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The Sun At Its Meridian

08 March 24

Rooted in the practices of our Operative ancestors, this saying carries an important lesson for our modern lives, even if our workdays no longer align with the sunrise and sunset.


One phrase that captures one commonly overlooked aspects of Masonic Wisdom is "To mark the Sun at its meridian". Rooted in the practices of our Operative ancestors, this saying carries an important lesson for our modern lives, even if our workdays no longer align with the sunrise and sunset.

Marking the Sun at its meridian refers to observing the Sun when it reaches its highest point in the sky, typically around noon. This phrase embodies more than a celestial event; it represents a break in labour, a pause from work to rejuvenate.

The word "meridian" originates from the Latin 'meridianus', implying 'of midday.' This term, in turn, is derived from 'meridies', meaning 'midday' or 'south'. Hence, the Sun at its meridian signifies the time of day when the Sun is at its peak, marking the middle of the day—a transition point calling for a restful interlude.

We've all experienced those moments of intense stress and exhaustion in the midst of a heavy workload, in the heated climax of a negotiation, or during a critical phase of a project. This "pain" we feel is akin to the harsh midday Sun, burning at its peak. And in that moment, what we often forget is to take a breather, to allow ourselves some reprieve.

However, the wisdom from this Masonic practice draws our attention to the importance of "marking the Sun at its meridian." This means recognising the most strenuous part of the day or task, and ensuring we allocate time to rest and refresh ourselves. It's about creating an equilibrium between exertion and relaxation.

Ignoring the call for refreshment at the "meridian" of our work can lead to a multitude of negative consequences:

  1. Decreased Productivity:
    Continuous labour without rest can lead to physical and mental fatigue, reducing work quality and overall productivity.
  2. Increased Mistakes:
    Exhaustion often paves the way for errors, leading to substandard results and extra work to rectify them.
  3. Burnout:
    Persistently working without respite can cause burnout—a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, inducing negative attitudes toward work and a decline in accomplishment.
  4. Health Implications:
    Long spells of stress without relief can precipitate physical ailments like headaches, digestive troubles, sleep issues, and more severe conditions like heart disease.
  5. Impaired Decision-Making:
    Sustained pressure can cloud judgment, leading to hasty or ineffective decisions.
  6. Diminished Creativity:
    Constant work without breaks can stifle creative thinking and problem-solving abilities, impacting the overall quality of work.

The pressure of continuous work often prompts us to plow through, ignoring our mental and physical needs. This is a common enemy of efficiency and balance, as it suppresses the importance of rest and reflection in favour of relentless labour.

How can we incorporate this wisdom of 'marking the Sun at its meridian' in our lives? Here are some steps:

  1. Schedule Regular Breaks:
    Ensure to carve out breaks during your workday, particularly during high-intensity periods. Use this time to relax and detach from work-related tasks.
  2. Engage in Relaxing Activities:
    Spend your break doing something you enjoy, which could be a short walk, meditating, reading, or even listening to music.
  3. Prioritise Well-being:
    Make time for exercise, adequate sleep, and balanced meals. Physical health significantly impacts mental well-being and work efficiency.
  4. Reflect:
    Use break periods to reflect on the task at hand. This can often lead to fresh perspectives and improved strategies.
  5. Understand Your Limits:
    Recognise that it's impossible to maintain peak productivity without regular periods of rest. Give yourself permission to take breaks without feeling guilty.

In conclusion, the Sun at its meridian represents more than a celestial event. It signifies the importance of a balanced lifestyle, of regular periods of rest amid periods of labour.

The wisdom behind this phrase is a reminder of our need to pace ourselves, to allow time for rejuvenation and contemplation amidst our work. Just as the sun reaches its peak and then descends, we should remember that a pause at our 'meridian' is not a halt but a necessary point of transition—a key to enhanced productivity, better health, and an overall balanced life.

This article was re-published from Daily Masonic Progress and written by RW Bro Darren Allatt. Link:


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