Monday, March 27, 2017

Conflict Resolution and the Law of Three

Editor's note:  Grumble and grouse. Point fingers and blame. Or consider the Law of Three for challenge resolution? This mini-essay written for meditation, seems to be a perfect way to begin a new week. Click the link below for the entire series of applying the Law of Three toward resolutions.

The political and religious culture wars of our era could be eased by the simple courtesy of the Law of Three:* (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but only through creating a new field of possibility large enough to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction.

A good part of the initial learning curve with the Law of Three is around developing a capacity to look directly at a situation and assign the forces (affirming, denying) according to the role they are actually playing, not according to pre-formed judgments or expectations.

A new arising is not always a solution. Sometimes it is simply the infusion of a more subtle quality of aliveness in whose light the real meaning of the situation is transfigured (or at least made clearer).

Third force is best accessed (or midwifed) through presence that can hold the tension of opposites.

Third force contains transformative power because it does not take sides. Could it be said to be compassionately indifferent?

According to the Law of Three, once an impasse is reached, it can never be solved by going backward but only forward, into that new arising that honors all the players and brings them into a new relationship. (Einstein seems to have been on to this insight in his famous dictum that a problem can never be solved at the level at which it is created.) The three forces are like three strands in a braid; all three are required for the weaving.

---by Cynthia Bourgault Center for Action and Contemplation

* From Wikipedia:  The Law of Three is described by Gurdjieff as "the second fundamental cosmic law". This law states that every whole phenomenon is composed of three separate sources, which are Active, Passive and Reconciling or Neutral. This law applies to everything in the universe and humanity, as well as all the structures and processes. The Three Centers in a human, which Gurdjieff said were the Intellectual Centre, the Emotional Centre and the Moving Centre, are an expression of the law of three. Gurdjieff taught his students to think of the law of three forces as essential to transforming the energy of the human being. The process of transformation requires the three actions of affirmation, denial and reconciliation.

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