three kingdoms

“Thus we are to consider, and highly to know in the Light of Nature, the ground of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of Hell, as also the ground of the Kingdom of this World, and how Man in the Mother’s Body inherits three kingdoms, and how Man in this life bears a threefold image, which out first parents by the first sin inherited for us; therefore we have need of the Treader upon the Serpent, to bring us again into the angelic Image. And it is needful for Men to tame his body and mind, [or bring them under subjection,] with great earnestness [and labor,] and to admit himself under the Cross, and not to hunt so eagerly after pleasure, riches, and the bravery of this world, for therein sticks perdition.” ~Jakob Boehme

Light of Nature

To most of us, light is light. We don’t think of there being multiple types of light. If we do, it is artificial light and natural light that we think of. But there is a third kind. That is spiritual light. What Boehme is saying here is that natural light is associated with the physical world. So when spiritual people tell you to turn to the light, enter the light, he saw the light, or some such declaration, they do not mean this light of nature. They mean the light of spirit that comes to us through the spiritual sun.

Man in Mother’s Body

This statement should not be taken too literally. It doesn’t refer to man as a fetus. It means man in Mother Nature’s Body. In other words, it means physical man, the man of earth. This man is only a part of the complete man. We are very complex beings. In addition to the physical body and brain-mind, we have a psychic (or astral) body, and a spiritual body and soul. Those levels come not from Mother Nature, but from God.

Three Kingdoms

Boehme says man has a threefold image but doesn’t really say what the three are. The most common way of looking at it is that we have a physical nature, a psychic nature, and a spiritual one. The physical nature is temporary and functions only in the material world. The spiritual self functions in the realms of spirit, but must be awakened first. The psychic and mental level is between the two and has some function in both worlds. In some ways, the mental and psychic levels can be considered two different things. But then it would be four images of man, not three kingdoms. Either way, we are complex beings.

Tame Body and Mind

We do need to tame the body and mind. Especially the mind. The body doesn’t matter all that much as far as the spirit and soul are concerned. It is true, however, that if you have an unhealthy body, it is more difficult to do your spiritual development exercises. Imagine trying to do them with a toothache, for example. You wouldn’t be able to concentrate on what you are doing. So keeping the body strong and healthy, without becoming fanatical about it, can aid spiritual growth.

The mind is even more important. You can’t do spiritual practices at all unless you can get your mind to agree. Some foolishly believe this means that the ego must be completely destroyed so it won’t interfere. But the ego is necessary to function in the material world. A normal ego is useful. A stubborn, overblown ego is not. So we need to tame the ego. We need to educate it. Eventually, we need to get it under the control of the soul. Of course, that can only happen after the soul has been awakened and developed to some degree. That means this control is an ongoing thing, not something that can be done overnight. A tame body and mind must be achieved daily, not just one time. Then the three kingdoms can function as one complete and whole being. No part rejected, no part left sleeping. And no part living in an imaginary world instead of dealing with reality. The three kingdoms of man should all be strong, healthy kingdoms.

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