The Body (Article)
The physical self, or body, acts as an anchor, or starting point for all psi paths. Paths begin with the body, because people are most comfortable dealing in rational, physical aspects and situations. All personal growth and ability related portions of psi rely on the body as the seat of personally motivated energy. Since psi stems from the conscious will of an individual it can be shown that the body is key in orchestrating healthful, forward motion in life and in developing and using any psi abilities. Within psi there is focus on only two primary body systems, but these two systems are impacted on, and react with all other systems and portions of the body. The two systems psi is most concerned with are the neurological and circulatory systems.
A body's circulatory system is responsible for transporting vital nutrients to body cells to keep them alive while at the same time removing toxins from the system that might otherwise build up and eventually lead to whole-body death. The circulatory system is also a major player in the body's chemical distribution and in the immune/repair systems (through its transportation duties).
Chemical messages are a major part of keeping the body functioning correctly. Everything from estrogen to adrenalin is carried in the bloodstream to be distributed to various parts of the body. Under normal conditions the distribution of body-produced chemicals is left to the function of the unconscious section of the brain. This means that a person doesn't have to actively think about the task of directing chemicals around the body for it to happen. Through research science has shown that different physical and mental stimuli are the catalyst that start the release of chemicals into the bloodstream that in turn cause specific reactions within the body. This can mean that things like mind-numbing fear and infatuation stem from the release of certain chemicals into the bloodstream for distribution. Extremes in chemical release do not allow a person to rationally work through situations. In a psi path something that is often overly stressed is the need for balance. Balance is a broad topic that is continually touched on throughout psi as it associates in different topics. Specifically with regards to the chemical aspects of the circulatory system it is necessary to keep the chemical levels in equilibrium (a state of equal balance). In a state of chemical equilibrium the body is more able to deal with situations simply because there is never excess chemicals in the bloodstream that must be overcome when attempting to deal with new situations. Also, since there are no other surplus chemicals in the bloodstream during balance when a functional body chemical is introduced into the system the body is able to make full use of the added advantage of having helpful chemicals present. In negative aspect situations where chemicals are released into the system that may cloud judgement a person already in balance is able to immediately identify the situation and regain balance. With this short insight into the use of the circulatory system it can be extrapolated that gaining conscious balance is strived for in a psi path.
Conscious and unconscious bodily function control is a main role of the neurological system. Unconscious reactions are handled by the central nervous system [CNS], with the brain making up the bulk of the decision process. Only during situations where extremely quick reactions are needed is the brain ever superceded in the decision making process by the lower CNS, the spinal column. As an example; if a person were to step on a sharp object the signal would transfer up the nerves of the body, hit the spinal cord which then transfers a message back to the foot to lift off the sharp object, while at the same time continuing the message to the brain so the person would be consciously aware of what was going on. In this example the lower CNS reacted to lift the foot to save the extra time relaying to the brain and back would have taken. Messages across the nerves are sent as impulses. Impulses in the brain and nerves are sent via electrical impulses and chemical messengers. When a signal must be sent electrical impulses are sent down the nerves and transferred at the ends via chemicals that initiate a firing in the next nerve in the series.
Impulses along nerves begin in three main ways. The first cause of a nerve firing is outside stimulus. Any outside stimulus to the body causes impulses along the nervous system to ensure the body is consciously and unconsciously aware of what is going on around it. The second is unconscious and conscious firing of nerves to accomplish necessary tasks and to react to situations appropriately. This is the basic way the body is continually managed. The contraction of muscles for moving, breathing, swallowing and digestion fall into this second category of nerve firing. The brain constantly co-ordinates nerve pulses to ensure the smooth operation of the body. Finally, the third cause of a firing nerve is internal imbalance. If the chemicals that initiate a nerve firing are out of equilibrium they can accidentally make a nerve fire and cause muscle contractions, etc. For this final reason it is extremely important to keep the body in balance consciously, so no excesses of body function chemicals are present.
Balance of different body systems allows a person better control over themselves and enables them quicker, more efficient reactions to situations. To obtain balance in the body one must understand the basics of life and how their body operates as far as psi is concerned (in general terms).
The physical human body (though the physical form of almost any species may be substituted) is used as the base for calling someone alive. Though there is, and will be into the foreseeable future, dispute over how much of a body and at which stage a body is alive there is no doubt that physical body-shape contains the spark of life. The body is alive when it has the ability to sustain its whole self on its own without outside assistance. As controversial as it may seem whenever the whole body requires assistance to continue living the whole body is no longer alive. This definition by no means states that specific pieces that make up the whole body are not alive, just that the whole body as a system is not alive. Since the whole body includes all of the body's organs, tissues, bones and bodily functions the discontinuation of any one separate system can kill the body. Happily, the body is able to somewhat regenerate itself and many times, with outside assistance, can be brought back to life. Think of the body as only a fantastic machine that holds the spark of life and contains all the functions that are needed for sentience. Sentience is much more important than being alive.
Even if the body is alive without sentience medical science and the general populous agree that a non-sentient body is dead. The whole body is alive, the systems work fine, but there is no sentience to make use of the body. Marrying the concept of sentience with the body being alive complicates matters immensely. To be sentient a body must be aware of and react to its surroundings using its available senses. So, to actually be alive a body must be able to survive on its own and be aware of its environment. But that is not it. To be human is to have conscious thought.
Conscious thoughts are those decisions made everyday using the body's systems that allow interaction with the environment in a planned and learned manner. Conscious thoughts create what is to be said in a conversation, react appropriately when driving a vehicle, and learn not to put a hand on a hot stove. This takes the body being alive to a new level. Still, the definition of being alive is not finished. Along with conscious thoughts the body uses unconscious and subconscious thoughts as well. Unconscious thoughts are those that are attached to movements and the body's workings that humans are not acutely aware of. The unconscious actions may be the heart beating, breathing, or digestion to name only three. The third generalized type of human thought is the subconscious thought. The subconscious is a means of bringing normally unconscious thoughts into the conscious realm of dealing with them. The subconscious allows conscious control over breathing, heart rhythm, and many other aspects of the body. In general, three different types of thought must be added to the definition of being alive in order to create a human.
A body is alive if:
It is able to sustain itself
It has sentience
It includes the three levels of thought
With the definition of a living body created there must be an understanding of how the body actually functions in order to continue on into its use in psi. The body functions together as a whole through the very careful management of energy (in the form of electrical impulses) and chemical compounds. In most instances the chemical compounds are secondary to the flow of energy in performing tasks. Messages, in the body, are passed via the nervous system to all portions of the body. Messages along the nervous system are in the form of electrical energy. Electrical energy causes thoughts, muscle contractions, and reactions in the human body. The body is alive because of energy. Without energy, either in electrical, or chemical form, the body is unable to support life and will die. This is very important when dealing with psi, and psychism in particular, because psychism deals with and uses only that energy held within the confines of the body.
The body uses, produces, and gets rid of energy all the time. From the moment a body becomes alive to the moment the body dies it is doing something that has to do with energy. While it is obvious that the body also deals with a lot of material aspects psi is more concerned with the energy portions of the body and so the material workings of the human body will be left to biological studies. Biological studies, however, do not often give insight into what classifications of energy are within the body and what they are used for. Often the first type of energy categorized is the energy created by the cells of the body through the digestion of food. This energy fuels the body's ability to physically function. The body to feed, run and grow the immune system, the cardiac system, the brain, and every physical bodily aspect uses this life energy. Life energy is scientifically proven to exist, but science has also proven through experimentation that other energies must exist within the body, or be created by the body.
For ease of conceptualizing energy, any energy created by, or used within the confines of the body, and that energy that belongs specifically to a certain body [See Energy] will be referred to as Internal Energy, or simply IE. The energy that the body creates through and for life processes is sometimes referred to as Life Energy, but is more readily known in a psi path as Aural Energy. Aural Energy is commonly seen in the psi path as the energy that causes the aura, or the aura effect [See Auras]. An aura is energy radiated from the body as excess energy. This Aural Energy is the energy that psychism abilities tap into in order to create outcomes. The body specifically creates all of the energy that goes into psychic abilities and that are used along a psychism path. Under situations where the excess body produced energy is not used up the energy is simply released as a waste energy into the environment. Psi (specifically magick) taps into this waste energy, and the energy external to any individuals and utilizes it for specific goals.