This map stretches from yoga psychology to anthroposophy and integral psychology, but there is a particularly detailed philosophical explication and scientific proof of it in Arthur Young’s “The Reflexive Universe” and William Tiller’s “Conscious Acts of Creation.”[Evolution-Purusha]^
| Spiritual (?)
| Mental-Egoic (+below=Humans)
| Emotional-Astral (+below=Animals)
| Vital-Etheric (+below=Plants)
| Physical-Dense (+below=Matter)
The question of what energy is comes up a lot in my lectures – does it belong at a certain stage on the integral yoga continuum – or does it encapsulate everything. It depends on what you mean.
I like to think of Prana, Qi or Vital Energy as corresponding to the Etheric or Vital body – the layer between Dense-Physical and Astral-Emotional, Mental-Egoic, and higher Spiritual layers. Of course we could call them all Energy but this is just a matter of semantics. Clinically, scientifically, and experientially, I’ll say why this makes a difference.
The more superordinate levels of mind and emotion affect the vital energy and its physical constituents. Of course a knife can cut your skin or toxic food eat away your insides but the more subtle yet superordinate level of vitality should heal this through the “immune system,” with a little physical help if necessary (emergency medicine). Unfortunately modern allopathic medicine is nihilistic-materialist and intrudes on the healing process and deprives the mind of its power to heal and to be, making it more dependent.
The biochemistry of cells has to be organized by the kind of vital etheric field memories discovered by Burr and Sheldrake. However, the mental and emotional layers of humans affect these for both health and disease – this is the placebo effect, the power of prayer and meditation, and psychosomatic illness and healing demonstrated in hypnosis and analysis in Freud. Much of our illness today depends on the depletion of vital energy and intrusion on the functioning of its fields. We have now seen clinical and scientific proof of how the mind dis-eases and heals matter – we just don’t really believe it enough yet – and that is what “matters”. A positive affirmation or prayer or someone else’s hypnotic suggestion (in therapy) usually is not enough to really change the underlying BELIEF.
Prana “underlies” physical and mental events but as a backdrop or transitional substance for the insubstantial power of mind to translate or manifest in the theatre of physical force. This is important, for while acupuncture, qi gong, hatha yoga, and pranayamic breathing will heal the L-fields of our bodily organs (and this is already a huge step over materialist medicine) we really have to get to the level of mind to make larger longer changes. At present mind is usually controlled from below by materialist belief systems programmed by family, society, media and institutions, but when mind recognizes itself for what it is it turns the tables on the physical. Some psychoanalytic, philosophical and artistic movements of the past century pushed this as far as it would go. Now it’s a matter of crossing the abyss to the other side – actually experiencing the superpositioned wave of the transpersonal infinite and sitting in the sovereign transformer of mind which collapses this beyond into what it chooses.
This is a powerful kind of involution or actually evolution towards involution – transcendence in the service of regression. Playing.