Triad and Friendship

The Rationale

Love is perhaps the most mysterious word in our language. For Eastern monks that word is translated as compassion. Compassion suggests empathy and empathy suggests understanding. To enter into the state of awareness of another – to be with another in mind, body and spirit must indeed be the essence of love and the meaning of com-passion. Intimacy is another word that mystifies us. An intimate relationship is usually understood in our culture to be a sexual one, yet we also speak of intimate friends. Intimate friends confide in one another, tell each other what is going on mentally, emotionally and sometimes spiritually. Via such dialogue interior growth via greater clarity occurs. True dialogue on a profound level is revelational to both participants.

We see in our culture a need to fill in an empty space that exists between the instinctual love of family – that is, love between parents and parental and filial love between parent and child – and other relationships and a profound less personal spiritual love for all creation. Familial love is growing thin in our culture. In many cases it appears to be unsustainable. Children turn against parents and parents turn on one another with increasing frequency. At the other extreme we have the Mother Teresas and the Dalai Lamas as example of universal spiritual love for all people. The Native American spirituality teaches us love for all of creation – plants, animals, the earth itself.

In between these extremes of instinctual familial love and universal spiritual love is a gap the NMP seeks to close via our Triad experiment. C.S. Lewis called the Love of Friendship the highest form of human love. Can this love be consciously fostered? We say “Why not?” We are launching our Triad Experiment to explore this possibility. This year we shall work with the first sets of three people in a kind of human trinitarian energy exchange. We wish to experiment with a three-part energy circuit rather than a two-person exchange.

A Triad will be a subset of three persons making a conscious commitment to explore together the love of friendship. Each Triad will devise its own means. For this cultivation the Project supplies general guidelines. The end we seeks is unrestrained openness to one another based on mutual trustworthiness. Within this Triad confidentiality is the sacred basis for mutual trust. Each person in a Triad may branch out eventually to become part of a second Triad or a third Triad. One person can participate in as many Triads as their time, energy and desire dictate. No one Triad should be entirely closed. At least one person should “open” the Triad by participating in one other Triad. In this manner an expanding network is created – a network of very personal, very profound reciprocal friendship love. Only by the means of actual lived experience can we grow into the understanding of intimacy. By means of such experiences on a simple grassroots level, the garment of the universal can be woven, stitch by stitch.

The Method

The experiment will explore six basic triad “constellations”. As illustrated, each consists of seven or fewer individuals (the points of the triangles), at least one of whom participates in every triad in that constellation. The constellations will be established and their central points occupied by individuals who will serve as conveners and reporters during the 9-month term of the experiment.


The Theory

As each triad “opens”, that is, when at least one participant joins at least one more triad, the constellations will begin to merge into a network. If more than one individual in each triad establishes another, the network will grow exponentially until it is global in scope, yet still intimate in scale.