The Mystery of 3

3, a powerful number, right? The Holy Trinity of numbers. The triumvirate – the word “triumph” begins with 3. I’m writing it as a noun instead of as a modifier (as in three somethings), but as a word, you can never fully isolate it as either. It is always 3 and three. There is something in its nature that causes change, like fire.

I used to think that the Trinity, in terms of physics, meant that every vibration was bordered by that which is above it in frequency and that which is below, the same way that green is bordered by blue and yellow. No matter where you are on the spectrum of life, there are those above you and those below you, those from whom you receive and those to whom you give. Jacob’s Ladder. But as a simple theory of placement, or as a sequence of events, as in cause/medium/effect, as that master of the Law, Earnest Holmes, puts it, leaves 3 lacking in some vital quality. What is that quality?

I have seen demonstrations of power wherein there is a dynamic interplay of two opposing forces. They are all around us, actually. Electricity is a good example – positive and negative. That’s a relatively easy one to grasp, in a superficial, chalkboard kind of way – a plus and a minus separated by empty space. You know intuitively that there exists a tension of opposites that somehow produces energy, although no one really knows how it’s done, not even physicists. Perhaps the most visceral demonstration I have seen is on the sparring floor of a martial arts studio. In some mysterious way, a punch is more powerful if the forward motion of the hand that punches is counteracted by the opposite movement of the other hand. The right hand thrusts forward, and the left hand retracts. Perhaps this is why balance is so important.

Another example I can think of is the human lung. Here there are two things, opposite in type as well as direction, like the punch. On the one hand, the blood coursing through the lungs takes on oxygen, the most urgent requirement of life, while at the same time giving up carbon dioxide, the exhaust, so to speak, of the body. One flows in, and the other flows out. But the two actions, though seemingly separate in the inhale and exhale, actually take place together at the level of the red blood cell. Oxygen and CO2 pass each other like ships in the night, or like delivery boys in a revolving door. Again there is balance, but it is a dynamic balance. And it is that word “dynamic” that seems the all-important factor whenever we speak of Life.

Sushumna, Ida, Pingala

So, rather than a noun or a modifier, 3 is the name we give to that one essential activity that is always burning at the center of the very large and the very small, the above and the below, the macrocosm and the microcosm – Life. And, of course, we are not talking of life as it is usually meant, namely as a set of circumstances (I think we are well past that now) but life as an energy. But to be rigorous in our use of the term “energy,” we must include the other two members of the Triumvirate, power and force. Because, as every student at Stanford knows, energy is power in action, and force is energy applied. You can’t have one without the other two. Every equation must be balanced.

Isis, Horus, Osiris

That trite saying, God is a verb, tries to get at this, the idea that Spirit is alive and not just a thing. And saying that God is consciousness or Nature are further attempts at describing the indescribable. But perhaps the reason why the concept is so hard to grasp is due more to the level we approach it on and not the fault of the concept itself. Maybe it requires a different kind of thinking. Science is only now beginning to discover that the fundamental laws that govern the universe have been described for millennia in the sacred scriptures of the world. Well…maybe they haven’t discovered that yet, but they are bound to eventually. The new way of thinking that I’m talking about is going to have to be a synthesis of the two, a balance. Two things interacting within a third.

Everywhere in nature we see the forces of expansion and contraction, attraction and repulsion, adhesion and cohesion. Esoterically, they are known as Sun and Moon, Yin and Yang, Rod and Staff. One force innervates, the other provides a restrictive or defining form. Jupiter and Saturn. Male and Female. Chokma and Binah. Pingala and Ida. One speeds up, the other slows down. The object is to find these forces within ourselves, to experience them and use them, consciously. This is why we contemplate the nature of things, the super-nature of things. We must move beyond appearances and and into the world of abstract thought. Unless we do, the underlying principles of Cosmos will be hidden to us, and we will be stuck in the world of effect. “But be of good cheer,” as Jesus said, “for I have overcome the world.” So must we.

Related Articles:

Cycles and Symbols

Prayer 1

The Union of Opposites

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One Response to The Mystery of 3

  1. Mary Ann Fry says:

    I love this. Thank you.

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