What you are experiencing is in itself valuable, but it is not the experience of the third eye. The third eye is a little higher than your experience. The way the mystics in the East have categorized the evolution of consciousness is in seven centres.
Your experiences belong to the fourth centre, the heart. It is one of the most important centres, because it is exactly in the middle. Three centres are below it and three centres are above it. That’s why love is such a balancing experience. Your description is, “Whenever I feel open, flowing, connecting with you, other people, nature or myself, I mostly feel it in my heart as silence and expanding spaciousness, and sometimes as radiating light. Is this the same kind of experience you were talking about?”
I was talking about the third eye, which is above the heart. There are three centres above the heart. One is in your throat, which is the centre of creativity; one is between your two eyebrows, exactly in the middle, which is called the third eye. Just as you have two eyes to know the outside world… the third eye is only a metaphor, but the experience is knowing oneself, seeing oneself.
The last centre is sahasrar, the seventh; that is at the top of your head. As consciousness goes on moving upwards, first you know yourself, and in the second step you know the whole universe; you know the whole and yourself as part of it. In the old language, the seventh is ‘knowing God’, the sixth is ‘knowing yourself’, the fifth is ‘being creative’, and the fourth is ‘being loving, sharing and knowing others’. With the fourth, your journey becomes certain; it can be guaranteed that you will reach the seventh. Before the fourth, there is a possibility you may go astray.
The first centre is the sex centre, which is for reproduction — so that life continues. Just above it…the sex energy can be moved upwards, and it is a great experience; for the first time you find yourself self-sufficient. Sex always needs the other. The second centre is the centre of contentment, self-sufficiency: you are enough unto yourself. At the third centre you start exploring — who are you? who is this self-sufficient being? These centres are all significant. The moment you find who you are, the fourth centre opens and you find you are love.
Before the fourth the journey has started, but there is a possibility you may not be able to complete it. You can go astray. For example, finding yourself self-sufficient, contented, you can remain there; there is no need to do anything anymore. You may not even ask the question, “Who am I?” The sufficiency is so much that all questions disappear. A master is needed in these moments, so that you don’t settle somewhere in the middle without reaching the goal. And there are beautiful spots to settle — feeling contented, what is the need to go on? But the master goes on nagging you and wants you to know who you are; you may be contented, but at least know who you are. The moment you know who you are, a new door opens, because you become aware of life, of love, of joy. You can stay there; it is so much, there is no need to move anymore. But the master goads you on, “Move to the fourth! Unless you find the purest energy of love, you will not know the splendour of existence.”
After the fourth, you cannot go astray. Once you have known the splendour of existence, creativity arises on its own. You have known beauty; you would like to create it also. You want to be a creator. A tremendous longing for creativity arises.
Whenever you feel love, you always feel creativity just as a shadow coming with it. The man of creativity cannot simply go on looking outside. There is much beauty outside…but he becomes aware that just as there is an infinite sky outside, to balance it there must be the same infinity inside. If a master is available, it is good; if he is not available, these experiences will lead you onwards.
Once your third eye is opened, and you see yourself, the whole expanse of your consciousness, you have come very close to the temple of God; you are just standing on the steps. You can see the door and you cannot resist the temptation to go inside the temple and see what is there. There you find universal consciousness, there you find enlightenment, there you find ultimate liberation. There you find your eternity_
So these are the seven centres — just arbitrarily created divisions, so the seeker can move from one to another in a systematic way; otherwise, there is every possibility, if you are working by yourself, to get muddled. Particularly before the fourth centre there are dangers, and even after the fourth centre.
There have been many poets who have lived at the fifth centre of creativity and never gone ahead — many painters, many dancers, many singers who created great art, but never moved to the third eye. And there have been mystics who have remained with the third eye, knowing their own inner beauty; it is so fulfilling that they thought they had arrived. Somebody is needed to tell you that there is still something more ahead; otherwise, in your ignorance, what you will do is almost unpredictable.
Mike had decided to join the police force and went along for the entrance examination. The examining sergeant, realizing that the prospective recruit was an
Irishman, decided to ask him a simple question. “Who killed Jesus Christ?” he asked.
Mike looked worried and said nothing, so the sergeant told him not to worry and that he could have some time to think about it. Mike was on his way home when he met Paddy.
“Well,” said Paddy, “are you a policeman yet?”
“Not only that,” says Mike, “but I am on my first case.”
Man is such that he needs someone who has known the path and knows the pitfalls, knows the beautiful spots where one can remain stuck, and has compassion enough to go on pushing you — even against you — until you have reached to the final stage of your potentiality.