As we have been describing, what Steiner would call the “etheric body” is simply a part of your consciousness that resides within the physical plane and, being a part of you, is connected to your higher self as well. The latter is better understood as being another level of your mind, even though it resides within the divine realm, and thus is a closer intermediary between you in the physical, and your soul proper that resides up within the light. It is perplexing, to be sure, for people to think of themselves as being on a kind of tether leading up to heaven; it does not seem possible for that to be the case without getting the wires tangled somehow or perhaps reaching the end of your tether and being held back somehow, and so on—that is a metaphor only.
When you think of the fact consciousness we are speaking of is, in effect, in a different dimension, having a higher vibrational existence, and forms of it being “nonlocal,” meaning, “it can extend anywhere and everywhere at once,” this is a rather profound reality, difficult to grasp, but very meaningful to put in perspective some of the more prosaic descriptions like an “etheric body” representing your consciousness when it is not of the body to begin with and can extend throughout the universe, in fact, and does on the part of the deep subconscious portion of your mind. So consciousness can take many forms and has many potentials. What gets expressed is a function of the intention and that, in turn, derives from the purpose of its origin and existence in the first place, and what it is intended to be a part of, whether a person or a sunflower, for example.