The Art of Seeing: Third Eye Perception & The Mystical Gaze
July 11, 2012 § 137 Comments
“There is a vast difference between looking and seeing.”~ Ernest W. Watson
“No wonder once the art of seeing is lost, Meaning is lost, and all life seems ever more meaningless.” ~ Frederick Franck
“Our whole business in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God may be seen.” ~ Saint Augustine
Every one of us has had a moment where ordinary life becomes shot through with clarity, intense presence and visual potency. A person, animal or perhaps a plant — a scene of startling beauty or realness — seems to take on a luminous inner source and for a moment all of life feels that much closer, more charged and meaningful.
It can be said that in those moments one is seeing through the lens or the eye of the soul.
The concept of the third eye appears in a wide gamut of mystical traditions, including Hinduism, Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism, Jewish and Christian mysticism. The third eye — also known as the blue pearl, the inner eye, and the sixth, or ajna, chakra — is traditionally associated with psychic experiences, divine seeing and the higher visionary realm.
It has been called a gateway that leads to inner realms, and other worlds; a personal vortex.
The pineal gland — a small endocrine gland nestled between the two hemispheres of the brain — is considered by many to be the physical counterpart to the spiritual third eye. Up until 1958, when Aaron Lerner discovered that the rice-grain-sized gland transformed serotonin into melatonin and regulated wake/sleep patterns, it had been regarded by the scientific community as very likely vestigial.
French philosopher Renee Descartes called the pineal “the seat of the soul,” postulating that the gland interacted in some way between the eyes and the brain, acting as the chief interpreter of vision…an idea developed hundreds of years before by the father of the Scientific Method, the ancient Greek physician Herophilos. Through his pioneering anatomical dissections, Herophilos theorized that the pineal glad was an interfacing organ that gained man access to the spiritual worlds.
This theory is compatible with the ancient Eastern belief, from Hindus to Taoists, that the luminous sphere witnessed in the inner eye region is in fact the same tunnel through which the human soul exits the body.
If you want to develop your third eye vision, you can do so by taking a few moments out when you are calm and relaxed, closing your eyes and focusing your attention within, specifically towards the spot between your brows. It’s not so much that this is where the blue pearl will appear, but it’s a generally conducive place to focus.
The undulating sparks which can sometimes be seen behind closed lids, or in total darkness, are called phosphenes — characterized by seeing light when no light is actually hitting the retina. Keep focusing on the third eye region whenever you have a few minutes to dedicate to the exercise. You don’t have to sit crossed legged on a mat to meditate — the bath is also a nice, low pressure environment to go within.
You will slowly begin to make out a distinct spherical shape in the center of your vision — perhaps a blue or violet impression. Don’t strain, just casually return to this practice when you feel like it. Over time the indigo color will become more distinct and you may begin to have some interesting experiences.
Happy travels in inner space!
*For practical application, further details and the author’s anecdotal experiences, see comments section (under title).
And: “The Mind’s Eye.”