Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)
A tantrik's psychic ability begins with ajna chakra (aka third-eye chakra or mid-brow chakra).
Traditionally, muladhara is designated as the first chakra since it is the seat of Kundalini Shakti, but in other systems, the study of the chakras starts from ajna. Regardless of where the chakra system begins, all systems endorse ajna exercises because it helps to focus your mind on a task or endeavor.
Tri-Junction of the Nadis
Kundalini awakening reaches a crucial juncture at ajna because here the three nadis (channels of subtle energy) merge into one stream of awareness and flow to sahasrara chakra, the crown chakra. When the mind is concentrated at this tri-junction, the individual consciousness is transformed. Our consciousness is comprised of many factors but the popular version has only three factors in it: Id, Ego, Super-Ego. Our wakeful awareness is comprised of principally the ego. Among all the other things that the ego does, it primarily makes a distinction between oneself and others. This is when duality and pluralities of all sorts occur.
As long as there is duality there can't be awakening!
All throughout Kundalini realization, you find you are trying to assert yourself behind all the experiences you're having. However, when ida and pingala combine with sushumna in ajna chakra, you lose your "self" completely. Your awareness expands and becomes homogeneous with the environment. Thus ajna chakra is a very important center, which you must experience to be able to bring about purification of the other chakras.
Ajna helps by acting as the command center and keeps tabs on the awakening process ensuring that the mind is kept on an even keel. It represents the level where it is possible for direct mind-to-mind communication to happen between two individuals. It's in this chakra that communication with the external guru is similar to communicating with one's own internal guru. Consider this example: If you are a proud, self-aware person, then you will have a healthy conversation with yourself - your sub-personalities. Each of your sub-personalities will act as guides to making decisions and to creating your view of your personality. Each sub-personality acts as a critic, friend, and teacher. However, if you are a self-pitying wreck with no low self esteem, then each of your sub-personalities will only help you wallow in despair.
The former is a healthy overactive third eye chakra and the latter is an underactive third eye chakra. If you are not secure in your self-esteem, then you will not be able to guide yourself, correct yourself, accept that you have made a mistake, and "learn to learn."
Don't fool yourself into thinking that humility is required for learning -
Einstein once said that the arrogant learn more!
If you have low self esteem, you will be trapped in your self-pity and not have the ability to constructively criticize yourself. That is why a guru/teacher is required. Once you have developed the ability to question yourself - through ajna chakra awakening or ajna chakra healing - you will be able to control the progress of the other chakras.
During wakeful awareness, you may feel anxious, fearful, and drained of energy, but your dreams will become revealing and insightful. Your intuition will reveal themselves through dreams that are full of knowledge and wisdom. In many of your wakeful moments, you will also feel great alertness - as if you are meditating with your eyes open. Your consciousness will feel as expansive as the eyes can see - you will feel the horizon. All these are the signs of ajna awakening! Our alertness and "vision" becomes so profound that we become enabled with an extra eye - this is the symbolism of the third eye chakra, whose references can be found in many different cultures. It's a wonder why people consider this a mysterious tradition!
This psychic eye is portrayed midway between the two actual eyes but sometimes it's also portrayed midway o the chest - in the same location as the representative location of the anahata chakra. Ajna is also called the third eye of Shiva because it epitomizes achievement of the Shiva level as per the Occult Tattvas. It is at the top of the spinal cord, close to the medulla oblongata. Ajna controls our balance - literally - which is a function of the medulla oblongata along with the semi-circular canals of the ear. Being focused on the mid-brow is similar to having a balance of vision, thus ajna. The yoga pose of trataka helps with this chakra. Similarly, other eye exercises can aid in third eye chakra healing. Spiritual awareness is increased when the eyes are healthy and engaged in meditation (closed eyes and open eyes). This chakra strengthens inner guidance of all the chakras and hence is also referred to as the mind's eye. The Mind's I by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennet is a thorough exploration of how the mind explores its own vast and deep consciousness.
Ajna is symbolized by a two-petaled lotus and is supposed to be light gray in color. This is because this is an inward looking chakra and no natural light falls on it. The only light is that of inner vision or inner wisdom that is attained when there is awakening. In some scriptures, the Shivalingam is considered to be the astral body entering the third eye and not a phallic symbol at all. The union of Shiva and Kali is supposed to be the union of the astral body with the third eye (not the divine union of the penis and vagina).
Similarly, Tantra and many other Indian occult sciences refer to the Shivalingam as the ultimate union of the human with his awakened consciousness!
Third eye chakra meditation, therefore, is the yoni-lingam union in vama marga (tantric sex or left-hand path of Tantra), the communion of the astral body (of the human being) with his third eye, or the tasting of nectar-wisdom with the tongue entering one's own lips (kechari mudra). Each of these can be visualized as the Shivalingam. In an ajna chakra that has not yet evolved, the Shivalingam is said to be at the phallic stage (phallus and vagina); when it evolves, it is at the kechari mudra stage (tongue entering the lips); and in the final stage of higher consciousness, it is the entire human body (astral body) entering the eyelids of the third eye!
Not surprisingly, the organ associated with this chakra is the brain and all its manifestations: mind, awareness, sub-consciousness, ego, super-ego, and so on. Ajna chakra imbalance leads to all the known and strange mental illnesses and disabilities known to mankind. One strange disability is a person's inability to recognize faces, in worse conditions including one's own face!
In tantric visualization exercises, the mind is trained to evoke stimuli from different parts of the brain. This is most evident during dreams but the same can be achieved even when one is awake. Mild hallucinations can, therefore, be induced at will. Not surprisingly, the use of alcohol, drugs, and hallucinogens has been attempted throughout the ages. Those who choose to use drugs do so at their own risk! It's in this context of controlled and mild hallucinations - and this context alone - that the tantrik acquires supernatural powers. He can travel in time and space: not literally but in his imagination. He can have sex with anyone - again only in his imagination! But the imagination has developed to such an extent that it is better and more vivid than reality. The tantrik transcends the physical body and gradually each lower chakra to finally achieve a balanced third eye chakra. Whenever you focus on something - whether it's the root chakra, sacral chakra, or heart chakra - ajna is also stimulated. All inner visions happen via ajna - in other words, inner experience of any action is controlled by ajna.
Higher Orders of Logic
When ajna is awakened, we transcend into subtle intelligence - not in some miraculous, religious way, but through higher orders of logic and reasoning. Attachment, which is the cause of ignorance and lack of discrimination drops off and willpower becomes really powerful. Ajna is your observing center where a person becomes the detached observer of all events, such as those inside the human body and mind. In this state, meaning and significance of symbols become easily apparent.
In Tantra, the barrier to progressing beyond this chakra is the knot called Rudra Granthi (Rudra is another name for Shiva the idol). This knot is symbolic of the practitioner's attachment to the newly developed mental powers and it efficiently blocks further evolution. The mind is working within a restricted sphere and we can not transcend it. We live our wakeful life as a dream: in a dream, we can't wake up and in wakeful life, we can't achieve awakening!
Achieving Bliss - The First Stage
Continuing one's Tantra Yoga practices go a long way in overcoming these barriers: just as we have become aware of being in a dream and controlling it, we now become aware of not being in an awakened state! Our analysis of our existential situation will become more acute and deep. Vishuddhi chakra (throat chakra) will help us with the energy healing by enabling us with its powers of discernment!
We will become secure with knowing that something is unknowable... that some questions are unanswerable!
Cause and effect are not instantaneous events nor are they a given - a cause may or may not have an effect and an effect may have come into being without a cause. Both these situations are laws in Chaos Theory. It is only after the stirring of ajna chakra that these laws could be understood. Thereafter your entire philosophical mindset and approach to life changes. No events of life affect you adversely, and the numerous things and experiences that enter your life and fade from your life don't disturb you whatsoever.
When ajna is stimulated the path to sahasrara becomes easier. We may not know how we will reach there but we will know that complete awakening is certain. This is the confidence that ajna provides us.