What Is the Spiritual Eye?
In yoga classes you may have heard it called the “third eye” or “the sixth chakra,” located between the eyebrows, or in reality, just behind that point inside the brain. When we focus on this point in meditation it helps us to raise our consciousness and feel more uplifted.
It is not a physical object located in the body, but a light which is actually visible there, ‘behind the darkness’ of your closed eyes. Through that light (the spiritual eye), the deep meditator can gaze into subtler-than-material realms. The spiritual eye is, in fact, a reflection of the cosmic energy entering the body and sustaining it. Its portal of entry is the medulla oblongata at the base of the brain.
The five-pointed star at the center of the spiritual eye is the doorway through which our minds can penetrate into the inner kingdom. The five points correspond, interestingly, to the shape of the human body. Stand with your arms stretched out to the side, and your legs wide apart. That shape, with your head at the top: Do you see its general resemblance to a five-pointed star?
The original design of our bodies was based on that star in the spiritual eye. We were literally made ‘in the image of God.’ This wasn’t a merely poetic image meant to indicate somehow a higher potential in ourselves. And it didn’t mean, as orthodox dogma would have it, that only human beings possess souls. In fact, we are souls: we possess bodies.
What Does the Spiritual Eye Look Like?
When seen perfectly, it is a halo of golden light surrounding a field of deep blue, in the center of which is a silvery-white, five-pointed star. When seen imperfectly, it is seen as a dim violet light with a faint circle around it, and an even fainter dot in the center.
If you see it in meditation, concentrate on the star or in the center of the field of blue. Gradually the gold will expand and form a tunnel. Passing into this tunnel, you will consciously enter the light of the astral world. In time, the blue light will form a tunnel. Entering that, you will enter the light of the causal world, the cosmic consciousness. When you can penetrate the star in the center, you will enter the Spirit beyond creation.
How Can I See the Spiritual Eye
To focus on the spiritual eye, you do not need to focus your eyes directly at this point, which can be very uncomfortable and make you cross your eyes. Imagine a distant mountain, and focus your gaze at the top of it. Your eyes should be relaxed and looking slightly upward. If you are meditating you should do this with your eyes closed.
As you focus on this point and your thoughts are stilled, you may actually begin to see the visible form of it. Whether or not you see the spiritual eye, by meditating at that point your consciousness will gradually rise until it passes beyond human awareness and enters a state of ecstasy and joy, or superconsciousness.
You can also focus on the spiritual eye while going about your daily life, to help keep your mind uplifted throughout the day. To do this, just focus a part of your attention at this point, while letting your eyes focus on the task at hand. You can also look at another persons spiritual eye while talking to them, to help remind you that God or Spirit is in that person as well as you.
Some people find it helpful to know from what mental position to focus at the spiritual eye. The guru of Paramhansa Yogananda’s guru, Lahiri Mahasaya, said to focus on it as if you were looking up at it from the medulla oblongata (the indentation at the base of the skull), which is where our ego, or sense of self, is located. Because most people’s sense of self is vaguely their whole body, it is easier to direct our attention at the spiritual eye when we focus our sense of self at the point where it truly lies, the medulla.
If you are not able to see the spiritual eye, Paramhansa Yogananda’s book, Whispers from Eternity, contains several prayer-demands to the Divine to ask for help in opening the spiritual eye.
When we become absorbed in this point and our sense of self dissolves into superconsciousness, the center of our consciousness becomes the heart rather than our egos, and from there our hearts show us the way to lift ourselves up through the spiritual eye into Infinity.
Spiritual Eye Meditation Technique
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 do so, 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. Surrender every thought, every feeling into this star of absolute, ever-existing bliss.
Mentally affirm: “I awake in Thy Light, I awake in Thy Light, I am joyful, I am free, I awake in Thy Light!”
Learn to Meditate
The spiritual eye is best seen during or after a period of deep meditation. Here is a simple technique you can learn in a few minutes, which was originally taught by Paramhansa Yogananda to his students.
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Prayer-Demand for Opening the Spiritual Eye
By Paramhansa Yogananda
Practice this prayer before meditation, or even several times a day to help awaken the spiritual eye.
Bless me, Father, that I behold the Eastern star of wisdom. May it shine before my human eyes as much in daylight as in darkness.
Long my eyes were blinded by the tinsel-glitter of materiality. Seeing things always outwardly, I saw not the Spirit behind and within them. I saw the mustard-seed of matter, but spied not the oil of Spirit that it contained.
My third eye of wisdom is now opened. Oh, may it always be so! Let the gaze of my single eye of realization penetrate through every veil of matter to behold the infinite presence of Christ*, everywhere.
Bless me, that my sacred, wise thoughts, following this star of knowledge, lead me to the Christ in everything.
*Note that the use of the word “Christ” here does not refer to Jesus, but to Christ consciousness, which is a state of being one with the Divine as Jesus was. Sometimes the spiritual eye is even referred to as the “Christ Center”, or the place from which we can achieve Christ Consciousness.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Spiritual Eye
For some people it takes a while, maybe many years. For some, it is immediate; and for others, it appears once or twice in the beginning and then is not seen again for a long time after that.
Some meditators are more tuned into hearing sounds (like the sound of AUM) than seeing light (the spiritual eye), or having feelings of energy rising in the spine. We are all different, and we are at different places in our spiritual evolution.
Just because a person does not see the spiritual eye does not mean that the person is not making spiritual progress!
An attitude of never giving up and the courage to be willing to go on meditating forever, no matter what – this is what is truly important!
However, with that said, it does help to visualize or imagine the spiritual eye at the point between the eyebrows when you are meditating. This is the place where you need to keep your attention anyway, whether you “see” anything or not.
Sometimes there will be a dim or bright light or moving light patterns which will appear behind closed eyes, even if very briefly. Eventually, as the mind and breath becomes very calm, these lights will form themselves into the true appearance of the spiritual eye, which is very beautiful: a halo of golden light, surrounding a deep blue-violet tunnel at the center of which is a tiny, silver-white, five-pointed star.
Concentration in meditation is very important, but concentration alone does not, in itself, bring on the appearance of the spiritual eye. Many other factors are involved: devotion, grace, perseverance, relaxation, joyful expectation, self-offering, help from and faith in God and Guru, as well as always praying for guidance in meditation and non-attachment to results, to name a few.
The more deeply you are able to concentrate on the breath, and interiorize your awareness, you will begin to sense the spiritual eye.
Relax into whatever experience is happening and also to continue with the practice of Hong Sau so as to go deeper within. In that way the right experiences will open up.
This becomes much more of an issue when someone is meditating for prolonged periods at the crown chakra, and/or with great intensity. Sometimes we have had to help heal people who had severe kundalini (energy) imbalances, and it normally started after they had done an extended meditation at the crown chakra.
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More About the Chakras
The spiritual eye is the sixth of seven chakras. The chakras are the body’s invisible energy centers that store information and distribute life force. Although in meditation we focus on the sixth chakra, it’s valuable to learn about all the chakras. When out of balance, they hold the root cause of a variety of physical illnesses, emotional disturbances, and general unhappiness with life. Understanding and awakening the chakras will help you achieve a state of well being on every level.
Chakras for Starters
by Swami Kriyananda
Risveglia i chakra
di Jayadev Jaerschky
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The 10-week Lessons in Meditation online course is designed to provide in-depth instruction in scientific meditation techniques that bring more peace, deeper relaxation, and focused concentration to every area of your life, regardless of outer conditions.
These techniques are based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.