Where did we come from? Where are we going? We stand, collectively, in the present. We piece together, as best we can, stories of the past – myths, legends, archeological and historical evidence. We reshape and retell the stories to give them meaning and relevance in our contemporary existence. We create models of the future and test them under controlled conditions. We make projections based on the extension of measured trends, with the speculative incorporation of newly emerging factors. Scenarios are published in journals and debated by legislators, corporate leaders and environmentalists.
But change and impermanence seem the only certainties. How and where do we fit in? What role do we play? What, if anything, can we possibly control?
Cynthia Bourgeault, in her book The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, speculates on an interesting model for change, or named differently, the ongoing act of creation. Much of eastern thought postulates stasis, the balancing of tensions as in yin and yang. Drawing from the work of various western mystics, and her own knowledge of Christian theology, Bourgeault postulates a dynamic, evolving law of three, where these opposing forces, cyclically, encounter a third catalyzing pole and, together, yield a fourth and previously unmanifested reality. This, she suggests, is the ongoing trinitarian rather than dualistic nature of things, the essence of ongoing creation.
Bourgeault speaks of this dynamic – the law of three – as being the very nature of Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source (C/S/M/S). And this trinity has more to do with tensions, process and evolution than it has to do with three distinct persons.
The basic model works like this:
- In one corner of the trinity, there is an urge, a pressure – initially the urge to physical manifestation.
- In another corner of the trinity, we find a countervailing or opposing force – a resistance that creates a discomfort, an itch.
- In the third corner there is a catalyst that sparks a reaction, something that intervenes or ignites the building tension to yield a newly created fourth, something entirely different than anything in the original trinity.
- This fourth eventually becomes the new urge, the positive force in a new trinitarian cycle, something that will encounter opposition or resistance, building a tension that becomes available to a new round of catalytic intervention and resultant creation.
This, of course, is an analogy, our chief tool for the understanding of almost anything. Let’s use an analogy to illustrate it.
I love the Rocky Mountains. They began as the measureless ache, pressure and breaking caused by the persistent and powerful movement of oceans and continental plates, force and resistance with an urge to become. The spirit and power of creation resulted in an upward thrust. The new (fourth) and previously nonexistent reality is seen in the flowers, streams, trees, wildlife, weather systems and human interaction that now distinguish this vast emergence. And this current reality is now a force in the corner of a new triangle that will struggle with intricate and phenomenal resistance, encountering a creative catalyst that will yield some as yet unimagined and untold beauty of the future.
Bourgeault references a law of seven, as well, postulating that in this full cycle of manifestation – from big bang until the end of the universe and time as we know it – there are seven cycles of major trinitarian creation. In essence, she describes a cycle of the breath of C/S/M/S from unmanifest, through aeonic stages of maturing creative manifestation, to full return to the unmanifest. She suggests that the cycle with which we are most familiar, and are about to exit, is the sixth. It is distinguished by Creator (traditionally Father), Word (traditionally Son) and Spirit (indwelling presence). The new fourth, the resulting emergence, is a more fully awakened humanity – the Kingdom of Heaven – one prepared to take its place in the corner of a seventh cycle, urging at ever increasing pace toward its own epic climax.
We do indeed live in a time when former structures are crumbling. Even the individual seems to be disappearing into some mass electronic collective network. The social changes that have rumbled since the 1960’s, the vision of the Age of Aquarius, the recent end of the age in the Mayan calendar, the relentless breakdown of old religious and social institutions, the exponentially increasing rate of technological and environmental change – all these support that we are leaving an old dynamic and entering something entirely new.
Bourgeault seems confident that this new manifestation is truly the Kingdom of Heaven, and that it will take its place in the corner of a new trinity – Kingdom of Heaven, Creator, Spirit – that will yield Oikonomia, the ultimate divine plan or economy of C/S/M/S. Andrew Harvey and others enthusiastically name and champion this as a collective “Christ Consciousness.” I am, admittedly, less sanguine, less optimistic. I can also envision the clutch of crazies that rushed to the top of a skyscraper in Los Angeles to greet the aliens, only to be fried, in the film Independence Day.
Of course it’s an analogy, and we see only the glimpse that we can see, guessing at what we are making and where we are going. But that is how it has always been, force and resistance interacting with creative spirit to yield a new reality.
We walk in faith. I believe we are, collectively, one corner of some new trinity. I believe that corner has the potential to be the Kingdom of Heaven. Even more, I believe that whatever it is eventually named, it will be the sum of our collective human choices, and it will be the irrepressible urge toward a new round of trinitarian creation. Who knows what mountains may rise, or what flowers and streams may appear. May kindness and compassion – Tree of Life choices — be the character and essence of our collective expression, with trust in the catalyst of Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source as together we urge forward in the friction and itch of creation, to be resolved in some new beauty beyond our sight and imagination.
© Two Trees in the Garden. Feel free to quote, as useful, with proper reference.
Thanks for this. A very hopeful concept – dynamic ongoing creativity. I love that. It seems to me to be a more spiritual and pliable form of the Hegelian dialectic, which was described in mechanistic, material terms. Also, I wonder if we aren’t always in the “6th” phase, about to go into the 7th, always living in the “tragic gap” between penultimate expression and ultimate realization.