What the “Law of 3” Means to Me

By Terry Favour

In November of 2013, the Sedona Enneagram Study Group met at Robin Cameron’s as is usual on the third Saturday of every month. That Saturday we spent a great deal of time talking about, in Gurdjieff terminology, the Law of Three. The Law of Three, as I am speaking of it, says that for any two opposing forces there is always present a third but initially unmanifested force that is the synthesis of the opposing two. It seems that everywhere you go these days the “Law of Three” is coming up. My way of getting a handle on this is to start with the play of opposites. Everything that is known to us, is known to us, because it is in contrast to something else. Some age old examples are such sayings as “we can’t know joy without sorrow”, or “we can’t know cold unless we know hot”. If we look into this far enough we realize that our consciousness depends on contrast, on limits…on dualism.

Often we speak about our plane of existence as being a dualistic plane. No wonder our lives often appear to be a series of problems. If you think about it you can see that every action (or non action) that we take plunges us into some kind of interaction that is ultimately dualistic. Our #6’s are acutely aware of this dynamism. We do actually move through our lives from one problem to the next. But is this what we are really doing? The Law of Three demonstrates that there is really something else at work.

So let’s turn to something else for a moment. Let’s look at creativity. What I mean by creativity is this: It is that which emerges completely from the unknown. It is not a rearrangement of that which is known. It is something without precedence.

A further look at our consciousness reveals that although our consciousness is dependent on dualism to exist, it is a living system. Here is a good definition of a Living system:
The Living Systems Theory of James Grier Miller

By definition, living systems are open, self-organizing systems that have the special characteristics of life and interact with their environment. This takes place by means of information and material-energy exchanges.

Our consciousness is aware of being conscious, it is also aware of dualism. This is exemplified in our #6’s kind of  “knowing”. This means that within everything or every situation, there is its opposite, and therefore a potential problem. When that impasse arises, when the opposites manifest, if each side of the problem remains true to itself, no move can be made. No movement is possible. But, consciousness is a living system, it interacts with it’s environment which includes not only the reality of manifest things but the underlying reality of the unmanifest which is where undifferentiated potential resides, the realm out of which creativity emerges.

The Law of Three symbolizes this truth; dualism manifests “form” but not without the “emptiness” that underlies it. And this is LAW. Whenever opposites arise a third element ALWAYS arises too (sometimes unrecognized), which is the never before known solution emerging as true creativity from the unknown. This is, as we can see, a return to wholeness. BUT WAIT!  It divides again as it becomes manifest consciousness, therefore dualistic in nature…and the spiraling cycle continues.

So, what does this mean? I would like to suggest that if we look closely at our human nature that we can see that almost nothing brings us more joy than the “ecstatic sensation” that accompanies the awareness that we have expanded. That we have conquered a limitation. That we have grown, that we have moved from a lesser reality to a greater one. I propose that this is a big part of what makes us cling so tenaciously to life. Even when we find ourselves deeply challenged by this “life”…we seem to choose expansion and consciousness, whatever the price.

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Author: Jim Wampler

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