The third-eye center or Ajna chakra is where we connect our wisdom and intuition. The sixth of the seven chakras, Ajna, translates from Sanskrit as ‘command’ or ‘perceive.’ The third-eye symbolizes our ability to transcend the ego and move to a higher consciousness where trust, intuition, acceptance, and clairvoyance guide our actions. At the third-eye, we practice listening to our intuition through meditation practices and coming to stillness to allow the answers to arise naturally. Ajna chakra reminds us that we can balance self-doubt and questioning with a deep appreciation for honoring our instincts and trust in our process. When we become still and silent, we create the space to sit with our discomfort and receive our body’s messages. The body does not lie. The practice of yoga may be a tool to cleanse and purge the physical, mental, and emotional tensions so we can come to meditation and listen to what we need.
When Ajna chakra is balanced, we see things as they are. We can step back and examine more than just the objects in front of us; we might step back to take in the full room and explore each item’s relationship. When Ajna chakra is out of balance, we live in Maya, the illusion, and can be disconnected from the truth. This chakra asks us to deepen our understanding and acceptance for the world precisely as it is, so we might see how we belong and interact within the world around us.
This week on the podcast, we discussed the third-eye center, Ajna, and its themes, blockages, and imbalances. We also discussed how we might connect to inner wisdom and intuition and explored Patanjali’s Sutra 11.6 in terms of falsely identifying with the ego over our truth. Read the highlights below, or get the full episode on Practice with Clara or Spotify.
Ajna Themes, Blockages, and Imbalances
Clara: The sixth chakra is at the third eye center. If you were to draw a line from one temple to the other and then from the middle of your forehead to the back of your head where those two lines intersect is where the third eye center is. The third eye center has a lot to do with intuition, wisdom and clairvoyance, beyond reason into a more profound knowledge. When we connect to our third eye, we see the bigger picture, step outside of our experience, and look at the world from an objective point of view versus a subjective point of view.
Ways of connecting to the third eye chakra and creating harmony would be meditation. Another way you could connect to the sixth chakra would be through jiva bandha. If you’re doing a yoga practice, you take the tip of your tongue and place it to the roof of your mouth, where the top pallet meets the back of your front teeth. It creates a soft opening of the jaw, but it also may activate the third eye center.
When there’s an imbalance, you’re generally not grounded and lose all sense of who you are and get lost in the ether. That’s a person who doesn’t know what’s going on.
The blockage around the sixth chakra is that you can’t hear or feel your wisdom. And so in that way, you’re running around in your ego, meaning the survival part of yourself. And you don’t know. What it is that you need. Another way a blockage would be expressed around the sixth chakra is when it’s closed is that you can’t see the bigger picture.
Watts talks about this being like the bug’s eye view versus the bird’s eye view. The bugs I view is the idea that all you can see is what’s directly in front of you. You can’t see the bigger picture and kind of an idea. And when we’re in a bug’s eye view, we can’t see all the things. We can only see the stuff directly in front of us. So that would be a blockage.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: A Guide for Meditation
False-identification is confusing the nature of the seer or Self with the nature of the instrument of perception. In other words, false identification happens when we mistake the mind, body, or senses for the true Self. – Sutra 11.6
Clara: The yoga sutras are one of India’s oldest texts written by a person called Patanjali. It’s a how-to for meditation in order to connect with your higher self or your inner wisdom. The sutras are a guide on how to meditate, how to connect to self.
The yoga sutras are ways to break free of the Maya, meaning the illusion we live in So, a large part of the practice is this idea of connecting to our consciousness or the space that actually lives in the third eye center.
The third-eye and the concept of truth versus ignorance make me think of the Matrix, and the moment Neo must choose between the blue pill (to see the truth) and the red pill (remain in ignorance). The thing is, if you take the blue pill, you can never come back. You can never unsee what it is that you saw. So the question around Ajna chakra is, do I want to stay ignorant, or do I want to go deeper? – Clara Roberts-Oss
It’s because we live in illusion, and we do not see the truth for the way that it is, meaning that we’re hanging out with the red pill and not the blue pill. (If we’re going back to the Matrix metaphor). This idea of false identification.
A lot of the yogis believe that we are not our minds, bodies, or emotions because they are always in flux. We’re looking to connect with a part of ourselves that is unchanging: the higher consciousness or collective consciousness. The bigger ‘S’ self is the higher consciousness, and the lower ‘s’ self is the ego. The ego in this definition is who we think we are, our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies. If we don’t stay connected to our bigger ‘S’ self, our consciousness, we’re in reaction mode versus response mode, meaning we’re not connecting to the greater wisdom that lives inside. We’re constantly in survival mode and living in the ego that’s always changing.
Ajna: Ego versus Inner Wisdom
Stephanie: When have you felt your ego push up against your inner wisdom and went against your gut instinct?
Clara: The most recent, the most recent event that happened would be around my child last week. When I breastfeed or when I pump, I do a lot of Googling. Google is not necessarily the best Oracle as we like to call it. And so I was Googling about breastfeeding, and then I was Googling about sleep training because she’s coming into her four months, and I felt like I needed to figure out about sleep training. Suddenly, I got into my head about the fact that I’m not doing what all these things are telling me to do, like what I’m supposed to be doing. And then I got into my head that I couldn’t put my daughter down properly and couldn’t feed her properly. I couldn’t because I was so in my head about what I thought I should be doing. And from being in my head, I couldn’t Intuit. I couldn’t tell what it was my daughter needed. I ignored my intuition.
I texted a friend of mine, and she was like, stop reading, you know what to do. For the past four months, I’ve put her down when she needs to go down. I fed her when she needs food. But all of a sudden, after reading my ego took over and made me question what I should be doing. I stopped connecting to my wisdom.
We need to listen, but there’s still so much space for a moment of self-doubt. Doubt is a good attribute to have. One thing I love about the Jewish faith is that they ask you to doubt. They ask you to question. It’s essential to ask questions because when you doubt, it solidifies what you believe.
To connect to our sixth chakra, we need to get quiet. I generally need to get still or meditate, or some people like to do some repetitive movement. You need to turn your brain off and just listen.
That is the most direct way to connect to our intuition, connect to our wisdom, and connect to our innate knowing. Listen. Whenever I start to get too busy that’s an indication that I’m not connecting to my inner wisdom, I’m lower down in my first chakra where there’s fear. So I need to stop, be still, and listen. That’s the ego’s job to keep you alive and protect you, but we need to observe what else is there and listen to what arises to honor our inner wisdom.