Brother Bob

December 10, 2014

Bobs have always been quite important in my life...I don't know why. As a young man, my two main Bobs were Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. They both inspired me in different ways and, as is often the way, I realise that their songs and, in some respects, their lives gave shape to my own. When I was at College and making music in a band for the first time, the most popular song I wrote was called, 'Brother Bob' and was written in the wake of Bob Marley's untimely death.

But this Summer (it seems strange to be writing this when mid-winter is almost upon us) I met another Bob and he may yet prove to be a significant and important part of my life....I believe he will...

It happened like this: I'd gone into 'Labyrinth Books' on Glastonbury High Street to have a mooch around and while I was there I couldn't help noticing that they had a small but very interesting selection of Masonic books (including a very rare book on the 'Greek origins of Freemasonry' which was selling at around £100...out of my price range, unfortunately...) I got chatting to the owner and introduced myself as a masonic author and wondered if she'd be interested in stocking my books. The answer was, 'Yes,' she would, but not now as she was a bit short of cash. Could I try her in a month? During the course of our conversation, it came out the building that housed the bookshop was owned by the local Lodge which met upstairs... Before I left, I went to try to find the entrance to the Lodge and came up against a locked blue door in the courtyard round the back but there was no way in and no-one at home...

I went back a few weeks later (we seemed to be doing a lot of stopping off in Glastonbury this summer) and the bookshop owner bought four books from me, two of each. A couple of weeks later we were back again and I casually strolled in to see if any of my books had sold. They hadn't as it happened but I didn't have time to be disappointed because I was distracted by a conversation between the shop owner and a man with an American accent who was obviously asking about the Lodge rooms and how he could get to see them. The shop owner explained where the entrance was but was also clear that there would be no-one there. The man decided to go round and have a look and, thanking her for her help, he left. I watched him through the window as he turned down the alleyway which led to the courtyard and, in one of those significant moments upon which, later, so much comes to depend, I made the decision to follow him and say hi. He was obviously a Mason or at least interested in Masonry and he seemed friendly, but even so, accosting strangers is not something I usually do...but I did it now...

I found him outside the blue door and I introduced myself. He was a Freemason as it turned out...the Junior Deacon of King David's Lodge No. 209 meeting in San Luis Obispo, California.

We chatted for a while and he ended up buying copies of my books, which was, of course very gratifying. But what was more gratifying was how easily the talk flowed between us; how much we had in common (even more than we realised then, as it turns out.) Obviously ,we talked about Masonry, we talked about Glastonbury and the Lodge rooms neither of us had been able to see, about ourselves and then, with the sense that we could easily have carried on talking endlessly, we had to part: he to meet his wife Melanie and me to meet Jo further up the High Street. Before he left, he asked for a photo of me holding a book in front of the door...

And that could have been that. I could have been left with a pleasant memory of a chance encounter and that would have been fine. But Bob left me his card and I looked him up when I got the chance and found that we had more in common that Freemasonry. If fact, I suspect that for both of us, Freemasonry just is one of the ways we have chosen to express the wider and deeper spiritual realities of our lives.

Bob is also a writer (type a search for Robert Sachs into Amazon...the list and scope of his work is impressive to say the least,) an Ayurvedic Practitioner, a Hospice Worker, Teacher and much more besides. He and Melanie run their own Ayurvedic Practice, 'Diamond Way Ayurveda' - www.diamondwayayurveda.com - which offers classes, treatments and related products. His latest book, 'The Ecology of Oneness' is in the early stages of preparation for release and I am, at the moment, reading a sneak preview...

I could go on: we have so many interests in common; so many shared aspirations... We have kept in touch and, from that short, 10 minute encounter in Glastonbury, we have begun to create the foundations of what may prove to be deep, meaningful and joyful friendship. Already, we have found ways of communicating deeply; when he was troubled, I felt it and we have both sensed a deep bond and reassuring trust between us. We've even provisionally fixed times when we will meet again, first in California and then in Portugal...he's even interested in our project there, www.valedaslobas.com .

So what's the point of all this? Am I just writing about a chance encounter and a new-made friend? Well...yes and no...

I guess one of things this taught - or, more accurately, reminded - me was that 'chance' encounters are often so much more than mere chance (Bob used the Buddhist phrase, 'auspicious coincidence.') When we have set our feet on a path of consciousness we must try to be open to the places, people and events that our 'consciousness' leads us to. Masonry is not an idle pursuit unless it is pursued idly and it can and will lead us to opportunities, not only for fraternal delight, but also for self-growth and the establishment and deepening of relationships and insights that really matter to our inner and higher selves. We must be on the alert for them, always...

So I am thankful for that 'chance' encounter and for the intuition that made me follow Bob out to that blue door...

And the other point that I'd like to make is that, at the height of summer, at the height of the tourist season, why couldn't that blue door have been open? But that's something I'll explore next time as it involves not only the frustration of the blue door but a trip to Wells Cathedral...and beyond...

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