×

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.

Christianity’s Hidden Driveshaft

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Trinity and the Law of Three

Christianity’s Hidden Driveshaft
Friday, March 17, 2017

Guest writer and CAC teacher Cynthia Bourgeault continues exploring Trinity and the Law of Three.

Ternary metaphysics shift us away from the comfortable and static dualistic operating system that we’ve grown accustomed to using—with its corresponding polarities of in/out, right/wrong, matter/spirit—and places our reality into forward drive and dynamism. In a ternary system, in place of paired opposites, the interplay of the two polarities calls forth a third, which is the “mediating” or “reconciling” principle between them. The crucial part of a ternary system, and what sets it apart, is that it mediates creativity.

We can see the Law of Three in action in our everyday lives. Twofoldness leads to cyclic recurrence. We get locked into “this” or “that” thinking, and so the pendulum swings back and forth or stays stuck at an impasse (think of every argument or conflict you’ve ever been in). All progression, however, or forward motion through time, operates under the Law of Three: the impasse between two opposing forces is mediated by a third force that causes a new creative arising to emerge. It’s not quite the triad of thesis, antithesis, synthesis, because the “third force” is always an equal player (not a combination of the first two oppositional energies). There is no progression apart from the Law of Three and no Law of Three apart from progression.

This deceptively simple point is actually at the heart of Christian metaphysics, if only we knew how to tap it better. The Law of Three is, I believe, Christianity’s hidden driveshaft, and its presence so far has only been intuited, never explicitly identified by theologians. Comprehensive, profoundly original, and like all drive shafts—concerned with forward motion—it is Christianity’s authentic temperament, the key in which theory and practice come together, and in which all of Christianity’s teachings hang together.

The sacred mandala of the Trinity compels us to understand that this is what God is always doing. God has basically one agenda, which is to widen and bring into new, creative, diverse manifestations the flowing love of the Trinity. This is the Trinitarian believer’s opportunity: to bring third force into all sorts of situations, to make it appear like magic where it never appeared before.

Gateway to Silence:
Behold, I make all things new. —Revelation 21:5

References:
Adapted from Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three (Shambhala Publications, Inc.: 2013), 3, 16, 18; and
The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity, disc 4 (CAC: 2004), CD, DVD, and MP3 download.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.


Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Nothing Stands Alone. What could happen if we embraced the idea of God as relationship—with ourselves, each other, and the world? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.