Rosicrucian Writings Online
Lodge Masters and Activities
By Raymund Andrea
Grand Master, Great Britain
[From The Rosicrucian Digest February 1931]
I PROPOSE to give here a few reflections upon the responsible status of those who supervise and direct in lodge or group work in our Order, on their adjustment to the diverse temperaments and capacities contacted therein, and on some of the individual problems constantly presented and which demand considerate handling. In this work, which is undoubtedly highly responsible and technical, we are looking upward and forward and calling upon the best that is in us to take part in a task in which we confer real and enduring benefit upon others in the matter of their soul evolution. Therefore it is not demanding too much of those who assume the responsible control in lodge activities, that whatever their practical ability may be for the discharge of their duties, they should possess some commendable degree of qualification, in the occult sense, in order to fill that capacity.
The object of the appointment of responsible heads in lodges under the supervision of the Council of the Order is obviously the extension of the influence and a sharing of the responsibility of the Head of the Order in carrying out its work. It is not within the province of the Order to equip lodge masters with the necessary ability to discharge secretarial duties. They are presumed to have in some measure this ability and also the qualifications for instructing others, apart from the fact that they are students of occultism. I discriminate here, because even a considerable knowledge of the science would not necessarily equip one for the specific task of working upon the lives of other students. A master is indeed entrusted with a very special kind of authority; and as I am writing impersonally, I do so freely and without bias.
I regard it as essential in a lodge master in dealing with a student that he has a knowledge of the general mental status of the student, together with such incidental information as would be supplied to him with regard to age, occupation, studies or leisure, even personal idiosyncrasies perhaps, upon the student coming under his supervision. The personal life of a student will naturally have a direct and powerful influence upon his life as a spiritual aspirant. The fullest general information is therefore desirable; and most students will be willing to supply particular information if they have the assurance that those who are to supervise their work and development are actuated with a sincere desire to understand and adjust to their present outlook. The aspirations of a student in any field of endeavor, apart from his occult studies, constitute a factor for the careful consideration of the master, since they will work out, influence, and be applied almost unconsciously in his lodge work. His personal studies and aspirations will, for one thing, be something of a guide to a student's possibilities on the path, indicate the quality and calibre of his thought and reveal tendencies liable to accelerate or retard his spiritual evolution. The extent of his reading in occultism should especially be known, the schools of thought to which he inclines, and his progress in the science of meditation, before entering the lodge.
Upon this data the master will base his method of adjustment to the student--a more or less objective adjustment. But he should also have a measure of soul responsiveness which will enable him to read subjectively and fairly accurately the soul atmosphere of the student. Not much can be said on this point: no precise rule can be given. If the master has been working long with others, he will automatically register through the written or spoken word the soul vibration of the student. He should be able to discern very quickly how much the latter is capable of at any particular point, what aspects of truth he is able to respond to, whether he requires sympathetic handling and encouragement, or the strong assertion of will impulse to inspire and carry him forward. It is here that the master will meet with testing conditions for himself. A lodge will presumably consist of many diverse types of students, some of whom will require special attention and treatment, and for that kind of work special qualifications are requisite in the master. It should be his aim to arrive at that measure of balanced development which will enable him to adjust to and handle successfully every type of student that comes under his supervision. He will insist in himself upon a careful blending of the mystic aspect of devotion and contemplation and the occult aspect of will and sound thinking, thereby demonstrating an ability of responsiveness to types in nature either mystical or occult, or manifesting both in the process of evolution.
A student should receive a powerful impression of adequacy in a master; not that of imperious authority, but a sound and solid sensibleness which imparts a feeling of reliable strength, assurance of understanding and instant response. This feeling of implicit confidence will perhaps only be present in its fullness where the master is in advance of the student in evolution. It is not desired to demand too much of those who feel the call to this particular service and who feel difficulty and responsibility in assuming the task, in addition to the exigencies of their own development. The question of relative development and reciprocal response, however, stands upon an entirely different footing from that of teacher and pupil in a school or university. Authority there in the majority of branches of learning rests almost exclusively upon superiority of mental content derived from the accumulation of facts well digested and memorized, and clearness and facility of statement. The preceptor himself may not, often does not, count for much; his personal influence may be negligible if he is no larger than his reading. But in the case of a master, the authority should be almost the reverse of this. It is soul capacity that will have true and lasting influence upon the soul aspect of the student. This admits of neither argument nor requires demonstration. I believe it to be true that very few of those who supervise in any school of occultism possess the distinctive capacity of soul responsiveness, the height and the breadth, and the fine and penetrative understanding to deal at will with practically any type of student, even with students of various degrees below their own range of response. This is a statement not calculated to deter, but rather to inspire a master to take the largest possible view of his calling and make every effort to equip himself for his office through specialized study and research.
It may be objected that ideal men cannot be waited for, the material at hand must be used. This is so. It is practical common sense and true in any line of endeavor, yet must receive some modification in connection with the highly responsible task of working with others. And while it rests with the Council of the Order in deputing responsible officers as supervisors at a distance, the main burden of the responsibility in this matter lies with the students themselves assembled in any particular locality in making an unanimous choice of one among them who has manifest qualifications for the position of authority. It is then that the Council ratifies the choice made both on the ground of the proclaimed approval and from its personal knowledge of the one proposed. Hence the importance in a lodge of making a careful selection on the basis of adequate and intrinsic merit. That only should justify the choice of a master, not in any case zeal for personal advancement, or to be considered of value and prestige in the Order.
A choice made under any such consideration would be likely to maintain a master in a position of authority in which he would be naturally indisposed to disburden himself of any really too exacting task entrusted to him, with the inevitable result that there would be inadequate dealing with present problems of the students under his charge.
Moreover, in this connection a matter of considerable importance emerges. A student breaking new ground can be very exacting in his demands, according to type. Some of an inquisitive and ingenious nature have the ability of presenting a particular problem that searches the depths of experience. That is not to be trifled with, neither ignored, nor yet does it call for lengthy examination from the master. But the indispensable requirement is, that deep should answer deep, or the opportunity has passed. In submitting these remarks I have in mind the highest interest of the student, the creditable discharge of lodge activities, and the allocation of responsible authority to those only who have given undoubted proof of capacity for leadership and disinterested devotion to the august ideals of the Order.
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