Focusing at the Spiritual Eye

Swami Kriyananda wrote in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga: “The position of the eyes suggests the general portion of the brain in which the consciousness is centered. In particular, when the mind slips toward subconsciousness and the energy becomes centered in the lower brain, the eyes tend to look downward; when one is involved in the world, or otherwise active on the conscious level, the energy becomes centered more in the mid-brain, and the eyes tend more naturally to look straight ahead; and when one enters a state of superconsciousness, the eyes are drawn automatically to gaze upward.”

Located at the point between the eyebrows, the spiritual eye or Christ center, is the seat of spiritual awakening. When all of our energy becomes centered there, enlightenment occurs. This is why, in meditation, it is extremely beneficial to have your eyes physically looking at the spiritual eye-focusing there helps you attune to, and magnetically draw, the highest states of consciousness. (You should remember, however, that although the eyes are physically gazing at the spiritual eye during your practice of Hong-Sau, your concentration should be on your breath.)

If you feel tension when you look at the spiritual eye, try this advice from Swami Kriyananda: “Raise your gaze upward-not crossing the eyes, but focusing them on a point somewhat beyond the forehead at about the distance of your thumb when you hold your arm extended above you. (The height of your thumb should be level with the top of your head.)

“The important thing is that your attention, not your eyes, be focused on that point in the forehead. Don’t try forcibly to bring your eyes to a focus, but gaze mentally at that point, and let the spiritual eye draw you into itself.”

Another technique for staying relaxed as you focus at the spiritual eye, is to think of your eyes as being situated only in the upper part of their sockets. You might also try lowering your gaze until the strain disappears, and then mentally look through and beyond the spiritual eye. A technique to help you do this is to feel as though you are gazing at the spiritual eye from the medulla oblongata, which is located at the base of the brain.

If keeping your eyes raised is new for you, don’t spend all your time thinking about the placement of your eyes. Lift them as you begin to meditate, then concentrate on the rest of the technique. Every so often, as you think to, raise your eyes again. When you notice your mind has wandered, you will also find that your eyes are looking downward (into subconsciousness). When this happens, raise your eyes again and refocus your mind on the breath. In time, it will become easier for you to keep your eyes focussed upwards, because you will feel a centering of energy in the forehead that will hold your eyes there naturally.

Once you end your practice of Hong-Sau, you should spend some time enjoying the fruits of your meditation. Otherwise, as Paramhansa Yogananda said, it is like preparing a meal and not eating it. Focusing at the spiritual eye is a wonderful practice to do after Hong Sau. If you see the inner light, calmly, yet completely, offer yourself into it. If you don’t see the inner light, pray deeply, “Reveal Thyself… Reveal Thyself”. Even without seeing the inner light, you will feel your consciousness uplifted to the spiritual eye. In his book The Path, Swami Kriyananda wrote, “Through concentration on the spiritual eye, the consciousness gradually becomes attuned to the subtle rate of vibration of… light. At last one’s consciousness, too, takes on the quality of light”.

It is also extremely beneficial to visualize the spiritual eye and feel that it is your true reality. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Just behind the darkness of closed eyes shines the light of God”. The following visualization, the Spiritual Eye Meditation, can help you subtly experience what it is like to pass through the divine portal of the Christ center. I have found this meditation to be quite remarkable, and encourage you to use it whenever you feel a deep sense of stillness after your Hong-Sau practice.