What is the objective of working in a lodge?
There are differences between the obediences, a more or less asserted form of spirituality… What is common between them is the objective that every Freemason sets for himself: to improve oneself, to emancipate oneself, and work on a form of harmony between individuals. For this, Freemasonry offers a method and rituals, but to make this personal journey, you have to practice!
This progression is not magical. It is through contact with others that change takes place. It is by sharing and listening to the “planks” (presentations) that we have the possibility of increasing our perception of reality, by adhesion, rebound or rejection of the ideas presented. We try to do this work with kindness, seeking to accept nuances, not being afraid of difference and complexity. A phrase from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – who was not a Freemason – illustrates this search for wealth through otherness and diversity: “If you differ from me, my brother, far from harming me, you enrich me.”
At work as in your personal life, “you have to listen twice as much as you talk”
How are Freemasons equipped to work together?
The rituals are very marked, they function as benchmarks. During our meetings, for example, we do not take the floor, we ask for it by raising our hand: it is granted by a supervisor who opens the intervention with a blow of a mallet on the table. From this moment, no one interrupts the speaker: the latter thus has time to develop his point. The presentation ends with “I said”: with these words, the one who has spoken puts the word back into the center of the space, which can circulate again. Everyone is free to bounce back on what has been said, to add an anecdote: everyone will do so while respecting the same rules for speaking out…
A summary of the exchanges will be written and read the next time to be validated by the participants. It is a very harmonious and pleasant ritual. The works – which are moments of transmission and sharing between Freemasons – are very orderly: this order favors listening, indulgence and benevolent reflection.
Freemasonry: at the service of all or only of the elites?
Has the practice of Freemasonry changed the way you work with others?
She changed me in so many ways! I learned to express myself in public, I who was very shy. In meetings, I have also got into the habit of listening to whoever is speaking, of staying focused on what he is saying, without interrupting him. Cutting off the floor corresponds to a form of taking power, it is very disrespectful.
In France, we often confuse the exhibition of our ideas with confrontation or aggressiveness. Letting someone express themselves to the end allows them to develop ideas likely to enrich the group. Listening to others implies respecting them, without necessarily agreeing with everything they say. Playing collectively does not prevent the expression of individualities.
Laurent Kupferman, essayist, author of Gather: Freemasonry, a path to oneself and to others (Dervy)
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