The Third Eye or Spiritual Breathing
The third eye is located behind the forehead, between the skull and the brain, in front of what is also called the spiritual valley or the crack between the two hemispheres of the brain. Your first task is to put your mind in that area without tensing the eyes or the face. With your head suspended, totally relax the face and try to just reside in the third eye area. Try to reside in a tiny spot. Imagine a dot, nail head, thumbtack, or maybe a raisin. See if you can maintain your visualization without thoughts stealing your mind away. With practice, you will be able to maintain the visualization while your eyes are open.
Once you feel comfortable with having the mind in the third eye, you may start to pulse this visualization. Just enlarge it from a raisin to a grape and back to a raisin. Inhale, shrink it to a raisin; exhale, expand it to a grape. Remember to monitor the tension of the face at the same time, continually relaxing the face layer by layer while pulsing the third eye visualization. Remember, the third eye energy center is not the pituitary energy center or the upper energy center in our energetic baton. The upper energy center is located below the brain lobes where the spinal cord connects to the two lobes. The third eye energy center is right behind the forehead in front of the two lobes or in front of what we refer to as the spiritual valley.
The mind resides in a fixed point in this third eye area while cooling the energy of the eyes and brain. When you cool the energy of the eyes and brain, the third eye or spiritual breathing is stronger and clearer. This gate is also the spot through which we lead the sun energy into our body, to nourish our entire being and to boost our energetic system. If you have an uncomfortable sensation of pressure in this area, just stop and massage in clockwise circles and continue another time.
A common mistake is lifting up the eyeballs toward the third eye while visualizing the third eye. Instead, drop and relax the eyeballs into their sockets and then maintain the visualization of the third eye. At the same time, lengthen the neck upward through the top of the head and lengthen through the spine. Breathe deeply, dissolve the face, and relax the neck, shoulders, and the abdominal muscles.
‘Dropping the eyes’ is part of the minor up and down forces. Imitate the setting sun movement with your eyeballs and allow your eyes to drop and relax. Keeping the spine extended and the head suspended are up forces. Meanwhile, the face relaxing, shoulders dropping, abdominal muscles relaxing are the down forces. These up and down forces are endless in the body. Over time, you will discover and understand more of them. They are essential to smooth circulation and free connection between the three forces, heaven, human, and earth, as well as creating a strong flow throughout the body and stronger guardian energy surrounding your body.
The Third Eye Requires Diligent Training
As one of my teachers told me, do not be too quick to attempt to reopen the third eye. Relaxing the face is essential to the success of third eye visualization. Spending a few minutes before this meditation to remove tension from the face will contribute tremendously to the clearness and awareness of the third eye. Opening the third eye should happen naturally, and it will happen only after many years of diligent training of both the physical body, and the development of a neutral and peaceful state of mind. People often speak of opening the third eye in terms of attaining enlightenment, but in fact, these experiences are not only metaphysical events—they are physiological processes that take many years to develop and are quite difficult, even for a mighty sage of ancient times.
Pulsing the third eye is the preparation for learning how to cool and raise the spirit. The spirit can be cooled and the spirit can be fired up. When you are in a dangerous situation, when somebody threatens you, you may look at him or her with an intense feeling. That is the sensation of your spirit being raised. When you are in a safe place, you can relax and cool your spirit while maintaining a strong awareness of it. Your spirit is still strong but it is cooled down.
There is one more stage of training the spirit and that is what we think of when we think of having no spirit. It is the sensation associated with being sad, depressed, upset, or discouraged. It occurs when your spirit is low, weak, in the moment of giving up, in the moment of despair. Studies have shown that in this state, your immune response is equally down. The good news is that you can always move from one stage to the other with the power of the mind. You can use reasoning, or the strength of the spirit, or hope, or maybe combinations of positive mindfulness.
Practice moving from a cool spirit to an intense spirit. The eyes are a useful tool in helping this visualization. To have an intense spirit, you want to have ‘fury eyes’ like a tiger, or the cat, right before it leaps on its prey. Take a mirror and see if you can create those eyes, the fury eyes. If you make the eyes too tense, they are not fury, they are just tense. On an inhalation, withdraw from this intense look and become a relaxed, quiet being, almost as if you are in your favorite spot on the beach lying down just closing your eyes and enjoying the warm sun on your face. That will be more of a calm spirit, relaxed yet vibrant, strong, and alive.
When you are in a low, defeated spirit, it is hard to come out of it on your own. That is when you need guidance and help, sometimes even professional help. At the same time, you can complement your situation by starting first with the body and breath building blocks, and then when you feel stronger, add the mind and energy blocks. Persist and do not stop. The emotional monkey mind will try hard to distract you and it is already strong at this low spiritual moment. Some days you just need to go through the motions and keep working. Sometimes, you can work your way through a bad mood, or depressed state, by practicing these energetic exercises or your tai chi form. Even if you really do not feel like practicing, you will usually feel much better when you are done. Practice the program and continue refining your mind/body skills that were passed down by the masters of the various Eastern arts.
After some time, you will come out of your depression and you will be able to practice raising and cooling the spirit. But when you are healthy, practice, practice, and practice some more and you will be able to build a positive attitude and maintain a feeling of evoking your spirituality. Remember that while cooling your spirit, it will still be strong and vibrant. It is easier to experience the raised and energized spirit, and harder to experience the cooler one. Try to find the strength of the spirit within the cooling.
Spirit does not lose its strength just because it is calm and relaxed. Think of soldiers when they are back home, or police officers on a break from their shift. Their spirits are in the cool position, but they remain alert and strong. When raising the spirit and expressing this energy with your fury eyes, make sure you balance this response with a sense of caution, awareness, maturity, freedom, and above all, compassion.