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In a recent Bible study, I could not keep myself from asking, "What, exactly, is the Holy Spirit?" when the group sped through (well, at least I thought so) a discussion of the Trinity. You could have heard a pin drop. I had anticipated the reaction, but could not help myself. I've never really been able to understand it. I know the intellectual definition, but I want to really know this.

I refrained from also asking where the Mother was in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Somehow, I am certain this group of experienced women has questioned that themselves.

The first response was "part of the Trinity." Which part, I wanted to know. God's Spirit, I think someone said. I explained that question had been raised several times in Quaker groups I've attended and also that Quakers believe there is that of God in everyone. That resonated with this Bible-study group. We sort of settled on the fact there are many aspects of God and this may have been a way of addressing that.

Shortly after, I began reading about the Christ. That's another concept that has been rotely drilled into me. One I wish to make my own. Is Jesus the only Christ? I have wondered. What does Christ even mean?

An enlightening comparison of Exoteric (outer expression) and Esoteric (inner teaching) Christianity that my friend and spiritual mentor gave my, compiled by the Rev. Jan Skogstrom with the Rev. Susan Hamilton, suggests those with an outer bent view Christ as one entity and those more internally focused as a human teacher and the living flame of love.

I think I have always seen the duality and, perhaps, not had to define these aspects. At a rather young age, in Sunday School, we were told to ask Jesus to come into our hearts. I did and I believe the Christ was already there. I am now certain it was the Christ Spirit that whispered in my ear that my heart was not black with sin, another early Sunday School teaching.

I love reading that in Jesus' "lost" years, other accounts and traditions document him traveling to Tibet, India and even China mastering other faiths. A several-year study of the Hindu Bhagavad Gita  in a meditation group probably taught me more about my Christian beliefs than the Bible. So many teachings are universal. To me, they, too, felt infused with the Christ even though some elements were culturally and historically foreign.

In Jesus, I am finding, the mind and the heart fused and the heart became the driver. That's what I want and what I recognized during a flash while meditatively swimming today: we all have the potential to carry the Christ because that spirit is universally available. It is a living, growing presence that did not die on the cross, but, rather, was released.

Released for each of us to embody. Wow, what if we did?

• What is my spin on the Trinity?

• How has that changed, been shaped over the years?

• What do I believe about the Christ?

• What personal connection do I have to Jesus?

• Does the outer expression or inner teaching call to me?

threes are more interesting

to an artist

three flowers in an

arrangement make a better

composition than two or four

threes aren't all neat and tidy

they beg for something more,

something unseen

so the idea of a

trinity holds promise

but not when narrowly


threes call for

mystery and trust

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