“Do not come to us holding heathen gods in your heart, even though they are within a hidden and closed recess. Purge yourselves of all false beliefs outside the gate.
“Here, all are to practice the way to full soul realization in common Here, truth will bind one with the other. Humility, modesty and justice will govern our lives. There is to be no straying of heart and eye towards improper and unworthy things. Every man is to command or obey according to his rank.
“If anyone is found to have lied upon admittance, … amends are to be made by labor. … If anyone lie with intent to deceive, or if injury or sorrow be caused to another, amends will be made by labor. …
“If anyone defame another behind his back, he is to make amends by labor.” ~The Kolbrin Bible (SOF:20:24-29)
This line has both a literal meaning and an allegorical one. Spiritual students are being advised to not worship false gods. But allegorically, it means that you must free yourself of all false beliefs, spiritual or not. If you cling to old beliefs, you can’t accept new ones.
You might ask, “How do I know which beliefs are false?”. In many cases, you can’t. At least not until you have truly awakened your spirit and soul. What you can do is be open-minded and accept that many things you were taught, and believed all your life, are simply not true. Some are exaggerations. Others are confused versions of the truth. Some are complete fantasies. They cannot be replaced with truth until we accept that they may be false. As Oriental teachers say, you must empty your cup before it can be refilled.
Practice the Way
These instructions are obviously intended for someone joining a spiritual community. We don’t know which community, but it does seem like it could be Essene or Pythagorean. In any case, it seems to be a real spiritual community rather than some religious cult.
So new students are advised that in this community, all must follow “the way”. Not occasionally, but every day. Not for a few minutes in the morning, but all day long. But what is “the way”? We can say it is anything that moves you forward on your path to complete spiritual enlightenment. It could be learning humility. This was often accomplished is such communities by giving the new students menial tasks to perform. It means developing an open mind. This might be done by showing the student that a long-held belief is false. Most of all, the student must take in energy to completely energize his energy centers. This would have been done in most such communities by watching the sunrise in a special way that helps one take in spiritual light more than physical light.
Amends by Labor
While residing in this community, all were expected to follow the rules of the order. This is important, because there is such a thing as a community vibration. In a sense, a community karma. If one person is engaging in very low-frequency activities and thoughts, that brings down the overall frequency of the community.
I have read that in some such communities, a student might actually be put to death for violating the rules. I find that hard to believe. Spiritual people don’t put others to death. Those tales were probably written by their enemies. And sadly, the ancient spiritual schools and communities had enemies. Usually governments, established religions, or both.
In any case, it seems this community was more gentle in their punishment. The punishment for lying, failing to obey an elder, or insulting other members of the community was labor. Obviously, this would mean labor above and beyond the tasks that were ordinarily assigned to them. Hard labor like digging ditches. Or undesirable tasks like cleaning out a stable. If you think about it, you will realize that this wasn’t actually punishment at all. The student either had never truly developed humility, or had somehow lost it. He was now being given those undesirable task again to help him redevelop his humility. Not really punishment, but rehabilitation. We fall back, but we get up and start following the way again with the help of our spiritual community.
Full Soul Realization
What this means varies depending on who you talk to. In fact most say it can’t truly be described in words because words are created to describe the physical world and are inadequate to describe the spiritual. One thing we can say for sure is that the first step to full soul realization is to awaken the spirit and soul. We do that using the light of the spiritual sun. By practicing age-old techniques while watching the sunrise, we take in that spiritual light and let it do its job. Once awakened, the soul knows where to go from there.