The Right Understanding of the Subtle Body and how to Work with the Chakra System of the Etheric Double
Posted On August 29, 2020
/ Written by Dr. Linda Gadbois
The most common way the subtle body is represented in the West is through the chakra system where it’s viewed as a chain of vertical energy centers that are aligned along the spine and divided into separate compartments as different aspects of our “self” and how those aspects are associated to different areas of our life. I came into contact with this idea after years of study and concentrated practice in Esoteric Sciences through exploring various methods being used in the “Healing Arts and Hypnotherapy community”, which are based primarily upon “certification programs” that are designed to provide the “credentials” necessary for practicing as a Healing Arts Practitioner. In the general sense there’s no educational prerequisites required for these courses which lay the foundation necessary for developing a skillful practice, and they don’t involve any form of in-depth study or testing upon completion of the course.
Most of these certification programs were often achieved in a weekend or four-day course, or through the study of the ‘method’ itself (whatever that may be) without any background knowledge, usually taught with very little “actual practice” to see first hand what the long term effects were that it actually produced, and without any formal study of the actual principles involved. Not only were these healing practices usually not effective, outside of the placebo effect, but often served to produce more imbalances than they resolved. This was usually due to the fact that they had very little, if any, comprehensive understanding of what the subtle body as our etheric double ‘is’, and how it operates on the Astral plane as a bridge between the Higher Soul and the lower soul of the personality, orchestrated through the harmonious interaction between the instinctual and intellectual spheres of the higher mind.
The Hierarchical Structure of the Spiritual Planes
What we refer to as the “spiritual world” (energetic and invisible) exists as a hierarchical structure of seven planes or levels of consciousness where ten spheres or principles operate in a rhythmic movement of descending down the planes, and then ascending back up the planes to complete a cycle of manifestation as an incarnation. The entire structure of seven vertical levels operate on three columns or pillars within each level, with the left column representing the negative aspect, the right column the positive aspect, and the central pillar that of equilibrium between the two. The entire structure is formed out of three Triads where each Triad represents two levels of the same plane, as the three-fold nature of the mind. The complementary aspects of the mind are represented as the parallel points along the base and function as an interaction on a single level, and are brought into equilibrium on the central pillar as the “functioning aspect”, forming a triangle. The Triad represents the fundamental principle of the Mind as being threefold in nature, where three aspects function as a single unit or unified whole.
Movement between upper and lower planes, as well as the interaction of complementary aspects (positive and negative) on the same plane occur through the “Law of Polarity” (also a fundamental universal principle) as active and passive components of the same thing. This is the activity of what’s referred to as the Monad or Mind as the “three in One Law” of the Triad (Trinity), which ultimately manifests as a “fourth aspect” within the lower planes of physical reality as a subtle-energetic body. This subtle body provides the “holographic blueprint” (culmination of all aspects) for organizing, vitalizing, and generating the physical body as a mirror (polar) image of itself. These same principles of the Dyad (polar opposites) and Triad (three aspects of the same thing) operate consistently on every level of the unmanifest and manifest world (universal) as not only it’s “structure”, but also how it functions as a unified whole.
The hierarchical structure of the spiritual planes is represented in detail in the Kabbalah as the “Tree of Life” and is “reflected” as a mirror image in the lower physical body as the “spiritual centers” of the subtle body, represented by the chakra system. The subtle body is constructed of “essence” (vitalized matter) that’s finely differentiated yet still in a unified state, and is “not” the true nature of the Soul itself ,which always exists in unity. Due to the fact that it serves as a “spatial blueprint” (subconscious) for the material body as it’s essence, and the reality that’s projected “through” the body (as it’s life plan), it’s energetically bonded to it, and remains in the lower regions of the Astral Plane as an “astral shell” (phantom) when the body dies, and disintegrates over time along with the body. The etheric-body “is” the subconscious mind and is programmed from conception with the entire life of the soul in the lower realm as it’s personality, character, predisposition, and karmic plan, and is the “medium” through which communication takes place between the higher and lower Self.
Coherence as a Unified Whole
What’s represented as separate centers within the body, actually exist in a unified and coherent state within the subtle body, where each center operates equally throughout every aspect of the subtle body as an influence. Just as the brain and the nervous system which extends from it are structured along the spinal cord and function as a “single unit” to operate every aspect of the body, the subtle organs serve to operate the endocrine system, of which the largest complex of “master” glands exist within the brain, and serves to keep the body in a coherent state with the mind, which uses the brain as an instrument for creating. Through coherence, the brain and nerves of the subtle body operate as “currents”, and ramify from the physical brain spreading throughout the entire system. They move as inner currents in relation to the complementary centers and organs of the outer (physical) body. The “inner state” acts as the blueprint (organized information) for constructing, consistently regenerating, and operating the “outer body” as it’s mirror image or polar opposite. Again, the inner and outer operate in harmony with each other as polar opposites that work together to produce a unified whole as a single unit. Our perception of “separation” takes place from “within” a greater unified reality, as the means necessary to “experience” ourselves as others and as a fundamental part of Nature.
This same threefold structure as complementary principles are represented by the three channels of energy within the subtle body referred to as the Ida Nadi, associated with the moon (negative-feminine), and operates the parasympathetic nervous system, regulating emotions, feelings, and memories; and the Pingala Nadi, associated with the sun (positive-masculine), governing the planning and activities of the rational intellect; and the central and main channel of Sushumna, which runs from the base of the spine to the top of the head and extending out of the top of the head into the sphere of the Higher Mind as a connection to our Higher Self. This energy flows as a current when both aspects of the mind are functioning in balance. Energy moves up and down these channels, causing certain forces to “act on” the polar aspects of the material body in a corresponding manner in order to keep it in a coherent state with the higher mind. The three channels are what magnetic fluids circulate through and their balance is necessary for a sane state of mind. This subtle fluid is what’s referred to as “akasha” which is the subtle form of matter that’s imprinted with memory. The memory of the body is what acts as the “organizing principle” for both the inner and outer reality. The astral centers of the subtle body are similar to “nerves”, in which the central one passes out of the top of the head and forms a connection with the luminous principle of the Higher Soul, represented by a sphere of beautiful white light positioned directly above the head.
Coherent (white) light enters the top of the head through the crown and is refracted to form seven plexuses (colors of the spectrum), as the seven hidden aspects that exist within the One Ray. The central column acts in a similar way to a battery, where the crown chakra functions as the positive pole and the root chakra functions as the negative pole. Energy from the higher plane is “drawn in” and circulates down through the system by “grounding” it to the Earth’s energy. We operate the energy system of the body through the Law of Polarity where the “active principle” is drawn in to it’s complementary “passive principle”. The only way to effectively work with this is by withdrawing all consciousness from the body, and placing it in in the sphere of your higher self, and concentrating on it while “identifying” (associating) with it. This renders the body “passive” so it can act to conceive the “active” consciousness of the Higher Self, where it’s metabolized through the spiritual centers of the subtle body which function as “principles” of a “unified whole”. This forms a “circuit” through which consciousness flows as an alternating current, in much the same way electricity can only be directed and utilized by grounding it to the Earth forming a pathway for it to flow.
Spiritual Principles that Operate as a Whole
Each center represents a “principle” as a characteristic and function of the whole, and can’t be utilized in a meaningful way by handling them as if they’re separate centers. Energy only flows in an unimpeded manner through a closed circuit. You don’t attempt to “clear a chakra” by working with the chakra itself as a single unit, but by properly grounding energy by making the body a “passive receptor” as a “circuit”, forming a coherent state. As long as any part of the body is being worked with through a process of visualization while concentrating on it, makes it “active” and serves to block the flow of energy which comes in through a connection to a higher plane. In order to “transform” any part of what has already manifest as a material reality, we have to work through the “higher plane” which is what’s “causing and orchestrating it”. We can’t work with a manifestation from within the manifest plane, which is merely an “effect”, by trying to manipulate it in some way. We have to work at the higher level of the mind which is “causal” in nature and is what serves to manifest ideas on the lower plane as a “whole coherent reality”.
The seven principles of the subtle body is how an idea is brought down the hierarchical planes of the spiritual world and developed through a process of adaptation and modification to manifest in a specialized way as a natural part of both our inner and outer reality. Just as the “Tree of Life” as seven levels comprised of Triads are reflected down into the lower plane of the body, the chakra system is actually comprised of a higher Triad (conscious mind) that’s reflected down into the lower plane of the body to produce a lower Triad (subconscious mind) as it’s polar opposite, combined and mediated through the middle center of the heart. The higher Triad forms the lower as it’s shadow or mirror image on a lower plane. The lower three chakras are directed and utilized as a “response” to the higher triad of the conscious mind, and the higher triad is what shapes and develops an idea in the imagination that’s acts to elicit a corresponding response in the lower triad, with the heart acting as the mediator between them.
The lower quaternary (four chakras) doesn’t possess any ability to create on it’s own, and represents the subconscious, which has to be “given a pattern” as a well-developed sensory idea that mimics a memory, which it then combines with and vitalizes with life-force as activity, causing it to manifest as an outer experience of the same kind. The lower self doesn’t possess the mental ability to shape an idea in a new and unique way, and when left to operate without guidance from the higher conscious mind, it functions to manifest based solely on memory that has already been established as conditioning and produces thought processes that run in an automatic and habitual manner. Due to this, when we don’t utilize our will in directing and shaping our own thoughts and what it is we focus on consistently, we simply draw on the akasha of our etheric-body as our storehouse of memory, and recreate the same patterns of the past over and over by replaying their memories as habitual “thought-forms”.
This system is not operated from “within” the system itself as individual centers, but as the circuit (axis mundi) that connects the upper plane of the conscious mind with the lower plane of manifestation which allows a “current” to flow unimpeded. There’s no such thing as being “blocked” or having “congestion” in only one chakra, because they all operate in correspondence to each other to produce a coherent reality. When we concentrate on the individual centers themselves, we actually cause an imbalance within the system, because concentration is a principle in itself that penetrates, expands, and increases whatever quality or idea is being developed in the mind through concentrating on it. By concentrating on the idea of a “problem”, we’re actually acting to “produce” the problem by instructing the body to manifest it.
The Principle of Concentration and Meditation
Concentration and meditation “is” a principle of the mind through which we enter into a passive state while focused on an idea, and enter into the “current” of that idea on a higher plane and “draw in” knowledge associated with the idea as a natural consequence. As we concentrate on an idea we “enter into” the idea as a “stream of consciousness” or mental flow. This is how we attain knowledge without “learning it” through study or being taught by an outside entity. While you may be able to gain insight into the emotional nature of an existing manifestation by focusing on the symbol associated with the solar plexus and meditating on it, at the same time you’re streaming vital energy into the insights gained, amplifying and multiplying them, because your not working at the level of “cause” in terms of identifying what idea you’re actively expressing that the emotions are being invoked by as a natural response. The body of the subconscious always responds to the thoughts being envisioned in the imagination of the higher mind, where it forms corresponding feelings, emotions, motivation, and activities that serve to “manifest” it as an experience. The upper and lower Triads work together to produce a unified reality through a “cause and effect” relationship.
The only purpose of the lower four centers is to energize the idea being presented to it as a “representation” built in the imagination through concentration that they form a natural response to. To change the response you have to change the representation producing it. As the subconscious animates the imagined idea by blending with it (sympathetic induction) and motivating the activities it takes on (emotion as an arousing force), and therefore determining how it expresses, it simultaneously connects with the energies in the outer world associated with that same idea as a pattern, and through electromagnetic impulses (resonance) organizes them to form our “perception” of an equivalent outer reality. Just as the subtle body as the subconscious mind serves to spatially organize and animate the physical body with specific characteristics and activities, it also organizes the outer reality in the same way, because they’re not separate things. The inner produces the blueprint for constructing the outer as an expression of it, and together they’re formed into an experience, which is then translated back into the same type of memory that initiated it, where it’s “built up” as the means of “evolving the whole” by way of the part (holographic principle).
The Law of Polarity and the Relationship of Complementary Opposites
Energy as consciousness operates systematically through complementary (opposing) spheres on the same level, and as correlated movement between upper and lower planes of a hierarchical structure through the Law of Polarity. The passive always serves as a receptor for the active. What’s active on the higher plane is only “drawn down” into the lower plane by making it’s complementary aspect a passive receptor for it. The subtle body itself is the culminated energies of the higher planes formed into a cohesive whole where it serves as the energetic blueprint for organizing our perception of the entire lower plane of manifestation, which comes “through” the energy center of the mind while being housed by the body. The etheric-double itself never changes and remains consistent throughout our lifetime. This principle of the mind is represented by the Monad, where the center expands outward through an electromagnetic pulsation to produce both an inner and outer reality of a corresponding nature. The same organized field of information as a “metaphorical pattern” expresses equally on different “scales” of manifestation as a whole.
In practical terms we can realize this organizing principle of the mind as “perception” which operates through a harmonious correlation of “filters” that serve to separate and order the information available in the whole of reality through polarity by “activating” and bringing forth some qualities and aspects, while simultaneously deactivating and subduing other aspects, causing them to recede into the background in a latent state, and re-configuring the “selected” aspects into a “new whole” that’s of the same nature and structure (patterning) as the mind producing it, bridging the inner with the outer as a unification or continuation of each other. The outer is shaped by the inner, it’s only a question of whether or not we’re aware of it, or if we’re doing it while in a primarily unconscious state where we’re detached from our own creation, and therefore unaware of how it is we’re creating it.
On the material plane of manifestation the subconscious and conscious, as the inner and outer, are polar opposites and therefore complementary aspects of the same thing, and act “on each other” to stimulate each other as a kind of “feedback loop”. This function is represented by the infinity symbol (8) as a self-perpetuating and self-sustaining system of self-creation. The idea developed on the inward planes expands and projects outward, exciting only correlated aspects within the outer light of the group mind, ordering and organizing them into a corresponding construct as a personal creation of the individual mind, then, once it reaches the end of our visual perception, switches polarity and returns back into the center from whence it came, where it’s translated into an “experience” and formed into a memory (representation). A memory is formed out of the “experience” created based on the feelings and emotions that came as a response to an event, and the meaning it held for us as a result, and not as a historical account of the event itself, as many believe. A memory is created as a “representation” of an event, which serves as a kind of “metaphor” that forms a perceptual lens for creating more of the same type of experiences that are easily translated into the same type of memory, where they’re built up over time, strengthening and continuously developing them as an evolutionary process.
This is easy to understand when you self-reflect on what you perceive as “memories of the past” where you acquired the same type of “feelings about yourself” through numerous experiences of a similar kind, which, based on how you interpreted them to make them mean something, ultimately served to form the “story” you began telling yourself as the means of experiencing “yourself”. An event of an emotionally intense nature was translated into a memory based on the type of feeling it gave you, as a “representation” in your imagination that didn’t represent the event itself as an objective occurrence, but as a metaphorical representation of the “meaning” you gave it that set the basis for a “theme” as a perceptual lens used to interpret all events of the same kind to make them mean the same thing, and as a result, built up and evolved the representation over time through an accumulative process of creation. You took and initial representation and used it to both “perceive and conceive”, first projecting it and then absorbing it, producing more of the same type of experiences that you built into the memory itself as a means of evolving it through different stages and areas of your life as what became a central theme as your life story.
The Holographic Principle
This accumulated memory as a representation constructed on the inner planes is transformed and evolved by forming unique variations of the same idea produced through different situations and circumstances that somewhat altered the meaning it has through new combinations that served to grow it through the acquisition of new qualities that served to modify the “parent pattern” being used. This idea is represented in the “holographic principle” and the concept of “fractal patterns”, as well as the “Golden Mean”, Particle-Wave Duality, and Entanglement, all of which operate to form new variations that still hold true to the central theme through the Law of Polarity. We alter vibration, which contains a living pattern as an idea by working with complementary aspects as “functions” of a greater whole. The subtle body exists as the function of the polar aspects of the instinctual-emotional and the intellectual-rational aspects of the same higher mind. These two complementary aspects, commonly referred to as the subconscious and self-conscious aspects of our physical being work in harmony to produce the subtle body as their offspring which operates as a “functioning whole”. When we take an attitude of working directly on the etheric-body itself through manipulation of the subtle organs and energy centers themselves by separating them into categories of a coherent state, our efforts are futile at best, and harmful at worse.
The body itself doesn’t have the ability to heal or transform itself from within the subconscious mind, but acts only as a vessel and vehicle of the higher conscious mind of the Soul which operates “through it” as a coherent state of consciousness. The only way to change the state of the body, is to ground the lower chakra as the “negative pole”, while opening the crown chakra to connect with the upper plane as the “positive pole”, in order to act as a receiver for the ideas of the Higher Self. We do this by withdrawing all of our conscious awareness from the body and spiritual organs of the subtle body, and concentrating all of our attention on the sphere of our Higher Self, which exists directly “above” our head in the immediate space around us. Our Higher Self is represented by a sphere or globe of beautiful white light (coherent state as whole) that only fragments into the colors of the spectrum when it enters into the crystalline structure of the third-eye and liquid cells of the body, revealing it’s inner, hidden aspects. The Higher Self exists in a coherent state as a harmonious whole that’s reflected in the lower plane of the physical body as aspects that function as a cohesive part of a dynamic whole. The subtle body is a hologram as a “medium” through which the energy of higher consciousness expresses as a “whole” on the physical plane of manifestation. Our tendency towards duality and separation of what exists in a unified state, is a fundamental error in our thinking, and everything that comes out of it expresses that same error.
The subtle body can only be worked with using the intellect to guide and direct the instinctual by giving it a “pattern”” as a representation defined and shaped with sensory detail that acts to “alter it’s state” as a whole. It’s the higher mind that orders and organizes the four Elements of the material plane into a coherent state. This is represented by realizing the crown and root are positive and negative poles of a continuous circuit, and the five chakras in between are represented by the Pentagrammaton, where the top, fifth chakra represents the ether as the 3rd-eye, which conceives ideas as representations from the Higher Self and uses them as a blueprint for ordering and organizing the 4 Elements (lower 4 chakras) of the physical body into a functioning matrix that expresses the idea as an inner and outer reality. The 5th principle resides above and in the center of the lower 4, symbolized by the star of the Pentagram, encircled by the mind of the Monad.
The etheric-body is operated through the etheric principle of the Higher Mind, where all ideas as representations (archetypes) are conceived in the receptive organ of the 3rd eye, and reflected on the outer lens, where it’s “looked through” and perceived in its whole form as a possible reality (imagined), and forms the basis for all our thoughts as inner dialogue (throat chakra), vitalized with feeling sensations (heart) that invoke correlated emotions (solar plexus), which forms the motivational force (sexual center) that animates them with life as activities and actions (grounded in reality), causing them to manifest as an outer reality, which is then used to create an experience of it. Thought is made manifest “through” the body by completing the circuit through which the current of higher consciousness flows abundantly as an alternating current. This circuit is made by making the body a passive receptor of the Higher Self.
When we concentrate on the individual centers themselves we “activate them” and cut off flow as a result. Whatever we concentrate on we make active and expressive. By activating the subtle centers, we not only cut off the flow of consciousness from our Higher Self, we expand and grow the energy itself causing an imbalance as an exaggeration and amplification of that energy. Concentration causes energy to proliferate. The body needs to be made passive as a circuit for the active forces of the mind to flow into and harmonize as a “whole creation” born out of a coherent state. We don’t work on the manifestation as an “effect” from “within” the manifestation itself that we imagine to be neatly divided up into separate compartments, but by operating on the higher plane of pure mind that’s acting as the “cause”. We don’t clear energy from each center by visualizing it as expanding and contracting, because they don’t exist as “separate and individual centers”. The symbols used to represent them are not the centers themselves but “principles” that perform different functions of a greater whole.
We draw down higher consciousness through our subtle body which serves to operate our physical body through a working understanding of the primary Law of Polarity and Correspondences. Vibration is formed as a correspondence of ideas formed in the mind as visual thoughts. Vibration is movement between two opposite poles or spheres that generate “light” as a phantom image or hologram of the idea that set it in motion. Vibration forms a rhythm that repeats as cycles on different scales through the reciprocating relationship of “cause and effect”. Thought formed on the inner plane through concentration while in a meditative state sets vibration in motion and contains a whole idea which manifests (serves as the cause) outside of us as an outer reality, and then switches polarity on the same plane and becomes the “cause” for stimulating a corresponding inner effect (output and uptake), and repeats as a rhythmic pulsation that’s self-perpetuating and self-sustaining.
This same process of polarity operates between upper and lower planes, and the subtle body as the unification of instinct and intellect forms an energetic medium through which higher consciousness flows into the lower planes as “thoughts made flesh”. The only meaningful way to work with the subtle body itself to facilitate this natural flow, is by grounding it in a passive state while opening the crown chakra to the upper plane and concentrating your full attention into the sphere of your higher consciousness, which resides above and outside of the body itself (enveloping it), and thereby drawing down the energy and grounding it in the the material world as a whole reality that brings a certain type of experience.
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Linda is a scholar in Esoteric Sciences and holds a doctorate in Spiritual Sciences, and a BS in Clinical Hypnotherapy, along with numerous specialty certifications in various healing modalities. She's a certified Health and Success Coach, NLP Master Practitioner, and Board Certified in Regression Therapy. She's professional writer, artist, educator and Mentor, and offers a wide variety of Mentoring and Consulting Services, along with professional training programs. Her specialties include Personal Transformation, Self-Mastery, Spiritual Sciences, Transpersonal Psychology, and Integrative Mind-Body Medicine. For more info visit our Personal and Professional Services pages in the top menu bar of this site, or email us at: [email protected]