Our physical, emotional and mental levels are simultaneously interpenetrating. Esoteric psychology sees them as levels but this does not mean an absolute separation between them. Also the idea conjures up separate layers in some kind of vertical space, as if one level were literally above or beyond another one. No, these levels pervade one another. They are sharing the same space of existence. So in our experience, all three levels ought to exist simultaneously. This is the basic triad of our experience, called the functional triad or the three-fold personality. Our three-fold personality is a triad of physical, emotional and mental aspects. Through these aspects (these 'levels' or 'personality bodies'), we experience our self and the world. And through, these we also express ourselves - physically, emotionally and with ideas.
Yet also within this personality self is our soul, which is the seed and fire of our divinity, the carrier of divine light, love and will. Every physical living body has a soul as its core-essence, carrying the seed of its potentials, its possible capacities and abilities, and the design for its possible destiny, its completed actualization. As our emotional and mental fields develop out from the physical, these too have the same soul in their core. So the soul is this core-essence and potential within our three-fold personality, and this soul is composed of divine light, love and will. It is the individualized Divinity in us which holds our possibility for completed actualized spiritual being. The personality can seek guidance from the soul and be inspired by the soul. It can also discover and realize its soul.
The physical body experiences through the five senses. Emotionally, we experience the world through emotional feelings, moods, and also reactions. Mentally, we experience through the world through thoughts, ideas, or beliefs. Mentally, we describe and explain reality with concepts and maps of understanding, and this reality we try to mentally know about is the physical and emotional reality of life. Emotionally, we feel the physical world and how our own relationship is in this world. We are feeling the energies of places and of relationships.
One of the essential goals of spiritual effort is to have all three levels coordinated, integrated, and simultaneously experienced. All three are consciously present, rather than just one dominating our experience. Yet also part of spiritual effort is to purify or refine these levels of oneself. This eventually creates a conscious transparency between them all, and they become clear vehicles for our soul to express through.
Purified mind is a clear mind, where no particular thoughts dominate our mind, and mind becomes a clear space for consciousness. Thoughts can still appear but just significant thoughts, involving clearer descriptions and explanations of reality. Consciousness can shine through this clearer mind, rather than get lost in habitual long patterns of thought.
A purified emotional body is clearer and more transparent. When the usual lower part of our emotional body is cleared and unobstructed, the deeper core essence of our emotional level is revealed, and we would call this heart. The more reactive emotions are not actually from the heart, but rather from the solar plexus, the seat of our ego of self-interest. Heart emotions are also called higher emotions; which is certainly apt since most other emotions come from either the solar plexus or from the sacral centre. Anyways, true feelings from the heart shine forth when our emotional body is clear and without obstructive reactions from ego self-interests.
A purified physical body is a body without toxins and corruption. We often speak of purifying the physical body or clearing it. So again, these important concepts, purifying and clearing, can apply to all three of the personal bodies (or energy fields).
Also, we have an etheric-physical body –which is the etheric energy substance and energy-pattern of the physical body. These etheric energies and patterns directly affect and create pattern in the physical body. Etheric energy is the vital-life energy, or what is called prana or chi or mana, which comes from the Solar Light and also from the Planet. Our etheric body collects vital-energy and light, which then energetically feeds the physical-body. The etheric body also has pattern – which is meant to be healthy and harmonious. The Deva Intelligences of Nature give us this health-pattern, but these are then either enhanced or degraded by our emotional and mental influences, because our mental and emotional patterns will also have a patterning effect on the etheric-physical body.
Once there is sufficient clarity, balance and alignment with the physical, emotional and mental aspects, the higher level of our self can then come into experience. This higher level of self is the Intuitional level, or called the spiritual Intuition. This is the medium through which the mind realizes the soul, as well as spiritual love-wisdom. Intuition is direct knowing in which truth is immediately evident. Intuition is pure knowing, without being clouded by mental thoughts, emotional feelings or physical senses. Intuitional consciousness perceives right through the levels of physical, emotional and mental; and it brings spiritual qualities and wisdom to these.
Yet often in average man, the intuitional level is not ever experienced as it is, because the energy of consciousness is so usually obscured by and absorbed by either thoughts, emotions or senses. But when our lower triad of self is clear and unified, the Intuitional mind can then come into experience – through the transparency of mind and heart.
The emotional body and the mental body are distinctly important topics of esoteric science. This is in recognition that emotional and mental energies are phenomenally different from physical energies, even though they may have physical correlations. A better way to teach this, though, is to speak about emotional and mental fields. For the average person their emotional field is not really a body – since an emotional body would imply that this field of energies is integrated, organized, and acting as a unity.
The physical body is integrated, organized, and acts as a functional unity, at least mostly. But this only came about after millions of evolutionary years. Man in general is now still working on integrating and organizing their emotional energies. And when this emotional field becomes an integrated and organized unity, then it can rightly be called an emotional body or astral body. Until this time, the emotional/astral energies are unorganized and often in conflict. Funny coincidence that the world is also. The mental field, for most people, is even less organized, integrated and unified.
So this is one our tasks. But how do we become more self-integrated emotionally and mentally? The key is to allow each emotion and each idea to be heard and considered. Another key is to allow variety and differences to be present at the same time. Real unity will never be achieved by a self-dictatorship, or by a dominance from one part over another. If dramatic conflicts show up, either emotionally or mentally, this is a creative opportunity for resolution and a new synthesis. But most people so want to avoid emotional and mental conflicts in themselves that they regularly and even subconsciously suppress the less dominant emotion or idea that is in conflict with the more dominant one. These conflicting emotions or ideas (those which conflict or contrast with the more dominating one) tend to become labeled as bad (emotionally) or wrong (mentally).
Of course though, it may be too idealistic to assume that resolution and synthesis will easily occur when we allow the differences and conflicts to be present in our self. If we can stay present with the struggle, it may resolve, but the conflict may be too difficult to resolve right away. It may require more time, more patience, and more working through. In this case then, we need a temporary solution to our inner conflict, whether it be emotional or mental. This solution is simply relax. Let us all relax. The differences and disagreements are not resolvable at this time – no solution at hand. So the only alternative now is to simply relax. Accept the differences and the unresolved feelings or ideas; then just relax. Before going to sleep each night, practice a relaxing yoga of the emotions and mind. Accept all differences within and all unresolved feelings, and let yourself relax. The self attitude is this: let’s relax and let it all go for now. And one might also make a prayer or a wish before sleeping for an inner resolution. But it doesn’t help to lose sleep over stuff or struggle too hard for resolutions. The best resolution will suddenly appear without any extreme effort.