Should I visualize a golden star during meditation, or should I just let it appear on its own and just concentrate on the third eye in darkness?
—Sukhmandeep Singh, India
Both practices are valid.
The first one is more a visualization which can help you to focus your mind. A visualization in truth is not really meditation. In true meditation you just become receptive, and let appear whatever wants to appear. However, concentration during meditation is often quite tough, and a good visualization can be helpful.
If you do it, visualizing the star, mentally make it white or silvery, not a golden, because the spiritual eye is a white star within a deep blue field, surrounded by a golden ring. Swami Kriyananda in his book Superconsciousness teaches this wonderful visualization you might use:
“Concentrate at the point between the eyebrows. Visualize there a tunnel of golden light. Mentally enter that tunnel, and feel yourself surrounded by a glorious sense of happiness and freedom. As you move through the tunnel, feel yourself bathed by the light until all worldly thoughts disappear. After soaring through the tunnel as long as you feel to so do, visualize before you a curtain of deep violet-blue light. Pass through that curtain into another tunnel of deep, violet-blue light. Feel the light surrounding you. Slowly, the tunnel walls disappear in blue light. Expand your consciousness into that light—into infinite freedom and bliss. Now there is no tunnel. There is only the all-encompassing blueness and bliss of infinity. At last, visualize before you a silvery-white, five-pointed star of light. Mentally spread out your arms and legs, assuming with your body the shape of that star. Give yourself to it in body, mind, and soul as you surrender every thought, every feeling to absolute, Self-existing Bliss. Bliss cascades gently over you, like a waterfall of mist, filling your heart with ineffable peace.”
The second technique you mention, of just gazing into the darkness at the spot between the eyebrows, is a powerful meditation practice, especially after having practiced a technique such as Hong-Sau. No matter if you see something there or not, it will stimulate your superconsciousness. It works even better if you make it a devotional gaze, as if you were inwardly gazing toward the divine Presence. Yogananda in his Autobiography of a Yogi writes about the enlightening longterm effect of such a gaze:
“Long concentration on the liberating spiritual eye has enabled the yogi to destroy all delusions concerning matter and its gravitational weight; thenceforth he sees the universe as an essentially undifferentiated mass of light.”
How wonderful his words! All is light, all is divine, all is blissful. This is the hidden truth, according the Masters, which we shall find by gazing at the spiritual eye. So lets keep gazing, gazing, gazing, with our heart.
All the best in your meditations,