Nearly a century ago the common understanding of the makeup of physical reality was one of matter. It was ‘known’ that we are made up of smaller pieces known as atoms. This Newtonian view of physical matter meant that there was a predictable cause and effect of physical reality. Anatomy, Physiology and Chemistry of the body evolved through this same lens of perception which is reflected in the science of biology. Physical systems of organs made up of tissues which in turn are made up of cells are the model of the physical body. Chemistry or the interaction of molecules of elements is recognized as the signaling system of this biology which instructs the cells as to their activities.
This science of biology from a Newtonian or matter based perspective is in fact very true insofar as we interact with the body on that matter based level. However, the science of physics has evolved well past this Newtonian model of a material reality into what is known as Quantum Physics. Unfortunately commonplace education, including that within nearly all medical schools has remained stuck in the view that the human body is merely made of matter. As such we are treated and continue to treat our own bodies purely on the level of matter.
The truth is that you have more than a physical body. In fact, there is now plenty of science to support the energetic and electromagnetic nature of the human body. Electromagnetic fields (energy) can be measured around the body. Your heart emits an energetic field 100 times greater than that of your brain. Your gut has 500 million neurons similar to your brain and emits it’s own electromagnetic field. Kirlian photography can detect the field around your body also known as an aura in mystic traditions. In fact modern science is continuing to prove what many ancient teachings have said for centuries, that we are made of energy.
So instead of thinking of yourself as having just one body it’s time to look at things a bit more deeply and entertain the idea that in a simple sense you actually have two bodies. Your energetic body which is made of, you guessed it, energy and your physical body which is made of physical matter. Your energetic body serves as a template for your physical body to exist upon. Changes on an energy level can be detected before they occur on a physical level. You can almost think of it like a set of Russian dolls within one another. Your physical body is the outer shell so to speak and the energy body resides within that, completely unnoticed with the physical eye.
Now that we have discussed the combined material and energetic nature of the body, let’s talk about what your two bodies require in order to sustain them and support optimal vitality.
Note: the term body and bodies may be used interchangeably throughout this course unless it is necessary to indicate which body is being discussed.
The body requires adequate and compatible sources of energy.
On a basic biological level we synthesize earth (food) along with air (oxygen) to produce ATP (cellular energy) and water is the medium in which this takes place and finally fire (sunlight) is necessary in mitochondrial function. So in essence 4 of the 5 elements are scientifically known to support cellular energy production. The 5th element of ether or chi or ether is the vital force energy that flows through your energetic body and is of equal necessity to sustaining a vital body.
If you are lacking in quantity of energy or sources of energy that are compatible with your unique frequency and biochemistry then your body will struggle to sustain itself optimally.
The body needs free flow of energy to the entire body and field
The movement of energy within and throughout the body can be seen in both the physical and energetic bodies. In the physical body, energy exists and moves within your blood circulation, nerve conduction, fluid matrix, fascia and in other ways. In the energetic body your chi flows along meridians, Nadis as well as deeper more subtle levels of your energy body.
In my experience there are 3 ways in which restrictions of energy flow can show up.
The body requires Homeostasis, Coherence and Rhythm
Undeniably we are creatures that prefer a sense of predictability in order to garner a sense of safety and security, which will be addressed in the next principle. Predictability however is not inherent to our reality. And so we have to be resilient and adaptive to our environment and relationships. It is from a healthy ability to adapt and maintain some sense of rhythm that we are able to function well physiologically and to ground our psyche in our experience. If we are unable to maintain homeostasis, coherence and rhythm then the result is discord and dysfunction.
The physical body is effectively a system of systems which are each diphasic and dualistic in nature. Some examples of these systems that are constantly negotiating with the environment and the elements (see Principle 1) that we consume are the Autonomic Nervous system, Carbo-Oxidative System, Neurotransmitter Balance, Electrolyte Fluid Balance and Acid-Alkaline Balance. Looking more closely at one of these, the Autonomic Nervous System has 2 sides to it which serve as the ‘gas pedal’ and the ‘brakes’ causing organs and glands in the body to increase or decrease activity. Each of these systems, and others, are constantly working to maintain balance and efficiency. True and perfect homeostasis is not possible but the ability to respond quickly and correctly in the direction of balance is key.
In addition to homeostasis we need to have sustained rhythms in our body. The heart and brain each have their own rhythms that are responding to our environment as well as our emotional state. When we are experiencing or creating positive uplifting emotions then our heart and brain enter into a state of coherence. The result of this coherence is improved function and when maintained long-term improved health-span.
On a larger scale our bodies are naturally entrained to rhythms of nature such as seasonal rhythms and monthly lunar rhythms. When we are out of sync with these rhythms due to inadequate and poorly timed sleep then it creates dysfunction in our body. Time in nature with your bare feet on the ground and sun on your skin is the absolute best way to reset your entire bodily rhythms.
In a later article on the Mind and its needs, I will address how coherence of beliefs, thoughts and emotions affects our interaction with the world as a whole on the invisible but very real level of energy.
The body needs a sense of safety and connection
We entered into this world wired to connect. From our first breath we begin a quest to feel safe in our body, environment and in relationships with others. Our Autonomic Nervous System which was mentioned previously has within it an aspect that is always assessing the environment to determine whether it is safe or not. This is a completely unconscious mechanism which Dr. Stephen Porges terms “neuroception”.
The anatomy of this process occurs within a nerve bundle called the vagus (for ‘wandering’) nerve. The vagus nerve runs from the 12th cranial nerve all the way down to your gut, and upwards to connect to your sense organs of eyes, ears and throat. There are also two distinct parts of this nerve bundle, the ventral (front) vagal pathway and the dorsal (back/rear) vagal pathway. The ventral supports our social selves including feelings of being safely engaged and socially connected. The dorsal vagal pathway however, responds to extreme danger and takes us out of awareness and collapses us inward so to speak.
The two pathways remind me of an old toy that I like to use as an illustrative example. The toy collapses into a small ball or if you pull outward it will expand into a larger and open sphere. Many people are in this contracted state the majority of the time resulting in a further sense of isolation and a perpetual sense of survive or die attitude. Lost in this state is the beautiful felt sense of experiencing the world around us. You no longer notice what is good, right and beautiful in the world and your body has an increasingly difficult time adapting and functioning.
There are countless techniques that you can add into your daily experience to foster the ventral vagal pathway (safety and social connection) which I will share with you in later articles. But it may be worth considering that in addition to ‘adding a positive’ you start looking at how you can ‘remove a negative’. For instance, watching the news with 24 hour death toll tickers is clearly a message of impending doom to your body and will surely put you immediately into the dorsal vagal pathway. Its probably not a threat to your survival to simply turn off the news for a month and see what happens. What are some other ways that you can remove a negative that is shifting you into this dorsal state of feeling threatened?
The above is the initial model and conclusions that I have personally come to through my own experiences and through the research of many great thinkers, researchers and leaders. In subsequent articles I will expand on each of these principles as well as delve into what I feel are the major “needs” of the Mind.
If you have questions as always feel free to email me!
Danny Maresca considers himself a philosopher, scientist and teacher but most of all a humble explorer of this reality. This blog covers topics he finds fascinating as they relate to his own interpretation of his own experience of life. He hopes that you will find value in what you read but openly invites deeper and different perspectives to his own.