So here is the thing. You have fed yourself a line of bull about your own body. You have convinced yourself that because you can only see two eyes on your face, that you are a two-eyed being. Well, surprise…you have a third and it is hidden deep in the middle of your brain. We are talking about a very small region of the brain, the pineal gland.
A (VERY) Short History Lesson
The pineal gland was the last inter-cranial gland to have its function discovered. In 1640, Renee Descartes identified the small gland as the “Pineal Gland”, referring to it as the “seat of the soul”, but offered no explanation as to its biological function. That explanation would take more than 300 years!
It wasn’t until 1958 that the function of the pineal gland was discovered. American dermatologist Aaron Lerner discovered a molecule produced exclusively by the pineal gland, a molecule he named melatonin.
The pineal gland is a tiny pinecone-shaped gland seated on the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is located approximately 1/2″ above the center point between your eyes and straight back to the center of your brain.
This tiny gland serves some integral functions in our daily lives. It is responsible for the regulation of our circadian rhythm through the release of melatonin. The pineal gland is responsible for making us tired at night and awake during the day. The gland is photo sensitive and, as such, releases melatonin based upon the amount of sunlight present during a day. As such, it can be affected by a sustained lack of sunshine, such as in the winter months. The lack of sun can lead to an overproduction of melatonin, which itself leads to a sluggish and depressed mental state diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder. As an aside, Seasonal Affective Disorder happens to have been the very first mental health diagnosis I ever received. Winter in Pennsylvania is just that much fun!
The Spiritual Link
The concept of the “third eye” as a spiritual manifestation is ancient, having been traced back as far as the Sumerians.
The Hindu God, Shiva, is depicted with a third eye in the center of his forehead representing his wisdom and enlightenment. According to Hinduism Today, the dot worn on the forehead of Hindu women, known as the bindi, “represents the third eye of spiritual sight”.
The Chinese Taoist belief includes “third eye training”. This tradition involves entering a meditative state while focusing all of your attention on a point slightly above the center point between your eyes. The belief indicates that the third eye can be used to tune into the appropriate vibration of the universe and to gain a solid base to enter the deepest states of meditation.
There is even a theory that ancient humans had a literal third eye located in the back of their head which, over centuries, atrophied and sunk into our skulls eventually becoming the pineal gland. There is absolutely zero scientific or even literary evidence for this theory mind you, but it certainly does raise a creepy visual!
We have a Russian woman named Helena Blavatsky (known as “Madame Blavatsky”) to thank for the current Western New Age understanding of the third eye and its role in spiritualism.
Madame Blavatsky traveled extensively in her teen and young adult years collecting religious and spiritual teachings, eventually ending up in the United States in 1873. She co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875, claiming the new discipline was to delve deeper into the synthesis of religion, philosophy and science. It is from her various writings and treatises that the current Western understanding of the third eye is derived.
Madame Blavatsky was, and remains, a highly controversial and eccentric figure. Her cobbling together of teachings and beliefs from different regions of the world and throughout different time periods is fascinating and will undoubtedly become the subject of a future post here on Musings From The Universe. But for now…
The third eye is associated with religious visions, clairvoyance, precognition, the ability to observe chakras and auras, and astral projection. It is believed that it is through the third eye that spiritualists experience the true outer universe and gain access to the Akashic Record. It is seen as the “mind’s eye” which maintains the connection of the soul to the universe.
What I believe is telling is the fact that the histories of belief and science find such a perfect nexus in this tiny gland tucked away deep in the center of the human brain! Evolutionarily speaking, the location of the pineal gland makes absolutely no sense. Why would a light-sensitive gland develop in the CENTER of the brain? Why would it not be located near the light-bearing optic nerves if its sole purpose was to produce melatonin?
Then there is the fact that ancient peoples appear to have been aware of the presence of a light-dependent organ (easily misunderstood as an eye) located in the middle of the forehead just above the convergence of the eyebrows…exactly where the pineal gland is found. We are talking about stone-tool age humans here, carving images of deities with a third eye located where the pineal gland is found to exist many hundreds of years later! It seems undeniable to me that there is an ancient knowledge of the existence of the pineal gland, the third eye, the mind’s eye, which was lost to humanity and is only recently re-emerging.
Art Imitates Life and Science Imitates Religion
My heart swells anytime a spiritual understanding or religious belief is confirmed by science. Metaphysics is, after all, a discipline defined as the philosophical study of occurrences beyond natural physics. So watching science catch up to an understanding held by the “fringe” spiritualist and ancient masters gives me hope that science may eventually provide evidence for the subjects, theories and mysteries metaphysicists ponder on a daily basis. With all of our technological breakthroughs, we have just recently been able to point to the third eye depicted in art from ancient Sumeria.
What Is Up Next:
In the next post, Musings From The Universe will be diving into one of the spiritual functions of the third eye…Astral Projection!