My guest writer is Fred Sparks, my fellow Massachusetts-ite, Sufi seeker, and T'ai-Chi practitioner. Thank you Fred for your beautiful words and wonderful insights.-R.H.
(Demo, Lexington MA. 1979)
There once was a young man who
needed guidance and hope. He was raised in a place and time where such things
were sparse, and like most young men of his town, his future was in jeopardy.
Young men either went to college or joined the military, or faced
a future of trade or factory work, or crime and institutions. Most ended up in
the latter. He could have become anything he set his mind to but he did not
know that. But some else did.
his own interests in martial arts, perseverance, and chance- at a young and
impressionable age- he met Master Liang, a man who would change the course of
his life, and through him, countless others. Master Liang saw the good in him
and the potential. As was his traditional proven ways and life experiences, he
did not make it easy for the young man, nor did he do it for free, but he did
it none the less. The old master had his own secret agenda hidden in the best
hiding place of all; right out in the open. His own art and life would never be
complete without it. He had to help someone. He had to make a difference in a
stranger's life. He believed in the power of transformation and possibility.
And he had a vehicle by which to do it, his art of Tai Chi Ch'uan.
(Master Liang, Alex, and Ray Hayward, St Cloud MN, 1988)
over a period of time, the Master's wisdom and vision proved true. Through his
patience, skill and wisdom, and the effort, determination and perseverance of
the young man, the dream came true, the "imagination became reality".
The work was not in vain. The young man grew, and grew, and grew.
the Master's teachings were not ordinary teachings. They could not be obtained
by a signature or through a fee. They would continue to change and aid the
young man throughout his whole life. They held an enormous power. Arguably the
most powerful thing in our human experience.
power, this transformation, and the epitome of the Master's art is hidden out
in the open, recorded here in this one simple photograph, for all the world to
see. That power is love. And his work of art is you. May God's peace, blessing
and strength be with you and everyone life you touch. Namaste.
I have had the great good fortune to have had many teachers, mentors, and masters in my life.In my pursuits of Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, Alchemy, Rosslyn Chapel, Scottish history, and life, Joe Lang stands as one of my closest masters and teachers, as well as being my brother and friend, my pal.
(Joe, me and Todd J. at the Apprentice Pillar in Rosslyn Chapel, 2004.)
Joe is not only a teacher, historian and poet, he is a blacksmith, carpenter, and stonemason. Having spent a lot of his life in Roslin village, he learned these trades in the old master/apprentice tradition. Joe also worked building power-plants and setting up power lines. He had a job offer in Australia, to help build new power plants and update old ones.As his wife was finishing the last of the packing, Joe told Ruby he needed to take one more walk through the glen, around the castle, and have a last look at the chapel. When he returned, he saw Ruby un-packing! He said "You know me better than I do myself. You knew I couldn't leave!."
(Joe and the love of his life, Ruby. I drank scotch and lemonade with Ruby as we ate pancakes.)
I got to tour Rosslyn Chapel with Joe many times, and he took me to visit lodges and go on various adventures around Edinburgh. We also went many times to Temple, known as Balantrodoch, to visit the old Templar site and see Masonic gravestones. Joe encouraged me to walk the old Templar road behind the stone wall that is now mostly overgrown.
( Meeting Joe at Roslin to work on his book of poems, 2007.)
Joe recited this poem for Todd and I in the Glen, we all shed tears and it is one of the best memories of my life;
In Rosslyn's Glen
When the licht i' the lift gauns aa stottery,
Braw Rosslyn's Glen wad be nae-mair.
Then aa the warld wad quit its rotary an aa wad dee.
Then aa thing wad be turned tae stoor
And time wad birl into its langest hoor,
Ner wad we sit in yon flowery-bower again,
In Rosslyn's Glen.
The Esk wad gie ower its sweet churmurmin'
And cannie-nannies stop their burmerin'
Then stoot castle waa's wad aa be tummilin'
Oot ower the kingfisher's nest.
Then hind and stag wad freeze until bleck bleck naethin'
Braw leaves on trees wad never be.
Then I wad greet ayont eternity,
For Rosslyn's Glen