The nature our self image, as we have known it, exists as a substitute for a complete, content physical self outside of the the mind; the physical body (the physical self includes the brain). Until we may find this balance in wholeness we are forced to fight to uphold a constantly fragmenting self image in the face of poor health. This is why the mind is such a seemingly unstoppable force. It will never stop its relentless processing until we have reached that ideal future of physical wholeness.
The problem is, we are not even aware this is the nature of what is happening. So we just keep struggling for substitutes for life thinking they are life. This ultimately burns us out, leaving the rest of our lives as a steady decline into poor health. There is ultimately nothing wrong with most things we pursue and enjoy. What is so hard to explain is that the pursuit of these things is not our ultimate purpose. Our ultimate goal is to strengthen life itself so that these things we enjoy make a long life worth living. When the fire within us begins to go out the things we pursue become torture because we keep fighting for life in the wrong places while the fire continues to extinguish. Beings who feel great contentment contribute to creating world where all can prosper exponentially. Technology is meaningless if it is not used to help us transcend the great limitations the imbalanced human body poses. When this happens a feedback loop may begin where advanced humans begin to create more advanced technology and infrastructure thus propelling themselves further into advancement of physical balance.
The constant struggle to maintain the mental self image is often referred to as ego inflation. The tragic irony of this is deeper than one can imagine. The healthier more balanced version of ourselves that this substitute is in place for is physically inflated to a balance where it may begin to respire within a narrow region between contraction and expansion. There is as yet no scientific theory in place to help us understand how space is a fundamental component of the balance of our physical bodies. So all I can do is talk about it from my own experience, the experience of a few others and try to combine it with scientific observations we have made about the physical universe.
The dense ball of energy that inflated into the universe we see today is accelerating in its expansion. Relativity is one of the hardest concepts to wrap your head around but it is a fundamental component of the structure of reality. So to us something as vast as the universe just appears to be flying apart. But this could be just one breath as far as the living organism which is our universe is concerned. There are many other examples of this type of respiration in the universe but for now I will stop with this example.
Okay, maybe one more example. Stars strike a balance between implosion and explosion with the release of light which counters the inward push of gravity. Every dynamic form we see in the universe is working towards some higher balance in existence, or dye trying.
We are obviously consumers which require increasingly greater volumes of energy. If humans can be supported with enough energy and love, in the form of focused physical emotional guidance and care they may be able to overcome physical energy barriers which would allow them to begin pushing back against the forces bringing them down just as the stars do when they become enlightened.
When these supports are in place the body may become open to the process of physical expansion/enlightenment under a carefully managed treatment involving the control of environment ie. Hot, cold, humidity, etc. With the right medical guidance a process may become more advanced to allow greater numbers of people to undergo the process with less difficulty. Since we are all connected, the progress of this process alone will begin to elevate the difficulty of the process, which will lead to an accelerated feedback loop of conscious expansion.
One of the most important contributors of the energy our bodies require to allow the transformation is heat. Repetitive controlled exposure of the body to uniform temperature extremes allows the body to begin re-calibrating to a healthier, more youthful state. As important as this process is however, it is still only one support pillar of a complex foundation. One way to imagine what may be happening with this process is to imagine a piece of metal which expands and contracts in different temperatures. If the process is done just right the mind will slowly become freed from its entanglement within the brain and begin to become more evenly distributed throughout the body.
Now I will take a very bold leap in logic. If the above process begins to become successful, the expansion and contraction of the magnetic field of every atom of the body will begin to overlap one another an become equanimously entangled. With focused graceful guidance the mind and brain can be trained to link regular respiration to the respiration of the magnetic fields of the atoms within the body. Eventually, the magnetic fields contract and expand with every breath holding one at equilibrium. One may think like they used to without reacting to thoughts and becoming lost in them. But there is infinitely more to it than that. No description can ever substitute for the reality this transformation manifests.
This may be part of the mechanism which allows one to breath energy from the quantum energy field of the universe. As one breaths in this new way, the body may guide the matter/antimatter within the new dynamic magnetic field structure. What is so important about the new structure is that it can respire selectively. Meaning it is important exactly where and when matter or anti-mater need to be absorbed. Remember, the particles produced by the quantum energy field are called virtual particles because matter and antimatter quickly annihilate. What you are doing is stepping between them and grabbing one or the other before they can annihilate so that you can use the energy.
I know you may be feeling a headache coming on, so let me just admit that this description is by no means accurate. It is likely very faulty. What is important is that whatever really is happening within the reality of what I am attempting to describe is just as profoundly alien. Then again if I was just describing the mechanics of what is normally going on it too is alien compared to the way we perceive reality. If we ever pin it down I am certain it will be just as astonishing if not more. So the moral of the story is that as you continue in the world hopefully you can begin diverting some of your energy toward imagining there is much more potential to the human form and thus our reality than the majority would have us believe. I am trying to set a new precedent by describing actual physical mechanisms for the potential of enlightenment.. Then we may begin to combine the teaching of spiritual teachers with science so that it may begin finally bridging from the spiritual arena into the arena of reality. We have to help one another using every resource available. Since the 2500 years after the death of the Buddha, everything we have created has been leading to the realization of his goal; to free humanity from the bondage of suffering.