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Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons
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Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 416 - From Third Eye to Sixth Sense, and Beyond  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
416.1 - Inner Seeing and the Secrets of Wilder  (Audio)
416.2 - "Dimensional" Spiritual Experiences Versus Enlightenment
  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: July 5, 2010

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"


Q: I have been practicing Sambhavi Mudra and Mulabandha now for maybe a month, and I am having trouble in opening my third eye. No sensations at all. Do you have any suggestion as to how to open it, or do I continue as instructed until it does?

Meanwhile, I have experienced a kind of merging or dissolving of my body from the inner self to the outside of myself. It's like a perception. I feel this is a very good sign and I wanted to share it with you. Can you elaborate?

One last thing. It has been a year of AYP, and it is really paying off during activities of daily life. A deep sense of peace, reverence for all on this planet, and love becoming everywhere, where in the past there was a lot of fear. I now know that I have finally found something that is truly directing my life in so many ways I would never had imagined.

A: "Sensations" are not a prerequisite for opening the third eye. In fact, sensations of the physical and energetic variety are indications that further purification and opening are yet to come. This is also true of "visions," which are still in the temporal realm, projected by the mind as having spacial dimensions and duration. Ultimately, the opening of the third eye has little to do with our perceptions and mental projections in time and space.

What then is the opening of the third eye?

Put quite simply, it is the awakening and expansion of the spinal nerve (sushumna), which is a combination/blending of rising inner silence and ecstatic conductivity. In terms of the traditional spiritual anatomy, the third eye covers the spinal nerve from the center brow back to the center of the brain, and down through the medulla oblongata. It is the top part of the spinal nerve. This is the area that receives the most attention, and where some symptoms of purification and opening may occur. But, in fact, the spiritual anatomy of the third eye reaches all the way down to the root in the area of the perineum. When the third eye is opening, it is a whole body experience, and not necessarily only of energetic symptoms, visions, etc. It can also be along the lines you have described a sense of the body dissolving, and an increasing sense of Oneness with all we experience in life. From this, we can say that your third eye is indeed opening!

Mudras and bandhas help this along on the ecstatic conductivity side, though we need not expect any particular kind of symptoms. The experience will vary, depending on the nature of inner obstructions, and the skill and consistency with which we have been conducting our daily practice over time. Clearly the daily attention you have been giving to deep meditation and spinal breathing pranayama has been paying off, and you can be confident that all is happening as it should. Just continue and the results will grow. This applies to the use of mudras, bandhas and other practices also. Just do them like clockwork, self-pacing as necessary for good progress with comfort. That is all there is to it.

Many expect to "see something" through the third eye, and a lot of effort (mental projection) may go into this, without adding anything to spiritual progress. There are many levels of seeing, with spiritual intuition being the most basic, and most important. The dimensional "seeing" of colors, tunnel and star, lokas, beings, etc. are least important. The rise of these kinds of experiences has been called the development of a "sixth sense" clairvoyance, clairaudience, and so on. These are fairly common occurrences along the way. But the opening of the third eye is far more than that. It is the growth of divine intuition that is the real payoff. This is "seeing" what cannot be seen, even with the subtle senses, and living what is beyond temporal life. It is a knowing without knowing, which leads automatically to doing without doing. "Stillness in action." Then we have become a channel for an endless divine outpouring. This is what real third eye opening is, far beyond the interesting trinkets of ecstatic energy surges and psychic experience.

With well-managed daily practices, our intuition grows to the point where we naturally know what is evolutionary in all situations we encounter on this earth plane. We do not have to know why. It comes from within, from beyond the mind. We find we can stand firm in That which is unmoved and all moving. It is this spiritual intuition that comes through an opening and maturing of the third eye. The third eye (ajna) is a channel for expressing ourselves on this earth plane, because it ties together all the components associated with spiritual intuition and evolutionary action heart, mind, body, inner silence and divine ecstasy. The product is outpouring divine love, which is why our actions toward others are always the best measure of our spiritual condition, and the condition of our third eye.

So we go from sensory perceptions in time and space, to sixth sense perceptions beyond the five physical senses, to intuitive seeing and divine wisdom in stillness, etc. It is an evolution beyond the sights and sounds (scenery) of our spiritual anatomy.

This is why we always say, favor the practice over the experience, or any idea (judgment) we may be having about a lack of experience. These are certainly distractions from the main event, which is our inner opening that cannot be measured, except in the quality of our daily life. That is the place to find it. What our expectations are about results during practice have little to do with anything, except our motivation to practice, so it is good to cultivate an attitude of "just keep going," no matter what.

Of course, self-pacing is a fine-tuning of this, where we reduce practices as necessary if the rate of purification and opening is becoming too much. You have been doing very well with that for the past year, having excellent results, and you should continue.

We are not in this for a temporal opening of the third eye, seeing lights, rainbow tunnels, stars, or any particular glitzy experience. We are in it for cultivating permanent abiding inner peace, creativity and happiness everywhere. Sounds like you are doing very well in that.

Yes, the most important results are found in ordinary daily living. Wonderful you are seeing that emerging in your life. It is the opening of your third eye. So carry on.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on building and maintaining a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book.  For instructions on the effective use of mudras and bandhas, see the Asanas, Mudras and Bandhas book. Also see AYP Plus.

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