Universal Cosmic Intelligence is the chief architect of several layers of existence. What we perceive via our basic senses is only the top layers of physical existence. It is like an onion that can be peeled multiple times to reach the core. We conceptualize physical existence by our experience of smell, sight ,and taste , we are also able to hear and feel a more obscure layer of breathing. These are only the first 2 layers of our physical world that most of us identify with. Focus is always on improving physical well-being with healthy diet and good exercise. Diet improves body immunity and exercise improves body strength and breath support. Both of these are very essential for improving overall physical health. Majority of conscientious people on earth go through life focusing on these areas of health. Few have wondered if there are any more layers to our existence. If so shouldn’t we have similar dietary discipline for these inner layers too?
In Hindu spirituality our human life has 3 layers of bodies. The bodies becoming more and more subtle as we try to reach the core. The Physical body that we are all familiar with, and nurture the most consists of the mortal coil and the breath support. The Astral body which is more subtle but we are very aware of, is related to thoughts where the Ego is and attachment to this physical body is generated. Ego is our sense of identity. The final and the innermost layer is our Causal body which is pure consciousness and the true source of all existence and happiness. This is the layer that is divine in and of itself and is part of the Universal Cosmic Intelligence. Breath support from the Physical body is the link between the temporary mortal coil and our permanent inner Causal body our soul.
To reach this inner core of purity we have to break through our bondage of all other layers while keeping them healthy and functional. We all know that maintaining dietary and exercise routine maintains a healthy physical body. We are constantly aware of consuming foods containing less fat, less sugar, less carbohydrates, more vitamins, more protein, less carbs, etc. How about our Astral body diet. Our mind is responsible for creating our identity. Ego fosters attachment. We can have Ego and attachment to either our temporary mortal coil or our permanent Causal body our souls. Attachment to our Causal body brings permanent bliss and happiness. Attachment to our mortal coils brings flashes of joy, pleasure, sorrow, and pain related to this human existence. We have a freedom to choose the path of inward Self-Realization or outward delusional existence.
To reach our inner subtle body or reality we need to feed our Ego a healthy mental diet. To continue to be attached to our mortal world we can feed the Ego any type of junk diet available. Healthy diet for the ego consists of neutral balanced feelings. Every thing that is perceived by our senses is neither good or bad; neither ugly or pretty; neither hateful or amorous; neither black or white… etc etc. In a healthy Ego diet there is no room for judgment or extremes. We perceive all experiences around us with a feeling of goodness and love, because our inner core which is the soul is a paragon of love and goodness. This keeps our Egos agile, healthy, and thin. Junk diet which fosters Egotistic Obesity are jealousy, attachment, anger, envy, sensual pleasures, pride, and greed. These unhealthy diets are generated within due to our inability to see the divinity in everything around us. The main ingredient for a healthy Ego diet is first and foremost Self-Control.
Peeling the layers of our 3 bodies is just as hard as peeling an onion. Tears can be generated as we go closer to the core because the reality is so strong and overwhelming.
Most of us live a superficial life of feeding our physical existence. If we are fortunate we are taught to follow moral and ethical laws to fulfil our duties to our family, our friends, to our country, and to God. These principles while they are very essential they are only stepping-stones in the path of enlightenment. These are essentially the principles of Karma Yoga (yoga of your prescribed duties/ actions), and Bhakti Yoga (yoga of your devotion to God) according to Hindu spiritual philosophy. We can follow the path of Goodness by doing our duties selflessly, and with devotion to God, however to be enlightened we need to pursue the path of true knowledge which Gyana Yoga (yoga of spiritual knowledge/ enlightenment). Spiritual mystics and renunciates have followed this path and have attained their goal of liberation through intense meditation.
How can regular every day humans then gain true knowledge? Raja Yoga is the path to follow (yoga of royals- kings and country leaders who are immersed in the daily grind of worries, wars, and poverty have to have this perspective fulfil their leadership role), where a good combination of meditation-yoga postures, attending to daily duties, and finding time for Godly devotion are prescribed. To be able to fulfil all the requirements of meditation, god-given duties in life, and be devoted to God, a healthy nourishment to the physical and astral bodies is very essential. A healthy diet for the body and mind fosters agility to reach the ultimate goal of Self-Realization.
To summarize, the Mortal body is our sensory-motor perceptual consciousness; the Astral body is our subconcious; and the Causal body is our super-consciousness. Spiritual enlightenment is the knowledge of our Causal body. To understand this inner core of our existence we have to maintain a healthy physical body via controlled nutritional intake, physical exercise including yoga postures, and performance of daily duties ethically and morally. We also need to maintain a healthy ego via meditaion, devotion to God, and by controlling our intake of junk thoughts.
Combating Egotistic Obesity is just as important as combating Physical Obesity. In fact there are many physically obsese or overweight individuals who seemed to be very comfortable in their skins. I suspect these people have maintained healthy egos and so are not bothered by external pressures of disdain for physical appearances. Its possible they live peacefully until their mortal coil fails them.
Teaching youngsters to develop healthy egos may be just as important as developing healthy physique, in our current world of unrest and turmoil, to promote brotherhood and peace.