Years ago, I heard the analogy of equating the Trinity to the three states of water; liquid, ice and steam and that worked, sort of. At that time, I had nothing else to go by. When I studied Eastern philosophy, I was introduced to the mystical spirituality of the East and of the Eastern Fathers of Christianity and because of this I began to see and think in a different way.   I was beginning to have a basic comprehension of the mystery of the Trinity. The following was a way of explaining the Trinity from the viewpoint of my Eastern training: 

Before creation there existed the darkness and stillness, this is called the “Mind of God”. The Mind is the Source of all things and it is stillness and quietude. It is nothing and it is everything. It encompasses all. It is the great “I AM”, the “Originating Principle”. No word exists that can express what “I AM” is. It just is.

Within the “Mind of God” there arose the “Thought of God”. It is movement and creativity.  Mind and Thought are expressed through the Word or Logos, the “Creative Principle”. With the utterance; “Let there be…” all of creation was set in motion.  The Holy Spirit, called the “Uncreated Energy” or the “Primordial Energy” who flows from the silence and stillness of the Mind of God and with the movement and creativity of the Thought of God, found expression in the Word of God (Logos), and created reality, space and time. All of creation originates from the Mind of God and the Word (Logos) gave birth to the universe through the Holy Spirit (Uncreated Energy) who sustains it all. All three of are “One”, there is no number greater than this. The Holy Spirit is the “Unconditional Love” that flows between the Mind of God (Father) and the Word of God (Son) and this is the Nameless Seed that is the origin of every Truth in the world.  

I know this is a pretty complicated explanation and it may not be quite right but it worked for me. By using the imagery and terms of Eastern philosophy I began to understand that the mystery was far deeper than I had ever thought. The words at the beginning of John’s Gospel took on an even deeper meaning for me. In my contemplative practice I spent many hours exploring this mystery. One thing that began to become apparent to me was that this was incredibly a great mystery.

In one of my Pastoral Ministry classes my instructor talked about the “Dynamic Relationship” of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and that it can be represented as a circle that continuously revolves. This is called in Greek “perichoresis” (rotation), the mutual indwelling of the three persons of the Trinity moving together. The idea this creates is of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit moving together in a sort of dance. It is through this dynamic interplay of the “Three” as “One” that creation came into being and continues to sustain and flow through the universe.

As I studied, practiced and sat in contemplation I began to sense that in some way the Christ of the mystics was beyond institutions, mental images, descriptions and words. Christ was somehow even beyond Christ, beyond the “Word”.  Christ the Second Person of the Trinity is “Wordless” and “Nameless” and our minds can’t even comprehend who or what Christ is. The words of the Prophets, Sages, Apostles, and all holy men and women throughout the ages are just empty gongs in their attempt to express who Christ or God is. What can be said is this, that Christ, the Trinity, God, or the “Source” can be summed up in two words, “Unconditional Love” but this is only the tip of the iceberg and anything beyond this is unfathomable and incomprehensible. We have to stop thinking with our heads and begin to think with our hearts. It is only in the heart that we can encounter Christ. It is in the heart that all the major religions can meet and encounter the Ultimate, the Source, the Most High God.[1]

Fr. Henri Le Saux (better known as Swami Abhishiktananda) went to India and spent the remainder of his life taking the interior journey that ultimately brought him to what he called “the cave of the heart”, where both “our true self” and God are found.  Deep within the darkness of “the heart cave” Fr. Le Saux said we find our “Divine Center”. Within the human heart, we encounter “Christ beyond Christ” who is our true nature in God. We enter “the cave of the heart” through contemplation. It is in the silence that we encounter God. It is in the silence that “the cave of the heart” can be entered. It takes many hours and years of practice stilling the mind, relaxing the body and quieting the heart to be able to achieve the inner solitude that is required to enter “the heart cave” and it may be only one glimpse that we get.

It may go something like this; As we go into the depths of our inner solitude through contemplation and in our minds eye, we may see a door that opens into our heart. We may see stairs that lead down into our heart, into the darkness and a fear may grip us and prevent us from entering. We may have to come to this door many times before we have the courage to enter. But when we do find the courage, we will descend into the darkness and the silence and then as we proceed, we may see a glow coming from an inner chamber. Fear makes us tremble but we go on and enter into the chamber. There in the center of this chamber we see the source of the glow. There upon an altar see a flame burning, hovering just above the altar top. We know that we are in the “Presence of He who is Nameless”. We fall on our knees and begin to weep not so much out of fear but out of shame because laid out before us are all our sins, our flaws, our weaknesses, our failings, nothing is hidden, everything is exposed. Shame is what we may feel but also, we feel Love. Unconditional Love with no judgement, just Pure Love. This Love envelops us, pierces our heart and we cry bitterly because we have caused so much pain to Him, to ourselves and to others. Then in our anguish He comes, Wordless, Nameless but we know Him. We don’t need a name or a word. We just know and we rest in His Divine Presence. When our contemplation is over and we will never forget this encounter. It may be the only one time in your life that this happens but once is enough because from that moment on that encounter is always with you, every moment for the rest of your life. This may happen or something similar may happen but with discipline, patience and perseverance in your contemplation you too will be able to enter the cave of your heart.

Thomas Aquinas in his commentary on Boethius’ “De Sancta Trinitate” says there are three ways of knowing God: the first in creation, the second in God’s actions in history, and the third in the highest form of the knowledge of God – to know God as the unknown. The highest form of talking about the Trinity is to know that one does not know.

So let me return to the Gospel of John;

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was with God in the very beginning.

Through him all things came into existence,

and without him there was nothing.

That which came to be

found life in him,

and the life was the light of the human race.

The light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has been unable to overcome it.

The true light that enlightens everyone

was coming into the world.… And the Word became flesh

and dwelt among us.[2]

The Divine Word entered into world history as a little babe in a little town called Bethlehem on the fringe of a mighty empire. The great mystery in this is that this little babe would become the face of God’s Unconditional Love on earth. How is this possible? It is beyond anything that our minds can comprehend but with our heart we can know and understand even if we cannot put it into words. We see Christ beyond any image or word, we see Him and know Him with our heart.   

[1] I am not suggesting that there is any kind of synchronicity between the ancient world religions and the teachings of Jesus Christ. What I suggest is that all of the ancient world religions, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Greek and Roman philosophies all pointed to Jesus Christ, The Word made Flesh. Each of these ancient religions contained a “Seed of Truth” within their teachings and that Truth comes from the Spirit of Truth.

[2] Gospel of John Chapter 1:1-5, 9,14

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s