What is the Emotional Body?
The human system is basically composed of several bodies which help to experience different phenomena in several levels, starting from the physical level of experience to emotional and mental levels. The coarsest part of this system is the physical body that as discussed in the previous articles is composed of visible physical body and invisible physical body, known as the etheric body. Next to the etheric or energy body, there located the emotional body which interpenetrates it and is often called the astral body since it is made of light and to clairvoyant look it appears like starry light, surrounded by constantly moving brilliant colors. Each color basically corresponds to a feeling, passion or desire in astral matter.
Astral matter is basically much finer than the physical atom and can interpenetrate it without having impacts on the physical atom. This means that astral matter surrounds and fills every physical matter. Therefore according to Geoffrey Hodson ‘a being living in the astral world might be occupying the same space as a being living in the physical world; yet each would be entirely unconscious of the other, and would in no way impede the free movement of the other.’ (Hodson, 2007, p. 56) In other words, based on the principle of interpenetration, different realms of existence exist simultaneously here and now, thus to perceive and experience them movement in space is not needed; we rather need to open ourselves to higher levels of consciousness by tuning into them, similar to tuning into different radio stations. (Powell A. , 2005)
Knowledge of the existence, characteristics and functions of the emotional body is crucial since it plays vital roles in our human existence. The major functions of the astral body can be summarized as followed.
The emotional body is the medium of emotions, feelings, passions and desires which is more subtle than the energy body. Using the emotional body, man is able to experience intense emotions including both lower and higher emotions ranging from anger, fear, stress, irritation to love, compassion and happiness. In other words, emotional body is specialized in feeling. (Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, 2009)
This body also acts as a bridge between the physical brain and the mind which operates in the mental body that is located next to the emotional body and is even a more subtle vehicle. Without the astral body in general, there would be no contact between the external world and the mind and there would be no connection between the physical impacts and their perception by the mind. In fact whenever we think, we generate vibrations in the mental body which are transmitted to the astral body. From the astral matter, the etheric matter will be affected which manipulates the dense physical matter of the brain and vice versa. (Powell A. , 2005) ‘The astral body is thus veritably a bridge between our physical and our mental life, serving as a transmitter of vibrations both from physical to mental and from mental to physical, and is, in fact, principally developed by this constant passage of vibrations to and fro.’ (Hodson, 2007, p. 66)
Furthermore, if developed, this body can also act as an independent vehicle of consciousness and action. According to Arthur Powell, although the existence of emotional body is pervasive in every person, few people are conscious of its existence and can control its functions by will. In majority, the astral body appears as a primary mass of astral matter and its activities are mostly not under the control of man. However, in a few this astral body is well-developed, possessing life of its own which can be used by its owner in different ways. (Powell A. , 2005) One of the powers gained by developing the astral body is during the sleep or trance, when the astral body can separate itself from the physical body and function consciously and freely on its own plane. In this case the sleep-life can be active, useful and interesting while its memory can be brought down into physical brain. It is also possible to consciously leave the physical body at any time to operate freely on the astral plane without the limitations of the physical matter; this is often called astral travel. (Hodson, 2007)
The process of dying to some extent is similar to what happens during sleep-life. ‘When the physical body dies, the soul continues to live using the astral (emotional) body.’ (Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, 2009, p. 3) After physical death the consciousness withdraws itself into the astral body and live using this vehicle; the duration of life in the astral plane and its intensity after death varies greatly depending on various factors. (Hodson, 2007)
In fact clear understanding of the nature and structure of the astral body is crucial to our understanding of the life, its possibilities and limitations, after death. It also helps comprehending many non-physical phenomena such as certain psychic methods of healing. Furthermore, knowledge of the emotional body, as the vehicle of feelings and emotions is considerably valuable in understanding psychological aspects of man both individual and collective, dealing with modern psycho-analysis.
- Hodson, G. (2007). Basic Theosophy; The Living Wisdom. The Theosophical Publishing House.
- Grand Master Choa Kok Sui. (2009). The Chakras and Their Functions. Institute for Inner Studies Publishing Foundation India.
- Powell, A. E. (2005). The Etheric Double. The Theosophical Publishing House.
- Powell, A. (2005). The Astral Body; and Other Astral Phenomena. The Theosophical Publishing House.