Third Eye Meditation

Meditating figure in place of the third eye between the two visible eyes

Third Eye Meditation

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Definition

Third eye meditation, as implied by the name, means meditating upon the third eye, which is thought to be a center of energy that lies either in the middle of the forehead or between our eyebrows, depending on the source.

Of course there is no physical third eye. It is a concept connected to esoteric and New Age philosophies. It is thought to be the location of “anja”, or the third eye chakra. Some believe it to be our connection to an energy realm that cannot be seen with our physical eyes. Some people have even claimed that it is actually our pineal gland, which is the primary producer of melatonin in the body and controls our sleep cycle. This belief is likely influenced by the theory that was once a photoreceptor that has fallen out of use in the process of evolution. There is some conjecture that it may also produce DMT, a psychoactive compound that has been called by some “the spirit molecule”.

This is in part due to the mystical experiences people have under its influence, often featuring encounters with god-like creatures, as well as to the unproven claim that it is produced when dreaming and right before death.

Third-eye is the energy center lies in the middle of the forehead
Meditation on the third-eye is one of the best ways to activate the third-eye chakra (Ajna chakra) and open yourself up to the possibilities of greater feeling and understanding.

The concept of the third eye has its roots in the Hindu and Buddhist religion. Often Shiva and Buddha are depicted with third eyes, which they use to perceive the world beyond the physical realm. In both religions, it is often used as a symbol for enlightenment.

Method

Find a Peaceful Place

There are a few techniques and considerations involved with third eye meditation that are very similar to other forms of meditation. It is recommended that you find a quiet or peaceful place where you are unlikely to be disturbed for the duration of the practice. Because the brain is good at contextualizing, many find success by sticking to the same place and time for every session. You are encouraged not to eat immediately before third eye meditation.

Because many people will sit in meditation for up to 20-60 minutes, it can be a good idea to prepare the body with a bit of stretching or hatha yoga first, to relieve tension that may be distracting. It is especially important to do some hip opening stretches if you plan to sit in a lotus or half-lotus position.

Have Your Spine Properly Aligned

Your sitting position is not as important as in some other styles of meditation, though most will sit in one of the cross-legged positions on the floor. The most important thing is to have your spine properly aligned so you can breathe clearly and sit without undue tension. This can improve your ability to focus, which is essential for third eye meditation.

Focus on the Breath at the Start

Once you are in a comfortable seated position, begin to take regular deep breaths through the nose. Don’t just breathe, but focus on the breath. Observe the sensations of the air flowing in and out of the body. Many people try to turn off the “chatter” of thoughts by counting the breaths. Others suggest counting backward from 100.

Opening The Third Eye

What sets Third Eye meditation apart from the other styles is its focus on “opening the third eye”. To do this, while you are breathing, close your eyes and draw your concentration to the middle of your forehead (or between the brow). Many people mention that this makes the body feel as if it’s filled with energy.

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Others have claimed that they begin to see various flashing images, or even their own thoughts flashing by during third eye meditation. It’s important to keep the focus on the third eye for up to ten to fifteen minutes. One method is to choose a particular image. Third eye meditation can be uncomfortable, sometimes even causing minor headaches.

Coming Out of Third Eye Meditation

When finished, it can be jarring just to open your eyes and stop. Give yourself a short transition time while the eyes are closed. Take your focus away from the third eye and back to the breath. After a few minutes, open your eyes again.

Developing a Regular Third Eye Meditation Practice

To get maximum benefit, it is encouraged to adopt a regular practice, typically daily. It is important to remember that it takes time and patience to open the third eye, so don’t get discouraged. Some have found success meditating with crystals, such as amethyst or purple sapphire, in their pockets to increase the effects of third eye meditation.

Purple amethyst increases the effects of meditation
Meditating with crystals increases the beneficial effects of Third-eye meditation.

Benefits and Risks

Because the concept of the third eye is so deeply ingrained into new age philosophy, it is given a lot of weight within that world. Many of people’s ailments are believed to be rooted in imbalances or blockages of our energy systems. Some symptoms claimed to be the result of problems with the third eye include sinus issues, migraine headaches, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Therefore, adopting a practice of third eye meditation may relieve these problems. It is also thought that opening the third eye could help people be more intuitive and trusting of others.

Cognitive Benefits of Third Eye Meditation

Like many mystical practices, third eye meditation comes with a long list of improbable benefits. Some claim that with an opened third eye, we gain a much deeper sense of intuition. This can help us make better decisions. It is also said that it can help people connect to the spiritual realm. Some have said that it may allow people to see images of their own future. There seems to be little scientific backing to these claims, however, there is some suggestion that meditation may give people access to subliminal thoughts.

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Some other scientifically supported cognitive benefits include improved concentration and the ability to keep their minds from wandering during certain activities. There is a possibility that these real benefits could be exaggerated into the claims listed above.

Emotional Benefits of Third Eye Meditation

It is said that third eye meditation has the ability to change the nature of our thoughts and help us process things a bit more positively, which can in itself help attract positive energy to our lives. This is known as the law of attraction. This is considered pseudoscience, though. There does seem to be some connection between meditation and positive moods.

Although the studies did not test third eye meditation specifically, there is some indication that regular meditation can reduce some of the symptoms of mental illness, especially anxiety and depression. Due to self-fulfilling prophecy—the idea that our world-view and predictions about the world changes the way we interact with it—there is a possibility that a reduction in anxiety can create a more positive world. Still, it would be a stretch to claim that this proves the law of attraction.

Effects on Pineal Gland

Despite the lofty claims made by followers of esoteric philosophies, recent studies have begun to show that meditation may have an effect on the pineal gland. There is also evidence that meditation can have beneficial effects on the quality of sleep, with regular meditators showing deeper sleep patterns and a minimized effect of ageing on sleep cycles. Due to the influence of meditation on melatonin levels, it is assumed that it is, in fact, meditation that is influencing the functioning of the pineal gland.

Again, given that the pineal gland is merely speculated to be a biologically analogous structure to the third eye, this finding does not prove the existence of the mystical third eye or that it is meditating on the third eye, not meditation in general, that is causing these effects. It merely shows that the pineal gland may be influenced by a meditation practice.

Risks and Side Effects of Third Eye Meditation

This type of meditation can cause migraine headaches in some. There have been claims that opening the third eye could be uncomfortable and even spiritually dangerous for those not ready. When not properly prepared, some people experience vivid nightmares and may even become frightened by the accuracy of their visions. Some recommend that one finds balance in all of their chakras before doing work on their third eye.

Even without a belief in some of the mystical aspects surrounding third eye meditation, there is some indication that a regular medication practice can cause an increase in anxiety for some. If one has a world-view that is informed by the existence of chakras, there is a possibility that they could be describing the same effects.

Either way, for a lot of the esoteric benefits and risks, more proper scientific research is needed before any real conclusions can be made. It is also important to consider the power of placebos, and wrapping a complex mystical world view into the meditation process may improve the power of the placebo effect.

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