by Shannon Bow Jackson
Chances are the optometrist only checks that two of your eyes are functioning. But what about your third eye; who checks on that? A neurologist? Spiritual Healer? Yoga Instructor? Yourself? The answer might vary, given that this third eye is believed to reside within the pineal gland inside of the brain. The name “third eye” comes from the pineal gland’s primary function of ‘letting in light and darkness’, just as our two eyes do. This gland is the melatonin-secreting neuroendocrine organ containing light-sensitive cells that control the circadian rhythm (1). The diagram shows that nerve cells in the retinas of our eyes allow for light to be sensed. When there is light, the nerve cells in the retina then signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus. The SCN is the ‘internal clock’ in mammals which blocks the signal to the pineal gland. The pineal gland then prevents the hormone melatonin from being secreted (2).
Dr. Cheryl Craft, a vision neuroscientist and professor of ophthalmology and cell and neurobiology at the University of Southern Carolina referred to the pineal gland as the ‘mind’s eye’ in a 1995 article. She went on to explain that the pineal gland-like structure found in lizards acted as a ‘third eye’ which responded to light (4 and 5). Another pineal gland function that a team led by Michigan Medicine discovered, is that the mammalian brain has naturally occurring DMT in the pineal gland and other parts of the brain (7). N, N-dimethyltryptamine, or more commonly known as DMT, originally found in plants, is a hallucinogenic drug with effects that give one an ‘out of body’ experience (6). There is ongoing research to find out exactly what it does, but they have found increased levels of DMT in rats nearing death. It might be related to mystical near-death experiences that people have claimed to have experienced (7).
If you are not familiar with the third eye, you might wonder what exactly it is. Many believe that a soul resides within our bodies; it cannot be seen or touched, but it is there. It is talked about as though it is a tangible object with many thinking it is within the heart. The phrases, “they have such a beautiful soul” or “they are soulless” have been heard. Just as having a soul or lack thereof can dictate how we act even though it is not physically present, the third eye is thought to help people become enlightened, spiritually awakened, or as the millennials say, “woke.” Different cultures and religions have their own takes on the third eye, but the Hindu religion is a big proponent of the phenomenon. One of the core Gods, Lord Shiva, possesses a third eye at the center of the forehead which stands for spiritual knowledge and power (8).
In the Christian religion there is a Bible verse that states, “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” Matthew 6:22 (10). This verse can be interpreted in many ways, but some believe it to relate to the soul of the third eye. Another example is seen in Ancient Egyptian culture. The Eye of Horus is a sign of prosperity and protection, which has often been referred to as the third eye. The Eye of Horus structure shows a resemblance to the part of the brain that seems to encompass the pineal gland. Ancient Egyptians were one of the first cultures to have many art and medical findings. The eye is broken down into six parts which are believed to represent the six senses. The iris and pupil within the Eye of Horus correspond to the thalamus and pineal gland on the brain image (11).
These are a couple examples of where the third eye can be found in culture and religion.
So why would anyone want to awaken or open their third eye? The importance of the third eye is seen in the principles of Buddhist Dharmic traditions of law and order. The third eye chakra is an energy center within the body on the forehead in the center of the brows. It is presumed that we would want all of the chakras in our bodies to be aligned and properly energized.
Once our third eye chakra is opened, we can gain wisdom, intuition, deeper self-reflection, higher self-confidence, and logic, just to name a few.
Anyone would love to have those traits, but you now may be wondering: how does one open the third eye? A common practice is to do yoga and meditate. The technique of meditation is a trance dance that allows one to have a better connection with oneself. Dr. Nevins is an osteopathic physician who sees the benefits of yoga. She explains that it can have a list of physical benefits, some being circulatory health, and mental benefits such as stress reduction (14).
Your third eye might also be blocked, which prevents you from opening it. A blockage can cause poor memory, anxiety, and can impair physical, emotional, and mental health (15). Modern medicine might suggest that it is blocked due to calcification of the pineal gland. It can become calcified from fluoride exposure, different diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, or an unhealthy lifestyle. Although pineal gland calcification has been studied, it is not proven that it can cause medical problems, and you should consult with a doctor before undergoing any treatments to heal the third eye or pineal gland (16). The pineal gland can potentially be healed by using different methods such as meditation, crystal healing, yoga, exercising, and eating healthy (17).
So now maybe your eye has been open some time, needs to blink, or wants to rest. You might feel overwhelmed or anxious from focusing too much energy on the third eye. You can close it by grounding yourself, in which you stand outside and perform different hand motions. Using crystals, doing yoga, and limiting electronics provide methods of closure as well (18). There have been controversial findings that the pineal gland senses the electromagnetic fields (EMF) that devices like your cell phone emit as light, which can result in a disruption of your melatonin production (19). The use of some crystals and stones has been studied, such as the use of shungite stone. Certain types of shungite stone possess a carbon matrix structure called fullerenes, which has been shown to block the EMF that we encounter. Some people place a stone by their phones at night to shield them from the EMF, which may help close the third eye while healing it (20).
(Some of these methods are not proven, just suggested.)
Your third eye might have been looking at this information with you. Do with this information what you will, but always remember to respect yourself and others no matter how many eyes you have.
- Kumar, R., Kumar, A. and Sardhara, J., 2018. Pineal Gland-A Spiritual Third Eye: An Odyssey of Antiquity to Modern Chronomedicine. Indian Journal of Neurosurgery, 7(1), pp.1-4.
- Aulinas, A. (2019, December 10). Physiology of the Pineal Gland and Melatonin. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK550972/
- (image Pineal Gland Eye)”File:Light, suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), and the pinealmelatonin circuit.jpg” by Zhiqiang Ma, Yang Yang, Chongxi Fan, Jing Han, Dongjin Wang, Shouyin Di, Wei Hu, Dong Liu, Xiaofei Li, Russel J. Reiter, and Xiaolong Yan is licensed with CC BY 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
- Dr. Cheryl Craft. (2020, June 08). Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://eye.keckmedicine.org/doctors/dr-cheryl-craft/
- Cox, R. (n.d.). USC Health & Medicine, Winter 1995: “The Mind’s Eye”. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from http://www.eyesightresearch.org/old/Mind’s_Eye.htm
- Santos-Longhurst, A. (2019, November 19). What Is DMT? Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is dmt
- Malcom, K. (2019, June 27). ‘Mystical’ Psychedelic Compound Found in Normal Brains. Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/lab-report/mystical-psychedelic-compound-found-normal-brains
- Hinduja, P., Nivil, J. and Pragalbh, M., 2018. Pineal Gland-The Third Eye. Pharma Science Monitor,.
- (image Lord Shiva) “lord shiva” by drakoheart is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 “lord shiva” by drakoheart is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
- (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://biblehub.com/kjv/matthew/6-22.htm
- Refaey K, Quinones G C, Clifton W, et al. (May 23, 2019) The Eye of Horus: The Connection Between Art, Medicine, and Mythology in Ancient Egypt. Cureus 11(5): e4731. doi:10.7759/cureus.4731
- (image Horus Brain) “Thalamus brain” by vaXzine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 “Thalamus brain” by vaXzine is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
- (image Chakra) “9 Chakras Trip Switch” by crystaleagle is licensed underCC BY-NC-ND 2.0 “9 Chakras Trip Switch” by crystaleagle is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
- The Healing Power of Yoga – Doctors That DO: Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. (2020, October 01). Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://doctorsthatdo.osteopathic.org/healing-power-of-yoga
- Holistichealthandspiritualexpo.com. 2020. [online] Available at: <https://www.holistichealthandspiritualexpo.com/post/is-your-third-eye-chakra-blocked> [Accessed 28 September 2020].
- Healthline. 2020. Decalcifying The Pineal Gland: What To Do. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/decalcify-pineal-gland#decalcification> [Accessed 28 September 2020].
- Chakras.info. 2020. 5 Simple Steps To Heal Your Third Eye Chakra. [online] Availableat: <https://www.chakras.info/third-eye-chakra-healing/> [Accessed 28 September 2020].
- How to Close Your Third Eye (5 Ways). (2020, April 11). Retrieved November 16, 2020, from https://innerouterpeace.com/how-to-close-your-third-eye/
- Warille, A., Altun, G., Elamin, A., Kaplan, A., Mohamed, H., Yurt, K., & Elhaj, A. (2017, September 14). Skeptical approaches concerning the effect of exposure to electromagnetic fields on brain hormones and enzyme activities. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213879X17300330
- Shungite Fullerenes. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://www.shungite.com/shungite-fullerenes.html
- “Shungite (Zaonezhskaya Formation, middle Paleoproterozoic, 1.98-2.09 Ga; Shun’ga River area, northwestern Russia) 7” by James St. John is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/