“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” — Lao Tzu
According to Tzu, the very essence of what it means to become a consciously creative person begins with examining the content of thoughts and words. How does speech have the power to shape our inner and outer universe? How is the spoken word significant to a Freemason?
In the ancient mystery schools, speech and sound were considered divine energy in motion and a type of vibration that could be harnessed in creative work. The entire Universe was understood to be under the control of men and gods who knew the power of sacred speech and how to harmonize the ideal and the material worlds in accordance with the divine plan.
Somewhere along the way the teaching about the magical force of words has been lost. And yes, we have been lost ever since.
It was felt in those earlier times that it was the initiates’ duty to restore the lost language. Just as Masons are in search of the “Lost Word” and have found it not, initiates also used a substitute language, until this inner Word could be reestablished. It may well be said that the knowledge of words, of speech and of sound is perhaps the most carefully guarded secrets of all the ancient mysteries.
Do words have a far greater implication than normally conceived?
A Perspective from Albert Pike
In Albert Pike’s, Morals and Dogma, he has volumes to say on this subject. There is no doubt the book is dense with wisdom; so much so, I find myself studying a paragraph for hours on end to fully grasp it. It’s almost as if you have to look at Pike’s writings as if the ancients looked upon cryptic messages.
Recently, I read a chapter where Bro. Pike was examining the following passage from scripture:
“In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” — John 1:1-3 (KJV)
I realized how casually I had looked at this well-known Bible verse before and how much more could be revealed. Looking beyond the religious overtones, there is a great mystery of “the WORD” (all caps) that Pike explains. It’s something out of a deep esoteric playbook. “The WORD” did not cease at the single act of Creation but set in motion the absolute potential for man to become a divine creator in his own life circumstances. Could this passage be a formula for creative work?
“The WORD conducts and controls the Universe, all spheres, all worlds, all actions of mankind, and of every animate and inanimate creature.”
In short, the goal of “the WORD” is to “become flesh and dwell among men.” God and “the WORD” are one and the same. They are WITH each other. All good stuff.
Now, I realized that the theological distinction between “the WORD” and “a word” had always escaped me. The words we speak are not “the WORD.” But it is possible that EVERY word spoken has the potential to align with “the WORD.” Speech carries intention, force and information. We long for words like Love, Truth, Beauty, Strength and Justice to become flesh and dwell among us. Words and speech are the initiating forces behind all things. What can a Freemason learn from this idea? How are words and action related?
A Freemason Suits Action to Word
In Masonic circles, we hear the phrase “suiting action to word” which can mean that a person will do what he claims and deliver on his promises and obligations. Masons are charged to make a conscious effort to integrate masonic philosophies into daily behavior, appearance, and words to others.
In the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, “Right Speech” appears in third place preceded only by “Right Belief” and “Right Intentions,” and immediately followed by “Right Actions.” Thus, the way we speak is of vital importance, not just for moral reasons, but also because communication is one of the most powerful means whereby we can intelligently change the world around us.
Spoken words are especially significant to anyone who has undergone a ceremony blindfolded. For me, it was only through intense listening to the words of the masonic officers that I knew what was happening. Even decades after some degree work, entire lines from the ritual are still memorable. I remember vividly the sacredness of words that have been laid upon my heart.
Right speech, when properly executed, is one of the most powerful and mysterious activities.
An example of what it can mean to “suit action to word” can be seen in the life of the immortal Goethe: poet and Freemason. He changed inquiring minds around him by breathing enlightened ideas into many of his writings. With his last breath, Bro. Goethe cried the immortal phrase:
“Light, more Light!”
These words for a Freemason are powerful! Worthy of opening and inspiring a life as well as closing it in death. There is no doubt to me that beyond the confines of his dark room his invocation was answered and there showered upon him a brilliance of light such as no mortal could see. Some accounts of Goethe’s last moments say that when he spoke his last words a ray of light shot through the shutters of the window.
“Light!” Goethe’s spoken word of power and His service to mankind. In the end, light was all he craved, symbolically, the highest of blessings. Not money or fame, but a glimpse of the treasures of eternity.
Maybe the real secret of right speech is to truly recognize and respect the authority that words carry. As we have seen with the writings of Pike, there is more to language than meets the eye, or ear. To delve into its mysteries just might reveal some extraordinary truths about the world we live in.
“Here Masonry pauses and leaves its initiates to carry out and develop these great Truths in such manner as to each may seem most accordant with reason, philosophy, truth, and his religious faith.” — Albert Pike