There is a tendency in ‘spiritual’ circles to fall into a fallacy about the physical body. The thinking goes something like this: I am a spiritual being having a physical experience; therefore, if I could just shuck this body, I could be a more spiritual person. I was, in the past, involved with a group that actually expressed this as the spirit, that part of us which is a part of the All, being trapped or imprisoned in the body. Our goal then was to set aside the physical as much a possible and pay close attention to the spiritual. This tendency to try to disregard the body is especially strong in the Abrahamic religions where this thinking was taken to ridiculous extremes (and may still be) of asceticism and mortification of the flesh.
I could go on about why this state of affairs has come to pass but I do not want to turn this into a rant. Rather, let me take a more positive tack and recount something that has been shown to me in meditation a number of times.
Many moons ago, I was deep in meditation when I saw in vision the world around me in shades of blue with electric lines of energy connecting me and all things around me. In this instance, I became aware of a disturbance in the climate of my area and, sure enough, later that night, we experienced a storm. This “matrix” view of the universe has repeated itself to me on a number of occasions and each time it has had a profound effect on me, showing me the basic interconnectedness of all things. Unlike some, I do not see this as being one with everything nor do I feel it as a melding of myself into all things. I retain my sense of separateness but understand that I am “wired into” the All in ways I can not begin to understand intellectually.
What I do understand though is that my physical self is an important part of this phenomenon. The body serves as an interface to the matrix of energy that I see. In some ways, one might describe it as an antenna through which I perceive the various forces around me – whether they be forces that pertain to my physical senses or forces that touch me on other levels. If I were not in a body, my perception would be wholly different and my experiences would be those of a spirit and not those of a human being.
Most spiritual systems will agree that we, as humans, are here to learn and grow, to become better people. Some might even go so far as to argue that humans are on this planet to evolve spiritually through the various experiences that physical life has to offer us. What is clear to me through my experiences with this matrix of energy is that we need our bodies in order to have the fullness of experience necessary to spiritual growth and evolution. If we take care of those bodies with disciplines such as exercise, good nutrition and meditation, the physical is better able to perceive the more subtle dimensions.
Lest my readers think I am trying to develop a second career as a spiritual counselor, let me relate this to the realm of the paranormal. How many times have you heard a paranormal investigator say something along the lines of “dang, I wish I could see what these people are seeing!” Then that individual goes off to the local fast food eatery, has a greasy burger and follows it with a cigarette and a little too much of the local beer. If we accept, even for the sake of experimentation, this idea that the body is a sort of antenna to subtle energies, what “frequency” do you suppose this individual is tuning their body to? I would be inclined to think that the tuning might be a little more physical and a little less subtle.
I would submit that this investigator might have a little trouble picking up energies outside the realm of the workaday senses unless they happened to be really gifted in that area. Ask an experienced medium or magician what happens when they overindulge and most will tell you that their work suffers or that, at least, they have to compensate for that overindulgence. While I have known people who could pick up subtle energies and converse with spirits over a glass of whiskey and a cigarette, those folks are the exception rather than the rule in my experience. We ordinary mortals are much more likely to be able to perceive the inner realms if we take some care with our bodies and view them not as an encumbrance but as a vital part of our soul complex.
There is a reason why magicians, preparing for a major working, will sometimes spend considerable time in preparation, including periods of light fasting, prayer and meditation. The idea is to harmonize the physical with the other parts of the soul complex and to bring the full person to bear in the work to come. While we all have habits that are not the most healthy, the wise magician and, in my mind, paranormal investigator, knows that taking some measure of care for their body will only increase the chances of their success.