Livingstone here. Welcome to Masonology. The blog about Freemasonry and all things related to Masonic Self-Improvement, Masonic Thought, and the Freemason World.
So last night I was doing my usual work in studying the arts and sciences. It is something I did before Masonry or course. But ever since I became a Freemason, the Masonic charge to study and become proficient in the 7 liberal arts has given me a powerful directive and focus in this journey.
So last night I was viewing a Ted talk about self improvement given by Jane McGonigal. She’s a video game designer who sees the gaming as an element that expands beyond just sitting down in front of a TV and turning your brain into a vegetable. She actually sees elements of games as a way to help improve human health, happiness, and their life experience. Here is the talk she gave.
What was fascinating about it were the things that people regretted while on their death bed. Here is what they said.
1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
3. I had wished I let myself be happier
4. I wish I had the courage to express my true self
5. I had wished I lived life true to my dreams instead of what others expected of me
She delves into ways to live longer and then she also talks about Post-Traumatic Growth. As in after having a major traumatic moment in life, your body and mind experience a major phase of growth. And then she promises to give you 10 extra years to your life if you follow her game principles every day.
So let’s talk about this in relation to Masonry.
When someone says they wish they didn’t work so hard, what do they mean? What they really mean is they wish they didn’t work at their job so hard. That they took more time to have fun. Or relaxed more. That life wasn’t just about work but it was about the things that didn’t involve work.
Masonry is a lot of fun. After ritual and our stated meetings, life becomes one big brotherly love fest. Revelry, shooting the shit, catching up, telling jokes, talking about life and philosophy. Masonry is about the bond that men have with each other and the joy that comes out of it. Remember, the Oil of Joy? This is one of the things given to us through our Masonic work.
So what is our Masonic work? For us Freemasons, work is a part of our existence. We have to become proficient in Masonry. But it’s not our job. Masonry is a choice. You can be initiated and become a brother and never have to spend a moment of work toward Masonry. But if you want to become a Master Mason, then you must work toward it. As you will see Jane explain, people like achievements. Masonry is essentially an achievement engine. With different levels, different challenges, and different rewards gained for moving up to Master Mason.
2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I probably really don’t need to explain this one but when you are surrounded by brothers, on the level with you…it tends to very much satisfy that want of being with your friends more. In Masonry, you have a shared experience that creates new friends and gives you an opportunity to meet with them every week or month. Even more then that. You have 5 million friends around the world. You will always have someone to stay in touch with.
3. I wish I’d let myself be happier. In Masonry, again as I mentioned joy and brotherly love are huge elements of the lodge. Also…it’s a fucking Fraternity. Anyone who knows what fraternity life is like will know that everyone ends up having a great time. Unless you hate socializing and the occasional party.
4. I wish I had more courage to express my true self. In Masonry, tolerance and love of our brothers is part of who we are. No matter who you are, you’ll find the brothers of the lodge support you and your own identity and existence. Masonry charges you to search for truth, and the search for truth regarding who you are is part of the process.
5. I wish I had lived my life true to my dreams instead of what others expected of you. This one is not a Masonic question but a you question. What ARE your dreams. Think that through. Why do you have these dreams? Why do you care so much about them? Why must life meet those dreams to make you feel like you have fund your place in life? Look to God for this answer.
As for long life, it very much happens to Masons too.
He was the oldest man in the world just a few years ago. Not bad for Brother Breuning.
At Masonry’s core, it’s a social experience that facilities the human desire to learn and grow. I have mentioned in the past of Masonry’s connection to those legendary builders. And how their 1000s of years have been honed into creating the Masonry we see today. It isn’t just about keeping secrets to build things. It’s about building yourself. And along the way, Masonry realized a few things to help make people enjoy that building experience just a little more then usual.