Your Non-physical Body – How Not to Get Sick, article no. 2
Your body is an energetic system. In my introduction article I introduced the nine main actors that play a role in subtle-health medicine. There is one actor, however, that I overlooked, while it is actually the most obvious one: our physical body.
Whenever I speak about the physical body as a part of our subtle anatomy, people get confused. “Are you now talking about the physical body or the energetic body?” they wonder. We tend to distinguish our subtle body from the body of flesh and blood. As a matter of fact, the two are not really separable. And that’s perhaps the first realization about our so-called “physical” body: that it is not physical at all.
This realization is crucial for our capacity to achieve life without sickness. But to grasp this, we must deeply shake to the core our conditioned belief system. When you say “My body,” you obviously mean “My physical part” – it is a body because it’s physical, and it’s physical because it’s not spiritual, mental, or emotional. Even when we believe in energy systems, we still assume that there is a material body as an added layer to our more spiritual and energetic components.
To be able to realize the body as non-physical, we need to approach it not from the outside but from the inside. In other words, we need to experience it as it is from within, rather than looking at it objectively. Obviously, when a surgeon cuts into the body for medical purposes, he or she will find there bones, organs and veins. But that is the objective, or scientific view of the body, and definitely not the way we should experience it as our reality.
Trying to experience your very own body through the surgeon’s eyes cannot help you at all. Since you are inside your body (or the body is inside you, whichever way you prefer), you can only experience your body from within. After all, aren’t you one with it, all the time?
Our basic illness
When we are conscious and self-informed, we grow more and more responsible for our own physical health. We educate ourselves about important vitamins and minerals and learn about factors that may cause cancer, and so on. This is, of course, quite essential, yet cannot replace an inner and independent understanding of our own body.
Think of it like that: when you go to the supermarket, you may select those foods that you “know” are good for your body. This is an acquired knowledge. But try once to enter the supermarket and select only those items which the intelligence of your body recognizes as rich with life-force and supreme energy. Simply allow yourself to be drawn toward such foods. This is a direct knowledge: when you awaken this type of knowledge, you are in charge of your body from within.
Perhaps our no. 1 obstacle in our way to sickness-free life is that our mind is separate from the body. We live in an experience of duality, which causes us to be almost always unable to grasp our body. In reality, of course, we are in one movement with the body and cannot truly separate “ourselves.” Our entire system works as one. You cannot separate your emotions from your body, or your thoughts from your energy system. You are your body – it’s not some foreign element that accompanies you.
So that’s the first illness, from which all other illnesses spring: that your mind seems separate from your body. There are many types of disease, but they all start in your inability to contact your very own body and look into it. As soon as you begin to experience the body internally, you will already start feeling much better. Being intimate with your body is the beginning of health.
The body is not “something you have,” like a horse you ride until it gets old. It’s not the body that betrays us in illness – it’s us who betray the body. As long as we think it is something we have, it is very difficult to listen to it or understand what it wants, since we speak different languages – the “mind’s language” and its own. You can listen to it only when you experience that it is your very own space.
Keeping the body light
The body can feel to you very “physical.” What does that mean? When we say that something feels “physical,” we really mean heavy, condensed, over-grounded and bound to gravity. And the body can definitely feel physical, as long as we treat it in certain ways: if I’m over-eating, or indulging in very heavy meals, or if I’m consuming some drugs and medicine that make me feel drowsy, or if I’m avoiding physical practice and don’t stretch enough – slowly but surely I will begin to feel as if I were dragging my body from place to place. I will feel stone-like, very far from any sense of lightness and airiness. In such a condition, I could not even imagine the body as non-physical. My own direct experience will tell me it is as heavy and dense as any physical element in this universe seems to be.
That’s why I will write more in the future about how we could treat our body in a way that keeps it airy and light, and thus more aligned with its true non-physical nature. We can definitely promote this type of internal experience by applying several easy methods. But whether we easily experience it or not, the essential truth is still this: we only believe that the body is material, while it is made of a very different substance.
The space inside your body
Your body is an energetic system. It is made of conscious and intelligent energy. If you take a deep look inside it, you do not stumble across bones and organs. You can only feel energy and consciousness.
Perhaps you know this beautiful principle, popularly known as the “power of ten”: if you constantly zoom out of and from planet earth, you eventually get to endless space; if you constantly zoom-in into the body, you eventually find endless space. What you realize through the zoom-out and the zoom-in is that the universe inside and the universe outside are not really different. They are both essentially, extraordinarily spacious.
When you enter an atom, you will be astonished to find that the subatomic particles are just a tiny part within a vast space. This means that even our scientific and objective view confirms what in yogic tradition was said for thousands of years – that all matter, your body included, is composed of space and energy.
The question is, however – do we need once again science to tell us what it feels like and what it looks like from the innermost of our own body? The answer is: no. For that we have something called “meditation.” What is so great about meditation in this context is that often we are beginning to feel that our body is made of space; we begin to experience energy instead of matter and feel completely airy and spacious. We may feel as if we are sucked into space, and that our inner space has opened up, dissolving all sense of density and material hardness of body.
Our only confusion is that then we assume that this is so because we have left the body. We believe we experience such airiness only because we managed to completely disconnect from it. The truth is the very opposite: what happens in meditation is that with our awareness, we zoom in quite easily into the subatomic level. Our body shows us what it’s really made of.
When you begin to realize the body as an energetic system, you find out that it is a wonderful place to be in. It’s not some cage of ribs and ligaments; it is a spiritual being. And when you treat it properly and make sure it remains healthy enough to be that spacious and light, you can enjoy quite a heavenly bodily experience also outside your meditation. So it is all a matter of experience: you can experience the body physically, but if you choose to tune in, you can experience it purely energetically.
Meditate: Your body from within
Try this simple meditation, after reading the following instructions. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Declare your intention to take a look deeply into your body. Start feeling it from the inside. Forget how it looks in the mirror and all that you “know” about it. Instead, gently delve into the space inside, as if you were zooming in and tapping into the innermost structure of the body.
Imagine it as if you were taking a journey into the very center of the body. What is there at the innermost core of your body?…
Now feel the outlines of the body, the way the skin borders with the space around it. At the same time, keep in touch with the space inside. Breathe into this entire structure, and as you feel it from within, let it spread more and more and fill your entire being. Breathe into the outlines of the body and let it expand more and more without a limit, just like you were inflating a balloon. Let it expand and spread…
When you expand the outlines of the body from the inside, you are able to feel more deeply what the body is made of. You come to realize that it’s more like an energy field, a vibration, a complex energetic system. The more you breathe into this innermost space and let it expand, the more you will feel this subtle mechanism.
Feel as if you are putting your head into this energy field, becoming one with it and letting it grow bigger and bigger as if it could even spread throughout the entire room in which you sit.
Continue as much as possible to keep this sense of the body as a field, also when you slowly come out of the meditation. Then softly open your eyes.
The more we trust this inner space of the body, the more we can relax into it. This in itself bears a healing effect, since many suffer from a limiting body image and detachment from the body – sometimes on the verge of repulsion. Such detachment is a severe blockage on our way to health because it prevents us from agreeing at all to contact the body from within.
Health is flow
This is my definition of the body: a complex energetic system that is meant to carry instinctive, sensual, willful, emotional, and mental expression of life. This doesn’t mean that the body doesn’t have some denser layers which we need to nourish – that’s why we should eat well, drink enough water, and exercise. Some yogis managed to even show us that with practice, you can overcome certain essential needs, like sleep or food. But unless you have plans to retire to a cave for a lifelong practice, you will need to learn how to nurture these denser layers of the body.
Despite these denser layers, your body is in essence an energy system. Because of that, the most important thing is to nourish it energetically. This is its main food: not bread, but energy. In the yogic tradition, this energy is called “prana” – an all-encompassing life-force that also exists within the body as its main active force and engine.
As an energetic system, which thrives on life-force, the health of the body depends on the level of its energy flow, mobility and elasticity. “Physical” problems begin at the deeper level of a lack of flow and stagnation. In this sense, instead of considering our body a solid and unchanging matter, we should really think of ourselves as the river of life. Life-force, the real “life-factor” within the body, is always experienced as a vibrating flow. When this life-force gets hindered by emotions, thoughts, or wrong foods, the river of life in us struggles against unnatural dams. These dams are what we eventually experience as pain and disease.
The source of physical renewal
When you understand that your body is not matter but an ever-flowing river, this becomes a wonderful key to health. The obvious implication is that you can constantly shape and organize the body through consciousness and awareness. It’s not like trying to fix some strange machine that tends to get out of control. The mechanistic view that treats the body as exactly that – a functional or dysfunctional machine – could never be more wrong.
I call it the “myth of the unchanging body.” When we look at it from the outside, it does appear to remain the same. Yet even objectively, we know that cells ceaselessly die while new ones are created, and that our body is literally a different body every now and then. When you perceive your body internally, however, and regard it as an energy flow – either disturbed or in an uninterrupted movement – you will begin to define health and disease according to this principle: when the flow is disturbed, this is an unhealthy state of the body.
We need to physically experience ourselves as a river which needs to flow. As soon as you notice that something is wrong – a headache, some stomach ache, or an ear pain – this is when your flow is disrupted. Your question should be then: what slowed down the river of life in me?
Since it is an ever-changing flow, the forces in your body can renew themselves much more quickly than we tend to assume. The belief that health or disease cannot change quickly is only the outcome of the rigid and material view of the body.
Add to that the realization that after all, you don’t really have a “mind” and a “body,” because both are just part of one flow. Since your body and mind appear together and are weaved as one stream, you can easily shape your body with your very own consciousness. We daily notice how the state of the body affects our mind – if our body is tired, our mind is foggy too – and how the state of our mind influences the body – negative thoughts can easily deteriorate our physical state. This unity with our body is a force to harness for the sake of optimal health: the body as an energy flow is capable of change – and more than willing to do so.
Awareness is the link that eventually connects your body and mind and makes them into a full unit. It does so by revealing the body and mind as an organized system of intelligence and energy. Awareness covers the whole body and the entire mind, and enables us to see the many inner and subtle connections: how things flow from thoughts to emotions to sensations and all the way back.
Meditate: Feeling the Life-force
To get in touch with this river of life, here is a quick practical introduction to the “prana” inside and outside us. After practicing this for a few times, most people will be able to directly contact the life-force, which is basically the real life within our body.
Begin by distinguishing two elements: the one is what we call our “physical,” or material body – bones, spine, organs, flesh, and skin – and the second is a certain vibration flowing throughout the body and animating it constantly. Recognize how on the one hand, there is the “material body,” and on the other hand, there is a rush of energy streaming all the time. You can experience this rush in your hands, arms, legs, belly, and chest….
To better distinguish between the two, think of the way you sometimes observe insects and bugs a moment before and a moment after they die. It’s always amazing to see how this vital being that was so full of life, presence and energy, has all of a sudden become a purely material, lifeless thing. The life in it was not the body, but an engine of energy that activated it.
So get in touch with this rush. The more you feel it, the more you realize it’s like channels that conduct rivers of energy. Interestingly, the more you pay attention to them, the stronger they get. With much attention on your part, you can slowly but surely understand for yourself what it means to have a river inside you.
While feeling how this energy is vibrating and tingling from head to toe, begin to notice that this constant rush of energy is not just within the body. It extends beyond your body’s outlines. In fact, it surrounds it, so you can also feel exactly the same vibration around you.
Separate completely this life force from the so-called “material body,” and feel only this vibration. Feel how with every breath, you’re letting this rushing and gushing energy grow bigger. Not only it surrounds the body, it even vibrates one meter above the head, and one meter in front of the body. Realize that this vibration outside the body and inside the body is not really different. Feel how in fact, the whole space is equally full of this energy.
When you go deeply enough, you recognize that at the pranic level, the universe is always dancing. This vibrating energy is your body’s main nourishment and food. Indeed, it is the factor that determines how alive it is and how alive it feels.Alle Beiträge des Autors auf Spirit Online
Shai Tubali is a leading authority in the field of self-development and self-empowerment. In his writings and teachings, he skillfully combines psychology, philosophy, Yogic traditions and Eastern thought and practices, into powerful processes of inner transformation.
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