THE SEVEN BODIES OF MAN - A brief exploration
The Ageless Wisdom – Theosophy – tells us of the seven fold constitution of human beings. It tells us that as well as the physical body we have and Etheric Body, an Astral Body, a Mental Body (with a lower and higher configuration) a Buddhic Body, an Atmic or Spiritual Body, and a Monadic Spark or ray of the Divine Over-Soul.
The Etheric Body is the matrix of the Physical Body and is regarded as the energy body. The Etheric Body has centres of awareness and energy known as Chakras. These are likened to flowers – such as the lotus flower – and are said to have petal like formations, which vary in each Chakra. The Chakras are funnel shaped, protruding out from the Etheric Body some four to six inches. Each Chakra is connected to the central nerve system of the Etheric Body and conducts earth energy, known as Kundalini or the Serpent Power, from the base of the etheric spine. In the reverse direction the Chakras also take in energies from the inner planes – Astral, Mental, Buddhic, and Atmic. When seen by clairvoyant sight the Chakras appear to be spinning but this is more likely the effect of the two opposing energy flows at the mouth of the funnel as they spiral passed each other.
The Astral Body is the centre of emotion. All our feelings are generated here as vibrations of varying frequencies. Emotions display as colours within the aura and make up the majority of what is called the oval or egg shaped aura surrounding a human being. Astral awareness can be cultivated by sensitive people. This gives them the power to sense the astral energies of living things such as trees and animals. The Astral Body is part of the Astral Plane, just as our physical bodies are part of the Physical Plane. The Astral Plane is a world in itself, with colours of a much higher vibrancy than the earth world. When we dream at night during our sleep, we experience something of what the astral world is like, but all too often our recollection of it is vague and uncertain. However, it is possible to become fully conscious in the Astral World – usually during sleep – and to experience it as a real, solid reality, just as we do the Physical World. Full consciousness on the Astral Plane is known as Astral Travel but this can also mean travelling out of the body in the etheric part of the physical as well.
The mental body is of course the mind or the vehicle of thought vibrations. When we think we are modifying mental matter into waves or vibrations, which spread out from us on the Mental Plane rather like ripples on a pond. Some psychically developed persons can detect and decode these waves of mental energy or thoughts and this is known as telepathy. The lower mind is concerned with reason and logic; it is the mind of our everyday thinking and is very dependant on the orderly functioning of memory. Memory is associated with elemental forces, which respond to the impulses of thought and shape and sustain them into what are known as thought forms. Each time a thought is formed and sustained in this way it is registered in the malleable, universal field of Akasa or Astral Light. The Akasa is impressed by these thought forms and the more frequent the thought the deeper and enduring the impression. When we try to remember something the elementals are drawn to the relevant and associated impressions in the Akasa, and from these they reproduce the thought, which we then experience as memory. The Lower Mind is part of the Personality. It is a temporary configuration used only for a single life.
The Higher Mental Body, on the other hand, is part of the Spiritual Trinity and as such is permanent. It is concerned with abstract ideas, with the idea of a thing rather than the thing itself. All qualitative assessments or considerations are vibrations in higher mental matter. Deep states of meditation and reflective abstraction, contemplation, and ecstasy are experienced in the Higher Mind. This is the home of innovation, imagination, and invention. Virtually everything that can be found on the physical plane has started its inner life and journey in the Higher Mental Plane as vibrating energy in the higher Mental Body of a human, angel, or god. It is a universal law that manifestation is achieved from the within to the without. Spiritual development is largely a question of opening up awareness in the higher areas of mind because the Higher Mind is spiritual in nature, and is universal in its perception. Separateness and self concern are not part of the higher consciousness; they are residents of the lower mind and emotions. To be able to centre one’s awareness in the Higher Mind is to rise above the petty concerns of the Personality and experience Spiritual Unity.
The Buddhic Body is the seat of Spiritual Love and Wisdom. It is the developing vehicle of the Spiritual Self. The Buddha is so called because he had so risen above the mundane human condition that his consciousness was directly connected to his Buddhi Nature. This is the condition known as Samadhi or At-one-ment. His expression was of Spiritual Love for humanity and the Wisdom of Enlightenment. His teachings were those of Theosophy or the Ageless Wisdom, which has been taught by every enlightened man and woman in one form or another for thousands of centuries.
The Atma or Atman is the highest aspect of an individual human being. It is what we refer to as our Spirit. Its experience is not known to us because it experiences no separateness in our terms, only Unity. It is known as Christ Consciousness and some call it Nirvana. This is the highest state attainable from a human point of view, but it is not attained without great struggle and the highest sacrifice over many thousands of life times. The Lord Maitreya is said to embody this exulted state and to overshadow great Masters - such as Jesus - from time to time in order to bring the healing and redeeming light of this purest of vibrations to the Earth Plane and to all those who are ready to respond to its uplifting vibrations. When all that can do so have reached this Holy of Holies the earth life will no longer be part of human experience. Human evolution will have reached its peak, will have gone full circle, or rather full spiral. All of those that have made it will reside in Nirvana, a prize of pure bliss that the Buddha and many others have so far rejected for the sake of the rest of us lagging behind. They stand near the portal to immortality, guiding and encouraging us to ascend the steep pathway to the spiritual heights and the great light beyond.
The Monadic Spark is a ray of the pure, Universal Spiritual Flame; a spark thrown out into the descending and ascending cycles of Involution and Evolution. Over untold aeons these sparks gather experience and evolve through all known states of existence, becoming conscious by infinitesimal degrees, until they eventually pass through the animal kingdom and graduate into the human state. In a human, the Divine Spark has become a continuous thread or ray from the Spiritual Plane to the Physical brain, with nodes or centres of awareness in all of the intervening bodies. As humans we are self conscious and aware beings superior to all lesser life forms but still have a long way to go before completing our evolution. When we have completed the whole cycle, from divine spark to divine being, we will join the ranks of the Devas or Shining Ones, or the Creative Hierarchies of Gods from previous aeonic cycles.
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