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About Subtle Bodies

Layers of the Energy Field

Some people sensitive to energy experience various levels or layers to the energy field. Often these are referred to as subtle bodies.The term subtle body can also be used to refer to a person's energy system in general.

Subtle bodies, part of the human energy system

While there is much variation, many energy healers speak of the following levels of the energy field, roughly in order (moving outward from the physical body), with each level being a more refined form of energy. In most systems of energy healing, these various layers are conceived of as both surrounding and permeating the physical body.

Physical body

Composed of matter, the densest form of energy.While we don't usually think of the physical body as part of the energy system, everything is energy, making the physical body an energetic phenomenon, too. Problems in the material body start in the subtler bodies, crystallizing in the physical body if they are not addressed. You can affect the material body by working with the subtle bodies, and I believe, vice versa. The physical body has many correlates or "bridges" to energy anatomy. The glands of the endocrine system, for example, correlate to the chakras.

Etheric body or template

Variously defined in different models, but commonly the first layer in the energy field, conceived of as being directly next to the physical body and connecting it with subsequent bodies. Working with the etheric body is often an efficient way to impact all of the energy bodies.

Emotional body

associated with /vehicle for feelings. Unresolved pain and trauma can lodge in the emotional body, causing problems throughout the body-mind.

Mental body

Associated with/vehicle for thoughts and ideas. Often over-active in adults. Limiting thought-forms or beliefs embedded in the mental body can severely twist and restrict a person's life, as well as causing emotional-body and physical-body issues. I've seen people endure extreme physical pain rather than let go of a deeply embedded thought form/belief.

Spiritual body

Associated with/vehicle for soul, spirit, or higher consciousness; sometimes called the astral body.

Perceiving And Working With Subtle Body Layers

Without too much experience, many people can distinguish various subtle body layers. To do this, enlist the help of a partner. Have them sit or lie down. Stand at least several feet away from them and hold the palms of your hands out to your sides a bit, facing your partner. Rub your hands together briskly, or whatever you do (if anything) to sensitize your hands and get their perceptive powers up and running. Then, very, very slowly start moving toward your partner.

You might feel an "edge" in one or more places, a bit of electric feeling or just "something" as one layer or body ends and another begins. Or you may just become aware that at some point the sensations you're getting have changed. This would indicate that you have moved through one subtle body or layer and into another.

If there is a problem within a particular field, you might feel specific sensations related to that.

Don't worry, though, if you aren't able to pick out different layers of the energy system. You most likely will be able to at some point, and in the meantime, you can do energy work quite well without it.

Each of these bodies can be worked with separately in energy healing. Different schools of energy healing disagree about whether this is necessary.

The Pain Body

Another energetic body I believe needs to be mentioned is the "pain body," a concept put forward by Eckhart Tolle. It's not an energy body in the same sense as those described above. As Tolle describes it, it is a negative energy field, composed of the accumulated, unresolved pain and trauma of your life, that occupies your body and mind. It's not you -- rather it is an "invisible entity in its own right," almost like a parasite, which temporarily becomes autonomous by the unconscious mind's identification with it. It feeds on pain, and so creates painful situations in your life (including violence, anger, emotional drama, and illness), on which it feeds.

The pain body is disabled and dissolved by the consciousness of its host. It cannot stand up to the host's dis-identication with it.

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