Sunday Reprise: How to remain young all your life
Underlying all the world’s religions and spiritual belief systems is a layer of innate knowledge and first-hand experience widely known as the perennial philosophy, or wisdom tradition.
It is usually debunked by materialists and science as ancient superstition.
Yet you don’t have to be an archaeologist to find it. Armed only with some staying power and a mental trowel to chip away the political verbiage and fanciful reliquary from your faith and culture, you can stumble upon eternal gold.
One part of this ancient treasure trove is the notion of an etheric body, largely derived from the Greek Mystery Schools of Antiquity and tracing its origins much earlier than that.
Often described as the inner body, it occasionally becomes visible as a body of light, or as a feeling of energy and aliveness beneath the outer physical structure.
The odd thing about it is that, while the external appearance ages, the inner body remains the same throughout a person’s lifetime. The reason is that it stands outside time.
Put aside science and established religion for a moment and try to imagine that something beyond time can exist within you supporting your being. After all, even the space-time continuum must ultimately have emerged from a state more advanced and powerful than itself.
Dr Sam Parnia has recently completed a three-year study of near-death experiences (NDEs) at the University of Southampton. NDEs clearly involve a more ethereal body than the physical one. He has reached the conclusion that the inner body is real and cannot be explained by the brain changes neuroscientists claim.
As with NDEs, the subtle body (another name for the same thing) is able to leave its fleshy equivalent at will, but usually during sleep when most people don’t notice it.
Science confirms that the sleeping body is paralysed during this time, which actually demonstrates that the life force is partially absent. Some dreams even point to this phenomenon, but are usually misinterpreted or forgotten on awakening.
The traditional view that the Timeless realm loves its creations in time is found expressed in many texts in the standard religions. For example, the 13th century Catholic theologian and mystic, Meister Eckhart wrote: “God’s nature, his being, and the Godhead all depend on his work in the soul and that he loves his work!”
You can sense your own inner, or etheric, body by switching attention from the head and its abstract thinking to the visceral feel of your body. This is the most widespread mystical practice of all. (See One Simple Thing).
The solar plexus is a good place to start, but eventually it will become a whole body experience as your consciousness aligns with the inner body. You will become more relaxed and still, the energy replacing the nervy state of normal experience. If you stick with it regularly, you will be able to use the quiet sense of Being in any conditions, especially when you feel under threat.
This state has also been shown to strengthen the immune system against disease and even ageing. In fact, since the etheric body is ageless, you will remain essentially young until you die, whereupon your passing on will be seamless.
It was said of Taoist sages that they retained a youthful countenance into old age as proof of their successful cultivation of the Way. No expensive serums or miracle unguents for them. Their ageless look came from within, outside of time.
First published here on October 31, 2011.
… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.
Spiritual Mystics in the Modern World is coming soon.
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