Ajna or the Third Eye Chakra is the sixth chakra in this energetic system. The Sanskrit translation of Ajna is “perceive”, “beyond wisdom”, and “command”. The third eye occupies the highest seat within the physical body, and is the command center for vision, perception, and connecting to the Higher Self.
The third eye chakra is associated with the element Light. It is located at the center of the head, slightly above eye level. It is corresponds with the pineal gland, a tiny cone-shaped gland located in this area. It represents intuitive wisdom and connection to the subtlest realms, and serves as a gateway into the beyond. It is symbolized by a two-petaled lotus, the two petals representing the two intersecting nadis or energetic pathways at this chakra. The two petals are symbolic of the last realm of existence where duality is still expressed. Beyond this level, all merges into one.
The bija mantra or seed symbol is OM; when chanted the sound vibration cleanses and heals this chakra. The third eye chakra is visualized in a deep indigo color. Within the depiction is a downward triangle, representing the downward manifestation of matter from spirit. Within this chakra resides the deity Hakini Shakti, feminine consort of Lord Shiva and goddess of the third eye.
The third eye chakra is closely associated with the sense of sight. The eyes perceive images of the external world, revealed by light, which are then processed by the brain internally. The pineal gland acts as a light meter for the body. The production of melatonin, a hormone associated with the waking and sleep cycles, has been isolated in this gland. Melatonin is also believed to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and slow the aging process. Melatonin production decreases with age, and low melatonin levels are associated with depression. Interestingly, higher than normal levels of melatonin are associated with manic states.
At the subtle levels, the pineal gland and therefore the third eye is also called the “Seat of the Soul”. The most significant aspect of consciousness at the level of the third eye is the development of psychic abilities. Just as the ajna chakra is associated with physical vision, it is also linked to clairvoyance or “clear seeing” into the subtler reality. When this chakra is balanced, activated and open, life flows through the individual with Divine purpose. It is characterized by mental clarity, improved concentration, clear self-expression, heightened intuition, an innate sense of bliss, decisiveness, and insight.
The third eye chakra becomes blocked by impatience, expectations, living in the burdens of the past, and a general predominance of negative thought patterns occupying the majority of the mind-space. It is said that damage occurs at the astral or subtle levels long before physical symptoms appear. Chronic Ajna imbalance can manifest physically in a variety of ways, including blindness, headaches, nightmares, eyestrain, and blurred vision.