In 1969, Cleve Backster wrote an article called, “Do Plants Have Emotions?”
Backster was a polygraph expert interested in the interaction between humans and plants. He sought to answer the question: do our thoughts and ideas affect the material forms around us?
Backster’s findings were conclusive. The human mind has very definite and very astonishing effects upon the lives of plants.
In his experiment, Backster tried holding a thought in his mind while releasing his breath in different ways, measuring the effects upon philodendrons with a polygraph. He discovered that when he held a particular thought in his mind and powerfully pulsed his breath through his nostrils, the plant responded dramatically to the thought he emitted. In fact, the plants reacted more strongly to the thought of being cut, burned, or torn than they did to being cut, burned, or torn!
Backster also found that if he tore a leaf from one plant, a second plant would respond— but only if he was paying attention to it. The plants seemed to mirror his own mental responses.
These effects did not vary with any distance. The plant responded whether Backster was 3 inches, three feet, or three thousand miles away! Backster concluded that the plants were acting like batteries, storing the energy of his thoughts and intentions.
He said of these experiments: “I learned that there is energy connected with thought. Thought can be pulsed with breath, and the energy connected with it becomes coherent and has a laser-like power.”
In these modern experiments, Backster was only catching up on ancient wisdom that shamans, yogis, monks, magicians, and crystal workers have known for thousands of years. His findings coincide with esoteric knowledge about the energy that underlies all things.
This energy is known as prana.
All that you see upon the physical plane is a manifestation of one, single force. There are many names for this energy. In the Western Mystery Tradition, it is known as Astral Light or Limitless Light. Reiki healers call it “ch’i.” Some channels have called it intelligent energy, etheric energy, or love/light.
In the yogic tradition, it is called “prana,”— which means “divine breath.”
Whatever differences there may be in terminology, civilizations across the millennia have agreed upon a few qualities of this primordial force:
- It is light, often identified with the sun
- It is conscious. It is aware. It is thought.
- It is alive, and indeed the pure essence of life itself
- It is infinite, all-present, and everywhere
- It is love
- It moves upon the breath
- It heals all ailments and brings everything into balance
Everything is made of this energy, including you. Just as your physical body is sustained by physical food, your energetic body is metabolizing prana on its own plane of being to get the nourishment that it needs.
This energy intake happens through the seven energy centers known as the chakras. Chakras are constantly respirating prana, taking this vital life force into the energy field. Out of this energy, the aura is built up around the body. This energetic layer of the “light body” lies just beneath the physical.
Prana moves on the breath. As you inhale, you draw in oxygen necessary for the energy of life in the cells of your physical body. But in that breath, you are also drawing in prana— the energy that builds the aura, and it is this prana which is the true animating source of life of any being.
It is commonly assumed that the aura is a projection of the body, and therefore dependent upon it for existence. But in fact the reverse is true: the body is dependent upon and animated by the aura. The aura is prana.
A World of Your Own Making
Because this energy is conscious, we can affect it through our thoughts. Through the power of your focus, you can (and do!) sculpt prana into different shapes. In fact, everything in your life results from how you have been carving this energy with your thoughts.
Your mate, job, house, friends, possessions— you created all of these by “freezing” the light into a particular crystallized shape through the power of thought. You are thus a light-worker in a literal sense!
As you breathe in, you take in a vital charge, and as you think thoughts, you shape this energy into patterns in the aura. Clairvoyant people can see the colored thought-forms that an individual has built up in the aura. Negative thought-forms are darkly-colored, heavy, and bulbous. Positive thought-forms are radiant sheaths, like stained-glass windows. These patterns are made through the marriage of breath and focus. As the adage goes, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”!
This is why monks and sages have historically built their monasteries and temples in the highest mountain regions. It was believed that when one breathes cleaner air, one actually thinks purer thoughts and thus creates a more radiant aura.
All Is One
By “pranayama”, or “breath-work”, yogis meant the knowledge and control of this vital energy. Through the careful control of the intake and output of breath, the yogi gains an impressive amount of control over the body— even autonomic processes like the heartbeat or digestion.
But more importantly, the yogi attains control over the auric field.
Your aura, being made of prana, it is not separate from everything around you. Prana is an ocean of energy diffused throughout space, connecting all things, and so your aura is interwoven with the everything-ness of the world around you, like light blending into more light.
Therefore, as you practice certain kinds of thought, and you build an energetic atmosphere around yourself, you affect not only your physical body, but everything around you— as Backster found, near and far alike!. Prana is the bridge between the spiritual and the material, or mind and matter.
As the ancient yogis said: “Suppose, for instance, one understood prana perfectly and could control it: what power on earth would there be that would not be his? This is the end of pranayama. When the yogi becomes perfect, there will be nothing in nature not under his control. All the forces of nature will obey him as his slaves, and when the ignorant see the powers of the Yogi they call them miracles.”
Consider incorporating breathwork into your daily practice, for through mindful breathing, we gain control not only over our own bodies, and not only the bodies of other people— we actually gain entrance to the “aura” or etheric web of the entire Universe!