Our sixth chakra, at the midpoint just above our brow line, is the energy center most associated with the classically ‘mystic’ of meditation experiences – feelings of flying, of dissolving into light, or of resting in a timeless and infinite silent stillness. And indeed, this is what has earned this chakra the name the ‘third eye’ – it functions like a portal into dimensions and states of awareness we might never see through our physical eyes. Our third eye offers us subtle sight, a way to see under the surface of the world’s physicality, into the energetic and spiritual realms that exist right alongside, and within, our everyday existence.
Because of this, our third eye is associated with our intuition, ‘sixth sense’, and metaphysical knowledge. But it has another very important function, linking it to our ability to develop wisdom within our more mundane daily lives – it is the control or processing center for all of our lower chakras. Our third eye functions as the organizer and interpreter of the energetic ‘data’ we pick up through our other chakras. It helps us to organize this data into true insight, much as our brain processes and organizes all of our sensory experience. In fact, our third eye is where our brain, ‘mind’, and subtle body merge together, helping us to make sense of the totality of our human experience.
Here are some examples of what we might experience when our third eye isn’t as open as it could be:
Difficulty Breaking Old Patterns: The back of the third eye is connected to our ability to think about our past – to remember it accurately, or at least that which is relevant to our current lives. The front of our third eye is connected to our ability to project into the future, to imagine or dream what we desire, and ideally to co-create a future that fulfills us. The center point, or heart, of our third eye serves as the crucial connection between these two, between our past and our future, the foundation for wisdom. Wisdom is derived from our ability to learn from the past in such a way that we can change our future, and not simply repeat past mistakes in a new form. When we open both the back and front of our third eye, we help strengthen this connection between facing our past and forging a new future.
Disconnect from Intuition: We each have our own unique form of intuition – some of us feel things in our bodies, others see visions or symbols, some hear messages, and others simply find themselves ‘knowing’. Each of these forms of intuition are linked to the kinds of energies we best pick up through an associated chakra. However, none of this ‘chakra data’ can be converted into truly useful intuitive insights without an open third eye. Through our third eye, we process our energetic or subtle experiences and come to understand what they might mean. When we begin to open our third eye in this way, we discover we have many other senses open to us beyond the five physical ones.
Lack of ‘Big Picture’ Vision or Imagination: Another sign of a blocked or undeveloped third eye is encapsulated in the phrase ‘can’t see the forest for the trees.’ This manifests as a fixation on details, and/or an attachment to routines and the way things have ‘always been done.’ This fixation makes it difficult to creatively problem solve by thinking outside the box or imagining a new approach. It also makes it difficult to dream big. When the front of our third eye opens, we are able to step back and see the big picture, project forward, and imagine new possibilities.
Difficulty Moving Into the Crown Chakra: We will talk more about the crown chakra in next month’s article, but it is worth noting now that the third eye serves as a gateway into our crown, and into all of its’ functions – faith, spiritual connection, and oneness or ‘union.’ When our third eye is blocked, the crown usually is too, or at the very least there is a sense of disconnection between spiritual and everyday experience. Just as the third eye helps us convert energetic data into intuition, and life experience into wisdom, so it also helps us to connect our spiritual and mundane knowledge.
In energy medicine, our third eye is associated with our physical eyes, sinuses, and the frontal lobe of the brain. It is also associated with our pituitary gland, which interestingly enough, serves as a kind of ‘control center’ for our entire glandular system, much in the same way that our third eye serves as the control center for our other chakras.
Like every chakra, our third eye can be blocked or hyperactive, and so its’ associated functions can be too. In the case of the third eye, a block can manifest in any of the ways mentioned above. The opposite issue – an overactive, unprotected, or ungrounded third eye – can leave us lost in our imagination or dream world, to the point where it becomes escapist. Our chakras all work together, and the balance between them is as important as healing and opening any given one. In the case of the third eye and crown chakras especially, it is important that we work from a grounded place – rooted in our lower chakras. We don’t want to become ‘top heavy’ – centered so much in our upper chakras that we are disconnected from our physical and emotional bodies- or ‘bottom heavy’ – where we are ‘stuck’ in our lower chakras and can’t access the perspective and imagination of our upper energy centers. Working holistically with our entire subtle body system is key.
The following third eye meditation thus begins with a solid grounding technique before gently helping you shift up into your third eye. It then moves through different visualizations for helping you to connect with each of the aspects of the third eye – spaciousness and expansiveness, opening up the ‘back’ (perspective on the past), opening up the front (projection, dreaming, and imagination), followed by gentle dissolution into stillness and then light itself – the ultimate ‘knowing’ of our third eye ‘sight.’ You may do this entire meditation with eyes closed, or if you like, position yourself somewhere where you can see a bit of sky for the first part of the meditation, and do this part with open eyes.
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