My Dear Brethren,
There is the story of two monks – one senior, one junior – on a journey. They happened upon a young and beautiful woman trying to cross a river. Al-though the river was shallow, the current was too strong for her. When she asked for help the monks looked at each other. After a few moments, the senior monk lifted the woman onto his shoulders and carried her across to the other side, where he put her down gently and continued on the journey. The junior monk, at a loss, stared at his senior and followed in silence. Hours passed without a word between them. Finally, the junior monk could no longer contain himself and blurted out, “We have taken a vow never to touch a woman! How could you pick her up and carry her as you did?!” The senior monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
Letting go of old grudges and hurt feelings and learning to live in (and enjoy) the present moment takes a certain amount of willpower, mindfulness, and suppression of ego. It’s an overt decision and mindset to live this way, and the potential rewards are significant. All things are possible when we choose to live in the present.
You may well know the saying, “He conquers who conquers himself,” a constant source of inspiration for me, personally. It reminds me that overcoming any challenge requires one to overcome ego, i.e., one’s “selfish self.” As Masons we are reminded by the symbols in every Blue Lodge to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds. Once we gain control of our emotions and desires, our possibilities are limitless.
Sincerely and Fraternally Yours,
Vito J. Petitti