Thoughts on Soul Ascension: 17 September 2013

The news media has reported that one benefit from the devastating hurricane that struck the New England coast was an abundance of sea glass washed up on the beaches, much to the delight of those beachcombers who collect such debris.  Not being someone familiar with the ocean and its beaches—having spent my entire life living in the heartland—I referred to the ‘net to enlighten myself as to what sea glass was.  I read that what is referred to as sea glass is glass that has been discarded into the ocean or a body of water such as a lake.  Pieces of glass from broken bottles, broken tableware or even glass from shipwrecks are rolled and tumbled in the natural movement of waves and currents against the sand and rocks along the floor of the ocean for years until all of their sharp edges are rounded off.  Storms such as the one that destroyed much of the coast of the North East typically pick up such bottom debris and deposit it on the beaches where collectors gratefully pick it up so as to sell or re-purpose the glass into jewelry or other works of art.

I was reading a Kindle book that used the analogy of souls being as broken shards of glass awash in the sea of life.  Eventually the sharp and rough edges of the broken glass are worn away by the sands of time and the end result is not unlike a beautiful emerald, ruby, or other precious gem.  I reflected how similar this analogy was to the Masonic thought of the rough ashlar.

Wikipedia defines ashlar as:

Ashlar is finely dressed (cut, worked) masonry, either an individual stone that has been worked until squared or the masonry built of such stone. Ashlar is the finest stone masonry unit, generally cuboid or less frequently trapezoidal. Precisely cut “on all faces adjacent to those of other stones”, ashlar is capable of very thin joints between blocks, and the visible face of the stone may feature a variety of decorative treatments from quarry faced to tooled to smoothly polished.{1}

The allegory of the rough ashlar being worked and tooled by masons into a perfect stone fit for use in the construction of King Solomon’s temple, is used to illustrate to initiates that they can be reshaped to perfection, fit to be one of a greater whole; a perfect stone fit for use in the construction of God’s heavenly temple.

Obviously the principle differences in these two analogies is that with sea glass, it is the hand of God that reshapes the rough and broken edges of the glass into perfect gems, while the Masonic analogy tends to leave some with the idea that by following the Masonic teaching one can make himself into the perfect stone for Gods Temple; without the assistance of God or the Christian faith.

The metaphorical description of souls being as glass, discarded into the ocean, or lost in the sea after a shipwreck, and then the sharp, jagged, and broken edges of that glass being rounded and smoothed by the hand of God, only to be washed ashore by a storm, is like the analogy Jesus used of being “born again.”  A term associated with Christianity which means to undergo a “spiritual rebirth” regeneration of the human soul or spirit and is generally thought to derive from the book of John, chapter three, verse three, in which Christ is quoted as saying; “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” {2} Which by any rational interpretation means that one must begin anew, shed the old, leave the past life and its selfishness behind and place one’s self in the hand  and  will of God.  This process of being born again is referred to by some as “soul ascension” or spiritual transformation into a being acceptable to God.  Just as Jesus told the woman who had been brought before him accused of adultery—a crime punishable by death in those days—(he said) “…go and sin no more.” {3} “Soul Ascension” therefore becomes a process of rebirth, learning to shed the old and begin anew, a process of transformation, accomplished through prayer, contemplation, and study of God’s holy word; all of which gives one the knowledge to recognize the daily acts that renders one’s soul (metaphorically speaking) as broken glass, irregularly shaped with sharp and jagged edges.  This process of transformation gives one the ability to turn from a path of evil and selfishness subject to the lesser ego that leads to darkness and oblivion,  to a path that inculcates selflessness and the ascension to the light and glory of God.

{1} http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashlar

{2} http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3%3A3&version=NIV

{3} http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8%3A11&version=KJV

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