You have a physical body, and you have an energy body. The physical body is birthed, grows into adulthood, and eventually passes away. But who you truly are – your energy body – grows and develops over lifetimes, brings with it a unique perspective on consciousness, based on your degree of awakening to the way things are. In other words, your auric energy body is the real you, while the physical body serves as a temporary vehicle for the true self to interact with the material world.

The importance of the energy body is emphasized in spiritual healing or shamanic practices, as the key factor in personal transformation, and in the healing of the physical body in general. Whether it is referred to as the spirit body, or the “soul”, or the auric energy body, it is the underlying focus of all our human experiences. Who we are originates in our spiritual body, and is made manifest by our physical or material life.

While the physical body has a nervous system, and endocrine system, and access to physical senses, the energy body has a psycho-emotional developmental system that is based on energy centers that we call chakras, as well as different ways in which psycho-emotional energy flows throughout the physical body, and interacts with other individuals. The advantage of working with the chakra system and its various energy flows, is that we are interacting directly with the energy body, even though the physical body is also taken into account. All methods of spiritual development or awakening agree that inner work, or spiritual body work, is essential to coming to experience our true nature.

Just as the physical body develops from conception into full adulthood, so does the energy body develop through different stages, when the conditions are favorable. The first step is to move into an increasingly individuated perception of the self, when the individual comes to realize there is more to him or her than their physical body. The shift from physical self to energy being often triggers a deep search for answers, or methods, to come to know the truth of the self. We join religions, or follow a spiritual path, to awaken the energy body that is at the core of our true nature.

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While the physical body requires food, water, and contact with our human senses in order to thrive, the energy body requires psycho-emotional nourishment, and contact with our higher senses, in order to awaken to its potential. The psycho-emotional body is also called the Astral body: non-physical, and existing at a higher energetic reality than the material body. The chakra system is a combination of the nervous system and endocrine system of the energy body, as well as being linked into the material body and its functions. To awaken the psycho-emotional body, we need to use the physical body, and vice versa. The two bodies are linked in how they maintain and grow the individuating sense of self. Who we truly are, beyond the physical body, is our individuating self.

Emotional nourishment also means that we grow through relationships, and the ending of relationships. Who we are is awakened by others, rather than simply being an expression from within the self. We come to consciousness through our interactions with others, contact that both awakens our humanity as well as puts in place necessary boundaries and limitations. This is why we work towards making our energetic connections with others more conscious to us: we are relational beings, and awaken to the true self only by coming to terms with our relationship to self, as well as to others.

The advantage of spiritual energy healing work is that there are maps of development that yield certain results, even if there is little agreement on labels and methods. The results of spiritual energy body work lead us to direct experience, rather than belief in a conceptual reality. When we work to heal or grow our psycho-emotional body, we come to experience ourselves from the perspective of our inner self. We drop the reliance on others to tell us who we are, and blossom into our authentic nature, from within. In order to do that we need to first experience our energy body, and then come to know how we are energetically connected to others.

In summary, you are both a physical body and a spiritual (non-material) body. But your core self is psycho-emotional, an expression of your energy body reality projected onto the material world. But while the physical body must eventually end, your spiritual body moves towards greater awakening to its true nature. The two keys to awakening are the direct experience of our spiritual nature, and the importance of our relationships in our emergence to knowing ourselves. These factors are essential to transformational energy work, or to any spiritual development path leading us into contact with our true nature.

2016 by Dean Ramsden. All rights reserved.

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Dean Ramsden practices and teaches Relational Energy Therapy, which combines chakra and chakra cord energy healing with astral (emotional body) work.