1600 years ago St. Patrick scratched his beard and wondered how he could present the idea of the Trinity to the people of Ireland. He came up with the shamrock, the three little leaves representing the Father, Son and Spirit, yet all being part of the one God. If he were around today I wonder what symbol might he come up with?
Above you see what might be a modern day representation of Trinity that is still based on Patrick’s three leafed shamrock. Of the many hundreds of wood pieces I have made over the years this one is my favourite and technically the most perfect in terms of design. Everything about this piece reflects what we believe to be the nature of the Trinity which is threesomness; three in one and one in three. It is made of thirty individual pieces of wood arranged in nine groups of three. With all the circles touching, it looks a very dynamic, where if one were to move they would all be affected. This shows the interconnectedness of all things. This means that the essence of the Trinity is the loving relationship between the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and it is we we who are invited into that relationship of love which at its heart has these three divine persons.
All that may sound a bit theological so lets bring it more down to earth. There is an ancient Law based on the Trinity that is called the Law of Three and its considered to be a way of releasing the love in the Trinity that lies at the heart of the universe into the heart of every situation. This law is something that, since first hearing of it, I have found particularly useful. It basically invites us to get beyond either or thinking and look for another way of looking at things and even to ask questions we never thought of asking before.
When an argument or dispute happens both sides become polarised with each defending his or her position as the truth and since the other sees it differently they have to be lying. The reality is that each one is seeing a situation from a different perspective, and that is their truth. However, the whole truth is something much greater. With good communication both parties could come to see this. So this idea of there being three sides to every argument, yours, mine and the truth, and never just two, can be invaluable in navigating our way through life and not getting trapped in harsh judgments and even costly law suits.
We tend to divide things very much in terms of two rather than three. Good and bad are obvious divides and so we class people as the good guys and the bad guys. Yet its not as simple as that. The very worst of people can surprise us by being capable of great kindness and the ones we label ‘good’ can sometimes shock us to the core with what they are capable of doing. The dividing line between good and evil runs through each of our own hearts; so what might be that elusive third ot Trinity dimension? When we accept the shadow side of our nature and refrain from seeing it only in others then something wonderful happens. It begins to undergo a process of transformation and loses its power over us. Someone who has a very controlling nature might begin to admit it to themselves and own it. They then lose their defensiveness, and even begin to make jokes about their problem. Suddenly others find them easier to work with and what was something that everyone used to tip toe around can become a wonderful gift for service.
Then we often find ourselves in situations where we have to make life changing decisions. Again we tend to think in terms of two rather than three. Do I do this or do I do that? It’s either A or its B? Here if we were to apply the Law of Three, a C question could make all the difference. It could literally allow us to ‘see’ the situation in a completely different light. Lets take just one example as an illustration. Say a relationship is going through a difficult patch and the dilemma is, do I stay or do I go. Its seems just either A or B? If I stay am I being true to myself and if I go will I not be bringing these issues that have arisen for me only to resurface later in my life. Neither answer seems to bring peace and so love is blocked either way that I decide. The C question might not be do I stay or do I go but how can I grow through what is happening? How can I reclaim my own power? How might I stop reacting and not allow someone else’s behaviour to press my buttons? This is where the C question has the potential to release the love that is there in the relationship whereas to stay in a resentment fuelled atmosphere would not have been good and to simply leave would have been cruel and cowardly.
Next time you find yourself in an either/or situation think of the Trinity and the Law of Three because if you can see it in a different light it makes all the difference.