Today I feel I had my eyes opened to the meaning of scripture. It was like flipping the switch on a light. I suddenly understood and the meaning was laid open to my view. I’d like to share with you what I think is a key to understanding the scriptures having to do with the “natural man.”
First, the key, in summary:
- “natural (carnal) man” = egoic self simulated consciousness
- saint/spiritual man/woman = true Self consciousness
The “natural man” is that part of our consciousness that is online most of the time, the egoic self. It is that part of consciousness which you are probably using right now (most likely). It is the part of consciousness that has access to all your self’s memories, experiences, skills, understanding, language, education, knowledge, tastes, likes, dislikes, self-image, relationships, worldview, etc. It is the conscious part of your mind that perceives the simulation of reality that is generated by the brain. Everything that you typically know as you and what you perceive in the world is part of the natural man, and we operate from this perspective most of the time during our daily lives.
The saint (or spiritual man/woman) is that person who has transcended this ordinary daily simulated consciousness, who has put it off, not permanently per se, but enough to see it for what it is. They recognize that the “natural man” consciousness is a construct in the mind/brain. It is made up of everything that you have experienced in life to date, and influences every decision and action that you take. You can see that everything that your egoic self does is based on events that preceded it. Everything has a cause and effect, and you can see it for what it is. The remarkable thing about this is that by seeing it for what it is, you have power over it. The “natural man” no longer controls you. You can act, instead of react. You don’t take the egoic self so seriously anymore.
The saint or spiritual man/woman is also aware of Who they really are, who their true Identity is. They are not the egoic constructed self. That is just who runs around every day getting into trouble. Who they really are is the far greater Self that exists beyond the egoic simulated self. This Self understands by intuition the heights and depths of all of life, with a clear view of the nature of reality in its entirety. It is beyond all the constructs and simulations, and so it can see the constructs as constructs, the simulations as simulations. It has the cosmic perspective, the All-Seeing Eye. It is God.
The way to can go from the “natural man” to the saint or spiritual man/woman is to train the mind to see past the egoic constructed self. It is to quiet the egoic mind to stillness, so you can perceive the immensity of peace, joy, and love that exists beyond it. It is to come to know Who you really are. This can be done through meditation and other contemplative exercises and tools which develop one’s mental capacities and faculties, and help them to expand to openness. It settles the egoic “monkey mind,” and allows reality to penetrate through without judgments, just as it is. It gets us in touch with our deep mind, the unconscious mind. It returns the mind to the state of Eden, where everything is fresh and new, and where love, joy, and peace reign. It brings us back into the presence of God and reunites us with God.
With this key, these scriptures can be better understood:
- For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)
- But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
- And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. (Moses 1:10-11)
And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.
Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed… (Alma 26:21-22)
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (1 Cor. 15:44)
…and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights.
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And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen. (D&C 67:9-14)
I think it may be that time that we are beginning to “see and know” that which was conferred upon us by the hands of Joseph Smith Jr., and the veil is being rent.
At least it is for me.