Third Eye Chakra: How to Open Your 3rd Eye
Are you as creative right now as you could be?
Imagination is often overlooked as a form of intelligence, at least when compared to rationality or logical thinking. It’s easy to confine imagination to ideas of fiction, storytelling, or daydreaming. Yet imagination is a defining quality of civilization, with the mind’s eye a key factor distinguishing humans from apes.
In his brief overview of the history of humankind, Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari highlights the role in which imagination helps people work towards common goals that would otherwise be impossible. “Any large-scale human cooperation—whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city, or an archaic tribe—is rooted in common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination,” he writes.
Carl Jung called the imagination “a concentrated extract of all the forces of life,” highlighting its insurmountable power in translating deep psychological processes in the form of dreams and symbols. And Einstein famously advocated imagination over knowledge, as it embraces the entire world.
When it comes to understanding the imagination, the chakra system offers a useful map. Within the seven chakras — the psychic energy centers of the subtle body — the sixth chakra, called the third eye chakra, is the seat of the mind’s eye and psychic abilities.
What are the seven major chakras?
The seven major chakras include:
- Root Chakra (Muladhara) represents your central foundation.
- Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana) is associated with sexual energy and reproductive health.
- Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura): is responsible for “gut feeling.”
- Heart Chakra (Anahata): is most strongly associated with unconditional love and self love.
- Throat Chakra (Vishuddha): is associated with communication skills
- Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna): is the center of imagination, visualization, intuition, and creativity.
- Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): is associated with higher consciousness and the connection to a higher power.
What is the third eye chakra?
The third eye chakra, or ajna chakra in Sanskrit, is the center of imagination, visualization, intuition, and creativity. It’s located between the eyebrows and is represented as a deep indigo color. The third eye chakra symbol is the ajna, which is an OM positioned over an inverted triangle, seated within a circle between two lotus petals.
The third eye chakra is of high importance in ancient traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, with references also found in Western traditions, including Christianity and many mystical schools.
The third eye chakra is said to be a portal into higher states of consciousness and a way to access different dimensions of reality. Although long-assumed metaphorical, the third eye chakra correlates to the pineal gland within the brain.
Curiously, scientific exploration has discovered that the pineal gland consists of photoreceptor cells, similar to the retina, and are able to “perceive” light. Even curiousiour, the pineal gland is responsible for releasing DMT into the body’s system during a near-death experience.
Rick Strassman, who has spent decades researching DMT, calls it the spirit molecule due to its consistent effect of inducing spiritual experiences. “Perhaps the life-force of a human enters the fetus at forty-nine days through the pineal,” he notes. “And it may leave the body, at death, through the pineal. This coming and going would be marked by the release of DMT by the pineal, meditating awareness of these awesome events.”
The third eye chakra’s images are linked to both insight and clear perception. Activating the third eye is a process of seeing beyond the ordinary senses into deeper, more subtle dimensions of a kind of spiritual awareness beyond the physical world. Unlocking its power unleashes the mind’s full psychic and spiritual potential — although this is not something to be taken lightly. Just like something that under delivers, you don’t want an overactive third eye chakra either.
Signs of a third eye chakra imbalance
There are a number of factors that suppress the full potential of the third eye chakra. A few years ago, NASA scientists embarked on a study of creativity, to further learn about this largely mysterious quality.
In expanding their research, they decided to work with children between the age of four and five. They were stunned to discover that 98 percent qualified as creative geniuses!
These percentages dropped when the same children were studied years later: only 30 percent demonstrated creative genius at the age of 10, with that number dropping again to 12 percent when the children were studied at the age of 15.
It’s a sad indictment of an education system that downplays and overlooks the imagination in favor of conventional academic achievement.
Factor in a mainstream worldview that is still entrenched in material science, rendering psychic abilities “impossible,” and the third eye chakra becomes painfully minimized. Consequently, blockage of the third eye chakra is common. Anodea Judith, the author of Western Body, Eastern Mind, is an expert on the chakra system. She notes that deficiencies in the third eye chakra lead to cynicism, denial, and close-mindedness.
Common indicators of a blocked third eye chakra include:
- A lack of creativity
- Disconnection from your own inner guidance and intuition
- Daydreaming or lost in thought
- A distorted view of reality (including cognitive distortions)
- A lack of focus or mental clarity
- Over-attachment to the imagination at the expense of the “external” world
I’m skeptical of diagnosing physical conditions with chakra blockages, which isn’t to say I don’t experience the correlation within my own subjective experience. However, some physical symptoms that could imply a blocked third eye chakra include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Migraines or headaches
- Insomnia or intense dreams or nightmares
- Pressure between the eyes
Keep in mind, this isn’t a definitive checklist but pointers to use as guidance for your own inner-work and inquiry. What’s most important is developing self-awareness to identify when potential issues arise. The beauty of the chakra system is that it offers an alternative and expansive approach to unlocking this powerful psychic center by boosting its energy flow.
The benefits of aligning the third eye chakra
Judith notes that when the third eye chakra is excessive, it can lead to delusions and hallucinations. Think of this as a blurring of realities — becoming too caught up in the imagination superimposes the imagination onto the day-to-day.
This is a real risk when awakening the third eye chakra. The key is to strive for balance. She adds: “Just as a lake shows the perfect reflection of the mountain behind it only when the water is perfectly still, our minds perceive the reflection of the divine when we become truly still. We can pierce the veil of illusion and see the ultimate nature of reality that is behind everything. This is the true meaning of clairvoyance, or clear seeing. It is the state of realization, where we have the illumination of what is true. Realization is learning to see with real eyes.”
The third eye chakra is seeing with real eyes. Because it is a seat of higher dimensions and higher states of consciousness, balancing the third eye chakra leads to clarity, wisdom, and visionary abilities – a sixth sense in a way. Wisdom is lived understanding, or “knowing” related to the nature of existence. When opening the third eye chakra, deep, intuitive understandings tend to surface.
Between imagination and reality
Not only that, but the third eye chakra is the “command center,” the sweet spot between imagination and reality. It’s strongly linked with manifestation. As mystic Neville Goddard said: “An awakened imagination works with a purpose. It creates and conserves the desirable, and transforms or destroys the undesirable.” By clearing and balancing the third eye chakra, you’re more likely to be able to manifest your deeper desires.
This doesn’t have to be viewed too abstract — it’s as straightforward as developing inner clarity, enhanced self-awareness, and the ability to use the imagination to dream the life you really wish to create. From that space of clarity, it’s much more likely you’ll be able to take positive steps to make this a reality.
Beyond the ordinary, there’s a reason great yogis and sages meditated with a focus on the third eye chakra. The seat of the soul, or the seat of higher consciousness, is said to be a portal to enlightenment.
How to balance the third eye chakra
Balancing the third eye chakra is one of the trickiest challenges on the path of self-development and spiritual growth. Playing with the imagination is playing with fire, and as tempting as it is to unlock psychic “powers,” the process has to be respected.
The aim is wisdom and clarity, but beware of the ego’s tendency to hijack the process by developing a heightened sense of self-importance as a result of clairvoyance or strong visualizations.
Humility is the way. And remember the chakras are one interconnected, holistic system. If there’s work to be done to unblock your third eye chakra, spend the necessary time. But don’t become distracted by the flashing lights and vibrancy of potency of the third eye. Pep talk out of the way, below are practices to integrate into your inner-work process to balance the third eye chakra:
Actively engage your imagination
Give yourself permission to actively play around with your imagination.
Imagination separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, it’s a cosmic form of intelligence, so why not have fun?
Start by making time to play with your mind’s eye. You can even try this right now — close your eyes and visualize a glowing indigo flame between your eyebrows.
Integrate visualization into your goal setting
Top athletes use visualization practices for a reason — they work. Although this might be something you include instinctively, make a conscious effort to add visualization to your goals.
Imagine yourself accomplishing them. Bring to life the image, brighten the colors, increase the volume of sound, intensify the smells and the sights surrounding you.
Focus on the third-eye chakra during meditation
During meditation, place your awareness in the space between the eyes, the seat of consciousness. Picture a bright white light as you sit, allowing the bright cosmic energy to fill your awareness.
To enhance the practice, recite the Aum mantra. In the words of spiritual guru Yogananda: “Through the divine eye in the forehead, (‘the east’), the yogi sails his consciousness into omnipresence, hearing the word or Aum, the divine sound of ‘many waters’: the vibrations of light that constitute the sole reality of creation.”
Start a dreamwork practice
Dreams are the playground of the imagination. It’s as if in waking hours, the vital life force of the imagination is suppressed, before being unleashed as we fall asleep. This makes the dream world ripe for insights and opportunities to work with the third eye chakra.
The first step is just to record your dreams and to make the conscious effort to engage with the imaginal realm. The next step is to learn the language of this world…
Learn the language of the imagination
Carl Jung’s biggest contribution to the understanding of psychology was providing a framework to understand the unconscious.
He identified that the unconscious, operating mostly through the imagination, communicates in symbols and meaning, not language in the way the conscious mind is used to. Although there are universal themes in the language of the imagination, everyone has their own unique texture.
Learning the language of imagination is a fun process. Be playful, and see what surfaces intuitively. Dreamwork is one practice. Freehand journaling, art, or dance are others. Throw away the rulebook on what communication looks like — communication with the imagination is a whole new world, and a language worth learning.
Use third eye chakra stones
Crystal healing is a type of alternative therapy that uses special crystals, or stones, to heal the body. The premise is that the stone’s stable energy frequency acts as a “tuning fork” for the body’s often fluctuating energy field.
They’ve become quite the trend, and are worth experimenting with, or at least complementing other action steps. Despite being highly commodified, there’s no need to spend loads of money — try and find a local esoteric shop.
Third eye chakra stones tend to work by stimulating the pineal gland. Popular stones for the third eye chakra include Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, Labradorite, Sodalite, Azurite.
The practice is simple: just place the stone between your eyes during meditation and allow the stone’s energy to work its magic.
Commit yourself to inner knowledge
Part of balancing the third eye chakra is to allow it to do its job, operating as inward sight. Modern living demands our attention in all directions at once, in the outside world, from high-sugar treats, fearful news stories, email notifications or social media feeds.
It takes courage to relinquish outward attention and take time to explore the inner world. But doing so pays off a thousand times over.
Inner knowledge isn’t like conventional knowledge. Yes, there are books that offer wisdom and insights gained over the years. But true inner knowledge is like a well or spring that flows from within, containing universal truths.
Be prepared to unlearn what you think you know, about the world, yourself, and the wider universe. Allow yourself to be humbled by the inner intelligence that far surpasses conventional logical thinking.
There’s much more to reality than meets the eye — at least the eyes that look at the outside world. The ability to visualize and imagine is a quality that has been heralded for generations, its importance identified by spiritual traditions through the ages.
Balancing the third eye chakra is a way to live life with more clarity, and gain experiential wisdom than conventional knowledge can’t offer.
The imagination has to be respected, and working with the third eye chakra is an ongoing process. When the third eye is awakened, so too are your deepest psychic and creative powers.
Try to avoid being seduced by the sights and experiences the inner world has to offer, but instead, work to integrate these qualities, in alignment with the rest of the chakra system.
Once the third eye chakra is awakened and balanced, you won’t turn your back against the world, but instead, see the world with a fresh perspective. Taking time to open the inner eye, to find clarity amongst the chaos, is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing, and for the world.