“If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”
I was watching a video by Dennis Prager on happiness recently when it suddenly came to me that this had much significance for my Freemasonry and what the Craft meant to me. Now you might not see any Masonic connection with the video included here. One of the reasons is that we all join Freemasonry for different reasons and we all participate in the aspect of Freemasonry that speaks loudest to us.
Some of us use Freemasonry to network. The connections you make within the Fraternity can do wonders for your business.
Some of us enjoy the camaraderie of Freemasonry and that is what we get out of the Craft. Being close to a circle of buddies is important to human beings who are by nature social animals. It is especially important to those who do not make friends in their other walks of life.
Some of us want to give back to society, to leave something behind that contributed to the well being of humankind. We take part in some of the many charitable works of Freemasonry and the institutions Freemasonry has set up to make life better.
Some of us are seekers of a moral way of life outside of organized religion. The virtues of Freemasonry fill a need for those of us who seek to lead a noble life, to lift our spirits into the next realm and who want to do it here, right now.
Some of us are intrigued by the esoteric side of Freemasonry and desire to pursue Hermetic and Gnostic study. We see a connection from the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome right up into our present time. This knowledge, we believe, will show us a path to a greater way of life.
Many of us pursue more than one of these sides of Freemasonry; many of us only one. It is true that Freemasonry is a way of life, but that way of life may be different to different Freemasons. The overriding factor that ties all these factors together is our desire to take control of our lives and make a difference – to other people but even more so to ourselves.
That’s what Dennis Prager is trying to do. He is purposefully trying to change his behavior for the better. He sees a moral obligation to be the best person he can be. Does that not sound like Freemasonry? Do we as Masons not see a moral obligation to be a better person? Is it not possible that many who have joined Freemasonry have made a conscious step to be a better person by joining with others who have the same goals? This becomes not a mutual admiration society but a mutual self improvement society. Dennis Prager is doing it all by himself but we as Freemasons are doing it together in a group.
So let me pause here to add two rules of thumb that have guided me in this quest to take control of my life and point it in the right direction.
1) We all need a cheering section in our lives, a group of people who will shore us up in our time of need and encourage us to be the best we can be. We do not need people who bring us down.
Gregory Scott Reid put it this way:
“A few years back, I looked around and noticed that all I did was hang around with other salespeople such as myself. Realizing that I wanted more from my life than to simply sit around talking about the great deal or the money I’d made that day, I sought out a new group of people to associate myself with—people who could help me on my new journey to become an author and motivational speaker. I ran ads on the Internet and in the newspaper seeking new people to associate with and “soak up the success” with, so to speak.”
“When I couldn’t find such a club, I decided to create one of my own. I called it the Influential Men’s Group. We met once a month and discussed our ideas and plans to make them become realities. Most important, we supported and held one other accountable to see those dreams come true.”
“As I write this now, I think to myself how grateful I am for all the wonderful people who’ve come into my life this past year. Due to this great group of people, I’ve gone from a business owner/salesman, to a number one best-selling author.”
“We are the company we keep. Choose your company wisely.”
Freemasonry is not only a way of life it is a family and as one big family there are always family members there to help you through the rough times and to bolster your spirit.
2) We are who we associate with
When you run with the wrong group you start to pick up their ways. When you run with the right group their righteousness rubs off on you.
Colin Powell offers these words of advice:
“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.”
“Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”
“With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. ‘A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.’”
“The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”
So I, as a Freemason, consciously sought out the Masonic Fraternity to help me with the ups and downs of life and to bond with others who are on the same path, knowing that I have surrounded myself with people of good will and a genuine interest in my well being. For me that was a good enough reason to join the Craft. And my life has been the better for it, because like Dennis Prager I have tried to modify my behavior for the better, only I am not doing it alone. I am doing it with my Brothers and Sisters who are my family and who love me as if I was blood.
We leave the last word to Steven Conn:
“Often times I look at people and see so much potential. I see the people they surround them selves with and look at what they do with their spare time and am saddened by the reality of the potential waiting to burst out, but yet will never come.”
“Who we are now is based on past experiences and decisions that we have made and the influence we have received from others, but we can’t dwell on the past if we want to accomplish great things. Sometimes we need to make tough choices and make some changes in the friendships we have. At least we have to rethink who we are getting advice from.”
“If we are going to make a change in our life, it requires effort and surrounding ourselves with new people of influence. Find someone that has changed for the positive in any area and they will tell you that someone helped them through it all, that without that person they would have failed miserably. Look around at the people you associate with. Are they constantly learning and researching new ideas, expanding their minds and keeping up with new technology. Are they looking to have a positive impact on the people around them or are they filled with unending sarcasm and belittling of anyone that tries to change or make a difference.”
“Are you hanging around with people that think change is too hard and things will never get better, or are you surrounding yourself with people that have eyes of a child and think anything is possible.”
“It takes faith to believe in what we cannot see. Have faith and seek out people that are looking to make a difference and you will be amazed at how you too, will accomplish what you want.”
“I believe that if you truly want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”