Nurturing the 6th Chakra Through the Moon

The Moon, in Qabalistic tradition, is called the Intelligence of Interrelatedness and is though to have an affinity for the occipital region of the brain (the round curve at the back of your heard). In esoteric metaphysics, the occipital region of the brain is said to be connected to every point in time and space. Through the Moon we are connected to the universe. An idea to entertain (in your occipital) is that this region of the brain is the portal through which images cross from our minds out into the world, where they become real. – Caroline Casey

With this second to last full moon of 2012, the lunar power swirling through the universe held a certain amount of intensity. As I sat with it in preperation for our final 6th chakra yoga class, I began to see the parallels of the energy of the moon and the energy of the 6th chakra. Both the 6th chakra and the moon invite us to dive inside in and explore our inner realms. They both explore the fruits of dream time and our power to be active participants in the world we dream up. As I explored this further, I came across the passage above from Caroline Casey about the moon. It seemed fitting, this idea of the moon’s residence in the back of the skull and that like the 6th chakra it created this bridge between our own mind and the world.

We are gearing up for powerful energetic shifts as we begin the final month of 2012. An open 6th chakra is a key navigational tool for artfully managing these changes and the moon is ushering these shifts. Lena Stevens writes of the lunar energies, “Between now and the winter solstice on December 21 is a crucial time of letting go, revisiting priorities, separating yourself from what is not in your best interest, and reaching for a higher vibration in all things.” I invite you to use these chakra practices as we move forward to continue to open, enliven and enrich your energetic system.

Hakini Mudra

hakini mudraThe practice of hakini mudra helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. As we bring together the tips of the fingers we invite a balance between the two hemispheres. This balancing of the brain will help bring calmness and equanimity to the 6th chakra and is an excellent way to begin any 6th chakra practice. To practice this mudra bring the tips of all 5 fingers together and place the hands in front of the heart.

Om: The Sound of the 6th Chakra

OmOver the past months we have explored the seed syllables of each of the chakras as a way to access and activate the energy centers. Each chakra has a specific sound, and the seed syllable for the 6th chakra is one we’re only familiar with intoning. The sound here is of the 6th chakra is Om. To activate this chakra a simple chanting of Om directed to the center of the brain or to third eye will help to activate the energy flow in this chakra.

Working Intention with the 6th Chakra

MoonIn her passage about the moon, Casey also spoke about a Qabalistic tradition of setting intention before sleep, allowing it to come to rest in the back of the skull and then drawing it into our dreamworld. We brought the essence of this practice into our yoga class that evening, inviting our intention into the “wakeful dreaming” of our meditation and asana practice. To begin this practice, find a comfortable seat and close the eyes. Bring the awareness to the back of the skull and feel a heaviness there. As you connect with this region in the head, start to see it illuminated with silvery, white light, the color of moonlight. After several breaths, draw up an intention, instilling it in the back of the skull. Feel its extra weight resting there and see the silvery, white light flare as it is ignited by the power of your intention. Meditate on this light and open up to broader reaches of your intention. Then as you take your next exhale, allow the chin to drop to the chest. Feel your intention sliding forward through the 6th chakra and toward the the 3rd eye. Allow your intention to pool up in the third eye, experiencing it as warmth, weight or tingling. Spend several breaths here and on an exhale roll the right ear to the right shoulder. The eyes remain closed as you allow your intention to flow over into the right hemisphere of the brain. Take several breaths and on exhale roll the left ear to the left shoulder, feel your intention wash through the left hemisphere of the brain. Take several more breaths and bring the chin back to the chest. Feel the intention slide, like honey, back to the third eye. Finally, on an inhale, bring the head to neutral. Feel the intention slide back in the skull to 6th chakra and the center of the head. Watch it ignite, glowing purple, and call that intention up one last time deep from your core before you being your practice.

“To go into the dark, with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and signs, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.” – Wendell Barry

6th Chakra: The Art of Seeing

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.