Third Eye Chakra Meaning, Location and Color
The 6th Chakra, or the Third Eye Chakra (in Sanskrit, Ājñā, which means “Command” or “monitoring center”), is located in the forehead above the meeting point of the two eyebrows. Its main colour is purple, and the element it is associated with is light. It is the Chakra of perception and discrimination.
Overview: Third Eye Chakra Table
|Name||Third Eye, 6th Chakra, Ajna|
|Physical location:||Mid-eyebrow center.|
|Physical systems:||Forehead, eyes, ears, nose and brain.|
|Nerve Plexus:||Carotid Plexus.|
|Psychic aspect:||Witnessing and distinguishing true from false.|
|Spiritual function:||The point of confluence where the three nadis – ida, pingala and sushumna – merge into one stream of consciousness and flow up to the crown Chakra. Transformation of individual consciousness is brought about by the merging of the three great nadis. Also, the seat of the “inner Guru”, which is the source of inner guidance, and the “eye of intuition”, through which one enters the astral and psychic dimension of consciousness and receives revelation and insight.|
|Traditional Symbol:||Two-petalled lotus, one represents the moon and the other, the sun. Within the lotus, a round circle symbolizes the void. Within the circle, an inverted triangle representing Shakti, and above it a Shivalingam.|
|Sense:||Mind, or the sixth, intuitive sense.|
|Energy body:||Vijnanamaya Kosha (the layer of psychic development).|
|Ages of psychological development:||35-42|
|Quest:||The quest for the most reliable source of knowledge and wisdom, as one’s source of solid truth.|
|Qualities:||Realistic, watchful, attentive, perceptive, curious, silent, intuitive.|
|Blocking Fears:||Disorientation, confusion, not knowing what is true.|
|Catharsis:||Associative writing and speaking to negate all inner voices and reach silence.|
|Best Bach flowers:||Cerato (for a clear decision-making), White Chestnut (for repetitive thoughts).|
|Stone:||Amethyst, Moldavite, Purple Fluorite.|
|Blue-Green Algae, Purple-red foods like eggplant, purple kale, purple grapes, raisins and plums.|
Third Eye Chakra Meaning and Function
The Third Eye Chakra can be considered the “mother” of the 7 Chakras. While all other Chakras provide and produce different instincts, impulses, wills, feelings, emotions and experiences, the Third Eye Chakra is supposed to be the one supervising them all. It is really the eye of the soul, the Seer, the centre of presence and perception, the omega point in which all the others chakras impressions are being perceived. For this reason, it has also been called the “Seat of the Soul”. Its location in the centre of the brain reflects this central role.
Naturally, the sense that is associated with the third eye is seeing and the associated element is that of light. The way the Sixth Chakra sees is that of pure seeing, or witnessing, and is transcendent in nature. However, it is also the seat of conscience: it does not only see, it also perceives the meaning of what is seen in the light of the soul. In the third eye we do not only see, we also understand. This understanding though is partly beyond words, a pure seeing of meaning.
In this, the third eye is the place of discrimination and final judgement, and its role in determining what is reality and what is illusion is crucial. That is why in its severe dysfunctional states a person’s mind might escape to worlds of psychic abnormality like psychosis.
The open 3rd Eye Chakra
The open Third Eye establishes true transcendental seeing in us, that we can describe as witnessing or pure presence, a crystal clear light of awareness that is non-conceptual and unbiased.
Precisely because of this clarity, a person whose third eye is open has a natural capacity to discriminate through observation. One is able to impersonally look at oneself, and rely on the highest forms of knowledge to tell reality from illusion.
Scriptures, meditation and higher forms of thinking enable the person to distinguish lower impulses, thoughts and feelings, from nobler forms of thinking, emoting and intuiting, and so one’s thinking is quick and slow at the same time – slow because there is a silent ground of listening, and quick because the capacity to tell right from wrong is already highly developed.
On the other hand, despite all knowledge, understanding and discrimination, the open third eye is also deeply non-conceptual. Its center is in a state of spacious and unlimited listening. It is observant and lucid rather than automatic and reactive – a state which allows a person to be a receptor of “higher”, untainted inner guidance, as well as deep intuition and even supersensory perception.
Since knowledge can easily become a form of mental reaction, the open Ajna Chakra uses knowledge rather than being used by it. The activity of thinking arises from silence, and so, before any judgement, one first takes care that a state of lucid silence precedes any decision-making and reaction.
6th Chakra psychological meaning and function
The psychological themes of the Third Eye Chakra mainly revolve around clarity versus confusion.
Confusion arises when we cannot see things clearly as they are. Too many thoughts and contradictory inner and outer voices cloud our own judgement of the situation. To rightly judge we need to be as objective as possible; meaning, to be able to take some distance from everything and to purely observe.
This requires some degree of intelligence that makes it possible for us to look at ourselves and at the wide range of instincts, feelings, emotions and experiences. We might be swayed by this feeling or that impulse and still be unable to make sense of them, and even to know whether they are right or false, important or secondary.
On the other hand, the intelligence of Ajna Chakra might be over-analytical: looking at ourselves and at situations through very constricted structures of thought. This, of course, predetermines what is right and what is false according to our conditioned mind.
Thus the third eye can exhibit a limitation to our possibility of experiencing and listening. When we already “know”, this is also because we fear confusion; anything that might destabilise our current structure of perception.
Learning how to remain open in a state of listening and receiving, while having a sufficient knowledge and capacity of discrimination, is the greatest challenge of the sixth Chakra.
Blocked Third Eye Chakra
The unbalanced sixth Chakra can appear as either too conceptual, analytical and rigid, or too mentally feeble and fluid.
Both expressions stem from the same basic condition: a fundamental confusion and unclarity which can sometimes be covered up by a seeming clarity; what can be regarded as mental overconfidence.
When we fear doubt and confusion, we would rather present a mental display window of doubtlessness and conviction. For that we often tend to suppress and suffocate many of the instincts, impulses and feelings in the other Chakras.
While the mental constructs of the blocked Third Eye Chakra might seem quite solid, beneath the surface things are constantly shaken. However, it is a general human need to preserve mental clarity and one’s conviction of one’s reality, even when reality proves otherwise.
Here the major cause of imbalance is a very subtle one: it is the fear of not being sure of oneself. This can make one’s third eye seem arrogant, but also fearfully unstable and constantly in search for clarity.
To overcome this blocked state and to reach an authentic inner conviction, one needs to rely on higher forms of knowledge, enter silence and develop deeper capacities of quiet inner observation. At the same time, one also needs to fear less the state of confusion and to realise that it is really an opportunity for achieving a deeper, more stable and grounded type of clarity.
Psychological and spiritual Symptoms of a blocked 6th Chakra
On the one hand, the psychological and spiritual symptoms of a blocked state can be a general sense of a cloudy and foggy mind, as if one cannot see clearly. Experiences, thoughts and feelings are all too elusive to grasp and make sense of.
Decision-making is extremely long, complicated and contradictory. Even after one has decided, one is again tormented by re-thinking whether the decision was wrong or right. There is a great fear of making the wrong judgement. Sometimes, a great deal of seeking advice too, from relying on Tarot cards to having some authority telling us how to think and judge.
In this state, the third eye is more like an empty screen on which the constant stream of instincts, feelings and impulses from the lower Chakras is projected. The third eye is not really a center of commanding intelligence, but rather lower impulses disguised as thoughts. There is no center of perception, and the third eye is mainly a reactive mechanism that relies on its already conditioned and limited experience and knowledge.
At the other extreme, psychological and spiritual symptoms can be a rigid, over-analytical mind, which heavily controls and suppresses all other Chakras. It interprets and verbalises before and while it is experiencing. One doesn’t observe oneself; one analyses oneself.
There is a clear expectation what one should experience, and one perceives through the third eye precisely what one wants to perceive. There is no room for confusion, doubt or question, and when one receives new knowledge or new experience, they are rejected on the grounds of being unreal. This is because we must remember that the third eye determines how much we can perceive at all.
Physical Systems affected by the Purple Chakra
Physical systems affected by the third eye activity are the forehead, eyes, ears and in general, the brain.
We can easily see how these physical regions correspond with the sixth Chakra activity. The eyes, as the center of physical perception, are the reflection of the very principle of inner and outer perception; if they are blurred, they reflect one’s inability to see things as they are. The ears, on the other hand, reflect one’s ability to listen and to be truly receptive. The brain and the pituitary gland in particular are the center of cognition as well as intelligence, understanding, interpretation and meaning.
More subtly speaking, the nostrils and the nose in general are deeply related to Ajna Chakra, though less directly, because Ajna Chakra is the meeting point of the upper ends of Pingala and Ida – two very major subtle nerve channels. It is known in the Yoga tradition that one can influence the activity of this Chakra through breathing exercises that manipulate the activity of these channels. On the other hand, when one’s third eye is fully concentrated and in deep quietude, this too affects the activity of the nerve channels and as a consequence, the equal reception of air through the two nostrils.
Physical Symptoms of a blocked Third Eye Chakra
Correspondingly, physical symptoms of a blocked third eye can begin in the forehead, where headaches are often more strongly felt. Though headaches can be a symptom of many types of problems, they can be often caused by a hyper-activity of the Third Eye Chakra: a mental busyness affected by the lower Chakras. Worries, anxieties, fears, wills and inner contradictions take the appearance of rational thoughts and abuse the sixth Chakra capacity.
Any eye problem or ear problem may be psychosomatically related to the third eye. Headaches can also be stimulated energetically by an over-activity of one of the two nerve-channels, the Pingala and the Ida, and in the same way a blocked nostril.
Brain disorders can be deeply connected to Third Eye Chakra imbalance. This can lead to a psychosomatic contribution to severe psychiatric states, in which one can no longer clearly distinguish reality from illusion, or, in another example, might hear voices and feel that one’s mind is no longer one’s own.
Third Eye Chakra healing
Healing the Third Eye Chakra is by putting silence and order into it.
First and foremost, to heal Ajna Chakra one often needs to deal with it indirectly; that is, by taking care of the lower Chakras’ psychological issues. When worries, anxieties, feelings and emotions stop projecting themselves onto the sixth Chakra, one’s mind already becomes much more lucid.
Learning to disassociate from thought, and realising that one’s mind can be inherently free from identification with disturbing thoughts, is a major key. We should remember that Ajna Chakra is the observing or witnessing Chakra. When we learn to observe our thoughts from the distance, sometimes through mind techniques designed specifically for this aim, we can begin to control the seeming power of our thoughts. The key here is regaining our own power of attention. Ajna Chakra is not the center of thinking but the center of attention, and we are free to choose what we give attention to.
Learning how to be silent, through silent retreats, meditation or even by just disconnecting from any outer stimuli, can make the Third Eye Chakra less and less disturbed. Even darkness meditation, in which one enters a dark room without any source of light remaining with open eyes or closing one’s eyes, cools down the overstimulated sixth Chakra.
Making sure that our thought-processes are in order often leads us to search for higher forms of intelligence, as found in scriptures, spiritual teachings and great clear minds. Some, especially those who are distinguished by a sixth Chakra personality, can introduce into our life clear systems of thought, bright perceptions and orderly models of reality. Such teachings can strengthen our own mind’s confidence that underneath the mental chaos, there is some understanding waiting for us too.
Properly using times of confusion is also important. When we try to quickly push away confusion or just drown in it, we miss out on a true opportunity because of this fear. Periods of confusion are necessary for the development of a higher clarity in our third eye. We just need to be able to allow a silent receptivity and a deeper state of listening that eventually perfectly guide us how to transform confusion into a new state of clarity.
Third Eye Chakra Opening
Opening the third eye takes place after we have learned the more basic skills of right concentration on truer thoughts and disassociation from disturbing thoughts. Following from these basic skills one can further develop a state of deep silence and listening.
When the mind is properly trained to shift completely from thinking to listening, the third eye becomes highly activated. For this, one needs to learn how to stop using the verbal interpreting and reacting mechanism of the mind and instead move to a state of pure, thoughtless observation.
This is the highest peak of seeing things as they are. It is learning how to look and perceive with one’s entire mind without the immediate habit to interpret and give words and descriptions to something. This depth of listening awakens a different part of the mind, in which it becomes gradually an open receptor rather than an active producer of thoughts.
A new type of intelligence comes into being, and from there on one could travel further within one’s mind towards states of consciousness and being which are not self-centered but rather universe-centered. The division between observer and observed is removed and one’s mind becomes one flow with the universe that previously seemed outside of it.
Third Eye Chakra Meditations
The best Third Eye Chakra meditations are all about the development of different qualities, functions and states of the mind, starting from the most basic ones, such as concentration techniques. The known Yogic practice of focusing on the air coming in and out through the nostrils, or focusing on a candle-light, are good examples.
Mind-techniques, as well as forms of meditation, which teach us how to volitionally separate from the thought-stream and experience our mind as inherently free, are also a major step for the sixth Chakra.
Looking into the spaces between one thought and another, or at the silence beneath thought, labeling thoughts or even just not considering their content at all, are all forms of the same principle.
Studying knowledge of higher order from scriptures, spiritual teachers and guides, and learning models of development – can all serve us as a form of meditation into the inherent order beneath thought.
Learning how to understand the nature of our mind, its conditioned activity that produces obsessive desire, fear and contradiction, is highly important. When we understand that our mind works in an impersonal way, we stop ascribing to it a specific and personal nature. This can make us so much freer.
Practices of self-inquiry and right use of questions like Zen Koans, Yogic self-inquiry and the Jiddu Krishnamurti way of posing a question to reveal the nature of the mind and the way beyond it, are also highly significant.
Ajna Chakra Summary
The Third Eye Chakra teaches us that intelligence is not just a matter of IQ tests, information gathering and right processing of data. Intelligence is also not a matter of conceptualizing and quoting. When the sixth Chakra reaches its higher activity, it reveals depth of silent receptivity that brings about higher and unimaginable modes of perception.
This kind of higher activity is both a key to higher spiritual states of consciousness but also to a deeper clarity into the activity of all lower Chakras. With this clarity, we don’t rule our lower Chakras through the power of the rational mind, but rather through the much more delicate power of silence and listening.