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The Nature and Shapes of the
The Nature of the Awareness Body
THE AWARENESS BODY AS UNIFIED FIELD BODY
THE FIELD ANATOMY OF THE AWARENESS BODY
TYPICAL BODILY SHAPES OF SOUL
SPIRITUAL SHAPES OF SOUL
THE FRAGMENTED SOUL
THE FOURTH FIELD AND FOURTH STATE – ‘TURYA’
Which body is it with which we feel the ‘brightness’ or ‘darkness’, ‘tone’ or ‘colour’ of our own and other peoples’ moods? Which body is it with which we can feel ourselves as ‘heavier’ or ‘lighter’, ‘fatter’ or ‘thinner’, yet without any change to our physical weight or size? Which body is it with which we can feel closer or more distant, warmer or cooler towards others irrespective of our temperature or physical distance from them? Which body is it with which someone’s ‘heart’ can be felt as ‘big’ or ‘small’, ‘warm’ or ‘cold’, with which we or others can ‘lose heart’ or suffer ‘heartache’, feel ‘heartened’ or ‘disheartened’ – independently of any change in the functioning of ‘the heart’ as a physical organ? Which body is it with which we can feel ‘uplifted’ or ‘carried away’, ‘sucked in’ or ‘trapped’, ‘pressured’ or ‘de-pressed’, ‘spaced out’ or ‘closed off’, ‘hollow’ or ‘empty’, ‘shapeless’ or ‘spineless’, about to ‘explode’ or ‘implode’ - yet without our physical body moving or changing shape in any way? Which body is it whose ‘skin’ we can feel ourselves or others to be more or less ‘at home’ in, which can make us appear ‘thick- or thin-skinned’, ‘edgy’ or ‘irritable’ - yet without any change to our physical skin surface or texture? Which body is it whose tone can be felt as ‘dull’, ‘flat’ or ‘sharp’, and whose texture can be felt as ‘solid’ or ‘airy’, ‘firm’ or ‘brittle’, ‘jagged’ or ‘smoothed out’, ‘frayed’ or ‘fragile’, ‘gutted’ or ‘crushed’, ‘torn’ or ‘stretched’, ‘strained’ or ‘stressed’? The answer to all these questions is not the ‘physical’ body – the body perceived from outside as an object. Nor is it some form of second ‘psycho-physical body’ or ‘energy’ body – one that we also think of or perceive as an object. Instead it is our subjective body – the body as we feel it from within. This inwardly felt body however, is more than just our outer physical body as we are feel of it from within. Instead it is a ‘field body’ unbounded by the flesh - for its only boundaries are the boundaries of our soul - our feeling awareness of ourselves, other people, and every other body in the world around us. Through it we give physical form to our divine body (divyadeha), that ‘Awareness Body’ (vijnanadeha XE "vijnanadeha" ) or ‘body of feeling awareness’, that is our eternal soul body.
The ‘inner body’ of the human being has had many names - subtle body, energy body, astral body, dream body. It has always been thought of as consisting of flows of subtle energy or of ‘etheric’ matter of a finer grade of substantiality than ‘gross’ matter. In this way its nature has until now been completely misunderstood. For our inner body is not some pseudo-physical second body, composed of subtle energy or matter, that we can become aware of. It is a body of awareness or Awareness Body To understand its nature we must understand that awareness possesses its own innate substantiality and its own innate sensual qualities of shape and texture. The soul body is the felt bodily form taken by our subjective awareness of ourselves and the world around us. It is also the felt boundary between what we experience subjectively as ‘self’ on the one hand, and what we experience as ‘other-than-self’ on the other - the world and other people. The inner body is therefore not something objectifiable in terms of matter or energy. It is our subjective body – but no less real and substantial for that. This subjectively felt body is a ‘field body’ unbounded by the flesh. It is also our feeling body - the body of feeling awareness with which we feel ourselves, feel other people, and feel the world around us. Its only boundary is the field boundary of our awareness and identity – a boundary, which can expand beyond or contract within the boundary of our physical body. The inner body, as our ‘soul body’ or ‘awareness body’ can be defined in all of the following ways:
1. It is our inwardly or subjectively felt body.
2. It is our feeling body, the body of our feeling awareness.
3. It is a field body - the unlimited field or ‘feel-d’ of our feeling awareness.
4. It is the outer bodily form taken by our entire field of awareness, inner and outer.
5. It is a field-boundary and boundary-field of awareness, uniting our inner self-awareness with our awareness of the world around us.
6. It is our formative body – the body with which we give form to our feeling awareness in all its felt shapes and qualities.
The ‘centres’ or ‘Chakra’ of the Awareness Body are not ‘energy centres’ but centres of awareness. Its subtle currents and conduits are not currents and conduits of subtle energy but currents and conduits of awareness. Its sensed qualities are not sensory or energetic qualities but soul qualities – sensual qualities of awareness or ‘soul’ as such. These are comparable to the sensual qualities of musical or vocal tones – warm or cool, bright or dark, light or heavy, jagged or smooth, harmonious or discordant, flat or resonant. Such sensual qualities belong also to inner soul tones. The soul body is our psychical ‘organism’ - the musical instrument or organon through which we give outer form to inner soul tones, transforming them into cell and organ tone, muscle and voice tone and experiencing their richly sensual qualities.
In most, if not all of the ‘New Age’ interpretations of yoga and tantra, ‘Prana’ is seen as some sort of objective, pseudo-physical ‘energy’ – and the ‘subtle body’ as a body replete with energy ‘channels’, ‘fields’ and ‘centres’. In contrast, The New Yoga understands the ‘subtle body’ as a subjective body - a body of subjective awareness or Awareness Body (Vijnananadeha) made up of spaces or ‘fields’ of awareness, within which awareness itself flows in ‘channels’ and forms ‘centres’.
The Awareness Body is a unified field body uniting three fields of awareness – an outer field of awareness manifest as the physical space around our bodies, an inner field of awareness which we feel as the aware interiority or soul inwardness of our bodies. This in turn leads into the third field - a field of unbounded interiority that constitutes the multi-dimensional world of awareness or ‘soul world’ as such. The field of unbounded interiority is also a field of all-surrounding interiority – being that realm of awareness which lies behind and beyond the ultimate horizon of physical space – our outer field of awareness – and all that we are aware of within it. As a field body of awareness, the Awareness Body is essentially a field-boundary of awareness - uniting all three fields of awareness.
It is this very breathing membrane or boundary of awareness that constitutes our awareness body as such - being that which both distinguishes and unifies the three fields of awareness and allows awareness to flow within and between them like air or breath. That is why our Awareness Body is a ‘Psychic’ or ‘Pranic’ body - the breathing surface or ‘soul-skin’ of our awareness. Like our skin, itself an organ of physical respiration no less important than our lungs, this breathing membrane or field-boundary of awareness can be felt as more or less open, porous and permeable, or sealed and impermeable, more or less loose or tight, inwardly spacious or contracted. Like our own skin or a garment we wear, its texture and the way we feel it determines how much ‘breathing space’ we feel we have. Yet if we learn to fully identify with that bounding and breathing membrane of awareness we cease to experience it as a boundary at all. We experience our awareness not as three fields but as a singular space or unified field of awareness - one big enough to absorb and embrace all we are aware of within it.
The basic form of the Awareness Body or ‘soul body’ (Figure 1 on following page) can be visualised in three dimensions as a spherical capsule, or in two dimensions as a circle. As a three-dimensional form it can be compared to an inflated spherical balloon. A balloon’s rubber skin is a physical boundary both defining and dividing the spaces within and around it. Each individual’s Awareness Body is like a vast cosmic balloon or bubble - one that bounds and embraces, circumscribes and contains their entire outer awareness of the world and of the physical cosmos as a whole. In contrast their human form or body can be compared to one small sphere or circle within the larger cosmic sphere of their Awareness Body (see Figure 2 on following page).
The human form of the awareness body can be best visualised by imagining a spherical balloon whose surface has been pushed in by a finger or hand to create an inner protrusion or ‘invagination’ of its surface – one that remains when the finger is withdrawn. It is only this inwardly protruding part of the spherical capsule - our Awareness Body as a whole – that can take the shape and form of the human body as we know it. Yet its inner awareness field is not a space fully contained and encapsulated by our physical form in the way suggested by Figure 2. Instead, as in Figure 3, it is inwardly unbounded - leading into an unbounded field of awareness (grey) which actually surrounds the entire circle, or spherical capsule of awareness as a whole. Figure 2 is thus essentially just a top or ‘plan view’ of the inner invagination (‘Yoni’) and/or phallic protrusion (‘Linga’) which is the human form of our divine Awareness Body as a whole.
Figures 1 - 3 below show the basic ‘Yantra’ of The New Yoga as represented in its logo - this being essentially a wholly new and original anatomical diagram or schema of our eternal soul body or Awareness Body - showing it as a singular field-boundary uniting three basic fields of awareness.
INDIVIDUAL SHAPES OF SOUL
An individual may be more or less identified with the human portion of their Awareness Body, and more or less capable of identifying with its divine-cosmic dimension. Different individuals may also feel their awareness as more or less confined or bounded by their physical body, more or less contracted to a particular region of it – for example their heads. They may be more or less capable of expanding their awareness into the space around them or into the depths of their own soul. Such differences give each individual’s awareness - their soul - its own distinctive, limited bodily shape in relation to their Awareness Body as a whole.
The diagrams on the following pages show some of the countless possible configurations that might characterise the awareness of different individuals. These are not necessarily fixed. Indeed it is the shape-shifting character of awareness that allows it to assume the form of any thing or being - any awareness or soul, physical or trans-physical. Yet the varying capacity of individuals to shape-shift their awareness and thus also to align it with their Awareness Body as a whole is another distinguishing individual feature of their awareness.
In each of the diagrams, the dotted line is a 2-dimensional representation of the bounding contour – more or less permeable - of the individual’s awareness. The diagrams show some typical configurations of awareness of a sort we take for granted as ‘normal’, despite the contraction and limitation of awareness that they all embody. Each of us has the potential to directly sense the bodily shape or configuration, not only of our own awareness, but that of others – feeling to what extent it is contracted or expanded in space, centred or concentrated within different parts of their physical body, and the degree to which it is aligned with, bounded or unbounded by it. We can sense how expansive or contracted a person’s awareness is, how much space they feel they have within themselves, and how open or closed the boundaries of that space are.
The three main fields of awareness united by the boundary of the Awareness Body (red) are the outer field (1 - white), the inner field (2 - grey) and the field of all-surrounding interiority (3) it leads into. These correspond to our human experience of the waking, dreaming, and sleeping states respectively. Whereas we are most aware of and ‘awake’ to the outer world around us, we ‘dream’ our inner bodily life of soul, and remain largely asleep to the all-surrounding world of soul that it leads into – that world which lies behind what appears to us as the outer physical world. In addition to the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping, Tantric teachings recognised a fourth – ‘Turya’. In The New Yoga, this fourth state corresponds to a fourth field (black). In reality this field has no spatial ‘extension’, physical or psychical. It is a ‘non-spatial space’, a purely non-extensional or ‘intensional’ field, a realm of darkness or ‘non-being’. That is not because it has no reality, but because it is a field of pure potentiality – being that womb of inexhaustible inwardness in which all the infinite potentialities of awareness lie latent - and ‘within’ which all universes are born or actualised through the light of awareness that is Shiva. As the diagram shows, at the core of the Awareness Body is a ‘singularity of awareness’ or ‘point of power’ (‘Bindu’). This is a core of coiled-up power (‘Kundalini’) linking us with the core of every other being - and with the realm of inexhaustible potentiality symbolised by the great black mother goddess ‘Kali’.
©Peter Wilberg 2006