After two weeks off of writing this blog, I returned with explorations for the 6th chakra. It seemed appropriate that the week of this first class in this chakra was the week of the elections. I spent Tuesday night and some of Wednesday plugged in to the radio and computer and even found myself watching a bit of TV to catch the updates. It was an information overload and was a good reminder for me of all the information we bring into our physical and energetic system through the eyes, and, especially in our “plugged in” society, how rare it is that we turn all of that off.
The 6th chakra, sometimes known as the third eye…though I find this to be a misnomer as the third eye is an energetic center in its own right, but doesn’t actually represent the location of the 6th chakra. The chakra system lies along, and is fed by, the sushumna nadi which runs along the spine and then continues that pathway up through the center of the throat. As we leave the 5th chakra at the throat, the sushumna does not jut forward in the head but continues straight up through the center of the brain and up through the crown. The result, is that the 6th chakra is located in the center of the brain, near the pituitary gland. The 3rd eye, while an important aspect of energy that flows in and out of the 6th chakra is not the 6th chakra itself.
All this talk of the 3rd eye, brings us to the function of the 6th chakra: to see, both internally and externally. We take in information from the outside world through our eyes and process it through the 6th chakra, but we also turn inward and explore our personal landscape processing this information and drawing on our own internal wisdom and intuition. As we have moved well out of the lower chakras, the practices become less and less about the physical body and more connected with the mind and spirit, particularly through meditation. Our practices this week focused on the art of seeing both outwardly and inwardly.
Cleaning the Mind’s Eye
art by Dominique Falla
At the beginning of your practice close your eyes. Notice the darkness behind your eye lids, notice how you feel as you slip into the stillness and silence of your closed eyes. As you sit, first notice what kind of pictures the mind creates for you that rise up to take the place of the darkness. Then as you begin to notice these thoughts and pictures arise, release them one by one with the breath. Each time a thought arises offer it up to the inhale and release it with the exhale. As the thoughts start to slow, revel in the void behind the closed eyes. We spend our days taking in information through our eyes. Give yourself this opportunity in which you don’t have to take in information. Observe how it feels and, if you like, use this opportunity to know open up to intuitive wisdom and guidance and see what arises for you. This is the perfect time to set an intention for your practice.
Exercising the Outer Sight
Close the eyes, take a moment to let the eyes rest. Next open the eyes and focus your gaze center. Without moving the head, take your gaze to the left on inhale, center on exhale, right on inhale and center on exhale. Close the eyes again and allow the eyes to rest. Open the eyes and repeat that same movement center, left, center, right and then close the eyes. Now open the eyes, without moving the head look up on inhale, center on exhale, down on inhale and center on exhale. Close the eyes and rest and then repeat again. On the next round, open the eyes and without moving the head look to the upper right corner of the eye on inhale, bottom corner of the left on exhale, upper right on inhale and bottom left on exhale. Close the eyes, rest and when you open the eyes, repeat, but now starting in the upper left and moving to the lower right. Close the eyes. Finally open the eyes and make two circles in each direction, counter-clockwise and clockwise again without moving the head. Close the eyes and keep them closed as you rub the palms of the hands together. Once they are warm, bring the palms to cover the eyes and allow the warmth to sink into the eyes.
Working the Inner Sight
art by Alex Grey
Close the eyes. In your mind’s eye, see the sushumna nadi, the central channel, running along the spine. Visualize it traveling down to the base of the spine and up through the brain to the crown of the head. Draw your awareness up to the region of the 6th chakra, at the center of the brain. As you bring your focus there, visualize a glowing orb of amethyst purple light. Take several deep breaths here, narrowing your focus and sharpening the image in your mind’s eye. Now begin to direct purple light to shine forward from the 6th chakra toward the front of the head. Direct the beam of light to shine out between the eyebrows at 3rd eye center. Notice any sensations you feel on the forehead as you continue to direct this light out of the head. After several breaths, start to visualize an eye between the two brows. See this eye with your inner vision and once the image comes into focus, now visualize yourself opening your 3rd eye. As the eye blinks open, look outward and see what you notice. What information comes to you? Sit with this. After a few minutes, imagine the eye could rotate around and focus inward, inside your own mind. With the eye opened to your inner mind, now notice what information arises. Do you receive intuitive guidance or wisdom? After several minutes drop your awareness from the third eye down the sushumna nadi to the base of the spine. Take several deep breaths into your sit-bones before you open your eyes.