The Sevenfold Human Structure
In part 1 of this article it was explained that the physical, human body is in fact only one of the parts comprising the sevenfold human structure. Since it is the only visible part of it, most people believe that it is the only component that really exists. However, nothing can be further away from the truth. There are also another six, subtle parts of the human body that are daisy chained to each other and that form a kind of hierarchy in a way, which is very similar to the angelic hierarchy, residing above and below man. The low-vibrational bodies have higher density, while the high-vibrational bodies have lower density. The substance of the Higher self (which is the body that vibrates at the highest frequency and therefore is the purest energy that we can be aware of) is very similar in its composition to the God-Creator itself. Each consecutive body encompasses the previous one and permeates it, but since the frequencies of vibration of these energies are different they can co-exist in the same space and time, infusing each other, but in the same way not interfering with each other.
As follows, humans are situated in the intermediary position between the “fallen angels”, (the spirits with a lower vibrational energy that act primarily in the physical, ethereal and lower astral bodies of humans) and the higher angelic beings that exist at a higher frequency of vibration and act in the human’s higher bodies – the higher part of the astral body, the causal body, the Buddhi body and the Higher Self. If we put the things in this perspective, the concept about the battle between the God and the Devil for the human soul, described in the esoteric Christianity becomes much more clear and understandable.
The notion about the subtle human bodies can be better understood if we envisage that these “bodies” are in essence energies that manifest at different frequencies of vibration. Let’s take the radio waves for example. Nobody can perceive the radio waves directly, but everybody knows about them and we are in possession of the technology to detect their existence – namely the radio itself. The mere fact that when we switch the radio on we can hear our favourite station, clearly demonstrates that radio waves exist and that they are all around us all the time. Further on, by rotating the tuning knob we can increase or decrease the frequency of detected radio waves and by doing this we can change the radio station that we want to listen to. Other radio–waves devices such as the TV, two-way radio communication devices, mobile phones and the like, all operate on the same principle. This example shows that although in our daily life we are largely unaware of it, there are all sorts of radio waves that propagate in all possible directions and that vibrate in all sorts of different frequencies. These waves permeate the space around us and the space within us all the time, but because their frequency of vibration is much higher than the frequency of vibration of our physical bodies, they have no effect on us and we can co-exist with those waves in the same space and time without being affected by them (or so they say).
In short, not everything around us is what it seems and human bodies are one perfect example for it. We may think that we comprise physical bodies only, but the reality is that around the physical bodies that we can see, there are another six subtle bodies that we cannot see, but without which we could not be at all what we are today. According to the “modern scientific” view, the human physical body is just composed from various chemical and physical components, just the same as every other physical or chemical substance, with the only difference that the human body has a far more complex structure, but which is nevertheless just the same as the mineral composition out there in the nature. The truth is that if we do not encompass the view of the sevenfold human structure we will never be in a position to understand properly the world around us, including our own bodies.
If we have a proper look around us, we can identify four major kingdoms that exist on planet Earth. These are:
• The kingdom of minerals
• The kingdom of plants
• The kingdom of animals
• The kingdom of humans
The representatives of these four kingdoms inhabiting our Earth share some common characteristics, but at the same time there are some distinct differences between them which makes each one of them unique. The common denominator between all of them is the fact that they all possess physical bodies, which of course makes them all visible in the material world. With our eyes we can see the minerals, the plants, the animals and the humans and this is just about the only thing that they have in common, i.e. they all have a physical body that is made up from mineral substance.
If we compare, however, a mineral with a plant we will see that there is a great difference between these two. A piece of stone remains a piece of stone and only changes its shape under the influence of the outer forces of nature. At the same time the plant changes its shapes over some period of time, i.e. it grows, it produces new leaves, then it flowers, produces fruit and seeds and then it dies. From its seeds new plants are born and the process repeats again. Therefore, we can see that there is something in the plant that is not present in the mineral. There is something in the plant that makes it alive i.e. that encourages it to grow and that makes it reproduce itself. This life-force which is visible to the clairvoyant eye as a subtle body around the physical body of the plant is called an ethereal body.
Minerals cannot grow and reproduce themselves, because they posses physical bodies only. Plants, on the other side can do that because in addition to their physical bodies they also posses ethereal bodies that keep them alive. Any mineral substances left on their own fall entirely under the influence of the nature forces and as a consequence inevitably decompose over time. The ethereal body is this life-force which permeates the physical body of the plant from the moment when the seed first starts to grow in the soil, until the plant finally dies. During this period of time the ethereal body works constantly on the chemical and physical structure of the plant in such a manner, so that the physical body of the plant gradually takes on the shape of the ethereal body around it. In other words the ethereal body is the prototype or the shaping image of the plant. The ethereal body can be regarded also as the architect or the sculptor who moulds the physical body of the plant. Without the ethereal body permeating it, the plant remains simply a mixture of physical elements that quickly begin to decay and decompose in a similar fashion as all the other elements in the mineral kingdom.
Animals and humans also possess ethereal bodies. Similarly to the plants, animals and humans also possess this life-force which works around their physical bodies from the moment of birth until the moment of death. Because of its presence, animals and humans can also grow and can reproduce themselves. In such way, every human being and every animal has a lower part of it that makes them akin to the plant kingdom. On the drawing, the ethereal body of a man is shown as a substance of higher light that permeates the physical body and comes out a bit outside it, while at the same time its shape remains very similar to the physical body.
On the other hand, if we compare a plant with an animal, we can see that the animal can distinguish between cold and hot temperature, between pleasant and unpleasant taste and can experience a whole range of feelings like aggression, tranquillity, hunger, fear, anger, sexual desires and so on, while the plant is not even remotely aware of all these feelings. Again, the reason for this is that animals possess another (even higher) body, that permeates their physical and ethereal bodies and which is the bearer of all emotions, feelings and instincts. We call this body astral.
The astral body makes it possible to experience all range of sensations, some of which are positive and some of which are negative. The animal following its instincts tries to avoid all negative sensations and to prolong all pleasant ones. In its actions, however, the animal is guided entirely by its instincts and not by reasoning or mental analysis. The reason for this is that animals do not possess mental bodies. Only some particular representatives of the animal kingdom are in initial stages of forming ones, but even then we are talking about initial stages of forming very primitive mental bodies, which are far yet from the ability for logical reason, speech, mental analysis etc.
In this respect it becomes clear that humans and animals are akin to each other, because the representatives of both these kingdoms possess astral bodies. For animals, however, this is the higher member of their structure, while humans possess also mental, causal, Buddhi and Athma bodies. Thus, for humans that are in strong connection with their higher bodies, it becomes possible to work on their inappropriate desires and instincts (the astral body) and raise its vibrations, while for the animals this task is impossible.
On the drawing, the astral body is depicted as an egg-shape energy field that permeates the physical and the ethereal bodies. Its colours change frequently and are in accordance with the feelings that are experienced by the individual at the time. Many different-shapes objects, swirls and whirls can be observed in it and they all have meanings, however, the interpretation of the human aura is a topic for another article. What is important to stress here is that the contour of the astral body in a healthy person goes approximately 1.5 m. around his physical body and the many coloured shapes inside the astral body pertain to particular emotional concerns of the person in question.
The seven human bodies are “chained” to each other. In other words, where one vibration finishes, another one begins and thus, changes in one of the bodies will be passed over to the one immediately above or below it. Usually, it happens from the top to the bottom – the changes in the Higher Self lead to changes in the Buddhi body. These changes then lead to changes in the Causal body, which in turn causes changes in the astral body and so on, but unfortunately this process can also be reversed.
We can illustrate this with an example of a man who is addicted to smoking. The smoke inhaled with the cigarettes affects the physical body first and causes certain negative effects, such as tar and other heavy residues being deposited at the lungs. These changes in the physical body lead to changes to the body immediately situated above it – the ethereal body. Since the ethereal body is the one that brings us life and health, that means that the life-force and the health of this person will become now out of balance. Once the ethereal body is undermined, that leads to changes also in the astral body. The astral body is the bearer of all our desires and needs and thus, the unbalanced ethereal body misbalances also the astral body in such a way that the person now starts craving smoking on a regular basis. In other words, the changes in the ethereal body lead to changes also in the astral body in such a way that the man in question becomes dependent on the poison that ultimately destructs him.
If the other (higher) members of the human structure are weak, these negative changes will creep up even further up the ladder of human bodies and affect the mental body of the person (who will now not only crave cigarettes on a regular basis, but it will constantly think about it, and the mental picture of smoking will bring him pleasure). If this process is left uncontrolled, the next member of the human structure will become affected – the causal body and then certain events will start unfolding, affecting directly this person in a negative way: for example his girlfriend may break up with him, because of his bad habit. Or he may find himself employed in a non-smoking environment, where he will suffer a great deal because of inability to sustain his smoking habit, etc. Further he may find himself in a situation of hardship, because he will not be in a position to sustain financially his addiction, or he can constantly find himself in situations where smoking is regarded highly inappropriate and undesirable. All these symptoms will indicate serious negative changes in the person’s causal body.
Normally the negative changes are stopped here, by the Buddhi body. The Buddhi body controls the long lasting periods of our lives and if nothing is done to counteract the bad habit, in some cases people may experience extremely long periods of struggle and suffering. These last in some extreme cases for a lifetime and greatly contribute to the degrading and to the falling apart of the whole human structure and ultimately to its death. The process described above becomes greatly aggravated if not cigarettes, but some other drug substances are involved, because in this case the changes in the ethereal and astral bodies are much stronger and the dependency on them is much more compelling.
The same process applies not only for drug addicts, but also for other people who take medically prescribed drugs and over a period of time become dependent on them. The problem with these people is even more severe, because while the consensus within the society is that doing drugs is unacceptable, at the same time taking medically prescribed medicines is regarded as something quite normal. For the clairvoyant observer, however, the difference between the heavy smoker, the drug addict and the person who is dependent on pills is minimal: the final result achieved by these three types of behaviour is essentially the same and leads to a chain reaction that destructs the ethereal, the astral, the mental bodies and so on and in the end leads to an untimely death.
Fortunately, the subtle bodies can be affected not only from below, but also from above. The Athma body or the Higher Self is the body that resides at the top of the chain of human bodies. It is in closest relationship to the God–Creator and basically it is made up of the same matter. In other words, the Higher Self relates to the God–Creator in the same way as the drop of water relates to the ocean. The difference in the size is significant, but the difference in the substance is minimal. Because it resides three levels above the mental body, it is extremely difficult to create a mental concept in our heads about the Higher Self. Nevertheless, its actions can be observed indirectly in the action of the Will of this person. The presence of a strong will power is a very good indicator of a highly developed and strong Higher Self.
Let’s see now how the above mentioned destructive process of smoking can be reversed and turned into good. The opposite process initiates at the level, where the Higher Self resides. Normally the Will to do something about it is triggered as a consequence of all the negative effects caused by smoking. Then, if the person in question possesses a strong enough willpower, he starts changing the Buddhi body below it. We know by now that the Buddhi body controls the events in our life that are connected with time, or with some lengthy periods of time. For this reason, kicking the bad habit usually starts with the phrase: “From tomorrow I am not going to smoke”, or “From New Year I will stop smoking”, or “I did not smoke before for three months, so I can do it again”. Once a certain time period is set up, the process of changing the Buddhi body is put into motion.
The impulse (the Will) of non-smoking is carried down to the mental body, where the major battle takes place. Thinking of oneself in terms of being a non-smoker can help enormously in that respect. Eventually, this impulse is then carried down to the astral body, which also starts changing and after some period of time it stops craving cigarettes, freeing itself in such way from the dependency which was enslaving the individual before. Once the individual becomes free of the desire to smoke, the impulse initiated in the Higher Self can now permeate the ethereal body, restoring its original rhythm and flux. Since the ethereal body is the bearer of life and health, not long after that, the individual becomes feeling livelier and healthier. He realizes that now he is in a position to perform tasks which were not possible for him before, for example climbing up the stairs without loosing his breath, or performing physical exercises which he couldn’t do before. And finally, after some time, the ethereal body working on the physical body helps it to clean the tar and other residues accumulated in the lungs, which ultimately lead to a healthier, more functional and much better-looking physical body.
When we regard the controlling mechanisms of the subtle bodies from below and from above, it becomes apparent that the human freedom as it is often perceived in the society is a myth, i.e. in reality it does not exist. The spiritual world is so densely populated that there is no room for vacuum in the human soul. People, who deny the existence of higher forces (or God) and decide that they can act “freely” as they please, fall inevitably under the influence of the lower spiritual forces and become controlled by them. Those who accept the existence of higher forces and follow voluntarily the God’s will become controlled by those forces from above. Such is the man’s destiny – his freedom lies only in the choice which forces he would prefer to be controlled by.
Drug addicts are a perfect example that illustrates this notion. Everyone is familiar with the incapability of our society to deal with this problem. The reason why a whole bunch of doctors, psychologists, politicians, professors, social workers and the like cannot solve this problem is because these people do not understand the sevenfold human structure. They regard people as being made up of physical bodies only and this is why they fail in their attempts to find a solution. The major battlefield in the case of the drug addicts is not in their physical bodies, but in their astral bodies. This is the realm where they become controlled and possessed by the overwhelming forces of the lower spirits. It is impossible for any mere mortal to resist by himself the compelling power of the lower spirits in their deadly mission. This is especially true for individuals with a relatively weak will power. The only way to overcome any dependency (i.e. to win the battle in the astral and in the mental body) is to ask the higher, benevolent spirits for help. Besides, it is not important if the individual will ask them consciously or unconsciously for assistance – the bottom line is that without such help, the mere mortal human is not in a position to win this battle. The immense power of the lower spirits can be overcome only from above, once the man accepts God in his heart and lets the higher forces control his life, instead of the lower ones.
Let’s take as an example the drug rehabilitation centre, established in Russia by Ieromonah Anatoly Berestov. Father Berestov is a medical doctor, a monk and a neurologist. His drug addicts rehab centre was opened in Moscow in 1988. It is called the Charitable Centre of St. John Kronstadt. The father believes that prayer, confession and communion remain the most effective cures for Russia’s millions of drug users. Each client at the Charitable Centre participates in Orthodox worship. After finishing the program, some receive additional treatment at hospital day programs and others further rehab, including job training at one of the five rural facilities. Some decide to enter monasteries.
Seventy percent of Russia’s 450,000 officially registered addicts are 25 and younger, and most start using drugs at the age of 14 or 15. Rehabilitation programs are few, and patients must pay for treatment in almost all of them, in contrast to the Soviet era, when alcohol and drug treatment were not only free but also mandatory. The program at Berestov’s 6-year-old centre, which is financed entirely by donations, includes psychological and medical counselling, work at the centre or a nearby monastery, and a heavy regimen of prayer.
It is important to note that most people that enter Father Berestov’s rehab centre are anything but what you could call Christian believers. Their average age is 22, and the youngest is 17. Most of them have criminal pasts and are raised in an environment of constant violence, rape and abuse. “They’re all former criminals, even murderers,” – says Berestov himself – “But I’m not a police officer. I’m a priest, and my role is to repair.” Most of the addicts that turn to this rehab centre do this initially out of despair, having realized that no one else can help them.
Practically all patients before entering the rehab centre had no concept of what is a sin, virtue or chastity. By 16 – 18 years of age they were already guilty against all 10 commandments given by the God to Prophet Moses on Mount Sinai. Their life was entirely defined by ideology of hedonism: pleasure, pleasure and again pleasure. But it is necessary to pay for pleasure and this payment costs considerable money. And where to get the money from? And then they have to steal, plunder, enter criminal groupings and even to kill. In such a way we see that for those people all values in life were reversed and what is really a virtue was considered by them to be a bad thing and what is a real sin was considered by them to be good. The important role of the rehab centre of Father Berestov is to reverse the value system of these people and to turn these teenagers to their real, spiritual values. “Once this is done” – says Father Berestov – “we do not have to heal anybody, because Christ Himself does the healing in the addict’s souls”. The latest statistics shows that the centre has an 80 percent success rate for the 3,000 addicts treated there so far.
The program of Ieromonah Anatoly Berestov is very popular in Russia and he regularly appears in the newspaper columns, on radio and on TV. A simple search on his name in the Internet on Google or some of the other search engines brings up many articles about him. As a further reading for those readers who are interested in his program I can recommend the article “Liturgy vs. Opium” which the reader can find on http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/001/19.28.html. The rehabilitation centre of Ieromonah Anatoly Berestov is just one example which shows that the dependence on the dark, lower, spiritual forces can be overcome only by voluntarily submitting one’s soul to the higher spiritual forces of light.
The spiritual world is densely populated by spiritual beings that reside on all of the seven layers of energy vibrations described above. Some of them operate in the lower astral world, some of them in the higher astral world, some of them live only in our thoughts, etc. Besides, some of them are benevolent toward us; some of them are far from it. In the example of the processes described above both types of spirits will lead a battle for supremacy in the seven human bodies. The spirits, controlling the higher human bodies try to ascend the Man higher, so that he can come closer to their realm and become eventually one of them. On the contrary, the spirits working in his lower bodies try to drag him down so they can use him for their own purposes and to make him a puppet in their hands. The epic fight between the spirits for supremacy in the man’s soul is at the same time comic and tragic, mainly because most humans are totally unaware of it! In essence this is the battle between the “good” and the “evil” described in the Bible. Every single man living on this planet has to decide for himself which of these forces he prefers to join during his lifetime and this choice will determine to a great extent his future destiny.