Here is a practical tip on how the Holy Trinity can bring you complete discipline so your New Year's resolution will work.
We recently looked at the spiritual element of the Three Kings and the importance of the trinity in all things; https://www.garyascott.com/articles/730/. There is a trinity in every duality. Black and white has gray. Hot and cold has warm, up and down a middle, man and woman, child, Sun and earth, the moon. Even time has a trinity, past, present and future. So here is how we can put this fact to work in all things.
Discipline. What a powerful thing! Total freedom only comes when we have complete discipline. But how do we get it? Here is a simple idea that uses the trinity, the rule of three. In short if I am going to do something, I do not set up a schedule to do it forever. I do it for three minutes or three hours or three days, three months etc. This has worked pretty well for me.
Before we proceed, please…I am not a saint, but may I toot my horn a bit. I have done a little good having a bad start. I have managed to give up many vices I had. I was fat and did not exercise. Here is my first passport picture when I was age 21 heading for Hong Kong where I drank way too much liquor, smoked three packs of cigarettes, plus an occasional cigar and pipe a day and downed so many cups of coffee that I often became delirious.
Today, though I still fight the battle of the bulge, my weight ranges from 145+ to 155+ (where I get serious again). This means at my height andbuild I still wear clothes I bought in high school. Regular yoga and exercise keeps me reasonably flexible and fit, enough so that I do not get ill. I have visited an M.D. and hospital only once in the last twenty years when I pushed my hand through a plate glass window and severed a nerve and tendon in my ring finger. The doctor in the emergency room said I would never bend the finger again, so I used discipline to take up the flute and work that finger every single day. My flute playing is still pretty awful, but my ring finger does its work just like the other nine!
My discipline at work is sufficient that I can get out a message a day, run a business and the discipline of writing this much over the past thirty years has put me in the top 1% or 2% of income earners and wealth in the world.
So the little trick I use has worked in almost every aspect of life, spiritually, family, health, wealth and service (for me at least).
There are some harder issues that haunt me such as the java example. I love coffee. Having given it up solidly for a couple of years the desire never left. Quitting coffee (for me) is tough. So I quit for three days at a time, then give myself one day's break and I can cope.
Take another example. Each morning, after my yoga and exercise, I either take a cold shower or jump in the creek beside our cottage. (Here is a picture of my son, Jacob, and me on Christmas day). This never took much discipline in Florida, but here in the mountains this is not the same thing! But I proceed for an important health reason.
This morning the temperature was 16 degrees F., so just getting out of bed was cold enough, much less getting in the creek. Yet I did immerse because this was the last in my three-day schedule. Tomorrow (which happens to be Sunday) I'll rest.
We all know the tradition of the Sabbath, the sabbatical etc. God created the earth in six days and took the seventh off. So we normally take the seventh day off as well.
Perhaps since I am not God, I need a break. Doing hard for me six days and then taking one off is sometimes too much for me. So I work on a schedule of three. Here is some good news. Some things get easier and after you stick to the three day cycle for awhile, the desire wanes and you can go to a six day on one day off system until the bad habit totally expires. This, of course, is the goal of any resolution…to eliminate the opposite desire.
For me some things just have not worked that way. Cigarettes? No problem, I quit over 20 years ago and have not had the desire. Drinking alcohol just fell away and maybe I have three glasses of wine a year. Eating too much? This is always a struggle. Coffee? Already mentioned that. Yoga and exercise each morning. This too has been hard especially in winter when we need more sleep. Upon awakening I can get my meditation done, but then there is so much to do at work, I want to get going! So my rule is still stick with it for three. Three days I do my yoga and exercise and get in the creek. The fourth day I skip it. Somehow my mind works with this.
Have you ever noticed that discipline is usually destroyed by small things? Oh I am late for work. Yikes it's too cold this morning. Ick, this hotel room is too small to do my exercise in. etc. Or ” Oh, I'll just have this one piece of pie” or whatever.
We give up our freedom by lying to ourselves one small step at a time. We often give in to the controllers when they lure us so sweetly and make it easy to not do the things we know we should. Finally after enough of the falsehoods and failures we give up or forget the resolution we had in the first place.
The rule of three draws the line, but it's not such a hard line to cross. For just three days I can stand just about anything.
Merri and I often fast for three days and last week ended the year with a three-day green fast. After our New Year's celebration (all Southerners have black-eyed peas for prosperity on New Year's Day!), we will do another three-day fast.
The entire mentality changes. Instead of oh no….I have to get in the creek this morning because I do it every morning, it's, “just two more after this or one more day.”
Though his works for me, it may not for you. Two important universal rules apply, “Know Thyself” and “Medicine is Dose”. Perhaps a one day on, one day off is better to begin in any new resolution you undertake or two days on, one off, or three on and two off. Feel in your heart for the combination that will work for you.
Perhaps this is just an excuse for failure? Perhaps. I would be freer if I could just make a resolution and doggedly hang on. So far this has not worked for me, so three days it is.
On the other hand there may be some scientific sense in the three-day schedule. We are aware that the earth tilts to the plane of its orbit around the sun (23 degrees to be exact). Because of this the angle the sun hits the surface of the earth changes and this creates the four seasons. What many do not know is that within this rotation there is a very slow wobble known as the “progression of the equinoxes” which takes 25,920 years to complete.
Our ancestors had figured this out and recognized that this shift alters the way we think and feel (just as the shift of the moon to the earth fills the police blotters with far more crime on the three nights before, during and after the full moon).
This 25,920 year cycle is broken into eight parts, called yugas and the time when people were in the most darkness (from an emotional and thought point of view) is at a time called Kaliyuga which lasts for about 2,000 years. This figure corresponds nicely with an era that history calls the “Dark Ages”, but the concept and timing of Kaliyuga was laid down before this time began. We are now out of this dark era and consequently may have a better feel for things than the sages who guided us from the past. Anything written over the past 2,000 years should be thought through carefully as there may be some error! Maybe the six days on and one day off was not quite correct.
The three day system applied to the seven day a week system creating an open helical pattern that is more in keeping with this long term wobble of the earth. In a closed system (six on – one off) we lose the power of diversity. For example, those who take Saturday as their day off always have their time of rest and reflection on Saturn's day. Others choose the day of the Sun.
This routine and ritual has some benefit in always being the same, but in the three day open cycle, I get a day of rest and reflection sometimes on Monday (moon day) etc. and through the year have rest and reflection on every day of the week. Could there is a benefit in more reflection on every day instead of just the one?
The ultimate way that you can know is try it. Only you can truly know what feels good and works best for you. But trying out a system using a trinity has great support of natural law.
If you have cosmic discipline and always keep your resolutions, congratulations. Please send me a note sometime this year and share how you do it with us. If you are like I am and stumble from your rigors more than once or twice, take this message from the Three Kings and try a three-day discipline plan. It may make 2003 a very happy and free new year!
Merri and I send our deepest wishes that everything in this year is rich for you.