Understanding Our Subtle Bodies

By Rev. Spencer Rouse

Our subtle bodies—just what are they, anyway? Metaphysical traditions teach that we have at least six separate energetic bodies that interpenetrate our physical body and each other. Together, they make up the aura, and the timing of their development corresponds roughly to the awakening of the chakras, which are junction points of several energetic meridians outside the physical body. While they are not exactly in layers, the molecules of each body are increasingly less dense, making the succession “lighter” as the bodies extend farther and farther away from the physical body.

Looking at it from a different perspective, the closer energy bodies are more directly involved with the functions of physical existence. The farther ones are more involved with the spiritual aspects of the current life of the individual, but they are also indirectly connected to the functions of the physical because each subtle body affects all the others.

The subtle bodies support the physical body by receiving and filtering incoming information from multiple sources such as the elements of nature and the cosmos, color, sound/music, physical exercise, and  interaction with other people—basically anything that creates a vibration and is received by our personal energy field.  Each subtle body performs a unique function that coordinates with the others in a complex, rhythmic dance of life.

The health of the physical body depends upon the health and vitality of the subtle bodies, which are nourished by the chi or life force of nature and the cosmos.

We breathe in the chi for our energetic systems, just as we breathe in oxygen for our physical system. Negativity and disease first manifest in one or more of the subtle bodies in the form of very dense energy that has crystallized and, as a result, is blocked from flowing. If not cleared, crystallization can move through the layers of the aura until it reaches the physical body and becomes disease. Let’s look at these bodies in more detail.

Etheric or Vital Body
This subtle body is closest to the physical body. It is an energetic template of the physical body and regulates all of its functions. The etheric body begins to develop in children around the age of seven and continues until around age 14. Until this process is complete, a child’s physical development is nourished by the etheric bodies of the parents. The more time the parents spend with the young child, the more likely it is that the child will have a healthy physical structure with strong internal organs.

Astral or Emotional Body
The next layer of subtle energy begins to develop around age 14, as strong emotions emerge. Movement, color, shapes, and music become points of focus during this phase. The sensitive astral body creates awareness of the paradoxes in life. Young teenagers question and need an ideal, a focus for their strong energies. A desire for justice and to right wrongs develops at this time, especially if there are healthy ideals and values to emulate.

With no focus for their energies, children can become overwhelmed by the turbulent emotions of the developing astral body.

Without a positive focus, depression, addictive habits, violent behavior, and even suicidal tendencies have a chance of manifesting. Healthy ideals modeled by the adults in their lives strengthen the child’s psychological, emotional, and physical well-being during the development of the astral body until around age of 17.

Mental Body
During the age range of approximately 21 to 28, the mental body develops in young adults. Focused thinking develops, especially if the astral/emotional body is healthy. This is the age when we can stay up all night solving the world’s problems. Excessive mental activity can lead to an extra dense mental energy field, hence the expression, “He’s always in his head.” More perceptive people can actually sense the denser energy surrounding the head of a “thinker.”

Causal Body
From around age 28 to about age 35, the causal body develops. This energetic body holds the ancestral and cosmic energies of the past and future. The causal level is where the seed of our purpose for this lifetime waits to unfold. The more we, as a society, accept the idea of subtle energetic development, the more we will be able to access this realm. Under healthy conditions, we realize that we didn’t really solve all the world’s problems in our early 20s, so we now turn our attention to structuring the personality—the means by which we choose to share ourselves with the world. Personality is a structure created by the ego. From a healthy and grounded personality, we can best explore and develop our physical, material lives, in our own individual style. Social life is especially important during the development of the causal body.

Buddhic Body
All things being ideal, we have created a strong, healthy personality by age 35. At this time, the Buddhic subtle body emerges and develops until around age 42. It carries the vibration of our soul essence that has been created over many lifetimes. At this time we begin to lose some of the memories of the astral body. The etheric body becomes a little weaker, and we lose some physical vitality. We are “de-materializing.”

However, the soul begins to come forward and grows stronger during this time. We have begun the process of returning to the Universe some of our physical energy and leaving behind the astral/emotional body of earthliness. As we start experiencing these energetic shifts, our attitudes also shift, which gives space for true generosity to grow within us. Under good conditions, we begin to allow our soul to guide us more and more, and our altruistic nature unfolds. We begin to recognize our connection to others from a soul or spiritual level, rather than from the ego or a materialist aspect. The emanations of the Buddhic, and later the Atmic, bodies work with the essence of our Light Being, our Divine essence. When we do not block this natural spiritual development by trying to hold onto the physical, material attachments, we can really offer ourselves to the service of the planet. We can give to others because we have begun to let go of our earthly selves. We begin a more spiritual focus.

The soul (the spiritual aspect of ourselves) can grow when consciousness begins to direct the nourishing chi beyond the physical and astral/emotional bodies. If we continue to stay obsessed with the material aspects of life, we do not develop the spiritual aspect properly. Some may experience physical problems or relationship difficulties at this time to remind us of the need to keep growing. With our current over-emphasis on the eternally youthful, beautiful body or the acquiring of wealth and possessions, the subtle gifts atrophy.

Atmic Body
The Atmic Body continues the work of the Buddhic Body. As it develops around the ages of 42 through 49, we can now turn our attention to the realization of the soul’s purpose. As we focus our attention on soul purpose, strength and beauty return, but with celestial overtones much more radiant than pure physical “perfection.” Our vibration is diffused all around us. Multidimensional awareness will likely be expressed through spiritual and artistic expression, music, and the healing arts.

As we travel through our journey of life, it is vital to understand that the physical body is a vehicle for experience and expression on earth.

It is our responsibility to keep the body healthy, to work within the existing framework of global society for the benefit of all living beings and to strive to master the balance of the physical, material aspects of our reality with the divine realm of our soul and the eternal opportunity it has to seek spiritual growth.

Nourishing and Healing the Subtle Bodies

The subtle bodies exist as vibrational potential in all human beings, and some of them may never develop properly in a person.

Fortunately, there are always ways to heal and balance those energies when problems develop. Immersing ourselves regularly in nature will nourish the etheric energies, which strengthen the physical body and help ground it. Working with the martial arts, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong will breathe life into the etheric body. The subtle bodies are a fluid energy and can adapt at any age. Slow Chi movements create an inner space that allows the deeper energies to move and flow through their channels.

Chi practice, such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong helps the shift from physical to spiritual energies. Working with Chi can raise the frequency of the physical body, releasing us from the limitations of the five senses. We connect with our etheric body and feel its vital flow energizing the physical body. The etheric body raises the frequencies of the cells as it enters the physical body through the energy channels. These channels are the acupuncture meridians in the physical body.

As your Chi practice continues, the astral (emotional) body comes closer to the etheric body to help it raise the vibration of the physical body. The movement is out to in, then in to out, coming from the subtle bodies to the physical and the physical to the subtle, a movement of concentration and expansion. In concentration, you receive the energy. In expansion you use the energy. This movement happens very quickly, during the first five minutes of your Chi practice. The astral body, and soon all the other subtle bodies enter this round trip movement, like an accordion, raising the rate of your physical energy until it can resonate with higher realms.

If not kept fluid, stuck energy becomes very dense and can crystallize, forming an obstruction in the rhythm of the natural flow of energy in our systems. These crystallizations will move through the subtle bodies to the physical body where it will appear as disease.

These crystallizations of energy come from persistent negative thoughts and emotions. The molecules gather closer and closer to each other, so that the dense, dark energy allows in less and less light between the molecules. Acupuncture or tuning forks on specific points in the energy meridians can open the denseness, clear the obstructions, and allow in light. Changing the attitude will keep these same crystallizations from returning.

The subtle bodies also can be stimulated and awakened through music and harmony. Acoustic musical instruments made of various materials will have different effects on the subtle bodies. Using the voice to tone specific notes will create a vibration that will stimulate entrainment from the areas that resonate with that vibration. It can awaken and move sluggish energy, bringing increased activity, movement and rhythm.

Overtone chanting will open the fields of the subtle bodies, activating movement, balance, and harmony. This is particularly useful to open areas for ancestral and cosmic memories to come through.

In meditation, we can elevate our vibration and resonate with the faster vibrations of the subtle anatomy. There is a dense concentration of atoms in the physical and etheric bodies. As we move farther and farther out, the density becomes lighter and lighter; the atomic particles spin faster and faster. That is why it is rare to see or sense the farthest bodies such as the Buddhic and Atmic. It is easier to see or sense the etheric and the astral/emotional which are denser and vibrate more slowly.

Healing with sound in the subtle bodies changes our vibration. Sound makes the aura lighter and improves our psychic perception. Sound as a meditation clears the head and busy thoughts, eliminates interference, and lightens the heavy energy created by the vibration of thinking. Sound surrounds the atoms and expands them by reversing the direction of rotation. By changing the resonance, sound opens a new and wider field of consciousness.

Healing Techniques

There are several techniques that can be used to heal the subtle bodies. Singing bowls harmonize the aura. Scanning the three levels of the aura (etheric, astral/emotional, and mental) with the hand will reveal problems in these fields. Specific sound and color techniques will clear negative concentrations in these subtle bodies. Toning works on the physical and subtle levels from within. Healing subtle bodies with acoustic musical instruments will clear the entire subtle body structure from the outside in.

By working with sound to heal, we avoid bringing personal opinions and ideas into the process. We work directly with the vibrational source of the difficulty.

If we develop our consciousness we become aware of where the energy of the sound takes us and what it opens within our being. With practice, we will detect the next sound before it comes. This is a sign that we have a new link to a higher consciousness where we have access to new information.

It is important to keep the energy flowing freely in our systems, so that vibrational information does not become stuck and stagnant. Artistic pursuits stimulate creative flow; journaling can release stuck energy as ideas emerge; walking, especially in nature, can revitalize the systems, and perhaps the most productive is habitual practice of chi exercise done in nature. Careful attention to the subtle side of ourselves can produce long, happy, and successful lives, walking our spiritual path and fulfilling the mission of the soul.

Author’s note: Sources for this article include the books Raising Human Frequencies (The Way of Chi and the Subtle Bodies) by Fabien Maman; The Tao of Sound by Fabien Maman and Terres Unsoeld; and Esoteric Healing by Alan Hopking.

Rev. Spencer Rouse has been a psychic medium, teacher, counselor, writer and healer for more than 25 years. She recently completed her Level 1 and 2 studies of Acoustic Sound, Color, and Body Movement with Fabien Maman (Father of Vibrational Sound Therapy) at the Tama-do Academy in Malibu, and Switzerland. Spencer teaches “Soul to Soul” classes, which focus on how to tune into the true self through the tools of sound, color, and ancient teachings. She also will be presenting an interactive class focused on color, sound and Chi in relation to healing this winter. For more information visit www.psychicspencer.com, email PsychicSpencer@yahoo.com or call 941-706-1005.

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