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"Our mind is constantly volleying between irritation and desire, jealousy and pride. We are unhappy with who we are, and we are trying to destroy our own suffering.... As we indulge int his negativity, our mind becomes thick with contamination which manifests stress, lack of peace, fueled by fear of not knowing what will happen to 'me.' Our mind becomes very speedy; bewilderment rules" - - Sakyong Mipham, Tibetan monk, p. 81
The Natural Man. What is it? What do we do with it? Is it really a bad thing? These are questions we explored in our Light in the Wilderness discussion last week.
We learn from Elder Charles W. Penrose that, "We are here to learn the laws that govern this lower world; to learn to grapple with evil and to understand what darkness is p. 69)." My maybe morbid thought that went along with this is, "Isn't it so amazing to think that this is the only place we can really experience darkness?" I know that sounds weird, but if we are to understand the laws of God and how He governs the world, I think it's important to understand how darkness works as well. We don't need to delve into or experiment with it, but we just need to notice the experiences we have with it so we can know the difference. In the garden of Eden we learn this truth, that we must recognize the bad to know the good.
We can't, therefore, be surprised if we have a "sturdy Natural Man (p.68)." This natural body was given to us so we could learn what we could not learn staying on the other side of the veil. "The Natural Man is serving us as a live-in teacher. It is appropriate to be grateful and correct gently (p. 83)." We women tend to really dwell on mistakes and weaknesses. And yet, this thought frees us of that burden. As we pay attention to the thoughts that come and go through our mind we can know what is the natural man vs. the real us. Thomas continues, "Catching our Natural Man in the very act requires patience and kindness since we usually let go of old ways only a little at a time (p. 83)."
For us to more easily recognize what is Natural Man thinking, it's important to develop the gift of discernment. Elder Bednar says this gift is vital and yet rarely sought after. Of discerning, Thomas says, "In order to unveil the Spiritual Mind, it becomes necessary to discern the nature of thought and feeling so as to bring sharply to our realization that we can choose by which mind we will experience life (p. 75)."
She also describes what may happen if we are undiscerning, "Without being conscious of these [world-mind] thoughts as visitors to our inner space, we attach to them as though they were ours, as though they necessarily represent reality. Undiscerning, we subscribe to them, and they become our reality (p. 79)."
And so, it is greatly important that we remember, "...our spirit and our foreordinations are far greater than our mortal overlay (p. 89)." As we tune into our spiritual minds more often, studying and searching for truth, we will be filled with light. "...divine light develops in places of peace and quiet (p. 85)." Next month we'll discuss more about tapping into the spiritual mind and allowing that Light govern our lives.