Trinity and the Law of Three
If the universe is created in the image of the Creator and the Creator is a Trinity, it begs the question: What if we don’t live in a binary universe, but instead in a ternary universe? (Sunday)
This week guest writer and CAC teacher Cynthia Bourgeault explored the Trinity and the metaphysical principle seen within its creative flow of self-giving.
What if inside the Trinity is concealed a powerful communications tool that could connect us to the rest of reality (visible and invisible), allow us to navigate our way through many of the doctrinal and ethical logjams of our time, and place the teachings of Jesus in a dynamic framework that would truly unlock their power? (Monday)
Understood within the context of a universe in motion, and with the Law of Three as its template, the Trinity becomes a dynamic mandala of God’s ongoing creativity in an evolving universe. It becomes, in fact, the evolutionary principle. (Tuesday)
When we look at the Trinity from a metaphysical standpoint rather than simply a theological standpoint, it’s not so much about persons in relationship as it is about a process by which the world is constructed and maintained. (Wednesday)
The Trinity encapsulates a paradigm of change and transformation based on an ancient principle known as the Law of Three—or ternary metaphysics. (Thursday)
Comprehensive, profoundly original, and like all driveshafts—concerned with forward motion—the Law of Three is Christianity’s authentic temperament, the key in which theory and practice come together, and in which all of Christianity’s teachings hang together. (Friday)
Practice: Midwifing Third Force
Cynthia reflects on how contemplative practice helps us identify and work with third force.
Human beings in their normal state of consciousness are third-force blind. The third force is there, right under our noses in most situations, but we do not see it because we are too embedded in either-or thinking, and we are identified with outcomes. This combination makes it very, very hard to spot third-force energy.
The Law of Three teaches us that a new kingdom is waiting to be born. The solution, the third force, is right at hand in the materials of the moment, but you have to have the eyes to see it. You have to be alert to it, to sense where it’s going to come from and be quick to welcome it.
While you cannot cause third force, you can increase the conduciveness of third force in a situation. Teaching nondual approaches has certainly served as catalyst. More people are doing the work of meditation; they’re spotting the triggers that make them go into reactive and inflexible positions, rather than identifying with the issue. The more you are aware, the more you are able to help something new arise.
The first thing to remember as you’re confronting any situation that looks like two irreducible binaries is that the resolution, the manifestation of love, is already there in the situation, but you need to find it. Third force is there because the Trinity is real. And if you are alert to it, you will be able to find it.
The capacity to midwife third force—or holy the reconciling—is for me the most powerful fruit of a spiritual practice, a contemplative practice. Without a contemplative practice, midwifing third force is virtually impossible. It’s like a crap shoot, a random pull on the slots. But with a spiritual practice, you gradually develop the heart as an organ of alignment with God.
When I’m sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, I often use a GPS, a Global Positioning System. It lets me know where I am and where to steer to reach my destination. We all have a GPS inside us, a God Positioning System: the heart. When the heart is attuned, it will allow us to perceive in a whole different way. The egoic, binary operating system perceives by separating and differentiating things from each other. The heart’s perception is pattern oriented. It perceives the whole and then discerns its own place within that whole.
Third force is sustained by the movement of love within the Trinity. This gives you the confidence to do what is impossible to do at the egoic and dualistic level. As you nurture your heart, you will flow out into the now, bringing third force, and seeing how you can draw things into reconciliation.
Gateway to Silence:
Behold, I make all things new. —Revelation 21:5
Adapted from Cynthia Bourgeault, The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity, disc 4 (CAC: 2004), CD, DVD, and MP3 download; and
“How Change Happens,” Transgression, Vol. 2 No. 1 (CAC: 2014), 86.
For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three (Shambhala Publications, Inc.: 2013)
Cynthia Bourgeault and Richard Rohr, The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity (CAC: 2004), CD, DVD, and MP3 download