The following post is adapted from THE WISDOM OF THE CHAKRAS: TOOLS FOR NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITY OF LIFE (Lantern Books) by Ellen Tadd.
Once, during the Winter Olympics, I watched the women's ice skating competition on television and observed where the skaters placed their focus. Whether consciously or unconsciously, when a skater was focused in the third eye (the center of focus and concentration, wisdom, clarity, clairvoyance, discernment, and spiritual perception), the performance was well-executed; when a skater was focused in the solar plexus chakra (the center of emotion where you experience butterflies when you are nervous) the performance was disappointing, marred by falls or unsteadiness.
This example illustrates the importance of feeling and focusing through the third eye to actualize potential. People naturally shift in and out of the third eye. However, when the technique of concentrating from this chakra becomes understood and applied, it is possible to maintain clarity and emotional balance. Clarity is our greatest protection, because clarity supports appropriate choice.
Here is a simple exercise that will allow you to experience the difference between focusing in the solar plexus chakra and the third-eye chakra. This exercise shows that a small shift in focus can create a significant change in the way one experiences life.
Sit up straight with your spine aligned and rest your hands comfortably on your thighs, palms down. Close your eyes, focus in your solar plexus, and visualize the following images. Imagine yourself walking into a grocery store alone to go shopping. Be aware of what you feel: your relationship to the people and their relationship to you, your association with the food, and how you want to fulfill your tasks. Make a mental note of your reactions. When you are finished, put your palms up and rest them on your thighs.
Now, like an elevator, bring your focus up to the point right in the middle of your forehead. As you bring your focus all the way up, envision a round window in the middle of your forehead while pressing your focus out of this point. Hold your focus, do not let it drop. As you look out of your forehead with your eyes closed, be aware of the same scene. You are going grocery shopping alone, but this time you are looking through your forehead. Be aware of the difference. Be aware of how you feel, your relationship to the people, and their relationship to you.
In most cases, this simple exercise demonstrates how our perception and experience can radically change depending on our focus. When perceiving from the solar plexus, most people experience fear or anxiety of some sort, whether it is about time, decision-making, or people. Reactions will vary from individual to individual depending on weaknesses and lessons being learned. In contrast, third-eye focus as a rule produces relief, greater positivity, self-confidence, and appropriate action.
I often use the grocery shopping example in my teaching and consulting because it is an activity that many people do and so it demonstrates how an activated third eye can substantially improve the quality of that daily life. This dramatic change of perception is only a pivot away.
Here is another exercise to try, though some find it more difficult. Close your eyes and recall a disagreement you had with someone you care about. Visualize this memory in the solar plexus region. Be aware of what you feel, what the other person feels, the relationship between the two of you, and how you wish to go forward in the relationship. Make a mental note of your experience.
When you are finished, once again like an elevator bring your focus up to the middle of your forehead. Tapping this point with the index finger can be helpful in holding focus at the third eye. As you look out of your forehead with your eyes closed, I would like you to be aware of the same scene. As you experience this memory, compare the difference of perception between the third eye and the solar plexus.
This second exercise is usually more difficult because of its emotional content. The pull to stay in the solar plexus--the center of emotion--is often stronger. Yet with practice the third-eye chakra will strengthen and maintaining focus there will become easier.
If the solar plexus is used as the center of perception, the experience tends to be one of reaction, whether the reaction is anger, hurt, or sadness. When centered in the solar plexus, most people are unable to understand the other person's point of view, and a disagreement is usually taken personally. Third-eye perception is more objective and it fosters comprehension and compassion for the other person's situation. From this vantage point, it becomes possible to respond with an appropriate action rather than a reaction that provides no relief.
People have often asked me if focusing from the third eye represses emotional response. My work with clients has taught me quite the opposite. Emotional repression develops when life is habitually experienced from the solar plexus rather than the third-eye chakra. When people consistently focus from the solar plexus chakra, they become vulnerable "psychic sponges" who indiscriminately absorb the energy of their environments and/or the emotions of others. Consequently, for these people life feels emotionally overwhelming, the solar plexus becomes dangerously enlarged, and they may feel repression is necessary for self-protection.
In contrast, the third eye works as a filter to distinguish essence from behavior, clarity from confusion, and truth from falsehood. This refinement of perception fosters appropriate and protective actions, while preventing repressive and reactionary behavior.
Decisions made from the third eye are appropriate for all individuals who might be affected by them, because the third eye generations a spiritually attuned view. By using this chakra, spiritual feelings and understanding can be incorporated into doing the laundry, cooking dinner, raising children, working at a job, and simply maintaining our human form.
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