Consider the possibility that we are what we believe, that our thoughts shape our destiny, that our actions reflect our consciousness. If we attend to its ritual and teachings, Masonry, in its most profound sense, impinges deeply upon the Mason's beliefs, his thinking, his consciousness, moving him from darkness to light, from self-serving to serving something other than himself, thereby freeing him from his lower self so he may give expression to his higher and nobler self.
The Entered Apprentice is told that he is raising a superstructure, perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder. Imagine that the superstructure being built is a good life, one that is wholesome and honourable to the builder. In a less obvious sense, however, the superstructure being raised is in reality the Mason's own consciousness.
Masonic ritual continually urges its Brethren to get the knowledge they need to accomplish the task of living a good life. Masons are counselled to study, to work, to serve. Prayer, labour, refreshment and sleep are to be one's constant occupations if one would seriously become a builder. Masonry means other things to some people. For some, Masonry may be simply a vehicle for self-aggrandizement and personal gratification. Whatever one's motives for membership in the Order, the reality is far more.
The "work" urges the Mason to raise his sights, to correct his thinking where necessary, to get accurate knowledge, not knowledge that consists simply of opinion or knowledge that is self-justifying; not knowledge that comes from rumour, gossip and hearsay, but accurate and true knowledge, knowledge that comes from disciplined observation, reason, and honest reflection. Moreover, he is admonished always to put his knowledge to the test by applying it in all his undertakings and to persevere in that process. Finally, he are reminded that in all his getting to strive for wisdom, the greatest of all human aspirations and possessions.
One of the landmarks of the Order is the idea of craftmanship. This is what makes Masonry unique among all orders and societies. Craftsmen were and still are the builders, the shapers of civilization. The mark of a civilized man is that he is a craftsman, that he has acquired some skill, some discipline which he can apply to cultivating a nobler self and a better society for all.
When an Entered Apprentice is made a Fellowcraft, he is being advanced not only in his Masonic standing, but in his Masonic knowledge. Somehow, through the practice of the ancient ritual, ideas are portrayed which are supposed to have the power to reach deep within the personality, fire the imagination and enkindle in the soul the desire to advance in consciousness, in inner awareness and enlightenment.