Knocking Off the Rough Edges

I spent a few years in a lodge of Freemasons.  I learned that Freemasonry exists for the purpose of teaching spirituality to its members.  Today we will explore the Masonic lesson of using the gavel to knock off the rough edges of our mind.


A few words about Freemasonry

Freemasons are a very old fraternal order.  In their ritual they tell stories about the building of King Solomon’s Temple.  That was about three thousand years ago.  From the ritual it is clear that Freemasonry existed long before the temple was built.


The reasons for Freemasonry were twofold.  The first was to build stone buildings.  The second was to teach spirituality, brotherhood, and charity to the members.  The members were then required to exemplify those qualities as they lived their lives within their communities.


When masons attended their lodge meetings they were taught spiritual principles through symbols.  These symbols were the tools that they used during the work day to build solid and sturdy stone structures.  Those tools also had symbolic meanings that helped them build solid and sturdy personal lives.


The tools were items such as the gavel, plumb, trowel, and square.  Each had their symbolic meaning.  As a mason used one of these tools during his work day he erected a building.  As he used the tool he was also reminded of its symbolic meaning and how to use it to create a happier life.


We will not address some of the objections that people have had towards masonry.  During the three millennia they have been around, masons have been accused of many things.  Please post your questions or comments about Masonry so that we can begin a discussion about this subject.


How to use the gavel

When a mason is preparing a stone to be placed on a building he needs a gavel.  He takes the gavel and with the help of a chisel shapes the stone. 


The stone was rough cut in a quarry and brought to the work site.  Once on the work site it needed to be finished so that it would fit smoothly with the other stones in the building.


The gavel was used to knock the rough edges off the stone.  The mason provided the force, channeled it through the gavel to the chisel to smooth the stone.  The face of the stone was smoothed and became attractive to the eye.  The other sides of the stone were smoothed so that they would harmonize with the surrounding stones.  The edges were made to fit with and support the surrounding stones.  The gavel was the tool that helped to harmonize each stone with the other to build an attractive, sturdy, and durable building.


The symbolic gavel

In the lodge room, the masons learned how to use their symbolic gavels to smooth the rough edges of their minds.  This would allow their minds to harmonize with their community.


Our minds become the living stones from which the community, society, world will be built.  Each mind is strong, solid, and stable by itself.  When they learn to fit together and work in unison, as the stones of a great building, they become a far more powerful force than any individual stone could be.


The gavel becomes the symbol for true self.  True self learns that we can maintain our individual identity yet learn to work with each other.  As we learn to shape our true selves to work with each other, we learn to live in peace and harmony.


Notice that there is no need for sacrifice talked about here.  As true selves we want to learn to work with each other.  We recognize that we need to work on ourselves in order to learn to work together.  No one is asking anybody to give anything up.  We all make the commitment to work together by working on ourself whenever necessary.


This idea of working together is not for everyone.  Some people are not yet in the place where they can adjust themselves to help those around them.  If someone does not want to be a part of the building – that is fine.


Everyone who has decided to be part of the building has made the commitment to learn how to work together.  If the “sacrifice” is too great for you right now please go ahead and live your life the way you choose to do so.  You will find your own building in your own time.


My continuing lessons

Over the years I have learned many lessons from the symbolic gavel.  First, I learned that for me to work together with anyone I needed to knock off my rough edges.


The primary aspect of knocking off the roughness has been to get control of myself.  At one time I had an out of control false self like most of us have had at one time or another.  My first task was to keep that from running over those I was attempting to work with.


Second, I learned the importance of true self.  As I was getting control of false self I started to understand the strength of true self.  As I knocked the rough edges off I became my true self.  I started to notice that I fit more easily with those who were also being their true self.  They were knocking off their own rough edges.


Third, I recognized that you never get all the rough edges off.  The smoother you get your stone the more you realize that it can always be more smooth.  I recognized that smoothing the stone is a journey, not a destination.  It is just one more aspect of our spiritual path – you can always learn a better way.


That is all for today.  Please submit any comments or questions you may have about Freemasonry.  I would like to start a discussion on the subject.


Until tomorrow –


Es kava turen hai

We work towards an identical goal.



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