Just as there are seven dimensions of reality we have seven bodies. Each body corresponds to the seven dimensions of reality. We have a physical body, etheric body, astral body, mental body, soul or causal body, buddhic body, and atmic body. There are other bodies beyond this level which I call the celestial bodies, which are beyond our comprehension at this level of evolution.
Each body also has a characteristic or quality of energy associated with it. The physical body has to do with instinct. The etheric body with the vital force and vital energy. The astral body with desires, feelings and emotions. The mental body with the concrete mind. The soul or causal body with the abstract mind. The buddhic body with intuition. The atmic body with spiritual will.
The Physical Body
An explanation of the physical body is not needed for we are all very familiar with this body. The only thing I would add would be to say that the physical body is the temple for the incarnating Soul. It is an instrument and vehicle for the exploration of the physical world. The physical body is the vehicle for the manifestation of Soul on this plane of existence, and the Soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of Spirit or the Monad.
A great many people don’t realize the importance of evolving the physical body along with the other bodies. For it is impossible for those with coarse, dense bodies to contact high vibrations. The refinement of the physical body is essential. Many spiritual aspirants work on evolving the other bodies and not the physical body, and end up getting sick because of the discrepancy in vibrational frequency.
It is not the purpose of this chapter to be a manual on how to care for the physical vehicle. However, it is suffice to say that the following simple suggestions would be extremely helpful.
- Physical fitness program.
- Eating of pure food.
- Proper sleep habits.
- Sunshine, at least ten to twenty minutes a day if possible. The sun kills all germs and frees one from disease, as well as vitalizes the etheric body.
- Cleanliness, much use of water both inwardly and outwardly.
- Stay away from sugar as much as possible and artificial stimulants (coffee and tea) and drugs.
- Make sure to create playtime.
The Etheric Body
The etheric body or the etheric double is an exact replica of the physical body. It is the archetype upon which the physical form is built. There is nothing in the manifested universe, solar, planetary or the various kingdoms of nature which does not possess an energy form or etheric body. This etheric body controls and governs and conditions the outer physical body.
The function of the etheric body is to store up the rays of radiatory light and heat which are secured from the sun, and to transmit them via the spleen chakra, to all parts of the physical body. The etheric body is a web or network of fine interlacing channels. These nerve channels are called “nadis”.
This etheric web or network, during incarnation, forms a barrier between the physical and astral planes. People who have taken large amounts of drugs or psychedelics can cause this etheric webbing to be broken which can cause them to be unprotected from lower astral energies.
The etheric body can also be likened to the energy battery of the physical body. Etheric congestion in some part of the etheric body can lead to many forms of disease and mental unclarity. The etheric body is vitalized and controlled by thought, and can be brought into full functioning activity by right thinking.
Most diseases that the physical body suffers from, have their roots in the etheric body, and astral bodies. The principal factors in establishing a healthy well flowing etheric body are sunshine, light diet, with emphasis upon proper proteins and vitamins, and the avoidance of fatigue and worry.
The astral body relates us to the astral plane and to our desires, feelings, and emotions. Most people in the world are run by their astral body. In other words they are run by their feelings, emotions and desires. The astral body ends up running the conscious mind, instead of the conscious mind having self mastery to the proper integration of their feelings and emotions.
Many people travel in this body when they “astral project”. We all do this when we sleep at night and often have dreams of flying in this body. Some people have developed the ability to travel in this body consciously. The limitation of this is that one is then limited to traveling only in the astral plane (which is not a very evolved place to be). If one would travel in their soul body or light body they would have greater range of dimensions in which to travel.
The great teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism emphasize the need to eliminate desire. What this means is to make one’s only desire the desire for liberation and God realization instead of all the material desires of the negative ego consciousness.
The astral body receives the impression of every passing desire it contacts in the environment. Every sound causes it to vibrate. The great need of the spiritual aspirant is to train the astral body to receive and register only those impressions which come from the level via the higher self.
The aim of the aspirant would be to so train the emotional body that it will become still and clear as a mirror, so that it reflects perfectly. The words that ideally describe the emotional body should be “still, serene, unruffled, quiet, at rest, clear.”
Ponder on This
Djwhal Khul, in the Alice Bailey books, has elucidated how this should be accomplished:
1. “By the constant watching of all desires, motives and wishes, that cross the horizon daily, and by the subsequent emphasizing of all those that are of a high order, and by inhibition of the lower.”