The Light Body

“The light body” is one of those almost meaningless terms that float around in spiritual circles. While experiencing inner light is very nice, what is it being experienced? And does that really have anything to do with other things you’ve heard?

For example, all seven koshas (sheaths) can be experienced as “light bodies.” From the glow of consciousness right up to reflected light from physical bodies, all the sheaths can be perceived with light; from infinite and formless to cloud-like to solid form. Usually by “light body” people are talking about the prana (energy body) or an aura of it. But many are just talking limited concepts and “supposed-to’s,” not experience.

But the “light” of these different bodies is not all the same. At its essence, light is Divinity in alive flow or Shakti. The effulgence of consciousness and beyond express this. As we move through denser layers, light takes on properties and qualities like colour and intensity that are progressively more localized until we have photons – apparent particles of light. Apparent because science has found that the wave form only collapses to a particle when attention is on it*. Prior to that it is a probability.

The Yoga Sutra (3v40) tells us that with mastery of Samana, the energy of digestion, we gain effulgence. This is a natural tendency illustrated in the iconography of both eastern and western art with halos and glowing forms. It’s subtle light that’s “loud” enough to be seen physically. We might say prana that expresses into the physical light spectrum. Is this a light body?

And there is the cosmic body of all bodies which is shaped much like our manifest body and expresses through the layers to give us our human form. The cosmic is essentially an idea in the cosmic mind driven by divinity. It too can be called a “light body” that arises within the body of consciousness.

In other words, we can see the layers of creation as “bodies” or layers that culminate in specific forms and we can see the expressions of the cosmic body as “bodies” that also culminate in forms. The first gives the qualities of the layers of the “cake,” the second structures the details of the form. The 2 branches come together in the local body.

Some ascension/ ascended master material talks about gaining a light body but it’s never been clear to me what they’re talking about. I’m not sure that’s even clear to the people speaking about it.

There are also the changes to the body that develop with embodying divinity. While most of us gradually age, there is research showing markers of aging like telomere length can be reversed with long practice. There is also some talk about “rebooting” or “youthing.”

Most people I know doing very well are a blend. The hair continues to gray but perhaps the skin gets more youthful. Some are experiencing a gradual dissolution of physicality.

The later is sometimes described as a dissolution of the earth element or as the conversion of inertia (tamas) into sattva in the physiology. I’ve talked about the second quite a bit but in relation to unfolding clarity of consciousness. In this case, the transformation is moving into the physiology too.

As the body is more dense, it will tend to shift more gradually than more subtle layers. It’s good if this process takes time or we’d have to relearn how to walk. How do we move in the world if the body has little mass?

This shift means a gradual dissolving of limitations. This will bring more of the abilities described in the Yoga Sutra on-line. When the last karma completes, the last limitation falls away. We live as expressed power rather than mass.

This doesn’t mean the physical appearance dissolves or we become transparent or blazing light. It means the appearance isn’t driven by the past although it may be maintained by habit. (laughs)

I’ve written about this in other ways previously, such as in Melting the Body.

The bulk of karma is roasted with a clear awakening but the sprouted seeds continue playing out until our time of death post-enlightenment. What happens then?

The esoteric Buddhist traditions speak of a “rainbow” body. I have little expertise here but it sounds like this is widely misunderstood too. The essential idea is that once the karma is done, the physical body dissolves into light at death, expressing a rainbow of colour. Think Luke dissolving into the Force but with more of a light show. But this is a rare achievement requiring high purity akin to what I describe above. Evidently, even Buddha didn’t reach this.

More typically, eastern traditions speak of the heaven we’re able to reach after death where we can continue to evolve. We’d inherently continue in a body of light. Many of the ancient masters can be discovered this way in various places at subtle levels.

Another option would be to continue in the “physical” body post-karma. Rather than dying on schedule, we sustain the body for continued use. That’s an intriguing option – to live in form and yet not be bound by the rules of it. It would also give us more time to dissolve the inertia.

Subtle beings who show up to our physical senses would be expressing as a light body but this differs from staying in the world.

Of course, much of this is speculative. I know people going through an embodiment process but I don’t know how this will unfold. I’m fascinated to see what happens – what will group consciousness and personal dharma support?
Davidya

* Attention collapses the probability wave form, even in the past. Also, the speed of light is considered a constant and a maximum for our universe. Yet the speed of light being constant to every observer suggests it is outside space-time. Science suggests light does not experience itself as a particle moving but rather as simultaneous.

 
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6 Responses to The Light Body

  1. Michael says:

    HI David!

    Really enjoyed that article!! 🙂
    I like how you come to that theme from different angles and that you mention that new-age mumbo jumbo a bit too.

    Thanks for speaking about such posibilities in todays for my taste still much to dry spiritual circles where even divinity is questioned.

    I would add here just for info that the light body (here i mean disolving the physical body at death into light) is not that rare when we look into esoteric traditions. We have it in, as you already said, the esoteric buddhism practises like dzogchen and mahamudra. Also in the highest yoga tantras this is the goal. We have it in the tamil siddha tradition, in the hermetic system, some rare and secret christian desert sects and of course in the ancient northern and southern tradition of neidan (daoist internal alchemy).

    much love

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Michael

      Thanks. It’s widespread nature does suggest a common process but I think it’s probably one of those things that’s been quite rare for awhile but now that the light is rising and more people are waking up, the potential for this to become more present again returns.

  2. Uli says:

    Intriguing:
    “Transformation of the Individual Consciousness Into an Indestructible Inner Body of Consciousness

    When we survey the many developments of the Diamond Approach teaching, we can recognize, in its present condition, four broad movements through which it expresses reality. Each of these can be seen as one complete turn of the teaching wheel. The first turning involves the realization and development of what I refer to as the individual consciousness, which is sometimes equated with the Western notion of soul. The soul discovers her true nature and begins to live a life imbued with the qualities of true being. As the individual consciousness’s experience of true nature deepens, she realizes, in the second turning of the wheel, the boundless nature of being. what is in the foreground here is the experience of the unity, oneness, and nonduality of reality. Since the inception of the Diamond Approach, we have been working mainly with these two turns of the teaching. Realizing true nature as our identity, waking up to the unity of existence, and learning to integrate these experiences into our daily life constitute, for a long time, the bulk of our inner work.
    The second turning of the teaching culminates in the transformation of the individual consciousness into an indestructible inner body of consciousness that can express and live nondual realization. This inner body of pure awareness, of the purity of true nature, becomes the fulcrum of the third turning. The third and fourth turnings of the wheel are related to this fulcrum, which heralds possibilities beyond the nondual unity of reality. The realization of this inner spiritual body, which I sometimes call the vajra body, reveals, in the fourth turning of the teaching, many new and unexpected wisdoms about the nature of reality. The progressive stages or degrees of realization, which characterize the first two turnings, give way to altogether different kinds of realization. Just as the first turning begins with the individual consciousness and moves, in the second turning, into the nondual dimensions of reality, the third turning starts with the vajra body instead of the individual consciousness and moves, in the fourth turning, into a reality that is neither dual nor nondual. Experiencing reality in this radically different way reveals profound new possibilities for living our realization.”

    A. H. Almaas, The Alchemy of Freedom

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Uli
      This uses terminology quite differently than I do. It also frames it differently. To me, he is using higher language to describe lower stages.

      The second turning is equivalent to Self Realization which I do not consider a true non-dual stage, as I’ve discussed elsewhere. This “indestructible inner body of consciousness” is simply established Self Realization.

      This doesn’t seem to cover Unity, the cosmic body and other things discussed in the article.

  3. AB says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks have been wondering about this. For whatever its worth, the Brahma Sutra 4.4 describes something similar i.e. the soul attaining its true nature on liberation.

    There are other traditions that speak about obtaining a spiritual body which one then uses in samadhi to serve the Divine without going through the dying process.

    Speaking about light, Isha Upanishad 15 & 16 seem to speak about this effulgence and the need to reduce it. What is this effulgence in reality that needs to be reduced to see the Divine?

    Thanks

    • Davidya says:

      Hi AB
      Yes, the Brahma Sutra talks some of the progression through the heavens, etc but it’s not a light text and the available translations don’t help.

      Theres a process of jiva merging with Atman and Atman with Brahman. Also of the form merging with the cosmic and the cosmic with the Divine yet also the Divine descending into the form. So theres a lot of ways it may be described.

      Actually, thats quoted at the bottom of this web site. My take is the gold effulgence is sattva guna. We have to go beyond the play of the 3 gunas to discover Divinity.

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