Christians tend to think of the Trinity as three “persons” and we see paintings that show three individual forms – one is an old man as the “Father” – Jesus is the “Son” – and a dove is the “Holy Spirit.” Common sense tells us that the Holy Spirit is not a dove but that the dove is a symbol or representation of something else. This is also true of the other two figures that artists used to help us conceptualize a Truth that is a central part of the Christian belief system.
God is said to be One but this doesn’t mean a single individual – it means a unity, a whole or “All That Is.” Within that unity there is diversity, and this diversity includes the spiritual dimension as well as the material or physical dimension. There are many dimensions as is pointed out in the Bible when it has Jesus saying that there are many mansions in his father’s house. Mansions or homes or houses are words that are more easily understood than dimensions, and such words are merely pointers to concepts rather than to actual physical forms. In the same way, the word “father” is more easily understood than “supreme being” or some other name that might help us to understand what God is. Language is always a hindrance when trying to talk about spiritual concepts because mind cannot understand what is beyond its limitations of the five senses. Understanding of spirit comes through a direct experience, or through intuition or insight. As the dimensions are experienced we can understand them as states of consciousness. Since we are conscious beings with complex nervous systems made for the purpose of experiencing, we have been given the ability to directly experience God. Mystics are those who have had such experiences. Some have been called saints. Many have described their experiences to assist those who also have the desire to find God within themselves.
The “Father” has been described by some as Pure Transcendent Being, Creative Source, Origin of All That Is, the Unconditioned and Unknowable. Also as a Nothing – which we can more easily understand as no-thing because the “Father” exists before things are created. There are no forms, no limits, no boundaries, no light in this state of consciousness – only a darkness in which pure awareness exists. It is Infinite Potential in more modern terms, like the potential energy in a battery that requires some form within which to work. This is the first phase or condition of our triune God – definitely not an old man up in the sky and not a “person.”
The next phase or condition is the “Son” which is one with, but distinct from, the “Father.” Like fog in air it has properties that the “Father” lacks. This is the Christ Consciousness, also called the Universal Consciousness or sometimes the “mind of God.” St. Teresa described the Logos or Creative Word, as it also has been called, as the expression or out-birth of the Father’s thought. It is where the Divine Substance first becomes apprehensible – it is a mediating principle. It is the expressed image of God and the “bridge” between the finite and infinite, between the individual and the Absolute. It is what we might call “heaven” where the potential of the “Father” comes forth as a spiritual expression of Wholeness and Unity. Fr. Richard Rohr calls this the “Cosmic Christ” through which God has “let us know the mystery of his purpose.” He says that Christ is not the last name of Jesus but the title for his life’s purpose. John Duns Scotus described the Christ as the very first idea in the mind of God, and God has never stopped thinking, dreaming, and creating the Christ. What the Christ means is the confluence of divinity and physicality, spirit and matter. When the material and spiritual worlds coexist, we have Christ. This Christ is not Jesus, it is a consciousness within Jesus that has the potential of becoming real in each one of us.
We never hear about “God the Mother.” During one of the early Church Councils Mary was made the “mother of God” but if we see God as the “Father,” without beginning or end, there is no mother involved. Here the assumption is that Jesus is God, but as Fr. Rohr says, “The historical Jesus has become the new monotheistic God – God the Father for all practical purposes. Until we saw Jesus we couldn’t imagine what God was like. We start with Jesus then we can move backwards to the Cosmic Christ who exists from the beginning.” The eternal birthing of the Cosmic Christ, or Universal Christ Consciousness, takes place within the spiritual body of what has been called the “Cosmic Virgin Mary,” and is the eternal spiritual birthing of creation. This is the Immaculate Conception, eternal creation through the power of Spirit, a virginal receiving of the potential energy of the Father making it substantial, just as St. Teresa said. This birth began in our physical world with the virgin birth of Jesus. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the personification of the Immaculate Conception, the womb of creation in which all things come into existence through the power of Spirit. Just as the Immaculate Conception gives birth to the Christ Consciousness, Mary gave birth to Jesus who is the personification of the Christ Consciousness, the spiritual form of everything that exists. Mary is the personification of Mother Nature and our mother, the intermediary between us and the Christ, just as the Christ is the intermediary between us and the Father. They are all one thing, blending together with no real separation except as a way to think about it.
Science tells us that everything is energy that cannot be created or destroyed, it just changes form. Energy consists of positives and negatives that interact to create atoms, molecules and compounds that make up our material world. We can apply this principle to the Trinity in which positive and negative forces “dance” together to create. It is within the womb of creation, which is the negative, feminine or receiving aspect, where the positive, masculine or giving aspects combine. It is a yin/yang relationship in which different phases work together to bring creation into being. It is within this womb that the Christ is birthed through the energy of Spirit. It is the spiritual basis of the incarnation of Jesus where two souls, embodied in human flesh, personified a spiritual Truth. It is within this “womb of creation,” which has also been called the “mind of God,” that three things become one, and it is impossible to separate them.
If we think of a flashlight we know that it has form as an outside that holds a battery and a bulb. The battery contains potential energy that does nothing by itself but requires some form in which to work. When a connection is made between the positive and negative poles, the bulb in the flashlight changes the potential energy from the battery to light energy that we can see. In the same way, the outgoing potential energy of the Father, as the Holy Spirit, is transformed within the womb of creation producing an Immaculate Conception, through which the Son becomes apparent as the Christ Consciousness, the Unity of creation. These are all one thing known as the Trinity.
When people have an existential experience of God, their consciousness becomes one with these phases of God. Everything is seen as a Unity of which the person is a part. Their individuality remains within the Unity as an instrument that reflects the image of creation back to the Father who exists at the core of our being.