I honestly don’t know what to make of it, except that it’s a very different perspective on creation and consciousness than I’ve ever encountered before.
THE FIRST DISCIPLINE
The first discipline is concerned with the willful and formalized departure of god from absolute reality into relative being. Absolute reality cannot be discussed or described in any words or conceived in terms of any other reality, for words and concepts are all relative and finite; but it can be known, of itself, absolutely. This absolute omniscience is alike in god, and man, and the worm.
The nearest approximation of this, which Western man comprehends when expressed in words, is the knowledge that nothingness I and infinity are one absolute reality, differing only by an assumption of being. All awareness is predicated on the assumption that absolute reality can be factored. This is not an absolute truth; it is an assumption of being. It begins as an uncontrolled pulse of assumption, vacillating between nothingness and infinity. The first discipline is god’s formalization of his choice of finite being. This choice can be known, for it permeates all being. The willed “I am,” injected into the reality that everything and nothing are different aspects of one absolute, creates an awareness of being.
The side of the pulse which says “I am” is pleasurable awareness, and the side which says “I am not” is painful awareness. “I feel and know, therefore I am.” Pleasure. “What am I? Nothing:’ Pain. “But I feel joy when I conceive being. If I feel, I am something. Even the pain I feel at the thought that I am nothing is an awareness which convinces me that I am.” Pleasure. “All illusion.
All this is sophistry without reality.” Pain. “But to create what was not, even though only an illusion, is something.” Pleasure. Such thoughts are familiar to all of us. Such are the thoughts of god before the beginning. Except as decreed by self-discipline there is no beginning, no end, and only one consciousness. God and self are separated into different perspectives only by discipline. The pulse of infinity and nothingness, the two perspectives of one reality, is the pattern concept upon which all creation rests.
In it are potential consciousness, potential thought, and all potential awareness. Joy of being is the prime mover of creation: the perspective of consciousness that perceives “I am” and finds joy in that perception. What is the awareness by which “I am” perceives “I am”? What is the color, or taste, or touch, or feel of this basic awareness? Is “I am” light or darkness? Is it sound or silence? Is it hot or cold? Is it sweet or bitter to the taste? Is it form to the touch, or formless to the touch like the faint fragrant breezes before the morning’s awakening? The perception of “I am” is none of these, but all of these. The basic awareness of being bears roughly the same relation to man’s sensations as the first one-celled ancestor in the primordial ooze bears to all organic life.
It is the undeveloped essence and the grandfather of all sensations. We can rationalize the existence of this basic awareness but perhaps the worm, and surely the one-celled glob of green scum floating in the ooze, can still remember. The memory is also in us if we dare awaken it. Many times man has brought this remembered knowledge to consciousness and written down the thought in words with great art of expression, but others have seen only what the words said in the language of a people, and not the reality indicated by the art of the perceiver.
A perceiver wrote of the first discipline of creation: “In the beginning God said ‘Let there be light’ and there was light and God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. And it was the morning and the evening of the first day:’ But the unperceiving, reading the words said, “God is light and a power of evil dwells in the darkness.” Or they thought that god was a mighty magician who could speak and have the universe appear full-blown from out of nothing. So the art of the perceiver became, not an aid, but a stumbling block to understanding.
Another perceiver translated the basic awareness into terms of heat and cold, and said, of the first discipline, “In the beginning was the unknowable, and of himself, he made two opposing forces, the frost and fire gods.” But the unperceiving said “There is but one God.” And the cry, “One God,” became the shibboleth for a mob, and a war cry for destroying all who would not join the mob and proclaim the shibboleth. So the art of another perceiver perished. “In the beginning the infinite willed the end of infinity, and divided his being into two opposing finites,” a perceiver might say.
But the unperceiving would cry: “Blasphemy! God is infinite. The man declares that there is no more god.” When we attempt to understand the universe of god in the first discipline, we must unless we have given special discipline to our senses as is the practice of Hindu mystics, substitute for the basic awareness one with which we are more familiar. According to our special inclinations some of us find it easier to substitute for the prototype, light and darkness. Others prefer colors, taste, smell, touch, sound, et cetera.
He who can best imagine an awareness of being in a consciousness that knows no time, space, or universe, as a mathematical abstract, let him think mathematical abstracts until he discovers their meaning. He who can do better with conceived awarenesses of heat and cold, let him find for himself a universe of fire and frost gods which exists beyond time, space, and matter. He who would substitute light and darkness for the basic awareness of being, let him not try to look upon a magician conjuring up a universe, but search his own consciousness for what would have been the dawn of his awareness “I am,” if the first reality were not the pulse of everything and nothing, but the more familiar pulse of light and darkness.
All are but examples aimed at guiding consciousness to a change of perspective. If the awareness indicated by the word, sight, be used in its simplest form as an example, then, in the consciousness of god before the beginning, there was the conceptual awareness of light and darkness. God willed, “I am light,” and the concept of light was pleasure. But the knowledge that absolute reality contains both sides of the pulse beat, instead of only one, said, “I am not light,” and the concept of not light was pain to the will to be light. Then god willed, “I am darkness,” and the concept of darkness was pleasure.
But the knowledge that absolute reality contains both sides of the pulse beat instead of only one said, “I am not darkness,” and the concept of not darkness was pain to the will to be darkness. God then discovered that he was not the will to be light nor the will to be darkness, not yet the will to be pleasure nor the will to be pain, but simply the will to be. The concepts or awarenesses of light, darkness pleasure, pain, are all alike part of the awareness “I am.” All intensify the perception of being but they offer nocriterion for “I am.” But as light can be conceived and be, only if darkness be conceived and be, so “I am” can be conceived and be, only if “I am not” be conceived and be.
The perception of this principle led god into seeking to conceive a universe, or pattern of concepts, in which “I am” could be separated from, and contrasted to “I am not,” as we who benefit by past disciplines perceive that light and darkness, pleasure and pain can be separated and contrasted. God sought a concept by which he could abdicate absolute being in favor of relative being. So god conceived, and willed, a universe in which his being was not absolute. The first universe, or pattern of concepts for finite being, was the conception of “I am” as having finite extension in time. In this universe, “I am” and “I am not” were a pulse of time-limited awarenesses, which as a pulse intensify the awareness “I am.”
The free will of god arbitrarily assumed the perspective, or created the universe, in which time exists, and imposed upon his further being the conceptual discipline that “there shall be no more absolute and eternal; all existence shall be finite in a concept of time.” The first discipline of creation is that consciousness shall call good and have its being only in a finite universe conceived as time. The thought that does not call it good is banished from the consciousness of god. The first discipline of being provides a fully satisfying universe. Within the concept of time, all awareness has its existence.
The awareness of light exists because its duration is limited by darkness. The awareness is dependent on its segregated existence. God does not call the light as distinguished from the darkness good, but all awareness produced by adherence to the concept of limited being, good. The concept of time constitutes the first universe, or comprehensive frame of reference, for all finite being, and all being within the universe must be conceived as finite. There can be no awareness except the awareness of finite being. We have seen that the story of creation, as written by some perceivers, favors light and darkness as illustrative of the first “day” of creation. The awareness of cold and heat seems more illustrative to others, and the first “state” of creation is portrayed as the era of frost and fire gods.
The choice depends on the way of life of the perceiver. The medium through which we find our path to perception of the first “discipline” of creation is not important, but it is important that we perceive it, and know that it is, of itself, good and very good. To the Western world, the sensation of sound has special virtue as a path to perceiving the first discipline of creation, because many men have cultivated the habit of listening to music with complete disregard of all concepts except that of the universe of time. Consciousness and music become one.
The musical composer “hearing” his composition for the first time, in its uninstrumented conception in his consciousness, is living in a simulated universe that, except for man’s perspective, might be that occupied by god in the first stage of creation. In the music, which he is conceiving, there is the all-permeating awareness of being as “sound” in a universe of time. However, countless billions of years of “musical composition” lie between the god perspective of consciousness in the beginning of creation, and consciousness as it is in the man-perspective of the musical composer. God’s first “musical compositions” were single “notes.” He was concerned with creating the most joyful pulse of the awareness prototype. He joyed in the varying emotional effects produced by the interval of timing.
The scientist studying the number of vibrations in a note of music, or the number of vibrations in a colored light, and perceiving each vibration so completely that he conceptionally becomes it, lives its life and dies its death, in slow motion as it were, through the composite temperament of a scientists and of an artist, approaches god’s perspective in the first stage of creation. But the scientist seldom holds this perspective save for a brief moment. His man-made discipline as a scientist tends to keep his artist’s temperament from his “serious” work, by demanding that he detach his “emotion” from his “reason.” Also he, usually, has not admitted the existence of consciousness into his equations.
But in addition to these walls of man-made disciplines, which he has called good, he has five other disciplines called good by god, which guard him from reverting wholly to first stratum existence. First stratum existence is good, and living in it could be wholly satisfying subjectively, but viewed as a man by men he would be hopelessly insane. From the perspective of god, we would also have to condemn him for not finding good the five other disciplines of creation. Man, the worm, and the single cell of green scum in the slime, each has abilities fitting to his needs. The single cell is closer to the original perspective of god; it has one undivided sensation, and an all-engrossing interest in the first four disciplines of being.
Man is protected from a complete, and excessively engrossing, perception of the first discipline of creation by having his perceptions channeled through limiting sense organs. By observation and analysis we have concluded that ears and eyes are organs for perceiving vibrations of different frequencies, but we do not perceive through our sensory organs that all sensations are different “frequencies” of the one basic awareness. Our sense organs break sensation into sharply differentiated categories by leaving wide intervals of “frequencies” that we do not perceive at all. Also the “frequency” of our own beings played against the “frequencies” god conceived in the first discipline of creation brings about a super-heterodyne effect that causes us to perceive “frequencies” peculiar to man.
But foremost among the devices god has incorporated into our perspectives, or beings, to bring about a peculiar joy by guarding us from full sensory perception of the oneness of creation, is an accelerated time perspective as compared to the time perspective of god. As a result of this great acceleration we do not hear the “melodies” god originally composed. We hear those “melodies” as single “notes.” And we compose not “melodies” but “medleys” of the first discipline god’s “melodies.” Despite the separation resulting from the disciplines, consciousness is one, and purpose and joy are one. God and man are different only in perspective. In the first stage of creation god composed “notes,” “melodies,” and “medleys” that are to the compositions of man like the waters of the seas to a single drop.
But, in the accelerated perspective of man, the musician can still compose as freely and joyously as god in the first dawn of creation. In so doing he is living, to the extent that he forgets the universe of man, in the universe of the first discipline. When we hear melody after melody with joy, and perceive the limitless possibilities for intensifying emotions by the frequencies of notes and the frequency of those frequencies, our consciousness joins the consciousness of god in proclaiming the first discipline of creation to be good and very good.