Day six already! Nowhere glamourous today, the laundromat!

I was keen to get to this little book (Belief and Brotherhood), more of an essay really. Explaining the fundamental basis for why Freemasonry and Christianity (specifically) are indeed compatible. The who premise of the book was to rebut an old anti-freemasonry book titled “Darkness Visible” which set out the argument that Freemasonry, in general, isn’t compatible with Christianity based on a series of assumptions and narrow interpretations as seen through a biased lens.

As someone who was raised in the Roman Catholic faith (not one now, too many naughty clergies, not enough accountabilities) I did have that niggling question in the back of my mind about it. I knew in my soul that there is nothing incompatible between the two but after reading Belief and Brotherhood I was reassured of not only its compatibility but the reassurance that I made the right choice to join as I have loved the whole experience.

The author step by step explains the meaning behind the rituals and how a man of faith can indeed be a Freemason at the same time. A really good read for anyone who is struggling with this.

Till next time gadget!

Boynedale Bush Camp

It’s now the afternoon of day three of my trip where I find myself situated at a new campsite (Petrie Park QLD) and to my surprise, I have embarked on my second book already. Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges by Charles B. Jameux.

I didn’t know what to make of this book at first. Was it going to teach me memory palace techniques? perhaps it would enlighten me on how to improve my skills in memorizing long rituals that must be learned and delivered verbatim in open lodge. Meaning, while everyone watches! or what?

In the end, the book was more about the memory palace techniques throughout history that had a large influence on Freemasons since time immemorial. It talked about how the use of memory had been almost a spiritual endeavour and mastering one’s memory helped one achieve the highest echelons available to them.

All in all, this book was a good read for someone looking to know about the importance of memory in one’s life and how it was seen by masters in the past to get further enlightenment.

Petrie Park

Petrie Park was a nice little spot except for the 40-degree (c) days and the potential for crocs. When I was there (two days and nights) a young family was living out of their cars, now there is nothing wrong with people’s choices if that’s what they choose, I just hope it was what they chose and not life throwing them a curve ball. I engaged as little and as much as they wanted, never imposing myself, but not being presumptuous at the same time. The inner saviour wanted to help where I could but it also didn’t seem welcomed either. I guess all one can do is be present to those around us and help within the length of our cable-toe (within our own means).

Now, all I need to do now is figure out where I am going next!

Well, it’s day Two of my adventures and when I arrived yesterday lunchtime at this awesome little campsite (Little Yabba Park, Cambroon, QLD) I immediately unplugged from the world. Not by choice mind you, as there is ZERO phone signal here and for which anyone who knows me will attest that’s akin to my leg being ripped off, that said, I have just completed book one… already… wowsers.

Oh when I say there is no phone signal here I mean zip, nothing, I even have a Cell-fi GO phone booster and I have nothing. That’s Australia’s phone service for ya šŸ˜›

Anyway, back to the book, On Being Nice by the School of Life. I found the book interesting, a little on the basic side, almost like it was written for someone with no emotional intelligence. I had hoped that when I saw it I would glean some magical insight into how to be a better person, what I got was a series of how-to’s for a beginner and while I think the lessons put forward by the authors are fantastic for anyone starting out being nice. For someone a little further down the line this was a little too elementary for me. At least I think I am.

“What I am lacking is the finer nuances of giving a fuck”

Little Yabba Creek

For the most part I am already practising these principles, what I am lacking is the finer nuances of giving a fuck. I mean that seriously, I just don’t care about hurting one’s feelings, I don’t go out and deliberately do so, but I live by the notion ‘that you do you’ and as long as we don’t attempt to harm others we’ll all just get along just fine.

I wonder if we all just took care of our own needs, wants and desires, then surely part of that would be not to harm nor be harmed by anyone else; would this make for a better world? The supply your own mask first mentality. Sure, charity and love for the well-being of another are of great importance, but if you think about it, if we’re all a little nicer to each other, and furthermore to this planet, would we have such a need? would world poverty, the widening gap between the haves and have not be so large? Never in my life have I seen how big that gap is than during the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus affected the whole world in one way or another, albeit through sickness, death, economic loss or some other impact.

My wife and I bought the bookshop right in the middle of the first year of Covid-19 when the world was starting to realise the enormity of what was going on. This was a big risk sure, but we had a plan, we executed that plan, and somehow, we came out the other side a little better than we went in. During this time, I personally saw the fiscal disparity in the wider community, while some lost their jobs and could no longer buy books (they went to the library instead) others were out there in their expensive cars on road trips to the hinterland spending big bucks like they were trying to dispose of it as fast as they could. Like spending $900 on a book kinda spending.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am super appreciative of this buyer, however, it was not lost on me how some seemed to have thrived while others did not. What I am trying to say is if we spend more time making sure everyone has enough, we’ll all have enough or as Tamlyn Tomita said more eloquently “If I am more fortunate than others I need to build a longer table, not a taller fence.”

All in all, this book did remind me that I have a long way to go myself at being nicer to people, I need to practice my convictions, not just state them, and develop the kind of person I really want to be. In short, a better man.

For the past three years, Harper and I owned a little bookshop in Maleny QLD. Where I worked I should say slaved away seven days a week making sure I served every customer just like my hero Bernard from Black Books so graciously did (he he he), however, enough of that, as of the 1st December 2022 we sold it to a lovely lady whom we trust will take this beautiful little place and make it her own.

So for the month of December, I essentially took that time off to spend time with my bride and to prepare for a solo journey of self-discovery, reading, writing, and maybe growing a little too. Despite owning a bookshop, I am a relatively slow reader, especially if you compare myself to Harper who can read a book a day, I’m more like a book a week at best.

Knowing this, I selected six books I really wanted to read during January…

  1. On Being Nice: A Guide to Friendship and Connection by The School of Life
  2. Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges: Esoteric Secrets of the Art of Memory by Charles B. Jameux
  3. The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati edited by Josef Wages and Reinhard Markner

Proposed Journey

4. Belief and Brotherhood by Revd Neville Barker Cryer

5. The Hermetic Art of Memory: A Compendium of The Shadow of Reason and Judgement & Thamus – The Virtue of Memory by Alexander Dicsone

6. The Practicing Stoic by Ward Farnsworth

There are so many books I could have chosen, however, I chose these for specific reasons, some are to try to be a better person, although I’m not convinced I really want to be, just being honest. Some are to develop my skills in memory so I can be better at discharging my duties within the lodge and some are for general interest.

It may sound odd to you perhaps that the slogan of Freemasonry is “Making good men better” yet I just stated that I am not sure I want to be a better person, I am what would be called by Myers Briggs (INFP) an introverted extrovert as I am on the extroverted side of the pendulum. If I were on the introvert side, I’d be an extroverted introvert, the dominant for me is the extrovert. INFP personality types make up for only about 5% of the world’s population, so we’re kinda rare (and thus can be annoying, I get the feeling people find me so anyway).

For the most part, I don’t care because I like myself, who I am, and what I stand for. Some areas I know I absolutely suck at, for eg: I am conscientious to the point of occasionally displaying a messiah complex, I love helping people, yet I never volunteer for things, and I am very insular when it comes to community service. Philanthropic adventures, yes, If you ask me for money, my car, shirt off my back, or anything really, I am all in, but raising money at the local Bunnings for some cause, count me out baby. Perhaps one could say that I’d hand over anything I possess, but not my time, as my time is my most precious possession, and if we’re being real, I have no idea how much of it I actually have.

Anyway, that’s what I think. So I guess you’re thinking also what thought just came into my head, maybe I need to learn to be generous with my time, then I am truly giving. Meh, let’s get back to the books.

As I finish a book, I will write what I learned from it, but also where I read it and maybe how I am travelling.

I look forward to this journey, although I am not keen on the weather forecast, some days are predicted to be nearly 40 degrees Celsius. blah!