Substances That Make Up a Physical Being
Even as the medical community tries to unravel the many mysteries of the human body (made up of atoms and subatomic particles), doctors and spiritualists have acknowledged the existence of an “energy field” around the human body. This energy field, or aura, extends externally and internally, interacting with everything around us. It is comprised of energy bodies that exist in succession and coexist in the same space.
It is also known through quantum physics that subatomic particles can “phase in and out” of existence, depending on the moment of observation. It also explains that we are both particles (matter) and energy waves. As stated in the first law of thermodynamics: energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form to another. Therefore, a part of us must continue to exist after physical death, and perhaps this is a form we take in the afterlife.
In the late twentieth century, scientists made the discovery that organs and tissues produce particular magnetic pulsations or biomagnetic fields, which can be measured using a SQUID magnetometer (possibly the most sensitive measurement device known to humans), as proof of our existence beyond just the physical visible form.
It is believed that the human energy field is an instrument of wellness. Once disregarded by the medical community, alternate forms of healing such as Reiki and therapeutic touch, a technique to stimulate energy fields, has become a popular and accepted form of treatment, and has shown a reduction in postoperative recovery time.
Different Models of the Human Energy Field
One of the first references to the human energy field comes from the ancient Vedic traditions of India, which believe that human beings exist on five koshas (layers/levels). The physical body is the outermost layer, followed by the energy body, which is the life force supporting the five senses. The third kosha is the mental body, where emotions and thoughts are processed. The next, wisdom body, is a provider of intuition, helping humans reflect upon and evaluate the deeper meaning of life. Human consciousness is subtly manifested in the bliss body, which provides transcendental experiences.
Influential spiritual writer Alice Bailey (1880–1949) described human energy fields in relation to chakras and nadis. The literal translation of the Sanskrit word chakra is “spinning wheel.” Chakras refer to energy centers, in the shape of rotating vortices, which serve as focal points for transmission and reception of energies. The human body is said to be composed of seven major chakras and a number of minor chakras. Every chakra spins at different rates and absorbs those energies from the universal energy field that is harmonically related to its individual frequency. Nadis are channels or conduits that make up the subtle body. Vital force, or prana, flows through these nadis. According to Bailey, there are distinct human and spiritual energies that affect a person's life. The soul is said to express itself through four human mechanisms: the dense physical body, etheric energy body, emotional (astral) body, and mental body.
“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force…. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” — Max Planck, Nobel Prize — winning father of quantum theory
World-renowned healer and bestselling author of Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field, Barbara Brennan has described a seven-layer model of the human energy field, which is widely accepted by healers around the world.
Seven-Layer Model of the Human Energy Field
The seven-layer model is based on the three planes of existence: physical, astral, and spiritual. The physical plane consists of the physical body, thoughts, and emotions. On a higher plane of consciousness is the astral plane, which is composed of feelings and thoughts of humanity. Many human interactions take place on this plane, influencing thought processes. The spiritual plane deals with higher and more important visions, perceptions, and universal oneness. It is not as easily accessible as the other two planes. The seven layers of the human energy field are clearly defined and have specific functions.
Etheric/Vital Energy Body
Existing on the physical plane, this body is said to exist up to two inches from the human body. It is a provider of health, life, and vitality, maintaining the body's yin/yang balance. Its consciousness is expressed in terms of physical sensations such as pleasure or pain.
Emotional Energy Body
Extending 1–3 inches from the physical body, this body's consciousness is expressed in terms of personal emotions such as love, fear, and hatred. It is the field through which the emotional energy flows.
Mental Energy Body
This is a structured body extending 3–8 inches from the physical body. Its consciousness is expressed in terms of thinking that include words, thoughts, and images.
Astral Energy Body
This is an amorphous body, extending 6–12 inches from the physical body.
Existing on the astral/psychic etheric plane, it is a provider of imagination, desires, and psychic abilities. Dreams, hallucinations, fantasies, and visions are all astral experiences.
Etheric Template Body
Existing on the spiritual plane, it extends about 1½–2 feet from the physical body. It is expressed in terms of higher will — those who fail to get things done are believed to have a weak etheric template body.
Celestial Energy Body
Existing on the spiritual plane, it extends 2–2½ feet from the physical body. Associated with feelings of unconditional love and joy, spiritual ecstasy can be experienced through this layer.
Ketheric Template Body
Extending about 2½–3½ feet from the physical body, this body is associated with knowledge of higher concepts and enables creative thoughts. Its consciousness can also be expressed in terms of a higher spiritual inspiration.