Freedom Without Responsibility
The Master follows the praise with some criticism:
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Rev 2:4-5
Scholars are somewhat mystified as to what was the “first love” of the church at Ephesus. Some think that it was the original enthusiasm, brotherhood or ideals of the members that just wore off and they were being admonished to get themselves recharged.
A closer examination will reveal that this was not the problem. To understand what the first love is we need to return to the key word which is “permission.”
As written earlier, the first real step toward enlightenment and movement on the path occur when the seeker gives himself permission to follow his internal authority rather than the outward. To discover the first love we must ask ourselves what the seeker was attracted to that caused him to take the steps to find the path in the first place – before he followed his internal self. In other words, what virtue did he have before he was enlightened that made him move toward Spirit to begin with?
The answer leads us to his first love.
Before he was ruled by internal permission, his life was governed by external authorities who gave him permission. These external authorities were seen as representing the voice of God. As such, the seeker took these outer commands and instructions very seriously. He felt that if he disobeyed the prophet, priest, guru or book it was the same thing as disobeying God. He was thus very assiduous about honoring that voice and being a good servant for God, as he understood the concept. This was his first love.
Then, at the start of his new journey, he discovered that the authorities representing the voice of God knew no more about the truth than he did – that his internal voice was what he needed to follow.
The problem is that there are two internal voices. One is the voice of the Spirit and the other is the voice of the lower self, expressing lower desire. When the seeker first begins his journey on the path it is true that he does indeed contact the real voice, but neither is he perfect nor has he overcome selfishness. The lower voice is much easier to hear and requires no meditation or concentration of attention to get its message. Thus, when the aspirant begins his spiritual journey, he hears the lower voice much more than he hears the higher.
In the past he had some protection from following the lower nature because he followed his “first love,” his teachers and the voice of God they represented. Despite their faults, these outer authorities admonished him to exercise self-control over his passions and lower nature. They encouraged him to have self-discipline.
When the seeker discovers his inner authority and gives himself permission to ignore the outer, he (for a period of time) goes from one extreme to the other. He goes from obeying every external word that seems to come from God to ignoring all he has learned in the past.
What does he do now? Now that he has released himself from outer authority, he follows the inner, but the trouble is that the spiritual voice does not lay down the law in detail, as did the outer. If he has a decision to make and does not receive clear instruction from the Spirit, he falls back on lower desire. When he makes this mistake he is left with a choice between lower desire and outer authorities… BUT he has rejected outer authorities, so in all areas where he has no clear communication through the soul (or perhaps ignores that communication), he is left with following lower desire.
The net effect of this situation can be summarized as follows:
(1) The seeker makes the breakthrough and clearly hears and follows the still small voice.
(2) He releases himself from the bondage of outer authorities.
(3) He feels free and this freedom seems to be what enlightenment is all about. He now goes overboard and follows every desire that comes to him, ignoring the discipline he learned in the past.
This explains a popular criticism that many who consider themselves “enlightened” receive from the rank-and-file religious people. With some justification they will accuse them of being carnal, undisciplined, licentious, rebellious, etc. The seeker will often laugh such criticism off as being somewhat primitive and unenlightened, and continue to follow any impulse that feels good to him. This takes him away from the soul for a period of time. He will find that he will need a wake-up call from the Master’s voice to set him back on track.
In a moment of sanity, when he sees that the lower impulses lead to disaster after disaster, he hears the higher voice:
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
Upon hearing this message he realizes that he has discarded many principles from his past that harmonize with the voice of the Spirit. He has merely used his new freedom as an excuse to follow his lower nature. He sees that if he continues on the current course he will lose contact with the true inner voice and the light (candlestick) will no longer shine within. He must “repent,” or change course. He must honor those things from the past which were good and lead him toward Spirit, and follow the voice of the soul to yet higher realms of understanding.
A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the *Pierian Spring Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744)
*Pierian Spring 1. Greek Mythology. A spring in Macedonia, sacred to the Muses. 2. A source of inspiration.
Dec 28, 2006
JJ’s Amazon page HERE
Check out JJ’s Facebook Group HERE
Follow JJ on Twitter @JosephJDewey HERE
Check out JJ’s videos on TikTok HERE