First, let’s get one thing clear. Humans have two eyes. You do not have an actual physical third eye. The term “third eye” is a metaphor, inspired by the mysterious pineal gland in the brain and the ajina chakra (psychic energy center), the controlling point of the mind.
The pineal gland is pretty weird. The French philosopher, Descartes, believed it to be the physiological seat of the soul. In yoga philosophy, the pineal is a big deal. Yogis say it secretes “amrit” or “divine nectar” which induces spiritual bliss. It is often represented in religious paintings as a third eye in the middle of the forehead.
Some animals actually do have a kind of third eye. Notably the lizard-like tuatara, which has a parietal eye. It doesn’t work as an eye anymore. It is part of the pineal complex, which is connected to the pineal gland that secretes melatonin.
Some of my so-called friends think it’s irrational for me to be so proud that the tuatara is, like me, from New Zealand, simply because I didn’t personally play any part in its evolution and I have never actually seen one. I’m sure that when their third eye opens they will understand.
Anyhow, just remember, for us humans this “third eye” is not a real eye. Which is surely good news as this means that opening your third eye does not require expensive and painful surgery.
The third eye represents intuition, or another way of seeing or direct knowing. Long ago yogis developed meditation techniques and other practices to develop intuition.
What Is Intuition?
Did you ever wonder how your mother seemed to always know when you were up to mischief? That uncanny direct knowing is sometimes called “women’s intuition”.
As a member of the male species, I am happy to report that intuition is not the exclusive domain of mothers. All humans possess intuition. It is often latent, but it can be developed.
There are different levels of intuition that grant us a range of powers. Sometimes intuition acts as a kind of sixth sense, even enabling us to know what others are thinking, or dream of real events occurring far away. But In the great Eastern traditions of yoga and Buddhism the deliberate cultivation of this kind of ability is generally discouraged as it can be a distracting and corrupting influence.
In any event, your cell phone is far more reliable than telepathy and claims of clairvoyant powers divining the future almost invariably end up supporting my long-held claim that “prophecy is an art best practiced with the benefit of hindsight”.
On the spiritual path of yoga, we cultivate intuition to develop creativity, wisdom, and universal love. This kind of yoga is sometimes called intuitional science.
Intuitional science describes a lifestyle, a philosophy and a set of yoga and meditation practices designed to develop all levels of the mind. Here are three important practices that help develop love, creativity, and wisdom.
The imagination, or the creative mind, is what the ancient Greeks referred to as the world of the muses. The best way to access this part of the mind is to withdraw from the distracting, busy world.
That is why poets, musicians, philosophers and scientists often seek inspiration in solitude. Think of the poet Walden who withdrew to his peaceful pond for the inspiration that gave birth to his greatest work.
But even more powerful than seeking natural solitude in the physical world is training the mind to withdraw from the world mentally through deep meditation.
The specific internal visualization technique designed to develop this layer of the mind is known in yoga as pratyahara.
“Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. This study gave a clear indication that the advantages of particular types of meditation extend much further than simply relaxation.” – Leiden University study in Holland. 2012.
We all possess a kind of innate wisdom or direct inner knowing that we call our conscience. We often intuitively know when something does not feel right, or when we are the right path.
However, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish our intuition from our own desires and emotions. This is where rational judgment becomes useful. But if you really want to get in touch with that inner voice so that it is loud and clear, deep concentration is the best method.
Meditation techniques that teach how to concentrate and still the mind bring clarity and self-understanding. Then the right course of action becomes obvious. In yoga, this kind of meditation is called Dharana.
Developing Universal Love
All living things want to survive. We all value, or love, our own existence. But because of our limited perspective, we tend to only care about other living things that are like us – same species, same tribe, same race, same religion etc.
When we expand our awareness and realize that everyone’s existence is important, that is the beginning of universal love. Love comes from awareness. This feeling of universal love and awareness can be cultivated through the spiritual chanting of mantras, called kirtan. Humans have used music of various kinds to alter their state of awareness and experience a feeling of harmony and connection for millennia.
Kirtan awakens our innate feeling of love for all. It is the best way to create the mood for deep meditation. When I first began meditating, I didn’t like this kirtan chanting. I thought it was pretty silly, and I didn’t think much of the musicians, as I was a musical snob.
But when I joined a kirtan led by a really great musician I became hooked. I realized that this is a really powerful way to get high naturally. I was intoxicated with love, I felt like I loved everyone and everything in the whole world. It was amazing. And it seemed completely natural, as though the scales of ignorance and darkness had fallen from my eyes.
I was seeing the world, and myself, with a new kind of vision, almost as though I’d opened a third eye. So if you want to develop your inner vision, I recommend you do this.
Practice withdrawing your mind from the world, concentration in meditation and singing kirtan mantras. This will open up a new world to you.