of the Lodge of Perfection show us that perfection is attainable only when we understand it is our spiritual side that must be in control of our lives.
The Degrees of the Chapter of Rose Croix give us the vehicle for transcendence. We select our own ethical system; we are not selected by it. We learn how we are going to choose to live, how we are going to control our life. We lay out the questions which are personally important to us, and we create our own answers.
The Degrees of the Council of Kadosh teach us that, since we have to function in the world, how should we do it. We learn how to release ourselves from those concerns which bind us or hold us back from the realization of our own happiness.
Then in the Degrees of the Consistory, we receive a cautionary note—we have the understanding, but we must always check ourselves to make sure we’re not doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. We review what we know, where these ideas come from; we examine our link to the past, and we know these things are true because they have always been true.
The Scottish Rite is an enlightened and enlightening experience. It was created and exists for one reason—to do something really profound to the male psyche. Yes, the fellowship of learning and being together as men is good. But we don’t come to the Rite just for the good times in this sense.
The quest for meaning, for insight and personal awareness, for spiritual and manly development—that is the quest really worth a man’s time because that is the journey to personal happiness.
And when we let the world of men in on our secret, that this is what they should expect of the Rite because it is what the Rite is, then we can begin to grow again.
This is the quest today’s men are seeking. We need only to decide how we are going to let them know we are the vehicle for their own personal enlightenment.
Indeed, the Scottish Rite is more than just another good
time. It is the enjoyment of individual hope and insight and change—which
leads to happiness and fulfillment in the here and now!
remember the Scottish Rite Foundation, S.J., USA,
with your gifts and in your will, 1-800-486-3331.