When I was in high school, one of my first jobs (where you get a real paycheck, learn who FICA is and why he gets a cut of your money) was working at a magic shop. My job was to do magic tricks for customers who wandered in and, hopefully, get them so intrigued that they would buy the trick to learn the secret. Everyone loved the show, but few were curious enough to pay and learn how to perform the trick. They just moved on. Everyday, incredible, magical things happen before our very eyes–opportunity, happiness, joy, love– and many of us don’t bother to ask what the secret is to the magic. Why is that guy so happy? How is that couple so much in love? How did that guy get to be so rich? Luck? Hard work? Fate? For years I’ve been looking for answers to these questions. What I’m about to share with you won’t make any cognitive sense, but I do believe it will elicit an emotional response. I want to share with you the mystery behind the Calatrava Cross; the Secret of the Four Triads.
At high end jewelry stores that sell watches, you will find that the most expensive watches in the world are manufactured by the Patek Phillipe Company. (See photo 1) Some of their watches go for over one million dollars. If you flip over some of their watches (See photo 2) or look at the crown (See photo 3) you will notice an interesting cross. This is where the story begins. The year is 1998.
After recovering from a stroke and taking a six month sabbatical, I decided I would treat myself to a new watch. Since I was young, I always knew that the finest timepieces in the world were Pateks and hoped someday to own one. I wasn’t exactly sure how successful someone had to be in order to own one, but I figured having enough money to pay for the watch was good enough for me—my wait was over. From the minute I put on the Patek Phillipe, I could sense something different about myself. I’m not sure if it was self-confidence, but I definitely felt more reassured and in control. Over the next few months, as my health improved, my relationship with my wife seemed to be at an all-time high and everything was going remarkably well with my friends, family and business. That’s when I noticed the cross on the back of my watch. Curiosity led me to the manufacturer’s website where I read about the “Calatrava Cross.” Apparently, Patek, one of the founders of the company, had chosen this insignia to protect each watch and bring good fortune to the wearer. Nowadays, picking a logo that is recognizable is nothing new (Nike’s swoosh, Mercedes Benz’ logo, Ralph Lauren’s Polo), but back in the 1850’s it wasn’t as common. Patek, as it turned out, was very superstitious. His favorite saying was, “I’d rather be lucky than talented any day.” So I’m sure it seemed somewhat odd when he told Phillipe, his partner, that this Calatrava Cross (used by the Knights of the Calatrava) would not only protect them, but bring them the success they desired, to create the greatest watch company in the world. Their dream came true.
According to company legends, Patek had stumbled upon the secret of the Calatrava Cross that, up until that time, had only been known to the Popes! He discovered that in 1158, Pope Gregory VIII, in a desperate attempt to fight off the Moors and save Christianity, had commissioned shepherds from the fields to fight as knights. They were known as the Knights of the Calatrava. The Pope took the name of an old Moorish castle that had been liberated (The Calatrava Castle) and placed it on four fleur-de-lis like anchors that united in the center (See photo below) and told the shepherds that the cross would bring them victory in battle against the superior forces of the Moors.
Outnumbered more than ten to one, the Knights of the Calatrava were still victorious. The Calatrava Cross had truly protected them.
After Patek passed away, it was rumored that he left behind a journal (I can offer no proof ). In the journal was the explanation, secret if you will, of the power of the Calatrava Cross and how it’s unleashed. Supposedly, its origin dates back to 2560 B.C., and over the millennia its secret came into the hands of the Pope and then passed on from one Pope to the next. Patek apparently believed that if he harnessed the power of the Four Triads (Calatrava Cross) he would find success in life, and immortality for his soul. What follows are the bits and pieces of what all my research has uncovered on what the Four Triads are and how to harness their energy. Crazy? Maybe, but please read on.
THE FOUR TRIADS
1. THE TRIAD OF TIME:
First, there had to be time, the past, present and future. How we interact with time and use it for comparisons, goals and achievements becomes critical to our mastery of time. I believe there are three different types of “time” people–people who live in the past; people who live in the present; and people who live in the future.
“Past” people are relatively easy to spot. They are always reminiscing about some wonderful past period that the present just can’t live up to. Conversely, there was some traumatic event that has frozen them in time and won’t allow them to move forward. While it’s natural to use past experiences as a reference point to appreciate things we experience today, these past comparisons are a double-edged sword. When great things happen to us, it’s important to remember that each moment of extreme joy eventually passes away. Worse, that great accomplishment, if relived over and over, can end up being a rope around our neck if we expect to keep matching or topping that moment. One of the hardest things for professional athletes to do is to let go of their playing days and adjust to the everyday world that doesn’t include paparazzi and autographs.
Traumatic events are no different. The “why me?” syndrome can shatter a person’s life when a significant tragedy, such as a death, loss of a job or divorce finds its way into our lives. While most people are hard-wired to eventually find the silver lining, not all of us make the transition. Many of us get stuck on pause and don’t allow ourselves to experience new events. If you’re always looking back, you’ll never see where you’re going.
“Future” people share a fate similar to past people in that they spend very little time in the present. They spend their time fantasizing or dreading the future. The positive attitude “future” people tend to believe that tomorrow is destined to be better than the present. These people can be found everywhere—from habitual lottery ticket buyers to young people who can’t wait to grow up. Even your average Joe or Jane can easily get caught up in the idea that true happiness is a place somewhere in the future. You hear people all the time saying “When I get that new promotion, I’ll be happy. When I get my driver’s license, I’ll be happy. When I turn 21…get married…have a new house…a soul mate…kids…I’ll be happy.” Happy ends up being a place in the far-off future, just out of reach. What these futurists don’t realize is that they subconsciously rule out the possibility of being happy in the present. Happiness isn’t something that happens; it’s something you decide to be. Negative futurists are so consumed with a negative future that they fail to see the point in living. One suicide patient I talked to told me “We’re all going to die anyway. What’s the point?” Many times, futurists had horrific childhoods and feel that more of the same will be served up so let’s quit now. Life is a game and I don’t want to play anymore. I’ll grant you that life doesn’t come with guarantees, but you would probably find it very boring if it did. Someone once said, “Life isn’t fair, but that it is unfair to everyone, makes it fair.” A life spent worrying about events that may or may not happen is a life I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
The “present” people are the ones holding the Golden Ticket. The smart ones realize that first and foremost, we are not our past and regardless of what happened, it should have little effect on how we experience or appreciate this very moment. The smart “present” people also realize that we are pretty lousy at predicting the future and we should not waste much time worrying about events that may or may not become a reality. Don’t let a lot of sunny days go by that you will never get back.
When you’ve mastered time, you’ve mastered the moment. You accept an equal helping of the past and future and plan accordingly; but spend most of your days being in the moment–loving now, living now, eating now, exercising now. You’ve mastered time when you come to the realization that it’s always “now.”
2. THE TRIAD OF LIFE:
If you’re lucky enough to have mastered the use of time, you move on to the second stage—Life. Most people concur that all of us have a mind, body and soul (soul being a more personal belief). If you’re going to have a chance of living in Joyville, you need to recognize that one of the three parts (body, mind, soul) is in charge. Like a pack of animals, there is always the Alpha that is running the show. Two of our individual parts will always be dominated by the third.
“Body” people are easy to identify (just like past people and futurists). Just watch someone for a while. Do most of the decisions they make end up benefiting the body in some way or another? I’ll give you some examples: Body builders, anorexics, junkies, binge eaters, overweight people, and sun-worshipers. These are all people who make decisions in their lives that will one way or another effect their body. In essence, their bodies are calling the shots. If the body wants food—it gets it. If it wants drugs, to work out, take a nap, drink alcohol, it gets it. While the mind has some say in the matter, in the end, the cravings of the body will win. Body-decision driven people are everywhere. Just take a look at the number of overweight people in our country and it will become apparent our bodies are making the decisions. In the end, body people can’t sustain happiness. Whatever quick fix they get from sun-bathing, eating too much, etc., eventually levels off. Then the body runs this vicious cycle in an attempt to chase the high. While no one can deny that physical pleasures are nice, we can’t allow them to decide how we spend every waking moment. Also, the body is well aware that time is its enemy—that someday it will cease to exist—so it tends to gravitate toward what’s best now and never prepares for the future at all. This creates an imbalance. While we have already learned that being in the moment is critical to a happy life, ignoring the future and not spending some time preparing for it is a recipe for disaster. If you’re a body person, you will always be chasing happiness and, even though you catch it once in a while, it will always slip through your fingers.
Minders, or over-analytical people, are also easy to spot. Every decision they make must make sense. Two plus two must always equal four; what goes up must come down; if the sun rises in the East, it must set in the West. Minders make very good accountants, engineers and architects. Anywhere mathematics can be applied, anywhere logic rules, minders are at ease. Introduce philosophy, religion, emotion and minders are on less stable ground. While living an objective life seems practical, there are very few things in this world that are entirely objective. Relationships, people, love, joy, sadness, depression are all hard to put a quantitative spin on. Love is something that defies logic. Wants, needs, passions, expectations are far more subjective than objective. Minders spend very little time smiling unless they can crunch enough numbers to give them a good reason. If all our emotions are forced to be filtered through our brains, we’re going to be left without all the good stuff. Spontaneity, joy, exhilaration rarely can be laid out on a spread sheet and calculated in advance. Minders get lost in a web of their own making– usually watching the sunset while they wait for the latest data to come in. Since minders’ self-esteem is logic derived, they hate to be wrong; hence take fewer chances; hence try to live safe. But that’s where they have it wrong. Life is to be devoured, not placed in a Tupperware container on the shelf for safe keeping. The brain also knows it will someday die and it will always make decisions that protect its self interest. Relationships, bungee jumping, parasailing will all be avoided because the mind usually knows that if the body dies, the brain follows. While I’m not suggesting that everyone take life-threatening risks, I am saying that to avoid all risk is the greatest risk of all. Minders are rarely happy because the biggest risk is believing in love, and love is seen as something very difficult, if not impossible, to quantify. Minders tend to be loners. Without the company of others—without having someone to bounce ideas off of—our lives quickly lose meaning. It’s rather sad—in order for minders to protect themselves, they build barriers, yet it is these same barriers that end up suffocating the logic-driven mind.
As you probably already guessed, in order to master your life, you must be soulful. While soulful people have a great respect for the mind and body, the soul knows it will never die. Believe me, there is great comfort in believing no harm will come to you. Decisions are much easier to make when you don’t believe your life is on the line. Soulful people have an inner glow that lights up a room. In a sense, they are people that epitomize love. You’ve seen the bracelets and bumper stickers that ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” Soulful people approach situations and problems in a similar manner by asking the question, “What would love do?” In fact, soulful people rarely see anything as a problem. Everything seems to take the form of an opportunity—an opportunity to grow, to learn, to remember. Soulful people seem to know something we don’t. I guess that’s why they are always smiling. I once asked all the happiest people I know in my life what the heck they were so happy about, and they each tended to give the same answer. They were just so grateful for everything and everyone in their lives, that they truly saw their lives as blessed. When I pointed out that there were certainly things, from my point of view, that could cause them unhappiness, once again they all seemed to have the same response, “It could always be worse, so I’m grateful.” I’ve always believed, personally, that happiness isn’t something that can be bought or rented at Blockbuster. To see that joy is nothing more than how we decide to view our lives makes a lot of sense. You have mastered your life when you realize that how you feel is only a decision away—your decision.
3. THE TRIAD OF AWARENESS:Mastery of time and life are critical in being a happy, joyful person, but they represent only part of the puzzle. The third piece is awareness. I refer to the attitude a person brings to the table about the things they are doing in their life and the goals they strive for. There are three types of awareness people—the hopefuls, the believers and the knowers.
The “hopefuls” seem to believe that they have little control over what happens in their lives. They can be extremely hard workers, but believe chance plays an integral part. Hopefuls are fond of saying, “I hope it works out. All we can do is hope for the best. I hope I get the promotion. I hope he pops the question.” Hope is a word that should be eliminated from your vocabulary if you want to strive for a happier life. Every time you use the word “hope,” you signal to the world the preferred outcome that you are wishing for. You also express to the world that there is a non-preferred outcome (the opposite of what you are wishing for). Where hope lives, doubt and regret are never be far behind. If there are two things in this world that are love-enders, they are doubt and regret. Literally, from the time you say the word “hope,” you relinquish your power to do anything about the situation and you create a void of uncertainty. Love can live in many places, but it can’t live in uncertainty. Hopeful people tend to be followers and not leaders–lambs who follow the flock and let life happen instead of creating a life of their choosing. Even if you live for the moment and act from your heart, you can never truly be happy if you can’t elevate your state of awareness. This is where believers come in.
To believe in something is far stronger than to just hope for it. It is a defining statement, not a wishful one: “I believe it will work out. I believe it’s the best choice. I believe I will get the promotion. I believe he will pop the question.” To believe in something is not only a form of expression, but a way to define yourself: “I believe in women’s rights. I believe in God. I believe in love.” Believers tend to live extremely happy lives because they have chosen to stand for something. While believers are much more aware of their surroundings and their ability to change what happens, they still leave the door open to doubt and regret. When outcome doesn’t meet expectation—watch out! Believers get very upset! And, of course, expecting an outcome is the Achilles’ heel of believers. They honestly believe that there is a preferred outcome for every situation. Leonardo DaVinci once said, “Experience does not err, it is judgment that errs in promising itself results.” While believers are a thousand times better off than the hopefuls, it is not until you come from a place of knowing that there is no “wrong” outcome will experience lose its ability to inflict pain in your life. The reality of any event may be undisputable; its perception lies solely in your hands.
Think about the things you know. You know the sun will come up tomorrow. You know we breathe air. You know you are reading these words right now. To come from a place of knowing is to exclude any other possibility. Where there is knowing, there is no doubt. Where there is no doubt, there is happiness. Knowers don’t have some kind of sixth sense that allows them to predict the future; it’s just that knowers know if they do their best, “experience does not err,” just like DaVinci said, they have nothing to worry about. Knowers have the ability to look at any outcome and find the beauty in it. To knowers, nothing is good or bad. Either something represents you or it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, you can let go of it. Knowers know instinctively that there are no coincidences—what has appeared in their lives, they created. No one else is to blame. When something occurs in a knower’s life they didn’t want, they realize they must hold onto it with both hands, accept it, not deny it before they can let go of it. You can’t let go of something you don’t have hold of. To know is to master awareness. To know that there are no accidents, no coincidences, and everything happens for a positive reason that they are to determine, is to own knowing. You can hope and believe something until the cows come home, but it is the knowers that run this world because they are the creators of it!
4. THE TRIAD OF CREATION:
For something to be created, it must first be conceived (thought), verbalized (word), and put into motion (action). Thought, word, action (T.W.A.); that’s how we create anything. There is a saying that goes, “There are those who wonder what happened, those who watch things happen and those who make things happen. This triad is about these types of people.
Ask the graduating class of Any High School in Any City, USA if they believe they will be financially successful; over 97% will say yes. Yet, if you check in on our graduating class 20 years from now, you would find that less than 3% would define themselves as having achieved a high level of financial success. What happened? It’s one thing to dream it; it’s quite another to create a plan, tell the world of your plan, and actually do it. There is a reason Nike has had such enormous success with the slogan, “Just Do It.” It’s derived from this triad. Nike knows that the longer you spend thinking about something, the more reasons you find for not following through. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech starts with, “I have a dream…,” but it wouldn’t have meant anything if he hadn’t shared his dream with the world. Look hard at the people around you—the ones with a far-off look in their eyes—the ones you have to snap back to reality to make sure they are still listening to you. These individuals (call them daydreamers if you’d like) are contemplating a better life, a better existence, but aren’t going to do anything about it. When you ask them what they are thinking, “A penny for your thoughts,” they always reply, “Oh, nothing.” The easiest thing in the world to kill is an idea. People are so petrified of looking stupid, they don’t raise their hands to ask questions; don’t interrupt the boss with a better way to get something done. We are all geniuses in one way or another, but most of us die after lives of quiet desperation because we didn’t speak up, interrupt, raise our hand, or sit down in the front of a segregated bus. A day isn’t something you have to get through, but a gift that allows you to dream your impossible and possible dreams and go for it. Dreamers never get to see the view from the mountain top because they see the mountain as an obstacle instead of a stepping stone. To dream is beautiful—to be silent is deadly.
I once met a guy who said he was president of the Gonna Association. When I asked him what it was, he said he had gone through life saying “I’m gonna do this; I’m gonna do that; I’m gonna go skydiving; I’m gonna go run with the bulls.” But he never did it. Dreamers and Talkers are in the same boat in the sense that they both achieve nothing. In another sense, at least the talkers got their idea out for public consumption but still, in the end, failed to pull the trigger. I meet a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda people in my life. Many of them have good intentions, but have no follow through— no stick-to-itiveness. I’ve been told by many people the biggest failure isn’t to try and fail, but to fail to try at all. I know it’s hard to believe that in the great big scheme of things one guy can make a difference, but what are we here for if we don’t at least step up to the plate? I know that everyone who comes into this world is on a mission. When we complete that mission, it’s time for us to go. I believe in my heart that there are no untimely deaths, just people who have fulfilled their destiny. Death is life’s reward for doing your job. Keep in mind that even someone who achieves nothing can still be used as a bad example. In their failure, they achieve—in their lethargy, they teach. People always ask me why bad things happen to good people. My response is, “If you think it was bad, then you haven’t figured out the blessing yet.” Most blessings take a while to recognize. Many times, it takes years to realize that what we labeled as “bad” was tagged incorrectly. I’m convinced that some of our greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. No doubt, if talkers spent half as much time doing the things they talked about, they would achieve many more failures. But mixed in with those failures will be successes that will boggle the mind. To achieve success is to embrace failure. They are two sides of the same coin. If you want to achieve true happiness, you have to spend a little of your time chasing rainbows and not worry so much about the pot of gold.
Action “The Doers”
Thought, Word, Action—the three elements of creation. To act without thinking or planning can be as dangerous, if not more, than no action at all. I’m sure many a drunk driver wishes he had not gotten behind the wheel. Action for action’s sake is as impractical as either of the other parts of the triads are by themselves. To conquer or master this triad, thought, word and action must work together. Get the idea, plan it out, and get the ball rolling. Achievement is not possible if you don’t eventually stop the meetings, the training, the preparation and just do it. When you can live your life in the moment, use your heart as your compass, be aware that there are no accidents so that you can come from a place of knowing you are only one step away from coming full circle—and that is to take action. To create, to help others create; to teach, to learn, to be the student and the master; to be curious, to ask questions; to be a better person today than you were yesterday; to embrace change, to cause it; to do at least one thing every day that scares you in order to remember all the things you have to be grateful for. The secret of the four triads is to be present, soulful, knowing and active. These four elements will take you to one place and one place only—it will bring you home to yourself. Once you have found yourself– you will have found everything!
DCI has minted heirloom coins outlining the key elements of the Four Triads emblematic of the Calatrava Cross in all the precious metals (platinum, gold, silver), which can be handed down from generation to generation. These coins will serve as a daily reminder of the principles of the cross which have brought success and meaning to so many lives.
by Fred Cuellar