I often hear about the body-mind-soul system in conscious groups. This awareness towards the soul is great improvement from the simple body-mind system, yet there is a very robust system in Ayurveda, a 5000 year old medical science from India, that offers a great alternative. The 5 body system (pancha Kosha in Sanskrit) as part of a complete medical system can get quite complicated, so I describe here an easy approach to that system for even a simple understanding can go a long way to improve our lives.
The 5 bodies are the physical body, the energetic body, the emotional body, the mental body (or mind) and the spiritual body (or Soul). To make it more accessible I have thought of the following metaphor.
The physical body is our vehicle, you want to take care of it. It is our only vehicle and has divine qualities like self healing and it provides for amazing experiences like touch and other forms of physical pleasure. Since it is the only way to reach our destination, we value it as our temple. Being physical, everything in our body is composed of the 5 basic elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. Like any vehicle, our body as a date of manufacture and an expiry date called birth and death.
Maintenance at this body consist in keeping it strong and flexible through cardio vascular activity and keeping it supple with Yoga and also feeding the body with a healthy diet.
The energetic body is the fuel for our vehicle, without which we can’t go anywhere. This being a metaphor, the fuel or prana is also the repairman because it plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of your body. If prana flow harmoniously everywhere in our body there is no disease. It is also more like the fuel of an electric vehicle, it is responsible to power functions like light, heat and onboard computer etc. Yet, unlike the wires and battery of an electric system, the energetic body has no physical structure. It is composed of ducts and vortices of energy (called nadi and chakras in sanskrit) yet, a bit like the radio waves, the prana does not need physical structure to flow through.
The source of this energy (the battery) is our root chakra (Muladhara) in the pelvic floor, and for regular refuel we need to connect to a greater source of energy, in our case it is called Kundalini. The energetic body provide for amazing experiences like hot and cold, hunger and thirst and also orgasm.
Maintenance at this level consist in becoming aware of this energy, to feel it and then to be able to generate it and direct it where needed through specific exercises like pranayama (breathing exercises) and kriyas (purification exercises)
The emotional body is the journey we undertake with our vehicle and it is also the map. Emotions are what makes the journey memorable, the high, the low, the joy and the pain, the obstacles and the memories of victory and defeats.
This body provides most of the challenges on the journey: fear, shame, guilt, doubt, anger, frustration, sadness, delusion, desire and many more. Yet these challenges are our guide, they are the indication on the road that help us to choose where to go and what to do to heal, in order to reach our destination (from the root word destiny).
The very subtle structure of this body includes our senses: smelling, tasting, seeing, touching and hearing and beyond senses and emotions it is also the realm of something very important and worth cultivating: intuition.
Maintenance at this level is the cultivation of equanimity and emotional intelligence. It is good practice to focus our senses towards our internal processes and through concentration. For better acquaintance with this body I practice the following: every time I am about to say “I think” I stop and replace it by “I feel”. Try this technique for a while and observe the changes in your life.
The mental body is the onboard computer, the GPS, it is the realm of discrimination and decision. It is not like any computer, it is a very smart computer, like A.I., it learn as we go, as we experience, as we live, and it makes decision before we even know it. It has a tendency to become the boss and need to be tamed (it is often compared to a wild monkey). Out of control, it will start repeating similar decision in similar situation, just by convenience and to convince us it will partner with the emotional body and use desire and fear to guide us into habit.
The best maintenance at this level is meditation, the cultivation of concentration, the practice of visualization and imagination, the cultivation of the art of asking powerful questions. When under our control, the possibilities of the mind are endless. Out of control its power leads us into delusion.
Last but not least, the spiritual body is the destination, it is the realm of bliss and happiness as a state of being, the great yogic absorption into the state of pure awareness (called samadhi in sanskrit) and the realisation of our divine essence and purpose. It is not easy to describe this body with words because it is beyond the mind, yet my experience is that no one is completely fulfilled and empowered without taking care of this ultimate body.
I hope this simple metaphor awakens in the reader the desire to dive deeper into the five bodies system. The body-mind-soul system allows for some shadow on the energetic and emotional bodies, and there is a lot of darkness lurking in the corners of these two forgotten layers.
Hope you find this helpful. If you want more details and practices on these amazing health and transformation systems, you can attend our meditation and yoga classes. We are always happy to share the light to those who are seeking for it.
Infinite Love, Deva