Generally, we live in two bodies, the first is the physical body, which is expressed by the senses, and the other is the subtle energy body, or astral body, expressed by intuitive perception.
We might think that science can give no support to the reality of such concepts, but string theory, especially the branch of string theory known as M-theory, gives us a scientific framework to help us understand how such subtle energy can exist. M-theory suggests that we continuously and simultaneously exist in two realms in our three-dimensional physical universe, and in a vast, hidden-to-the-senses, two-dimensional, pure-energy realm call the “cosmos”.
According to M-theory, The energy-verse is filled with super-high frequency vibrating rings and strings. These rings and strings vibrate at frequencies too high for either our senses or scientific instruments to detect. Further, M-theory suggests that this ocean of high-frequency energies invisibly interpenetrates the physical universe at every point. Thus the rings and strings are invisible to our senses and yet surround and interpenetrate our physical body and world at all times.
The mystics tell that we are surrounded by and interpenetrated with subtle energy. They tell us that our subtle energy body is the source of the light seen as an aura.
More significantly M-theory also suggests that our entire physical universe is a holographic projection and that the hologram from which it is projected exists completely. In our physical world, a hologram is a flat, two-dimensional film with which light can be made to interact to project a three-dimensional image. According to M-theory, our universe’s hologram is a two-dimensional, light-template with which the high-frequency energy of the energy-verse interacts to project our entire three-dimensional physical universe into being.
This is what the sages have been telling us for millennia: the physical universe is created and sustained by subtle energy.
Everything was created of spirit-matter [Intelligently guided high-frequency energy] before it was created physically solar systems, suns, moons, stars, planets, life upon the planets, mountains, rivers, seas, etc. The spirit creation could be compared to one of our photographic prints; the spirit creation would be like a sharp, brilliant print, and the Earth would be like its dark negative. This Earth is only a shadow of the beauty and glory of its spirit creation.
More importantly, mystics tell us that when we die, important aspects of who we continue to be recorded in our subtle, penetrating bodies that we have. The subtle body, often known as the astral body (one of the 5 layers of the body), resembles a shape almost similar to the physical body.
The astral body does not die, our compilation of the physical body dies. He shifts awareness and speed of vibration.
The body dies but the spiritual quantum field passes
The Five Layers of Human Body
In Hinduism, the human body consists of five layers called ” Panca Kosha”. The Five Koshas proceed from outer to inner in greater and greater levels of subtlety :
1. Physical Body (Anna Maya kosha)
This sheath represents the physical body, the ‘regular’ gross expression of our body that we can see, touch and feel. The Sanskrit word Anna means food, and the word Maya means appearance. This is the sheath of food, nourished by and created by our daily intake of food. The Annamayakosha is our physical body, the most familiar aspect of our being. As we practice yoga asanas, the physical body is the starting point of our experience.
Although our physical bodies are a kind of package, consisting of flesh, skin, bone, organs, and blood, they are also energy, same as the other layers of the body that most people cannot see or sense. Though the physical sheath is the most tangible aspect of ourselves, very few of us have a real sense of where our organs are or what goes on inside our bodies.
2. Etheric / Astral / Energy Body (Prana Maya kosha)
The second, or Etheric, from the word “ether” a layer of our energy body, is located approximately one quarter to one-half inch—but not more than an inch from the physical body. Energy medicine practitioners who are adept at psychically sensing this layer have described it as feeling much like a spider web, sticky, even stretchy. It is also gray or gray-blue in color. The etheric energy body has also been referred to as the blueprint or holograph of the physical body.
Prana means energy, but not energy in the usual Western meaning of the word. Rather, prana is the life-force, the vital energy which flows through and enlivens all our physical systems. The breath is the most physical expression of prana, and prana is closely related to the breath. Breath awareness and breathing practices, called pranayama, increase and facilitate the flow of prana in the body and balance the flow of the life force to all the physical systems.
This is also the type of body one possesses in the astral world, where most beings go after death. It is made of prana or life force. It is not subject to cold or heat or other natural conditions. It looks exactly like the last physical form one had in one’s youth unless the being chooses another form. Astral bodies are not born like a physical body but are materialized through a cosmic will.
This Pranamaya kosha penetrates and encloses the physical body with a larger size. As we become sensitive to the energy in and around us, we will begin to recognize the signs of vibration that we and others leave in a place or room, or even on a piece of clothing.
We can also pay attention to how much our communication with the world occurs at an energetic level. Consider what we feel when we are in a room with people who are angry, the peace we can find by sitting under a shady tree, the subtle energy transmission that we get from being near a good teacher.
3. Mental / Emotional Body (Mana Maya kosha)
The emotional layer of our energy body is the third layer. Centrally located among the five layers, this layer is where our feelings and fears reside. This layer can be quite volatile when we are experiencing extremely high or low emotions.
Manas means mind, and the Manamayakosha is the layer of our being expressed as mind, emotions, and feelings. These are the mental faculties with which we absorb, process, and interpret input from our life (presented through the senses of the physical body). It is like a supervisor in a factory, which unfortunately often mistakenly takes on the role as manager.
The mana may kosha within which you think, fantasize, daydream, and practice mantra or affirmations is the part of you that creates meaning out of the world you inhabit. But just as the physical body has layers of skin, fat, blood, and bones, so the mental body has its own layers. The most superficial layer comprises passing thoughts, images, perceptions, and emotions that bubble up in your inner world.
The deeper levels of the Mana Maya kosha contain the powerful mental structures formed by the beliefs, opinions, and assumptions that you’ve absorbed from your family and culture as well as from your accumulated mental patterns.
Called samskaras in Sanskrit, these deep thought grooves in the mental body cause your perceptions of our self and our life to run in certain fixed patterns. Samskaras not only color our experience but also help shape it, which is why one of the most effective practices is to notice and question the “stories” that, without conscious prompting, run through our mind over and over again.
4. Wisdom / Awareness Body (Vijnana Maya kosha)
This is the layer from which our ideas spring. Our belief systems are also stored here. This is where our thoughts are assimilated and sorted out, and it is where we house our personal truths, or, rather, our perceptions based on our experiences.
This kosha is considered part of the subtle body. Vijnana means knowing, and this sheath represents the higher mind, the faculty of wisdom, which lies underneath the processing, thinking reactive mind. This is the level of our being, that has the higher wisdom to guide us through life and lead us to higher and higher levels of truth and integration. It represents the reflective aspects of our consciousness, which allow us to experience a deeper insight into ourselves and the world around us.
As you explore your inner world, you may begin to notice that along with your thoughts there are things that come from a deeper and subtler level of your being. This sense of inner knowing comes from the wisdom body, the layer composed of intuition and awareness. The wisdom body is also responsible for insight. If you become engrossed in a project like writing, painting, math, or even problem solving, you’re accessing the wisdom body.
A composer I know often plays random sounds until his ordinary mind steps back, making room for the wisdom body to “download” music that is genuinely creative and new. Another friend tells me that when he’s stymied or stuck on a personal or professional problem, he’ll formulate a question about it, then sit for meditation. At some point, as his thinking mind gets quiet, wisdom will arise. The wisdom body, at its subtlest level, is simply awareness–the objective, observing part of the self. It’s where you can stop identifying with your powerful thoughts and self-descriptions, and just witness your mind and your life.
5. Spiritual / Bliss Body (Ananda Maya kosha )
The spiritual layer of the human is the place where our “consciousness” or “higher awareness” resides. This final layer ties us not only to our past lives but also to universal consciousness.
This is Ananda means bliss, not bliss in the sense of emotions, such as happiness or pleasure, but an expanded, unbounded experience of reality. The ancients viewed the experience of the Bliss body as an experience of the deepest level of our being, an unbounded, blissful state of peace, joy, and love.
The bliss body is the most hidden part of us, yet its subtle presence is felt as the instinctive sense that life is worth living, that to be alive is good. You’re literally born to be blissful, because the bliss body is the deepest layer of your personal Self. Separated by a thread from the universal Self, your bliss body is filled with natural ecstasy, dynamism, and goodness.
Contact with the bliss body develops through practice, especially practices such as mantra, meditation, and prayer that teach the mind to let go of the thoughts that hide the bliss body. To fully enter the bliss body, however, you usually need to be in a state of deep meditation.
When you are in touch with your bliss body, you know that your nature is joyful, free, and capable of every flavor of happiness from simple contentment. We are in the bliss body in those moments during which you recognize viscerally rather than intellectually—that love is the deepest reality, beyond mental constructs or ideas. In fact, one of yoga’s greatest gifts is its power to awaken us to our body of bliss.
The 5 Koshas are viewed as different, beautiful manifestations of our essential universal nature. According to yoga philosophy, this is known as Atman the unbounded, universal Oneness of all that exists.
The 5 body layers mentioned above are then squeezed into 3 main parts :
Body, Mind and Soul
The physical body is the element in which both soul and spirit or mind are contained. In other words, the body is also known as a cover which encases both the soul and spirit.
The human mind is an element given to us in order to enable them to know God intimately through a genuine relationship. Our mind is what connects us with God. So to be connected with God is to be alive spiritually. Our knowledge receive, and discern spiritual truth through our mind.
The mind governs our mental and emotional aspects. It houses our consciousness – made up of our Superconscious, Subconscious and Conscious psyches. Our mind allows us to be aware of the world, and powers our ability to think and feel.
3. Soul / Spirit
Our Soul or Spirit is invisible to us, and to others. Its eternal nature doesn’t need a physical body or need to conform to space and time. Instead, it expresses life’s creator– a Divinity, Source, God, or The Universe – through the creative expressions of each and every one of us. An immortal being, our Spirit / Soul can connect us to something much bigger than ourselves and our five senses.
The soul is an immaterial element; in other words, the soul is spirit as well. It’s the very element in which intellect, emotion, and free will are housed. The soul is the element which controls the body in these three areas. The soul is immortal in the sense that it cannot be annihilated; therefore, it remains alive even if the body is dead physically.
Our soul gives our minds the ability to think, choose, imagine, remember, and feel.
Integration of Body, Mind and Soul
We now know the basics of Mind, Body and Spirit/Soul. How are they connected to each other? How does their connectedness impact our lives?
While Body, Mind and Spirit may seem to be separate, they are each intimately connected and reliant upon one another. When integrated, they complete our unique human essence.
The disconnectedness of our Body, Mind and Spirit means that when we experience in one part, we experience in all three.
When we experience disease in our Body, our Mind and Spirit are also affected. When negative thoughts or fears occur in our Mind, our Body and Spirit also feel stressed or ‘off-balance’. When our connection to Spirit is frail, we may turn to our Mind and Body to find the answers as to why.
The truth is that each of our three aspects are always listening, and always aware. Our Body, Mind and Spirit are always present in each and every single thing that we think or do, consume or say.
Because our three parts are interconnected, every problem we address must involve all three. This process, which we call ‘integration’, is holistic. It is a returning to the original, natural harmony between our Body, Mind and Spirit. Without a holistic approach, we’ll always feel “off”, like there’s something missing. We’re also more likely to focus on the symptoms, rather than the root cause.
From the 3 things above then generally narrowed down again into 2 parts: Body and Soul
We might think there will be a slight difference between what we experience now and what we will experience after we die. However, there is a big difference. Our subtle bodies are naturally closer to experiencing Divine potential. Saints and sages tell us that our natural state is Joy.
But we don’t need to wait until we die to approach the higher potential, we can meditate and use it here and now while the physical body is still alive.
Meditation allows us to experience natural calm and joy for our subtle energy bodies. Concentration and silence are equally effective because they make us go beyond the flow of thoughts and sensations of our body, freeing us to realize the natural state of our body’s joyful energy.
The more our awareness is centered on our subtle energy body, the happier, fulfilled, loving, compassionate, energetic, and calm we feel.
Extending awareness about the subtle body, is the secret of health and happiness