THE THIRD EYE
By Atasha Fyfe
Published in Avalon Magazine March 2010
all heard that ‘the answer lies within’ – but in practice we are taught to
distrust ourselves, and listen instead to outside authorities.
Any attempt to find
answers from within us are disparaged as ‘only the imagination’. As a result, the
word imagination has come to mean something false or misleading. The irony of
this is that even untrained, the imagination is one of humanity’s greatest secret
powers. Perhaps this is why it has become almost taboo. As the Trappist monk writer
Thomas Merton said, “The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative
who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions.”
did this taboo come from? The late Sir George Trevelyan maintained that our
true source of oppression is the belief that real means physical. Therefore
anything that is not physical is not real. Like a root that can produce only strangling
weeds, this assumption is the foundation of our current civilisation.
intellectual and social structures arise from it. In his lectures, Sir George
would make the point that it’s hardly surprising these structures then oppress
our true nature.
The real potential of the imagination stands in direct
contradiction to materialistic values, so is seen as
an unwelcome intruder by this kind of society.
common view of the imagination is that it’s something artistic people have, to
create entertaining fictions. It has little to do with reality, and ordinary
people should ignore it as a distraction. But the unsung power of everyone’s
imagination actually created the world we now live in. We’d still be in mud
huts, or sleeping in trees, if we hadn’t pictured other possibilities. If
someone hadn’t first imagined it was possible, we wouldn’t now be able to fly,
talk to people hundreds of miles away, or watch things happening on the other
side of the world.
As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, “Thoughts are things. When
you imagine a thing you make a thing.”
before ‘visualise’ became a New Age buzz word, my old drama professor used to say
“to visualise is to actualise”. Early in her career, she got Speech and Drama
accepted as a degree subject when the academic establishment was just as determined that would never happen. She said
she overcame every obstacle simply by visualising the results she wanted.
victory illustrates the point that if there’s a battle between the will and the
imagination, the imagination will win because it’s stronger. Any aim - giving up
smoking, for example - becomes quicker and easier when you can picture your
success. Author and esoteric researcher Colin Wilson says, “In order to
exercise our inner powers, it is necessary to use the imagination. As well as
willing things to happen, if we imagine them, that’s what does the trick.”
imagination also serves us well beyond the initial visionary stage of any idea
or purpose. Being able to imagine all the things that might go wrong is how
every form of system, invention or organisation is fine-tuned and honed into
we were unable to imagine how others feel, we’d all be clinical psychopaths.Any
relationship beyond the most self-serving would be impossible.
they could imagine how disadvantaged people felt, and envisaged other possibilities,
social reformers and philanthropists have made our world a pleasanter and more
civilised place to live in.
our personal lives, if we couldn’t imagine the future, none of us would ever plan
for it. Sometimes it’s imagining the worst that spurs us on; sometimes we
pursue the dream of an ideal – usually it’s a mixture of both. It’s only
because we can ‘see’ what our potential future could be that we are willing to do
what it takes to create it.
imagination helps us to make all our decisions, right down to the most mundane.
If we put off the shopping because of the weather report, it’s because we can
imagine how unpleasant it would be to walk around in the wind and rain all day.
the imagination is, at the very least, a faithful carthorse, pulling humanity
up the rutted track of evolution. But it can be much more than that.
Grade Two the carthorse turns into a fine steed. At this level, deeper truths often
take the form of narratives or symbolic images. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of The Shadow of the the Wind, says “A
story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he
would be unable to discover otherwise”.
story can also be a letter from the author to society. Fiction has proved more
powerful than facts to to prod the collective conscience and galvanise social
reform. The 19 century novels The
Water Babies and Oliver Twist
woke up Victorian England to the fate of exploited children. In the 20
century, films like A Taste of Honey,
Up The Junction and Cathy Come Home did much the same
for the unequal lot of women. Perhaps the imagination needs to be engaged
by a story before the truth can be fully understood.
likely that all narratives have a layer of deeper meaning. We seem to be
hard-wired to relate to life through stories and symbols, from our private dreams
to the sky-big epics of gods and nations. Even the passing things we tell one
another are like little stories, with hidden messages about the relationship,
ourselves and our situation embedded in them.
from being the silly history made up by primitive people, myths and legends are expressions of spiritual and psychological
Carl Jung had much to say about the relationship between
pantheons of gods and archetypes of the psyche. Joseph Campbell showed how the
dramas of the gods are also maps to the individual soul path.
is similarly rooted in Imagination Grade Two, with more abstract meanings
underlying the surface stories. The tale of Sleeping Beauty is about the
awakening of the unconscious self. The wounded Fisher King symbolises the
damaged consciousness of the Piscean Age as the cause of the wasteland.
Wilson writes, “The attitude of the rationalistic left-brain ego towards the
intuitive self in the right brain is arrogant and dismissive – like a
chauvinistic husband towards a repressed housewife. But the left brain self is
a usurper. It’s the right brain self who’s the true heir to the throne. This is
the inner meaning of many fairy and folk tales.“
tale of Cinderella not only illustrates this point, it’s also a parable about
the power of the imagination. It could be said that Cinders represents someone
who feels short-changed by life, and has low self-esteem issues. Her imagination
steps in to compensate with what seems, even to her, like an overblown fantasy.
This is what is meant by her sad return to the real world when the clock
strikes the hour. But the tale goes on to say that the fantasy was more than just
a hollow consolation. A piece of Cinderella’s
real self really did go to the ball - represented
by the slipper she left behind. In real life, her dream then finds a more
ordinary, but no less magical, way of working itself out. In other words, to
visualise is to actualise - and the scorned imaginative right brain self is the
winner after all.
with images, symbols and dream figures is what Carl Jung called ‘the active
imagination’. A surprisingly reliable way to answer questions or solve problems
is to go within and ask for a symbol of it. That may come in the form of a
landscape, an animal, an object, or even a wisdom figure. Working with the
symbol can bring a deeper understanding of the issue, or even change its
swift horse of Imagination Grade Two can also save us from certain
imagination is not only a powerful tool for creating reality - it can help us
to see past appearances to the true heart of any matter. This is another reason
why many in positions of power may prefer our inner vision to be switched off. Like
the child of the tale, it’s all too likely to say ‘the Emperor has no clothes
taught to distrust their inner senses are easy prey for all kinds of charlatans,
scammers and con-artists - especially when they wear the mantle of respectable
In The Dawn of Magic authors Louis Pauwels
and Jacques Bergier say that if
we don’t make conscious use of our own imagination, it will get used for us –
or, to be more exact, against us. One potent abuse is the mass implanting of negative
images, stories and possibilities into people’s psyches to make them more
biddable through fear. Discouraged by social taboos from realising its power,
the imagination of the general public is then unwittingly captured by stories
and images that are designed to serve others’ agendas.
Wilson says, “The human imagination is an enormous force. If we allow our
imagination to become possessed by forebodings or self-pity, our strength ebbs
course the opposite is equally true – if we use the imagination in constructive,
purposeful ways, it becomes one of the most valuable tools we possess. Consciously
or not, the imagination forms our world and our lives as surely as a potter
shaping a pot.
all this is small potatoes compared to Imagination Grade Three. At this level
the symbolic horse of the imagination transcends earthly limitations. It becomes
Pegasus – the winged stallion who created springs of inspiration
whenever his hoof struck the earth.
of mystical paths understand the importance of the developed inner vision. It
underlies all forms of esoteric work, from simple spells to shamanic journeys and
spirit contact. But there may be a stage even beyond this – a fuller activation
of the third eye, which confers abilities most people would consider god-like.
Revelations of the New Testament talks
about a great book that none can read. This book is the human body. The seven
seals are the chakras. They are sealed because their associated glands are mostly
dormant. ‘Written inside and on the back’ refers to the spinal column and the endocrine
system. Trumpeting angels breaking the seals represents the dramatic effects of
opening the chakras. This creates an
apocalypse - another twisted word, meaning
revelation not destruction - because it creates a new kind of consciousness. It may also bring physical
a chakra opens, the gland associated with it wakes up and kicks into life. Secretions from our glands – sex hormones, for
example - define our levels of awareness and associated behaviour. We all know
how much we changed when our reproductive glands became active at puberty. It
brought not only a physical transformation, our attitudes and personality also
changed. In effect, we turned into new and different people. Opening the third
eye means fully activating the pineal gland. It may create just as profound a
mystery schools and secret societies seem to have known about this. In alchemy,
the planetary names and metals associated with them were coded references to
the chakras. Other esoteric systems, such as the Rosicrucians, refer to the
chakras as stars within us, or islands of an inner sea.
A medieval symbol for
the opened third eye was a swan with unfurled wings. The body of the swan
represented the pineal gland, and its wings were the two sides of the brain. The
complete swan was a symbol of the higher consciousness of the soul. The Knights
of the Swan were those who understood these secrets.
east has always been a fund of tales about Tibetan lamas and Indian yogis with
superhuman powers. Westerners have described monks who can sit in the snow and
melt it with their minds; levitate heavy objects with special chants; run huge
distances in impossibly short times; and take telepathy and clairvoyance for
granted as a normal part of life.
tests have found that the bodies of those people in meditation contain unusual
amounts of secretions from the pineal gland. The Sanscrit word for these endocrines
is ‘amrita’ meaning ‘without death’. Perhaps this is what some have called the nectar
of the gods, the elixir of life or the fountain of youth. Maybe there is some truth
after all in those tales about certain people said to live for centuries.
is so often dismissed as ‘only’ the imagination is like a gift from the gods.
It has the power to mould our lives and our world. When we use it consciously, we
can fly on its wings and transcend earthly limitations. One day everyone may be
transformed by the abilities, revelations and physical effects that come when
the trumpet sounds and the third eye fully opens.
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