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The Third Eye Chakra
(Part 7 of a 9 Part Chakra Series for Beginners)
Energy Centers Can Be a Path of Evolution
Greetings dear reader. This is the seventh of nine posts written as a part of a Chakra series for beginners. If you have not read the previous posts you may want to refer to the last post on the throat chakra for a glossary of terms at the end of the article. You can find it here. As we have learned, the chakras are much more complex than they appear on the surface. Though they are individuated, they are very much an intricate system of interdependent energy centers which all interact with each other.
They are affected by literally everything from our internal dialogue, to our lifestyle habits, our environment and our relationship to breath and body. They are centers where our subtle body channels (called nadis) converge with nerve plexuses along the spine. In these subtle body channels reside a library of all our stories past and present, our unhealed wounds and traumas, our gifts and challenges, our strengths and weaknesses - and even the stories of our ancestors. It is precisely for this reason that taking up a study and practice of working with the chakras can be in and of itself a path of growth, healing, rebirth and evolution.
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The Third Eye Yantra
In the image above you see the an Om symbol inside of a downward pointing triangle. A circle encompasses the triangle and Om symbol, and is surrounded by a two petaled lotus. The two petals represent the ida (feminine - Shakti) and pingala ( masculine - Shiva) channels that run along either side of the spine and central channel (the sushumna) intersecting at various junctures.
“The Ida and Pingala represent the basic duality in the existence. It is this duality which we traditionally personify as Shiva and Shakti. Or you can simply call it masculine and feminine, or it can be the logical and the intuitive aspect of you. It is based on this that life is created. Without these two dualities, life wouldn’t exist as it does right now. In the beginning, everything is primordial, there is no duality. But once creation happens, there is duality.”
- Sadhguru (Source)
“The circle is a universal representation of infinity, and the infinite and cyclical nature of energy. And the circle is the geometric element all of the chakra symbols have in common. Representative of connection and unity – with ourselves, others, and a greater good or higher power – each chakra symbol incorporates the circle as a reminder of our connection to the divine.” (Source)
The downward pointing triangle represents enlightenment (within this yantra). As we have seen the downward facing triangle symbolizes something different in the context of each individual chakra. If triangles in general fascinate you, you may be surprised as to how much symbolism they have in various contexts, from alchemy to cultures worldwide. Here is a link.
The Om symbol is the bidja or seed syllable of the sixth chakra. Om is a sonic representation of the divine in Hindu tradition. It is a symbolic representation of supreme absolute consciousness. Om “…is believed to be the basic sound of the world and contains all other sounds. It is considered the supreme sound of the universe.” (Source)
Introduction to the Third Eye Chakra
The third eye chakra is located at the upper end of the spinal column, at the point of transition from the spine to the brain in the medulla oblongata. It is considered to be between the eyebrows and is hence called the third eye chakra.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Ajna chakra is known as the Seat of The Master. The word ajna means command, knowledge or wisdom. “It is important to understand what an initiate, a Master (a Guru) is. Guru Tattva is the Divine Principle of the evolution of consciousness. Therefore, the Guru represents the universal, divine principle that leads us from darkness to light – which means from ignorance to knowledge, from death to immortality. All holy incarnations have been “Gurus”. Jesus was the Master of his disciples, Krishna was the Master of Arjuna, and he himself had a Guru, Rishi Sandīpa. When disciple and Master unite, when the “Guru Principle” has been awakened in the consciousness of the disciple and the disciple begins to guide himself, the disciple then becomes his own master. The Guru Principle is recognisable within a person as clarity, wisdom (Gyānā) and the ability to discriminate between truth and untruth, reality and unreality (Viveka).” (Source)
“When we enter a dark room for the first time we grope around on the wall with our hand to find the light switch. But when we already know where the switch is it is no longer necessary to search. One flick, the light goes on and we see everything clearly. And in the same way, as soon as the eye of wisdom in the Āgyā Chakra opens , we recognise the essence of truth. The gifts of clairvoyance, intuition and telepathy lie in the Āgyā Chakra. When we strengthen the power of concentration and learn to perceive all the energy assembled in the Āgyā Chakra, our mind can receive or transmit knowledge through time and space. The function of the Āgyā Chakra is comparable to a searchlight, which can, through the concentration of light, make things visible at a distance. Those whose Āgyā Chakra is opened are at home in all three worlds – past, present and future.” (Source)
In previous segments of this series I have discussed the vayus. The vayus are subdivisions of prana that flow within each chakra. Prana vayu is the vayu or type of prana that resides in the head. It governs the reception of everything from air to food, from senses to thoughts. Being aware of the prana vayu can help an individual obtain optimum benefits from yogic practices.
“Vayu is a Sanskrit word meaning "wind" and prana vayu means “forward-moving air.” In the Hindu tradition, the five elements - fire, earth, water, air (wind) and ether - are represented as vayus. The prana vayu is connected with the element of air and is the energy of the third/spiritual eye.” (Source)
“The prana vayu and apana vayu work together by moving in opposite ways – the prana vayu receives while the apana vayu eliminates – and are considered the two most important of the five vayus. The prana vayu is the energy governing the acceptance of substances and information (such as thoughts or senses), as well as operating the brain, sense organs, heart, lungs and throat areas. Balancing the vayus through practicing yoga and meditation not only promotes physical strength, but also helps the yogi move closer to their spiritual aspirations.” (Source)
The Bliss Body
You may remember from earlier in the series, we discussed the five koshas (meaning sheaths). The kosha associated with ajna chakra (the third eye chakra) is called “Anandamaya kosha (the bliss sheath) - otherwise known as the bliss body, this kosha is the closest to atman (the universal or self-existent self). It transcends the logical, thinking mind, providing an experience of unity with universal consciousness. Daily meditation can help to connect practitioners with anandamaya kosha.” To dive deeper into this kosha you can go here.
A BRIEF REVIEW
When writing about each chakra, I have included information on the corresponding kosha. The first two chakras correspond to the food sheath ( known as annamaya kosha) and hence to the physical body. This kosha gives us stability. The third chakra corresponds to the energy sheath (or body) and is called pranamaya kosha. This kosha provides us with vitality. The fourth ( or heart) chakra corresponds to the mental sheath. It is called manomaya kosha which offers us clarity. The next sheath corresponds to the throat chakra. It is called vijnanamaya kosha. It is the intellectual shealth and provides us with wisdom. The kosha of the sixth and seventh chakras is the anandamaya kosha or bliss sheath, which provides us with bliss. Links to working with the five koshas are offered in the Resources and Tool Kit section below.
What Are The Three Knots?
Ajna chakra is the home of the last of three knots found within the astral body. “The three granthis (or knots) – Brahma Granthi, Vishnu Granthi, and Rudra Granthi – are three psychic knots situated in the astral body. They block the chakras and obstruct the flow of Kundalini energy. A simpler way to understand granthis is to think of each knot as a silo of our complexes, unconscious fears, and mental/emotional/physical conditioning. They create impulses upon which we act, box us in our identity, and bind us to our limitations.” (Source)
The first knot (the knot of Brahma) is located in the first two chakras. The second knot (the knot of Vishnu) is located between the solar plexus and the heart. The third knot is located in the third eye chakra and is called the Rudra knot. There are yogic practices including pranayama which assist in untying these knots in order to free the flow of kundalini.
The Knot of Brahma knot keeps us engaged with basic needs such as food, shelter, procreation and sensual pleasures, and other material self-interests. At this level of consciousness, an individual functions under the influence of ignorance, anxiety, and apathy. The second knot (Vishnu Granthi) keeps a person tied to self-cherishing his/her accumulations in a never-ending quest for power. The third knot, or Rudra Granthi inhibits Kundalini from entering the highest self by binding it to mental attachments. (Source)
A link for further exploration is offered in the Resources & Toolkit section below. The article is brief (one page) and concise.
Each chakra has a connection to an endocrine gland. In this case, it is the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is also known as the master gland. “The pituitary provides oversight for many of the glands of the endocrine system, including the adrenals, thyroid, ovaries, and testes. Just as the third eye allows us to see the entire picture, the pituitary gland provides oversight for the endocrine system. It produces stimulating hormones that trigger distant glands in the body to perform their jobs, and its responsibilities change during different phases of life.” (Source)
The primary function of the pituitary is to maintain homeostasis (physiological balance) in the body. The pituitary is connected to the hypothalamus via what is called a stalk. Oxytocin is mainly produced in the hypothalamus but is released into the blood via the pituitary. From there it is directed into your spinal cord and other parts of the brain depending on its purpose.
Oxytocin plays an undeniably important role in establishing and maintaining relationships.
“When we open the third eye, we become aware of the big picture. This ability to see EVERYTHING shifts our perspective, so we can see our own blind spots and understand ourselves in the context of the collective. But in order to use the third eye to see through time and space, we first have to use it to see ourselves!” (Source)
“Oxytocin has the power to regulate our emotional responses and prosocial behaviors, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, processing of bonding cues, and positive communication. It is released during social contact. Most current neuroscientific studies of oxytocin indicate that oxytocin doesn't just always make people happier or more prosocial or willing to bond. Rather, oxytocin seems to act like a volume dial, turning up and amplifying brain activity related to whatever someone is already experiencing.” (Source)
Oxytocin is fascinating and when I write a series on the endocrine system and hormones/neurotransmitters, I will take us for a deeper dive.
Underactive, Overactive or Balanced?
Note: This entire section comes from a source which is shared below.
The third eye chakra is the energy center in our body responsible for reality, perception, manifesting, thought, and intuition.
According to yogic philosophy, the third eye is connected to duality which is a type of perception that opposes reality and is created solely by the mind. Once the third eye chakra is in harmony with the rest of the chakras, it is said that a doorway towards spiritual enlightenment is opened.
When our third eye chakra is clean and balanced, we see life with clarity and possess strong intuition, insight, self-awareness, and emotional balance.
On the other hand, when our third eye chakra is blocked or imbalanced, we tend to struggle with problems such as closed-mindedness, cynicism, anxiety, depression, paranoia, and various other mental illnesses and mood disorders.
If you think you might have a blocked third eye chakra, think back to your childhood. Were you raised in a closed-minded family? Was freethinking encouraged in your childhood, or were you conditioned to “obey without questioning”? Was your early life environment emotionally stable? Did you parents or caretakers value your insights and perspectives? If not, you probably struggle with third eye chakra issues as a result of your childhood conditioning.
The third eye chakra is the energy center within our bodies that is responsible for intuition, imagination, thought, and self-awareness. Located in the middle of the forehead just above the eyes, the third eye chakra is associated with the color indigo and the pineal gland within the brain. This chakra helps to regulate the energy associated with insight and wisdom.
What is Third Eye Chakra Healing?
Third eye chakra healing is the practice of cleansing, opening, and balancing the third eye chakra within our bodies. Third eye chakra healing employs a wide range of holistic healing remedies to bring alignment to the body, mind, and spirit. These remedies include practices such as meditation, mindfulness, color therapy, sound healing, yoga, self-inquiry, aromatherapy, and many others.
24 Signs of an Unhealthy Third Eye Chakra
The best way to tell whether you need to undergo third eye chakra healing is to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and physical sensations within your body.
Here are some signs to look out for:
You rarely feel creative or inspired by anything
You ignore listening to your intuition
You are overly logical or overly emotional
You become absorbed by the details but struggle to see the “bigger picture”
You’re often lost in your thoughts
You habitually escape into daydreaming to avoid reality
You are egotistically attached to special “powers” (ability to see visions, clairsentience, etc.)
You are emotionally reactive and get upset easily
You’re addicted to external things which you believe will make you happy (relationships, food, sex, money, status, shopping, etc.)
You struggle to see reality clearly (see mental distortions)
You can’t seem to connect to your deeper self or Soul
Your interactions with other people are very trivial or superficial
You mistrust or dislike people easily
You have rigid opinions about the world that you aren’t willing to change
You are stubborn
You find it hard to be open-minded
You might be perceived as arrogant and opinionated, OR …
You might be perceived as being dreamy and ungrounded
You suffer from frequent headaches or migraines
You have a dense and heavy ego
You’re strongly attached to outcomes
You lack focus and decisiveness
You suffer from vision problems and sinus issues
You suffer from delusions/mental illness
While a deficient third eye chakra is passive or energetically “numb,” an excessive third eye chakra is energetically aggressive or manic.
Here’s a breakdown of the difference between the two:
Deficient = lifeless, sluggish, passive, blocked, inwards (not enough energy flows in).
Excessive = lively, agitated, reactive, aggressive, outwards (too much energy flows in).
Therefore, if you have a deficient third eye chakra, you will be more prone to issues such as dreaminess, ungroundedness, and mental confusion. On the other hand, if you have an excessive third eye chakra you will be prone to narrow-mindedness, cynicism, and arrogance.
The question is, what type of imbalance do you have? It’s also possible to fall somewhere in the middle. (Source)
Working With the Breath
THE BEE BREATH (you’ll be buzzing)
In past posts I have discussed using various techniques to bring balance to the chakras. Here is a technique for balancing the third eye chakra. “A great Pranayama breathing technique is called Brahmari or the bee breath. Bring both hands to your face. Place the two middle fingers over your eyes. Allow the index fingers to rest on the eyebrow line and the pinky fingers under the cheekbones. Close your ears with your thumbs. Take a deep inhalation and exhale the word AUM with the emphasis on the “M” sound while creating a buzzing sound like a bee. Do this for two minutes or more. You can alleviate tension in the head and this healing practice will work to open the sixth chakra.” (Source)
The third eye chakra called Ajna chakra in Sanskrit, is connected to our wisdom, vision and clarity. It is responsible for intuition, imagination, thought, and self-awareness. It is the meeting point of the ida and pingala channels or nadis which traverse the entire length of the spine. These nadis are the channels through which kundalini flows. Ajna chakra is connected to the element of air and the forward moving prana called prana vayu which governs reception. It is also the home of our bliss body sheath ( our most inner and subtle body). Ajna chakra is home of the third knot, known as the Rudra knot. The Rudra knot prohibits the kundalini from entering the highest self, by binding it to mental attachments.
As with all chakras we have myriad ways to work with the energy in each center in order to awaken the potential which lies dormant there. There are a many ways to balance any excess or deficient energy in each center using the tools shared here or through further exploration. I personally use Goldenrod essential oil everyday on this chakra and I find it helpful. I sense that it acts like a filter which removes any blockages, allowing me to see what I need to see, while protecting me from seeing in a distorted way. Thank you dear reader for taking the time to explore this profound chakra. May you receive great benefit from utilizing any new information which you have discovered here.
Resources & Tool Kit
A MEDITATION ON AJNA CHAKRA: Click here.
A DEEPER DIVE INTO THE FIVE KOSHAS: This is an excellent resource which gives an overview of the five koshas and the three bodies (physical, causal and astral). Here you will find a clear and concise explanation of the five koshas as well as more information on each kosha individually. You can find it here.
EMBRACING THE FIVE KOSHAS IN YOGA PRACTICE: This is a short article by Deepak Chopra with instructions on how to work with the five koshas during yoga practice. Enjoy!
THE THREE KNOTS : This is a fairly short and also brilliant article on the three knots. If you are serious about studying and working with the chakras, I feel this information is quintessential! You can find the article here.
OXYTOCIN: Here is a very well written article on this indispensable and important hormone. You will find it is geared toward the layperson and hence not overly scientific.