THE HUMAN SOUL

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the
days of my appointed time will I wait,
till my change come.”

Job 14:14

The symbols of Freemasonry open our hearts and minds to the many virtues available to each of us to aid in our individual pursuit of life and love.  But, what if anything, do those symbols seek to tell us about the human soul?  Is mankind simply an accidental occurrence, a freak of nature and the unexpected consequence of some Big Bang that resulted in outer space eons ago?  Indeed not – at least not to Freemasons who teach a doctrine of man’s immortality.  No man who has been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason can ever forget the lessons about the truth of the human soul.

Man is seemingly surrounded by injustice and all too often discovers that those in whom he has placed his greatest trust have abandoned him for the sake of commercial greed.  To many, the shocking impact of that discovery is horribly disappointing.  For, injustice and unfairness is frequently visited upon us by those who have achieved the highest levels of material accomplishment and openly profess to also be men of God.  Such experiences call into question the extent to which the human soul has advanced since the days when man first emerged from the caves and later exchanged animal skins for a business suit.

Is it idle to hope for any great progress of humanity toward perfection?  Are the advances in civilization nothing more than increases in selfishness and self-centeredness?  Does man’s freedom merely give him a license to slight or backstab his closest friends and business partners?  Amidst the consequences of human vanity and self-conceit, the Ancient Craft of Freemasonry correctly inquires – whence came we, and whither are we going?
When Freemasons look forward to the acacia, that evergreen which budded and bloomed at the head of the grave of that celebrated artist whom the Craft reveres, they are reminded of the immortal part; the spirit or soul of man that will live when time shall be no more.  That human soul is regarded as the inspiration of the great Divinity whom all Masons adore.  How man became an “inspiration” of God, or what that phrase even means is a mystery greater than life itself.  To the extent such a mystery truly exists, it is because there is human consciousness in existence ready and able to pose that question.

What if in the midst of all the elements and their various formations there appeared a magical sculpture that revealed the secret, or mystery of the universe?  Likely, some would rush to identify it as the Great Masonic Secret, but they would be incorrect.  What if the features of that sculpture expressed the Great Architect’s thoughts and feelings?  More likely than not, men everywhere of every religion, creed and doctrine would cherish that sculpture as though it was God, or at least an inspiration of God.  There is such a sculpture – the human being.

Freemasonry teaches that the human being is a mirror reflection of Creation.  Within every person’s being lie the secrets of the universe buried deeply within the unconscious mind.  Of those secrets there is none greater than that God exists – a truth every Mason professes openly during his initiation into our ancient and honorable fraternity.  When we closely examine the several interpretations of the many symbols used in Freemasonry, we also learn that the single most important undertaking for every human being is to become God’s companion.  With complete awareness of our unity with the Great Architect, the purpose of our coming into being is to share in the responsibility of continuing the process of creation, to add to the glory of life by the manner in which we reflect the creative energy of God which flows within each one of us.

Each human being represents God’s attempt to become aware, in a finite material body, of the nature of infinite creative forces.  That is one of the messages that Freemasonry intends to convey in its teaching that the human soul is the inspiration of God.  Each experience by each human being is very important to God, and within the heart of our own being we sense the Great Architect’s reaction to our own individual response to every experience in life.  God awaits our recognition of His presence, which comes from within – from the human soul that silently and constantly honors the loving presence of the Divine.

The level teaches us that deep down we are more alike than different.  We share the same survival instincts, the need to be loved, the same task of leaving the home of our parents, and of facing death.  The human story is universal, yet no two stories are exactly alike.  We are individuals and our task in life is to develop and express our own individuality.  This unity of experience requires that we love God and one another – but each in our own way.  This universal requirement for living independently has important implications for every human soul.

Freemasonry’s lessons about diversity and its rich contribution to our freedoms and liberties is more clearly understood when we acknowledge that God expresses Himself in multiple manifestations.  The Great Architect is millions upon millions of souls – and then some.  The lessons taught us by the Master Mason degree also teach us that each soul is an expression of God – unique and individual.  The life of an individual human being is a symbolic manifestation of its soul; both a piece of God and a miniature replica of the Great Creator.  It is a fair question to ask how can so many pieces, or so many human beings, each asserting his or her own individuality also express the whole of God.

For a person to be himself, or herself, requires self-acceptance and a lack of self-consciousness.  Giving no thought to being a separate “self,” life becomes one’s “self.”  Such an ideal, when put into practice, exemplifies the Masonic teaching that Freemasons should live their individual lives like no one else can, while embracing all of life in a spirit of love.  Experiencing and loving life as yourself results in you reaching out with your own unique perceptions and talents to live each moment.  The “you” referred to here is not the separate person you have constructed in your own mind – it is the bigger “you,” the divine “you” that is your material link to the soul God has given you.

The human soul grew that separate “you” in order to better experience itself in full material awareness.  Our conscious minds are intended to be driven by our soul, a truth that also corresponds directly with certain passages from the Holy Bible which tell us not to worry about what we shall eat or wear, because we are as dear to the Creator as are the birds in the sky.  When Freemasonry asks you to give without expectation of receiving anything in return, it is because Freemasonry also teaches us that the human soul will make certain we receive all that we need.