What is our Subtle Anatomy?
Although many times we see ourselves as only the physical body we also have subtle ‘bodies’, vortices and channels of energy around and within the physical body. We refer to these as the “subtle anatomy”. Our subtle anatomy includes the subtle bodies, the chakras, and the nadi channels. These energetic structures assist us in conducting and holding energy. The subtle and physical anatomy are in constant communication with each other. Although we describe them separately it is important to remember there are one interconnected system of energy.
Surrounding the physical body are layers of subtle bodies, often referred to collectively as the aura. Everything we experience in the physical body is first experienced in the subtle bodies, which carry all the energies of our thoughts, emotions and actions. These subtle bodies are interrelated and interact with one another. They are living, breathing structures that act as both receivers and transmitters of information. Because the subtle bodies are open channels at the top and bottom, we are also able to receive high frequency energy from our higher selves and from Mother Earth. Therefore, when the subtle bodies are clear and aligned we are able to fully embody Spirit.
When the subtle bodies are in their pure state they are full of light. However, through distorted patterns of thoughts and emotions, dense energies and dark spots appear in that light. These dense energies may cause the subtle bodies to move out of alignment. Since each affects one another when one body is out of alignment it affects the alignment of all the others. By keeping the subtle bodies clear and aligned we maintain balance and harmony in our life.
For our purposes, the subtle body model we will use includes the following five bodies; however, in our basic work, we will focus on the first four. The essence of each subtle body is that the vibrational level is distinct and unique from the previous layer. As we progress outward from the physical body, each layer becomes more refined, and vibrates at a higher frequency.
Each subtle body has seven layers (sub-bodies) that, in turn, each have seven layers (sub-sub-bodies). In other words, when we clear layers of our subtle bodies, there are still many more layers remaining to be cleared and purified The subtle bodies are outlined below.
The etheric body is like an energetic envelope that duplicates the outline of the physical body and extends about 1 inch from the physical body. It is the place where life force is channeled and distributed through out our being. It serves as an interface of the physical to the eversubtler bodies. The etheric body is clear and radiant when the physical body is healthy, rested and strong.
The second subtle body is the emotional body and relates to our emotional state. This body extends about 12 inches or more from the physical body, varying depending on the individual and their state of being. If we hold onto the emotions we experience, they leave imprints in the emotional body, which in turn affect the etheric and physical bodies. The emotional body is clear and radiant when we release patterns of dense emotions and allow the pure joy and love that we are to flourish.
The third subtle body is the mental body. This body carries within it all our patterns of thoughts, belief systems, concepts, etc. If we attach to a thought it becomes a belief system that leaves an imprint on the mental body. The mental body becomes clear and radiant when we release these belief systems and patterns of thought and allow the pure creativity of Source to shine through.
The mental body can affect the emotional body, just as the emotional body may affect the mental body. This means our emotions can create thoughts and our thoughts can create emotions. The field of the mental body typically reaches out about 18 inches.
The fourth subtle body is the causal body. The causal body carries the imprints of the causes and effects (karma) of all actions, thoughts and experiences from this lifetime and others. Contracts or agreements made before embodiment are stored in this body. It extends out from the typical physical body about 2 feet or more. The causal body becomes clear and radiant when we release the karma of previous experiences by making choices in each moment that reflect the truth of who we are.
The fifth subtle body is the spiritual body. Spirit, as higher vibrations of energies, first enters into the spiritual body before moving down through the other subtle bodies into the physical. Past life experiences relating to spirituality reside in this body. The spiritual body becomes clear and radiant through constant awareness of our divinity in every moment. This awareness Is enhanced through our spiritual practice.