Many spiritual traditions teach the existence of an invisible third eye, which functions as a gateway to higher realms of consciousness. It’s believed that this third eye allows us to experience visions and other mystical phenomenon. According to this belief, although each of us is born with an inner – or spiritual – eye, we must learn to open it throughout the course of our lives.
As an academic and an educator, I’m naturally skeptical of supernatural claims. But as I experience new things in life, I have become increasingly convinced that a core of truth lies behind this belief. Call it the third eye, the ajna chakra, clairvoyance, the sixth sense or whatever you may. The fact remains that a connection does exist between our waking, conscious mind and some greater level of consciousness.
3rd Eye Vision
In my own life there have been instances that vividly illustrate this reality. One afternoon, while daydreaming at my desk, I saw myself enter a large, empty theater. The next day I was invited on a surprise excursion, and this very circumstance occurred. There was also the time that I played roulette at my university’s “casino night.” To my surprise I knew the winning numbers before they were called. Most of us have had experiences similar to these. They are those rare and unexplainable moments which we never forget.
As an artist and a writer, I’ve also experienced flashes of profound inspiration. Many of my best ideas appeared instantaneously from nowhere. I’ve always suspected that these ideas originated within my subconscious, or were introduced by a higher power.
But I’ve also undergone lengthy dry spells during which fresh ideas were slow in coming. Reflecting on these stretches of time, I’ve wondered why my creativity stopped flowing. In retrospect, I can see that these were periods during which I was not receptive to inspiration. There was simply too much noise in my life.
Re-framing this in mystical terminology, it is possible that during these dry spells my third eye was closed. The connection that brings ideas forward to my conscience mind wasn’t functioning. Overburdened by the cares of this world, I was distracted and unreceptive.
Enjoy the Silence
So how do we open ourselves to inspiration? Some Eastern religions have developed rigorous methods of training to open the third eye. Through my own studies, I have identified two practices which keep me receptive to creative inspiration.
The first practice is to seek out and embrace silence. So much of our lives is blanketed in a fog of noise. Wherever we go we are exposed to the sounds of chatter, music and television. Many of us are uncomfortable with silence, and purposely surround ourselves with noise.
Yet it is in those rare moments of quiet stillness that we are most receptive. A trusted friend spent over a year living as a monk on Mount Athos. During that time he studied with several renowned spiritual masters, each of whom emphasized the value of silence. The pollution of noise, they taught him, needs time to work it’s way out of your consciousness. They advised that for every minute spent listening to music or watching television, an equal amount of time should be spent in silence. While that may not be practical for most of us, setting aside time for silence each day can make a profound difference in our lives.
The Power of Now
The second practice is to remain in the present moment. Our minds are constantly worrying about the future, or dwelling on the past. Stop and ask yourself this question: how much time do you actually spend thinking about the present moment?
The sad reality is that much of our lives slip past us. Because we exist in a state of ceaseless distraction, we miss many opportunities for growth. And very often the best ideas present themselves right now, in the present.
Placing yourself in the present moment – and learning to stay there consistently – will open new levels of awareness within yourself. There are many techniques to accomplish this, including some forms of meditation and centering prayer. One way to begin is by reading a modern spiritual classic: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book has transformed many lives, including my own.
By adopting these two practices, you will create a new level of receptiveness within yourself. In other words, you are providing the conditions necessary for the third eye to open. In doing so, you will unleash powers of creative inspiration which are otherwise inaccessible. And when this occurs, you will cross new thresholds as both an artist and as a human being.
For more thoughts on writing and spirituality, you may also enjoy Fantasy Writing and the Spiritual Quest.