Awakening the Guru Within - the Third Eye, Meditation and Inner Vision
Catherine Sinclair is a meditator, psychologist and teaches workshops for the Clairvision School of meditation in Australia. She writes about her own experiences of awakening on a spiritual path and of the third eye.
In Sanskrit texts the third eye has a variety of names that describe its nature and functions. One of these is “jnana-chaksu” - “the eye of knowledge or wisdom”. It is the “antar-guru” or the teacher inside.
This describes my first experiences of this subtle centre of energy and my ongoing relationship with the work of the Clairvision School of meditation, first as a student and then teaching others how to access their own inner knowing and spiritual vision.
Throughout my 20s I became more and more aware that there was some kind of inner life that existed in the background of my awareness that I wanted to get in touch with. Like many spiritual seekers I was interested in knowing the mysteries of reality for myself. I wasn’t satisfied with reading or hearing about them from others. I wanted living knowledge – direct experience.
A well-known analogy from the Upanishads, ancient Vedantic texts, describes a human being as having ten gates to the body. Nine of these gates lead to the outside world: the physical eyes, the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the anus and the urethra. The tenth gate is the third eye. It leads not to the outside world, but is a portal to inner realms. The third eye puts you in touch with non-physical realities and high spaces of consciousness that are inaccessible to the ordinary senses.
The third eye can be often be seen depicted as a jewel on the forehead of statues of buddhas. Although it is often thought of as an Eastern spiritual teaching it is neither Western or Eastern but is a non-physical centre that all human beings have access to.
For example a well known quote from the bible is:
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
My early experience of spirituality was growing up with a Catholic school education that did not give me that deeper ‘something’. I felt very frustrated with beliefs that, at the time, lacked meaning for me. Later on I had opportunities to go into new age spirituality but never found this attractive because, to me, it appeared to have a certain superficiality.
In 1997 some friends invited me along to an ‘Awakening the Third Eye workshop’ at the Clairvision School in Sydney, Australia, where I lived. In many ways I was cynical about spirituality through my prior experiences but I begrudgingly enrolled! When I went along to the workshop I found that the simple techniques immediately gave me access to a sense of being and expanse that I had only experienced previously as a background flavour to the chatter in mind. I was amazed at the depth and beauty of feeling and knowing inside.
I hungered for more and meditated every morning after the workshop. I looked forward to my daily meditations and tried to maintain my awareness of the third eye during my daily activities. My perception of the world and sense of myself started to transform. This thread of being that I had discovered started to permeate my daily life – the world gained so much more substance as I began to perceive and understand more about the subtle aspects of nature, people and myself.
Although I had reservations about any kind of spiritual theories I liked the ‘see for yourself, know for yourself’ philosophy that the school espoused rather than a dogmatic approach. I was not being asked to believe in anything but to see for myself. I was so impressed with the depth and power of the Clairvision work that I have stayed with it for 15 years now and have been teaching it for the last 12 years.
The third eye is traditionally used for meditation because of its properties of internalization. Bringing awareness to the third eye in meditation allows the meditator to move inwards towards their own source. With practice meditation brings awakening – more life, more joy, more depth.
It’s often through new and sometimes extreme experiences such as being at war or jumping out of a plane with a parachute that people get a taste of what it would be like to be really awake – a sense of really living rather than sleeping through life automatically. But
awakening triggered through external experiences is fleeting, whereas meditation brings lasting changes to your consciousness.
As a point of internalisation, the third eye can be used for various activities. It acts as a flame of essence when aware during daily activities. When the mind is silenced, daily activities become not only more enjoyable but easier and more fluid. Creative endeavors are more fruitful because you can tap into the sources of creativity. The Rig Veda calls this “milking the celestial cow”.
Another of the names for the third eye is “ajna chakra” which literally means ‘Command Centre’ – the third eye is the command centre for the body of energy or life force, known as chi in Traditional Chinese Medicine or the etheric body in the subtle bodies model of Rudolph Steiner. When I started to work with the third eye I was amazed to experience tingling sensations not just in the area of the third eye but right throughout my body. After only a few days of practicing my energy felt fresh and more lively. A common experience that people have when working with the third eye is that there is a direct effect on their body of energy. It works a little like a form of self-acupuncture. Many people find that by getting in touch with the third eye all kinds of health problems can improve.
Probably what the third eye is known for most in the Western world is its potential for inner vision. Cultivation of the third eye centre brings deeper intuition, a knowing of what’s behind superficial appearances of the world around you and the people you are with, it allows visions of non-physical aspects of nature and spiritual worlds.
In my first ‘Awakening the Third Eye workshop’ I did not have many particularly ‘visual’ experiences although many people do. What was most striking for me was the feeling of warmth the techniques brought – not physical warmth but a warmth of heart, and with this came knowing. Some perceptions of light and colour were there at times but, more than just mere visions, they brought a feeling of lightness and joy.
Although my outer life was more or less okay at the time (I worked as a production coordinator in the film and television industry and had a small production company in which I produced low budget music video clips for up and coming and bands), I often struggled with a feeling of lack
of direction. I did not really know what was best for me, which was the right direction to go in my life, what I wanted or even who I really was. My life was filled with uncertainty. The third eye gave me a way of connecting to such a deep knowing – a wisdom that came right from the core of me. When I connected to the third eye I had a stronger sense of ‘me’. I was so excited about this that I kept as much awareness as possible in the area between my eyebrows during the day.
From there my world started transforming. I began sensing deeper aspects of friends and the people I worked with. I could then understand and relate to them at deeper levels, something I found extremely satisfying.
While I was becoming more sensitive to the subtle aspects of reality I was also learning how to use my newfound awareness to work with situations in my daily life. Since a bout of glandular fever in my early twenties I had experienced fatigue. For a couple of years this was constant and then slowly lifted. Although it was no longer constant I would get drained when I had to deal with crowds and busy situations. Working with the third eye increased my energy levels but also allowed me to ground and protect my energy when I was in such situations. This was an area of my life that I had previously not had the power or know-how to do anything about.
The meditative space of the third eye can also be used to bring a broader perspective to life problems, to explore and resolve emotions and to know yourself at deeper levels. The ISIS (Inner Space, Interactive Sourcing) techniques are taught as a complement to meditation and for just these reasons. Trying to reach spiritual heights without dealing with emotional complications and limiting beliefs is like trying to row a boat with the anchor down. You can keep rowing for years, perhaps a whole lifetime but make very little progress.
After practicing the Clairvision techniques for a few years I decided to seek qualifications so that I could see clients in a professional framework. I qualified as a psychologist and have had a private practice for the past 12 years in which I use the Clairvision School’s meditation based ‘Inner Space Techniques’ as an effective and profound form of psychotherapy with clients.
For myself, the combination of meditation and ISIS has led me to a much stronger sense of myself and a degree of inner silence. Without the emotional ups and downs that were previously present in my life I have more clarity and direction. For my clients, the students I’ve worked with and my friends who have also been doing this style of inner alchemy, I’ve seen these methods lead people to a completely new vision of themselves, more access to their spiritual potential and positive life changes.
With a form of work that emphases direct experience it makes a lot of sense to start with something that gives you immediate access to inner worlds. Starting with the third eye as the teacher inside brings, in my experience, a thread of knowing, being and inner silence that grows inside the more you practice. Strong inside, you can deal with whatever the world brings you – you can be free to be yourself.
The Clairvision work begins with third eye techniques but goes on to give students a variety of methods to know themselves and discover their own inner truth. It offers students a thorough training to take their spiritual work to whatever level they wish – whether that be simply to live a more spiritual life or to experience the apex of self-knowledge.
- Clairvision School of Meditation
Powerful meditation techniques to bring you inner peace and clarity. Simple, straightforward, effective. The Clairvision techniques work!