The following article comes from the book *Alberta Workshop* which is a compilation of the theme speeches of the first 25 years of the Masonic Spring Workshop held each April in the Mountains west of Calgary, Alberta. Bro Tom Jackson (Pennsylvania) called this the best workshop available to rank and file Masons anywhere.
Bro. Tink Robinson
We, as Speculative Masons, no longer toil with the working tools of our Masonic forefathers. We no longer have to be Masters of the fine art of stone masonry. I'll bet that there are many Masons who have never set foot inside a sixteenth century cathedral, and who wouldn't have a clue as how to go about building one. But we as Speculative Masons are builders none the less, for each second, each minute and each hour of every day, we are building something. The whole human race is a race of builders as well. Why? Because no matter what your race, creed or political ideology represents, you were all given the power to think thoughts. Thoughts, brethren, are the building blocks of the Universe.
Thomas Carlyle, in the 19th Century, had this to say about Thoughts.
"This city with all its houses, palaces, steam engines, cathedrals and huge immeasurable traffic and tumult, what is it but Thought, but millions of Thoughts made into one - a huge immeasurable Spirit of Thought embodied in brick, in iron, in smoke, dust, palaces, parliaments, coaches, docks, and the rest of it! Not a brick was made but someone had to think of the making of that brick."
You know! We don't think about what we think about, if you think about it. In fact, most of our thought processes are merely habit patterns being played our like a computer controlled robot which is taking the place of so many mindless tasks that are in large part, the day to day experience of the assembly line worker. So much of life becomes an assembly line to us, and the resulting social problems are well documented and acted out by our fellow workers, members of our own family and even ourselves.
We are creatures of Habit. We have habits we don't even know about. You can test yourselves with these simple questions:
1. Which shoe do you put on and tie first? 2. When you have a meal of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and a baked potato, which item do you taste first? 3. When you flip through a magazine, do you begin at the front or from the back page? 4. Which way do you squeeze the toothpaste tube and do you get angry again for the 10,000th time when your kids don't squeeze it the way you expect them to? 5. Do you buckle your seat belt before or after you turn on the ignition? 6. In which pocket do you carry your car keys? 7. How many times a day do you lay your glasses down, and then forget where you put them?
Here's the best one of all --
8. Which foot do you put in the underwear first?
These may sound like silly questions, but we are the victims of our lifelong habit patterns. We must become aware of what we are thinking and doing with our Subconscious Mind games. Putting your other foot in your underwear first in the morning may be just the tool you need to help you to become aware of your mental conditioning. We are creatures of habit and our mental reflexes are continually being triggered by a never ending variety of symbols. We have been programmed to respond to symbols. In our Canadian bilingual culture, symbols are being used on road signs, packaged goods and washrooms all across the country. Masonry is filled with allegory and symbols, their purpose being to teach us to come to know ourselves and to guide us in the building of our inner temple. Symbols became very useful and necessary for tradesmen and places of business before the general population was literate. The barber pole is an ancient example, and a bunch of grapes was not the symbol found in front of a fruit stand.
History is repeating itself, because large corporations today spend millions of dollars developing logos, another name for symbols, so that the design can denote, in picture form, what they wish represented. They may spend millions more on their commercials showing off their services or their products, but the logo is always used as the catalyst to epitomize what they are trying to say. We live in a high tech, high paced, media-oriented world. We try to exist in a fast food, high priced throwaway society. It is a proven fact, that in today's market place, a picture, a word a logo, all symbols, trigger our responses to obey what it is that advertisers are trying to have us do.
The language of the new computer age, is a language of symbols, and our kids are becoming literate in a science that most of us don't understand, or are too set in our ways to wish to explore. How do we deal with this changing world of pressure and high technology? We have to have the courage to adapt. I am not saying that we all have to become computer literate but we do have to recognize and learn to deal with the new influences that are tearing down and restructuring the fabric of our Society and our personal day to day living.
There is an old saying, that there is nothing new in this world. There is one thing, however, that can be old or new, everybody has it and that is your Attitude. No matter what it is you desire in your life, your Attitude is the key factor in whether you will be successful or continue to fail. Remember that thoughts are things! The law of cause and effect works in direct proportion to what you put into it. Think positive thoughts, generate positive results. Think negative thoughts, and as sure as you don't believe that something good is going to happen, it won't.
There are literally thousands of books on the market today that tell you how to do things. There has never been a time in our current history where knowledge has been more readily available. We have one great gift that no one can take from us, and that is the freedom to choose what we will think. If you want to improve yourself and become a better man, then you must have the Desire to do so. A successful person is one who believes that he is successful.
Most of us choose to think as we please; we think what we want to think. How many of us choose HOW you think? Your attitude, your direction, your achievements, your understanding of yourself and others are all determined by HOW you think. It is one thing to know something it is another thing to do it. All of the great teachers, and the symbols of Masonry and of antiquity, teach us that we live in an ordered universe. There is a Law which governs this universe, and the Law is Good. The Supreme Architect has created us through Thought, as all things are created. It is our belief in separation from this Universal Law of good which is the root of Man's problem. We live in error of the natural law, when we do not recognize and realize our true potential.
Dr. Venice Bloodworth in "Key to Yourself" puts it this way:
"Thinking is the true business of life. Thinkers rule the world. They always have and they always will. All people think, but the tragedy of life is that so few of us think creatively or constructively; so few recognize the fact that thought is a creative force. Every achievement in business, literature, philosophy, or science has found its source and expression through the mental efforts of the world's leaders. The outstanding figures of tomorrow are the creative and constructive thinkers of today."
We live in the same world and are as far apart as the difference in our thought processes. some fail while others succeed; some are sick others are healthy; some are miserable others happy. We all want to blame luck or fate or some one of our fellow men, but the difference is within ourselves. we are the produce of our prevailing habits of thought.
Each is building his own world from within; thought is the builder; subtle, vital, irresistible, omnipotent; and according as we use our thought forces do they bring us joy or sorrow, peace or pain, success or failure. Men, events and conditions are relative only; EVERY EXPERIENCE WITH WHICH YOU MEET HAS BEEN BUILT FOR YOU BY YOUR OWN INTERIOR THOUGHT PROCESSES.
The world without is merely a reflection of what you have acknowledged as true in your world within, so if the state of your health or finances is not all you desire, you must look within yourself for the cause. Regardless of what the condition is, or how it seemed to have come about, its cause had to find place in your consciousness before it came into expression. That a man can change himself, recreate himself, improve himself control his environment, and master his own destiny is not a theory, but a matter of positive knowledge.
There is no such thing as luck or chance; on the contrary, our lives are governed by law, by actual, immutable principles that never vary. Law is in operation at all times, in all places; mighty, silent fixed laws that underlie every human action, that bring to us, with exact precision, the full measure of our thoughts. Laws that favour no individual, and are no respector of persons. In a sense there is nothing in all the universe but law; every tree that grows, every flower that blooms, every snowflake that falls, testifies to the unceasing operation of this great law.
We admit Natural Laws in regards to the vegetable kingdom; we also accept the fact that the sun, moon, stars and tides of the sea are controlled by law, but it has not occurred to the majority of us that man is just as subject to law as the vast panorama of nature. It is law that makes the universe so harmoniously exact; if there was not law, we could never be sure the sun would rise or the seasons come in rotation.
THERE IS BUT ONE LAW, ONE PRINCIPLE, ONE CAUSE, ONE SOURCE OF POWER. We cannot change the law, but by understanding and cooperation, we may bring ourselves, through our thought processes, into harmony with the law and let the law work with us, through us, and for us. THOUGHTS ARE THINGS. Thought causes vibration and sets in motion the Law of Mind. Since everything has its beginning in mind, and as thought, which is mind in action, produces form, we realize that thought is creative.
"If you think you are beaten, you are; If you think you dare not, you don't; If you'd like to win but you think you can't, It's almost a cinch you won't; If you think you'll lose, you've lost, For out in the world you'll find Success begins with a fellow's will; It's all in the state of mind."
There is a thought that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote that is appropriate here. "Quiet mind cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm." Henry David Thoreau stated, "Men were born to succeed, not to fail." some of our greatest lessons are born our of our failures, and that was certainly the example that was so aptly demonstrated to us by our forefathers. It was known as pioneer spirit.
In the old days on the farm, when something broke down, you couldn't always just run to the store or call the repair man to come and fix it. You had to be ingenious, use your imagination, and sometimes invent a tool or an apparatus that hadn't been invented yet. In many cases, the remedy was so simple, that you wondered why you or somebody else hadn't thought about it before. Well, somebody probably did Scientists and teachers through all ages have been saying that within our Collective Thought, or Universal Mind, all of the answers and theories we need to learn, are just waiting to be picked up by somebody. Universal Mind is like a giant computer program, which has the answers for everything you ever need to know. Universal Mind is Perfection and there are no degrees of perfection; it just is. You are here to learn how to tune in to this system and to claim your lawful inheritance.
Conscious mind, the ego thinking part of you, tells your subconscious mind, the computer part of you, everything you want it to know. The subconscious mind is our memory bank. How we wish to program our subconscious computer is our personal choice. We have the freedom to think how and what we will think. We are creatures of habit. To break old negative habits, we have to reprogram our subconscious mind by the Power of Positive Thinking. Our subconscious mind never sleeps. It continues to run our bodily, mental and spiritual affairs for us by the way we program it.
Most of us live in a comfortable rut; that a grave with two open ends. How many of us have the rush hour traffic syndrome? How many tapes do you listen to? Not your stereo tapes, your "Old Habits" by the "Negatives" tapes. "You cut me off you son of a ...", "Jeeze, I always miss this light...", "Get of my bumper you turkey...","No wonder people in Edmonton go around in circles, their streets are built that way ...". You drive to work in a blue funk and have a long mental argument with your boss about how you were justified in telling the client what he needed to know. You feel rotten. Your boss and the client are against you. You arrive at work to find that your boss has promoted you and given a raise for the way you handled the client, who has renewed and doubled his account for the next two years. Now what was that conversation in the car all about? Does that sound familiar? We have all done it and probably are still doing it. What is important, is that we know when we are doing it, catch ourselves and affirm that we are in control of our affairs. You can choose how you are going to react to each situation. Being angry in traffic leads to irrational action. The emotion of anger is controlling you, you are not controlling it.
Philosophers, spiritual teachers and Martial Arts Masters all teach us to be calm observers. They teach us to be open and receptive to the Universal Life Force which is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent. Each of us is but a drop of water from the great ocean of Thought. Microscopic examination reveals that the atomic structure of the drop, is exactly the same as the ocean. We are one with the Source. Mankind is exactly the same in as much as we are all making life's journey. We are different in race, creed and ideology perhaps, but we are created from the same mould, and even our parts are interchangeable. if we are created from the One Source, and it is Perfect, then shouldn't we be Perfect? It is our choice. We as Men and as Masons have to earn the right to advance and find our way back to our beginning, our Source of Light.
Michelangelo was quoted as saying, "It is well with me when I have a chisel in my hand." Most of my life has been spent in the creative atmosphere of theatre and television. It is a competitive and demanding life and there are times when I have to get back to Nature and reaffirm my purpose for Being. I write poems on these occasions for my life partner and best friend, my wife, Judy.
"The Universal Architect" by Tink Robinson (Copyright Dec 22, 1984)
Within the pattern of a leaf, the Architect has drawn his lines Flowing from the inner force life's energy it now defines. Its colour can be any hue, determined by the shape it holds For in its shape, the master plan identifies that which unfolds. A flowing fern, or clustered oak, above the laurel waxing green While massive boughs of chestnut spread, the aspen trembles on the scene. For nothing comes to pass except by thought where true design is made And from that pure creative flow of thought, our earthly paths are laid. Like veins which stretch throughout a leaf, each separate yet of one accord, Reflections of etheric force propelled in thought, desires reward. For all the buds and all the leaves, their numbers more than we can know Are carried on the wings of thought beyond our vision as they grow. Yet vision does more than reflect what passes here before our sight. The wind kissed leaf on fragile air translucent, glowing, in the light Was first envisioned deep within the mind of Nature's driving force, The Universal Architect of *thought Divine which plots our course. Within each breast perfection lies, the leaf bud waiting breathlessly, Breathe deep of Life, and seek within, you'll see your bud become a tree.
Wisdom has been with us throughout the ages. The wisdom of Confucious was quoted as, "The rule of life is to be found within yourself." "What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others."
Mohammed stated, "A man's true wealth is the good he does in this world."
Johann K. Lavater wrote, "He who has not forgiven an enemy has not yet tasted one of the most sublime enjoyments of life."
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way, "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
It is strange that we so land failed to understand the wonderful power of thought, for it is taught by every religion and philosophy in the history of the world. Paul, when in captivity and chained to a Roman soldier, gave this message to the world:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praises, think on these things."