Growing numbers of people are dissatisfied with current mainstream medical care. This is for a number of good reasons. Most doctors have little time to spend with patients, either to explore deeper causes for ailments in a person’s history or to explain clearly the options for treatment. Another is that physicians have become all too often mere purveyors of drugs—and those drugs, all too often, have proven to have side effects worse than the illness they are meant to treat. Moreover, modern medicine has no concept of what health is—only of illness. There is little or no attention paid to preventive treatment, nor to any factors but the grossest physical ones. There is little difference between human medical practice today and veterinary practice. It is largely for these reasons that alternative health practitioners have been gaining adherents in recent years. But there is still no single approach that deals with the entirety of our being.
To understand what a truly powerful and complete wholistic approach to health care in the future might look like—and how one can access all those elements of treatment today—we must understand all the dimensions that constitute a human being. Ironically, ancient cultures were more attuned to these different dimensions than our current social milieu, which ideologically attempts to brainwash people to accept a reductive, flattened view of reality—one that blocks out or denies most of what makes us human. But a revolution against such one-dimensional thinking is underway. The ancient/restored teachings of Sat Yoga are part of this burgeoning wholistic revolution. The paradigm offered by Sat Yoga is both multidimensional and integrative.
Sat Yoga teaches that we each have seven bodies, not just one. In addition to the food body (the gross physical vehicle, known in Sanskrit as annamayakosha), there are the six other bodies without organs: the pranic, or electromagnetic body (pranamayakosha), the mental body (manomayakosha), the wisdom body (vigyanamayakosha), the blissful light body (anandamayakosha), the transmigrational body (mahasutratma), and the universal body (paramsutratma).
When sought out for healing consultations, or when approaching self-healing, Sat Yogis focus first on the mental body, rather than the physical. This is because the vast majority of illnesses and accidents are psychosomatically caused or influenced. If there is, for example, an unconscious urge toward self-sabotage or victimization or suicidality or fear of life, or guilt, shame, or unconscious desire to suffer with another or take on another’s symptoms—or any other unconscious complex that may be interfering with the healthy flow of psychic energies (both prana vayu and kundalini shakti—energy flows operating at two different levels of the spectrum of élan vital)—then there will be effects on the physical body that will not be staunched through physical treatment. Stress, anxiety, and negative thinking depress the immune system, weaken the aura, collapse our psychological defenses, and acidify the bloodstream. In addition, many physical problems are the result of bad habits of food intake, addictions, and other lifestyle issues with an emotional underside that must be dealt with at the root, in order that a person can gain the undivided will to be well. Treatment of the mental body requires, among other capacities, empathy and an ability to listen between the lines, an ability to explore past traumas, to contain and detoxify projections, to understand dreams and enigmatic expressions of the unconscious, and to intuit unspoken or unspeakable feelings. One must also be able to transmit mental strength and courage to face what is within as well as the outer challenges of life. Once the mental body has been purified and strengthened, maintaining the health of the physical body becomes a simple matter.
The food body is generally best treated through a change of diet. Today, most people eat terribly—too much coffee, sugar, meat, and refined carbohydrates. Most people are one of the following: obese and lethargic, underweight and prone to fatigue, or hyperactive and unable to concentrate — or else they suffer from emotional and metabolic bipolarity. Our bodies, especially the bloodstream, have become acid, rather than alkaline — transforming them into fetid biological environments in which toxic microforms can flourish. Our bodies also all carry a toxic burden from the pollution of the water, air, and earth, the pesticides in the food, and the excess poisons some of us ingest in the form of cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and other substances. This toxic burden strains our physical body’s resources for healing. On top of that, if we have allowed the proper pH balance of our bodies to be lost, the consequences cannot but be grave over the long term. Our bodies must maintain an alkaline balance in the blood. Once this is lost, then a severe cleansing fast must be undertaken to kill off the microforms and to make the body’s inner environment alkaline again, so that unwelcome pleoform fungi, bacteria, yeast, and viruses can no longer survive or proliferate. At the same time, such a cleanse will result in weight loss, eliminating fat cells that retain toxins, and enable the removal of the toxins from the cells and bloodstream, permitting the body’s healing powers to work at full strength once more. Of course, the appropriate herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and live green juices will nourish the cells, improve metabolism, and help draw out the poisons. Such a cleanse will often bring up further energies from the mental body — in the form of hidden attachments to unhealthy patterns of living — including fear of vibrant health itself. Particularly in women, there may also be a fear of being physically too attractive. Or there may be a sense of guilt in living a more joyous life than one’s parents, with values that differ from theirs. All these issues in the mental body must be resolved, or else negative effects in the organism will re-establish themselves.
The pranic body must also be addressed. The organic body is interwoven with an electromagnetic energy grid that enables the cells to communicate and function. Prana refers to this subtle energy that runs through the body. If the prana is blocked from flowing through the nadis, the subtle nerve pathways (called meridians in Chinese medicine), then the organs that do not receive this flow will begin to malfunction. Acupuncture is one way to get the flow going again. The ancient Indian art of ayurveda also has many insights and approaches to aid in the pranic flow. Homeopathy can be of help. In less severe cases, shiatsu may be sufficient. Another approach that is part of Sat Yoga is the practice of pranayama—a series of deep breathing techniques, which can break through impediments in the energetic flow, increase the prana as well as the oxygenation of the body, and also positively affect the pH balance. Correctly practicing yogic asanas, the well-known stretching postures, will also help open blocked nadis and keep the electromagnetic energy field generally strong.
The wisdom body should not be left out of the picture. In order even to access our inner wisdom, we must have our life and our values in good order. If our intentions are ethical, our actions fair, compassionate, and consistent, and our temperament is balanced and contained, then we can more easily gain the peace of mind required to enter into our wisdom body in our meditations. Once the mental body has been cleansed, the wisdom body—the superconscious—enters more closely into consciousness. We may imperience (as opposed to experience) voyages into other dimensions. In these inner journeys, we can encounter figures of myth or of the collective creative imagination—archetypal figures—who can guide us to understand more deeply the reasons for an illness or other impediment in life. Through this wisdom, we can regain our balance, and discover a larger context in which our life has greater meaning than perhaps we attributed to our existence. The wisdom body leaves kairos time crystals in the mental body. These crystals open the mind to the reality of vertical time, not just horizontal time. More importantly, once the wisdom body has been integrated with the mental body, the mind begins to function in a new way. Rather than remaining trapped in the circuit of words, living in a representational reality devoid of true presence, we realize a different way of knowing—a participative intuition—that opens the doors of perception to the higher realities that are immanent in our world but unseen by most people. We learn to live free, outside of all boxes.
This attainment may lead us to discover our transmigrational body—the thread or trajectory of our lives, past and future, the information on which is available to those who reach the proper wavelength on which that information is recorded. We may discover that current life problems are the result of past karma—or even of future karma that may require the present learning of lessons that could only occur through an illness or other form of suffering. Karma, in the form of vasanas and sanskaras (root templates for our thought patterns and latent behavioral patterns and desire impulses), accounts for the remaining blockages of the energies that must flow to maintain our health. The clearing of karma permits the kundalini shakti to rise.
With the rise of kundalini through the sushumna nadi (the central subtle nerve pathway that runs up the spinal chord), and the transformation of lower-chakra psychic energies of aggression, lust, and self-contraction into the higher energies of love and detached discernment, we may begin to perceive the blissful light body. Then the work is to incarnate the light form fully into the physical dimension. This is accomplished through surrender to God. This will bring the highest grade of healing shakti—the divine energies of Brahman, the transcendental field of the Absolute—to bear upon any physical illness—and to bring about the complete liberation of consciousness from egoic limitation—an achievement that transcends the health of the organism.
The final body is the universe itself. The universe is a single organism, the body of God, and therefore the body of each of us. At this level, we are all one. And the energies of the universe are all available to converge to enable us to heal. We can call upon the power of the sun, the earth, all the energies of nature, by merging the individual mind into the All/One presence. To do this, we must attain perfect emptiness, so that the universe may fill us with the power of life.
If we work on all seven bodies, healing can be not only effective on the physical plane, but can lead to spiritual realization and liberation, which is the real point of why we are here in the first place. It is the real reason behind most illness as well. And let us remember that healing is not the same as curing. Because the universe is our body, the changing of one physical body for another is not very important in the scheme of things. Let us not be afraid to drop the body when we have attained our ultimate purpose here. And let us not lose a moment in attaining that purpose. When we do that, we heal not only our individual being, but we help heal the world as a whole. This is the aim of Sat Yoga.