The third eye chakra signifies knowledge. It is not a physical eye, and is located in between the eyebrows on the forehead. This chakra is represented as a triangle inside the circle. Just as our physical eyes allow us to see the external world, the third eye allows us to see within. The opening of the third eye is synonymous with access to knowledge. When this chakra is active, one can perceive more than what one normally sees with one’s physical eyes, limited by the body and sense perception.
Our physical eyes allow us to see the objects of this world, the only reason we experience the world in all its glory and beauty. Children are a great example of this wondrous captivation of the senses. They are curious about everything they see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Still, this immensity of sensual explosion is limited in perception. Yogis call it a trick of the light that keeps us in this sensual allure. This is how it happens. The light enters our eyes through a tough protective sheet called the cornea, moves into the lenses and into the retina, which has many thousands of light receptors that convert the light into an image. Imagine if there was no light! There would be no experience of this world at all.
The play of senses on the mind keeps us wrapped up in the ways of the world, which is pleasurable at times, while also bringing its share of suffering. We see it all around us. It is with this understanding that yogis and seers wanted to move beyond the sense perception of the physical eye to open up vistas of knowledge only perceived through the non-physical eye, the third eye, or the Agna chakra. The third eye is the doorway to knowledge and the opening up of the third eye is in many ways the end of suffering. To have access to this knowledge, an eye of deeper penetration has to open up.
What is that knowledge? It is not found in the reading of books (even of the spiritual kind) or by listening to philosophy or wisdom, but attained by direct perception and new vision into the source of life. This knowledge brings clarity of inner vision which cannot be distorted nor destroyed by anything or anyone.
There are several ways to open the third eye – including intense meditation and yoga asanas specifically designed for this purpose. It is better to practice these under the guidance of an accomplished teacher in a methodical and gradual fashion, by first stabilizing the lower chakras which act as a strong foundation for receiving this new and limitless knowledge.
An easy way to guide the energy towards the third eye chakra is by keeping the spine erect. Many ascetic yogis – in addition to their intense practice – keep their spine erect all their lives and master the art of sleeping in a vertical position to speed up the flow of energy. There are particular times of the year -during the new moon – where there is a natural upsurge of energy in our system. The new moon phases happen 12 times a year and there is one particular new moon phase falling in the February/March timeframe which is called the “darkest night” where this natural upsurge is the most potent. In India – where yoga originated – it is celebrated as “Mahashivratri”.
All said, if you want to unravel the mysteries of the third eye, then the first step is to balance the third eye with a gentle guided meditation. Do this with your spine erect to get maximum benefit.
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