September 23, 2009. Chapter Three: The Etheric Body
Glossary for our Class Studies: 1
Etheric Body: Important points to remember:
The etheric body is an electromagnetic field in and around our physical body. It is the blueprint of our physical body. It is exactly the shape of our physical body except that all its organs and all its structures are etheric. 2
The etheric vehicle is formed by one etheric thread woven into the same shape as the physical body. This thread serves as a tube through which the solar life-giving energy, or prana, circulates. 3
Prana is a fiery energy which permeates the etheric network. Prana is seen as a golden light, and when seen clairvoyantly, the whole etheric body shines out in flame-colored light.
Spark and the Bodies:
A man in his Essence is a Spark of that Almighty Power [of the universe.] And this Spark gradually builds the body, the emotional body, and the mental body with the help of the constructive forces in the Nature. Everything can be built if there is a plan and if there is a focus to manifest that plan.
For example, a chair does not come suddenly and build itself, does it? Have you seen any construction in which the bricks fly and ten minutes later you have a house? That house is built by the soul of the house. Who is the soul? That soul is you.
The soul has a plan and knows how to adapt the material into that plan and build that form into a vision. You are the same thing. Your physical atoms and cells, emotional atoms, and mental atoms are drawn by a magnet that is you. This magnet draws them together and according to the plan that is in you he builds the body, he builds the emotional body, he builds the mental body and slowly, slowly develops them, sublimates them, transforms them. 4
[The] Body or vehicle is organized matter ensouled by an elemental, built on a specific plan to manifest a specific purpose. We have several bodies; each of these fulfills a purpose.
The purpose of the physical vehicle is to make the man know about the physical world, to make him relate with it and bring changes within it according to the intentions or the plan of a higher Entity. The same applies to the emotional and mental bodies with their corresponding spheres. These three bodies also act as refineries.
The mental body is a living organism, spread all over our body and condensed around our head. The emotional body is another living entity surrounding our body. It has its own centers 5 and energy lines. The etheric body is a coil of energies surrounding and penetrating the physical body. It has seven main centers, and it is the vehicle which absorbs prana from the sun and transmits it to the physical body. 6
Development of Bodies:
The three lower bodies [physical-etheric, astral, and mental] must develop harmoniously if a person wants to live a long and happy life. If only one body is cared for, imbalance results. The health of the body is equal to its transformation. A person can physically live for ninety years like an animal, but when his astral and mental bodies develop, they exercise great pressure on the undeveloped body and create disturbances in it unless it develops along with the subtler bodies. 7
Cooperation and Bodies:
If your body, emotions and mind cooperate with your visions, ideas, and soul, you can accomplish great works and you will become a Tower in your nation and in humanity. 8
Personality and Bodies:
Physical, astral, and mental bodies form the personality until it is integrated by the light, love, and will of the human soul. 9
Inner Constitution of Man:
…it will be helpful if we have a clear picture in our mind of the inner constitution of man and a real knowledge of the human body and human biology. 10
The Real Human Being:
The human being must always be progressive. This is the fundamental law of life. We have three natures. "We" means the real soul, the real human being within us.
The first is the physical nature. We must always try to make our physical nature beautiful, healthy, and energetic; we must always keep it in activity or in action.
Some people hurt their physical nature by doing things that are not healthy, and eventually they regret it. Spiritual progress cannot be made if your physical nature is not taken care of. You must be healthy, happy, energetic, and beautiful.
The second nature is the emotional nature. This is a complicated nature. We have a physical body, and it is a great mystery for science. There are many things we do not know yet about our physical nature. The same is true of our emotional nature.
If we think about our emotional nature, we can see how emotions affect our life. Emotions affect our physical body, our glands, our lymphatic system, our blood, our nervous system, and especially the liquid in the body. If the emotions are not controlled and beautiful, the physical body suffers. This is why, in all religions and philosophies, the great thinkers say that we must really pay attention to our emotions. 11
Real Education and Bodies:
Real education is the process through which we refine our physical, emotional, and mental natures, integrate them, and eventually fuse them with the Inner Self or the Core of our being. The process of refinement is a process of purification and reconstruction. The physical body needs purification, revitalization, and reconstruction. The emotional nature needs continuous refinement, purification, and reconstruction in order to be able to receive clear impressions and respond to such impressions in a more improved way. The mental nature not only needs purification from all those elements which hinder the mind working at optimum capacity, but it also needs reconstruction. Certain subtle mechanisms must be built in the mental nature to allow the human soul higher contacts.
Not only must these three natures function at their optimum capacity, but they must also complement each other and synchronize with each other in the greatest possible cooperation. After this occurs, man must try to fuse these three natures with the Inner Self, the source of vision and the source of creative challenge. This is the goal of education as far as the individual is concerned. 12
Physical Body Defined:
The dense physical body, which is the sumtotal of all the organisms which compose it; these possess the varying functions which enable the soul to express itself on the physical or objective plane as part of a greater and more inclusive organism. The physical body is the response apparatus of the indwelling spiritual man and serves to put that spiritual entity en rapport with the response apparatus of the planetary Logos, the Life in which we live and move and have our being. 13
Nature of Physical Body:
The physical body is an automaton of whichever inner body is the strongest. When you remember that the vital [etheric] body is the recipient of the streams of energy, and is in fact composed and formed of such streams, and that the physical body is driven into activity by these streams, it is apparent that that stream which is the most potent is the one which will control the action of the physical body upon the physical plane. 14
The physical body (etheric and dense) can be pictured as a house with two telephonic installations—one bringing in energies from without the house and the other being in the nature of a house telephone from room to room. The analogy is far more accurate than appears to the casual thinker. In every modern house, light and water and gas and telephonic interchange are brought. Light, the symbol of the soul; water, the symbol of the emotions; telephonic interchange, the symbol of mind with its intercommunication of knowledges; and gas, the symbol of the etheric nature. 15
The physical body, therefore, is not a principle. It is conditioned and does not condition—a point oft forgotten. It is a victim of personality life or the triumphant expression of soul energy. 16
You must bear in mind that, as H.P.B.17 points out, the dense physical body is not a principle. It is atomic matter which is held in form by etheric substance, under the control of the soul. It is automatic in its response, and reacts to the outer world of impacts and inner impulses, but has no initiatory life of its own. It is composed of units of energy, as is all else in nature, and has its own individual life; its focus for the distribution of energy for this life is the spleen. 18
One of the things which frequently puzzle students is the statement that the dense physical body is not a principle….What, in the last analysis, is a principle? A principle is…the germ or the seed on each subplane which embodies some aspect of the divine unfolding consciousness; it is that which is fundamentally related to some form of sensitivity; it is that to which the bodies, as they evolve, find that they can respond. A principle is a germ of awareness, carrying all the potentiality of full consciousness on some particular level of divine activity. It is that which makes knowledge and conscious response to environment possible; it is that which connotes a sequential and "unrolling" sensitive activity, resulting in divine understanding possible and inevitable.
….At present, the physical body is the only one which is as yet so fully developed that it has in this planetary scheme of ours no further evolutionary development, except in so far as the spiritual man can affect it—and most of the effect is produced in the etheric body and not in the dense physical. This is a point little grasped but of major importance. 19
To sum up: the physical body is not a principle; it is not a main object of attention of the aspirant; it automatically responds to the slowly unfolding consciousness in all the kingdoms of nature; it constantly remains that which is worked upon and not that which has an innate influence of its own; it is not important in the active process, for it is a recipient and not that which initiates activity. That which is important is the unfolding consciousness, the response of the indwelling spiritual man to life, circumstances, events and environment. The physical body responds. 20
The physical body—no matter what its victims may believe and declare—is always conditioned by inner causes; it is never, intrinsically, itself a cause. It is, in this solar system and on our planet, automatic and affected by causes generated on the inner planes or by statement. The physical body has no true life of its own, but is simply—in this cycle—responsive to impulses emanating from elsewhere. Its achievement and its triumph is that it is an automaton. 21
Esoteric students are willing to recognise that the physical body is automatic in its response to emotional, mental or soul impression; so closely, however, is the etheric body interwoven with the physical vehicle that it is well nigh impossible to separate the two in consciousness; this will not be proven or possible until the science of etheric energy and the development of clairvoyant perception demonstrate the truth of what I say. 22
The Physical Body and Health:
When man becomes a Master 23, his physical body absorbs the highest and purest prana 24, and he is then able to live in his physical body as long as he wants. 25
The physical body is sometimes called the temple which must be kept beautiful, holy and strong. To have such a body, we must give attention to the following:
Rest, or Relaxation
First, let us consider nutrition. Volumes have been written on this subject, but to keep it short, we may say that we should include in our diet:
Fresh butter, natural cheese
Herb teas, juices, water
Second, attention must be given to the rest which our bodies require. During rest, nature does the needed repair work on our bodies. Here we are referring not only to our rest at night, or our rest after our daily work, but also to a special rest which we must give our three bodies; our physical mechanism, our emotional nature and our mental vehicle.
This special rest involves occasional retreats, reticence and celibacy on mental, emotional and physical levels, enabling our mechanism as a whole to have a complete rest and become in tune with the Lord. Of course, we can experience this rest daily, if we have enough control over our vehicles. During a good rest, we tune in with the energies of nature, and let them harmonize our whole existence with the source of life, the Life coming from our Home.
Third, we must give attention to our breathing. Most of us do not know how to breathe correctly. This does not refer to the breathing exercises. This breathing is our daily, natural breathing, which should be rhythmic and deep enough to vitalize our entire organism and brain.
Our homes and offices need pure air, free from smog and various irritating gases which slowly poison us. The simple way of learning deep, natural breathing is to rise early in the morning and, while walking in the garden, to inhale slowly the fresh air for eight counts, hold the breath for eight counts, and exhale to the count of eight, holding again for eight counts. Do this ten or fifteen times. The same routine can be followed in the evening before going to bed.
Fourth, we should be careful about what we drink. Those who want to cultivate the mind and spiritual nature should use very little alcohol, or better yet, should not use it at all. One should drink pure water, fruit juices of every kind, herb teas and unprocessed milk.
Fifth, it is healthful to walk under trees in the mountains where vital, fresh air is found. Swimming is also good for the body. Great care must be given to body cleanliness.
Our sixth point is sex. This is a most important subject for those who want to change their way of life, and to sublimate their emotions and thoughts. The sexual act is closely connected with our nervous and glandular systems, as well as our higher mind and brain. By using it economically and wisely we improve our mental and physical health and assist the carriage, pulled by the horses and guided by the driver, to run more smoothly.
The seventh point is sleep. Sleep is very important to the carriage, the physical body, for it is during the period of sleep that this body rebuilds itself. We need to sleep in pure air after relaxing our body, emotions, and mind. We need eight hours of sleep, but if we are living at a high altitude, five to six hours will be sufficient. 26