The third eye is the sixth main chakra, represented by the color indigo and located between the eyebrows. This chakra is connected to our sense of intuition and clarivoyance (clear seeing).
This is one of the most widely discussed chakras because of how prominent it is in the media, and how much of a reference point it is in Hinduism and Buddhism amongst others . The chakras being different energy points within the body, all with different purposes.
I have talked about the third eye many times on this blog, but haven’t dedicated a whole post to it because I think third eye opening requires a lot of care and consideration.
When we open the third eye we see without illusion, which can either be uplifting or terrifying. What makes the difference is the right preparation, focusing on the third eye in the right way and taking time to understand it better.
What is the third eye chakra?
Location: between the eyebrows
The third eye is referred to in so many different ways: the seat of the soul, a gate to higher consciousness, a counterpart to the pineal gland. My interpretation is that it’s an organ which governs clear sight, in a physical and metaphysical sense.
This chakra is associated with clairvoyance which is the psychic sense of sight. With this sense we can perceive auras, spirits and receive psychic visions. Many also associate the third eye with dreaming and out of body experiences.
The third eye is associated with the physical pineal gland which is a small gland within the brain. This gland helps produce melatonin which regulates sleep. The calcification of the pineal gland which is said to be caused by fluoride and other impurities in our water and food, can block the third eye from functioning at its best.
The third eye is prominent in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is considered to be the gate to inner worlds and higher consciousness, symbolizing a state of enlightenment.
In Hinduism a ’tilaka’ is often placed on the forehead to represent this sixth chakra and the awareness of it. You might also be familiar with the bindi, a colored dot or sticker worn in the same area.
What does the third eye see?
The third eye could be considered the non-physical counterpart to our eyes but I would say the third eye is less about seeing and more about perceiving. The third eye dissolves illusion, distortion, lies and reveals the truth. Seeing with third eye is seeing neutrally without judgement.
What we are able to see with the third eye has a lot to do with how we’ve developed spiritually. Some people see things in the literal sense, they see auras, spiritual beings etc. Other people see things in a more internal sense, they see themselves and others with more clarity.
Opening the third eye prematurely (using incomplete techniques) exposes us to everything we have been hiding from in ourselves and others. We see things that we might not be ready for and can become unbalanced.
This is why it’s so common to hear from people who have opened their third eye up in 24 hours or one week, and want to close it just as quickly!
When we are diligently with our spiritual practices, meditate consistently and do shadow work – the third eye opens naturally. The false boundaries and divisions we’ve created in ourselves dissolve, and so does whatever is blocking our vision.
The third eye perceives:
- Distortions and illusions
- The astral plane
- Spiritual beings
It would be impossible to summarize everything the third eye sees but what I’ve found is that the third eye isn’t just about vision, but comes alongside other senses such as feeling and hearing. This is because the way we see becomes more expansive, but also because each chakra links together even though they are often represented as separate centers.
Seeing with the third eye is also beyond ‘vision’ because it shifts the way we interact with the world. When we see more clearly we are less likely to assume things or overlook our own biases and filters.
We cultivate a deeper sense of peace, balance and tolerance. We tune into our intuition on a deeper level, we cultivate deeper creativity and ease. We will notice the ways we hold ourselves back, interact with others and might want to make changes to our lifestyle according to this.
How to open the third eye
One of my favorite ways to approach third eye opening is with a single question, ‘what is blocking my vision’.
Think of all of the things that keep you in illusion: the aspects you avoid in yourself and others, the blockages you have in different areas of your life. What keeps you from seeing things clearly? That is where you begin your work.
The reason I like to lead with this question rather than the usual visualization exercizes is because it prepares us for what we might see. There is no point opening the third eye if we aren’t ready to face our vision.
This also shifts third eye opening from an external thing, as if we are cracking the third eye open, and makes it an internal journey – how we purify ourselves from the inside out. This will save you a lot of grief down the road.
When I started to open my third eye i was extremely impatient, I wanted to see things quickly. However I was ignoring a lot of my emotions, I ignored a lot of the problems in my life and thought I could just skip ahead.
When my third eye opened (at least in a superficial sense) I began to see all of this shadow but in a very literal sense. It was scary and disorienting. I had to take a step back from doing third eye exercizes and actually focus on organizing my life.
When opening the third eye it’s important to look at your physical life aswell. How does your daily routine line up with your values and spiritual practice?
Ask yourself these questions:
- How secure or safe do I feel?
- How creative and free do I feel?
- How responsible and capable do I feel?
- How often am I operating from my heart?
- Do I speak my truth?
- Do I see things clearly or prefer to fantasize?
- Am I connected to my spirit?
I’m not saying you have to have absolutely everything in your life in order, no one does, but rather that this type of introspection is essential – it’s an integral part of the process.
You may notice that these seven areas are linked to the seven chakras – that was intentional! The lower chakras act as the foundation of our energy body, the root chakra acting as the roots of our chakra system.
Lower chakra work is so important because those chakras contain the most dense energy. They relate to our physical sense of safety, security, sexuality, and our physical actions.
When our lower chakras (our physical aspect) is not addressed but we force the third eye open, we are made aware of all of these blockages in the lower chakras and might see a manifestation of this energy in an overwhelming way.
I do not believe that the third eye opens once and then remains open eternally. Rather there are levels of opening, all of our third eyes are open to some extent. The third eye isn’t a mechanical device or switch which we can simply turn on, it’s like a muscle that we work on.
Absorb new information
Don’t be afraid to seek out new sources of information, test your beliefs more thoroughly, interact with people who you don’t necessarily agree with. I don’t encourage doing this mindlessly and taking in everything like a sponge, rather go in with discernment.
When confronted with a new piece of information that contradicts your existing beliefs, sit with that discomfort! Ask yourself questions, do further research. It’s all about expanding your frame of reference and acknowledging that you have blind spots.
Get comfortable with silence
The third eye opens us up to higher levels of consciousness, universal consciousness, the Universe, whatever word you would like to use.
One of the best ways to tune into different levels of consciousness is to embrace silence. Sit in a quiet place and focus on your breath. Notice the resistance you feel simply sitting and being for a moment.
In this modern age we can keep ourselves stimulated around the clock, but this means there is less space for our intuition (which connects to the third eye) to come through. As simple as silence is, it allow us to face ourselves because we have nowhere else to run, we have to sit and be.
Shift your lifestyle
If there is a lifestyle change you have been wanting to make but always put off, now is a great time to get started. Exercize, drink plenty of water and create a consistent sleep schedule.
This might seem like general lifestyle advice (and it can be) but it relates to the third eye because the simpler we make our lives, the easier it is to tune into the third eye and see clearly.
- Eat more wholefoods that come from the earth like raw cacao, blueberries, goji berries, foods with plenty of antioxidants.
- Wear purple clothing, add more purple to your home decor, plant a few irises or bell flowers.
- Incorporate essential oils such as lemon, lavender and sandalwood.
- Drink herbal teas that contain mugwort, valerian, mint.
Third eye meditation
I think it’s important to keep things simple in relation to the third eye.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed and back straight.
- Focus on the breath for a few minutes, breathing from the stomach area.
- Bring your focus to the spot between your eyebrows (without straining).
- Meditate on this spot for a few minutes.
I recommend doing this meditation once a week at most. We don’t want to focus on the third eye specifically for too long, especially if the lower centers aren’t fully balanced, but some focus here is very grounding and clarifying.
Third eye visualization
One of the most well-known third eye exercizes is to visualize a dot, an eye or a lotus in the location of it.
I would recommend starting with a dot or circle to begin with as these are the easiest, especially if you’ve never practiced visualization before. Simply close your eyes and try to hold an image of a purple dot in the center of your mind’s eye for as long as you can.
You might be surprised at just how difficult this is. When I first started visualization I could only hold an image in my mind for a few seconds. Just keep practicing and you’ll notice an improvement rather quickly.
When you are comfortable visualizing a purple dot, try to change its color or size. The move onto different shapes such as a square or diamond. As you make these changes, notice the different associations that arise.
Visualizing purple evokes a different feeling/emotion than red, blue, white etc. Building this internal language is key to developing the third eye because different messages will come through in relation to these associations.
One of my favorite exercizes for the third eye is to visualize a purple lotus blossoming in the center of your forehead. This is a little more advanced and can be difficult to maintain, however it allows you to gain more precision over the third eye.
What these exercizes do is strengthen our third eye muscle, if you will. We might be receiving visions and intuitive insights already but because our mind’s eye cannot maintain images we don’t realize it. When the images we see in our mind’s eye are clear, spirit can more easily communicate visuals.
How long does it take to open your third eye?
This is a common question when working on the third eye. People want to know what to expect and to have a timeline they can reference. However as we’ve explored so far, third eye opening isn’t something with a defined end goal.
Most people’s third eyes are already open and third eye awareness can fluctuate over time.
You can experience a third eye awakening within days or weeks or practicing certain exercizes; this is what people usually refer to when they talk about opening the third eye.
This is where you will see certain images/visuals in the third eye for the first time, there is usually a peak experience where the third eye seemingly opens up all at once. Then things will plateau.
However to maintain a clear third eye (to maintain a certain awareness) is about the journey rather than the destination. Just like learning a language, developing artistic skill or building muscle, working on the third eye requires consistent practice.
Signs your third eye is opening
- Buzzing or tingling sensations in the forehead
- You feel less anxiety and overwhelm
- You feel more connected
- You feel guided (clearer intuition)
- You can see people and situations more clearly
- You are comfortable with your shadow
- You are compelled to make lifestyle shifts
As I mentioned before, the third eye isn’t a door we can open and have it remain open, it’s more like a muscle that we train.
This means that our third eye can be open to different extents at different times in our life. Many people find their third eye is open without doing any specific technique because they are already attuned to this level of consciousness.
It’s also true that the third eye can close or become imbalanced over time. This can happen if we place too much focus there and become uncomfortable with what we see, or if we bring too much of our ego into our practice and rush things.
The third eye is associated with dreams and out of body experiences, and so you could say we all experience third eye vision from time to time. Most people, even though who are not focused on spirituality, receive gut feelings that come with a visual from time to time.
People who live slow-paced, mindful lives and spend a lot of time in nature tend to have an open third eye due to the level of consciousness they naturally rest at throughout the day.
Signs of an overactive third eye
- You have difficulty feeling grounded
- You feel restless or flighty
- You experience frequent headaches
- You experience sensory overload
- The intuitive messages you receive become overwhelming
When I first started exercizing my third eye things progressed rapidly. I was already mindful and meditating in some sense and so my third eye was already open to some extent. However this actually worked against me because the techniques I did started to make me feel overwhelmed.
Before doing these exercizes observe how open your third eye already is, and decide how much you actually want to focus there.
If your third eye is already active and you are already highly tuned in on a visual level, focus less on the third eye. If your third eye is inactive it’s still important to proceed with care, as you’ll be experiencing a new level of awareness that will be unfamiliar.
How to balance the third eye
To balance an overactive third eye you can focus on physical priorities, notice where you have been procrastinating or neglecting self care. Spend more time in nature, walk barefoot on the earth. Create something, draw, paint, whatever it is that keeps you grounded.
Limit how much time you focus on the third eye (if at all). You don’t have to focus on the third eye in a direct way in order to progress spiritually, as we do the inner work and meditate consistently the third eye is naturally taken care of.
Learn more about the other six chakras and how to work with them. Start at the root chakra and work your way up over time.
As I was writing this guide I had the saying ‘as above, so below’ in mind. What I mean by this is that with each step we take upwards (towards the higher chakras) we have to take a step downward (into the roots).
Third eye development is all about balance, as with most things. It’s no use having our third eye wide open when our roots are all messy and tangled. We will become overwhelmed, confused and ungrounded.
The third eye is often approached in a detached way (at least in modern contexts) and I’d like to bring more care and consideration to the process.