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Ajna Chakra : Perception centre



An emotional place :

To go to for problem solving, analytical thinking, planning, seeing possibilities and perhaps clearing perception of what is.



Primarily concerned with:



Connects to :



Element :

            Time / consciousness.

Physically :



Emotionally :




Intellectually :

Exploring


Creativity


Experimenting


Information Handling



Activity / doing



Learning



Other Comments



When acting skillfully from this place:



Issues that may occur when acting unskillfully from, or when stuck in, this chakra or when it is too dominant :-

Self irrelevance

Being able to perceive things, society etc, as existing independently of oneself opens one to the possibility of perceiving oneself as irrelevant and thus in some sense as pointless and valueless. The question may arise of “What is the point or value in my continued existence” and, if one is also experiencing life as painful, suicidal thoughts or urges may well arise. These sort of thoughts can arise even in those who are apparently successful in achieving useful things – in the “scheme of things”, their successes or achievements may well be perceived to be irrelevant or insignificant. These sort of thoughts are often classed as irrational (or even as mad or bad), especially by those who don’t have them. In addition to such classification being unhelpful, it is somewhat ironic as these thoughts are closer to being super-rational rather than irrational – which can make trying to persuade someone to adopt a different view of themselves after coming to this view as close to impossible. Working with Anahata (to develop a sense of self as an integral part of society) and Swadhisthana (to develop in self nurture) may well be helpful. Depending on the person it may well be helpful to work with Muladhara (to develop ability to endure even when things feel unpleasant or painful.)

Mental Illnesses

It is not surprising that mental illnesses of “Western” medicine are strongly associated with Ajna chakra. But this is often through Ajna being over-dominant (in relation to the other chakras) rather than mis-functioning in its own context. Thus, unless one really knows what one is doing, it is best to avoid stimulating Ajna (and Sahasara) and work instead on developing the other chakras. Which chakras need working on depend on the particular form of mental illness – and I hope in time to produce some separate notes on this.

Self-Criticism

Being able to perceive oneself while “stepping outside oneself”, while not identifying with oneself, opens the possibility of applying critical analysis and perception to oneself. This can give the appearance (to others) of being extraordinarily self-critical to extremes of self-abuse or self-attachment – but remember that, while in this mode, one is not identifying with self so there is no sense of oneself being threatened or attached. And indeed being able to enter into this sort of mode can be extremely helpful in aiding learning from mistakes and guiding one’s own evolution and development. However, if the overall conclusions / evaluation that gets transmitted to the other chakras is highly negative, this can lead to or encourage a very poor sense of self-worth or self-esteem, which is likely to be felt as emotionally painful (especially in Anahata). Working with Swadhisthana (both to nurture oneself and accept nurturing from others) may help one feel worthy of being nurtured and so improve one’s sense of self-worth. Working with Vishuddha (to develop discrimination and restraint with regard to turning one’s perceptiveness on oneself) is likely to be very helpful. Working with Manipura (to develop one’s ability to be useful) may be helpful for some – but for those who are susceptible it can increase a tendency towards Manic-depression (Bi-polar disorder), so take care. Working with Anahata may also be helpful – but it could be painful and difficult so lots of gentle care is needed here.

Anticipation / Nervousness / Worry / Anxiety

Being able to imagine different possible ways events may unfold is great – amongst other things this allows one to anticipate potential problems and so head them off (deal with issues) before they become problems. But one can think about what could go wrong too much – leading to, or encouraging, nervousness, worry and anxiety about how things might turn out. Where this is an issue, working with Muladhara and Manipura (to develop in feeling one has the strength and ability to cope however things turn out) is likely to be helpful.

Dispassionate / Objectivity / Impersonal / Self-Ignoring

Being able to see and respond to things without reference to oneself and one’s own concerns is really useful especially in a professional type situation. But amongst family and friends it can make one seem (incorrectly) uncaring, unfeeling and distant. Perhaps more seriously such self-ignoring can encourage a neglecting or not attending to one’s own needs and concerns. Where this is an issue, working with Swadhisthana (to develop in self-nurture) and Anahata (to develop in caring from one’s heart) is likely to be helpful.

Pre-occupied / Absent–minded / Self-forgetting

This is being absent-minded in the sense of currently being in one’s mind or mentally so involved in something to the extent that one is “absent” from elsewhere. Such mental focus and engagement in something can lead to really useful development of thinking and understanding. But such a state tends to lead to one forgetting and being unaware of anything other than the object of one’s thoughts – in some circumstances this can be potentially irritating to others and is potentially dangerous. Where this is an issue, working with Vishuddha (to develop in awareness of the world around one) and Swadhisthana (to develop in awareness of one’s needs) is likely to be helpful.

Observer / Witnesser / Detached / Not-involved

“Stepping back” and observing things and how things happen to unfold can be great for developing insight. And in some religious and spiritual texts there is the idea of being the “witnesser” rather than the “doer”, even when apparently involved in activity. But there are times when this would be experienced by others as a “holding back of self” which can feel quite rejecting, or as if one does not care or one is not committed. Where this is an issue, working with Anahata (to develop in personal engagement in things) is likely to be helpful.

Impractical / Unworldly / Irrelevant to Reality / “Head in clouds”

One can get so involved in something as interesting in its own right (in the abstract of any particular context) that one forgets to consider practical issues or where the thing is relevant in any way to reality around one. This can lead to useful development of thinking, understanding and innovation but it can also distract one away form attending to immediate needs and concerns. Where this is an issue working with Muladhara (to ground one) and Manipura (to develop interest in practical relevance of things) is likely to be very helpful.

Deliberation / Over-Planning / Being Slow to act and decide

Thinking before one acts and reacts can save a lot of grief and misdirected effort. However one can spend too much time or effort in deliberating or planning things to the point where one never actually gets on with things, or circumstances change to a degree that plans become “out of date”. Where this is an issue, working with Manipura and Anahata (to develop some impetus) is likely to be helpful.

Fantasy / Daydreams / Being Dis-connected from Reality

In Ajna one can conjure up possibilities and ideas with minimal reference to reality. This can be fun and can aid innovation. But sometimes the ideas and fantasy conjured up can distract one from engaging with the world around one. And sometimes the imagined realities begin to be believed in more, or treated as more important than, the “concrete” world around one. Where this is an issue, working with Muladhara (to ground one in “concrete” reality) and Vishuddha (to develop one’s connections with the world around) is likely to be helpful.

Over-interpretation / Illusion / Mis-interpretation of Information/ Mirages

In Ajna one is great at filling in the gaps of information that one has – but problems can occur where one trusts the “imagined” bits of information to fill the gaps too much. Also, information can be, and indeed often is, misinterpreted – for example, as with optical illusions. Where this is an issue, working with Vishuddha (to develop in double or triple checking the validity of perception) is likely to be helpful.


Issues that may occur when one inadequately accesses this chakra or when it is weak :-

Confusion / Bewilderment / Incomprehension / Perplexity / Bafflement

Ajna may be under-active or one may be trying to understand something that is beyond one’s current mental capacity. In addition to working with Ajna, working with Vishuddha (to gather and structure information) is likely to be helpful.

Inefficiency / Ineffectiveness / Excessive Effort / Ineptitude

One’s actions are poorly planned / chosen with regard to one’s aims. One may be very clear about one’s aims and put lots of effort into trying to achieve them, but the effort is ineffectual because they don’t move things in the direction of one’s aims. In addition to working with Ajna, working with Vishuddha (to become better at directing and regulating one’s actions) is likely to be helpful.

Delusions / (Hallucinations)

This is mistaking things conquered as part of external / concrete reality. In a sense this is a perceptional issue – misperception. But it is also an issue with Vishuddha not sufficiently checking the validly or accuracy of one’s perceptions. It should perhaps be noted here that to some degree we are all mistaken in our perception of reality (unless “enlightened”, if such a thing is possible) so this issue is typically decided in relation to a consensual view of things (which can be mistaken). Where this is an issue, working with Vishuddha is probably more important than working with Ajna.

Boredom / Distraction

Things are not felt as interesting – one’s curiosity is not engaged. Working with Anahata (to develop a feeling of relevance to self) may well be more helpful than working with Ajna.

Shortsightedness / Lack of foresight

One is unable to predict or anticipate likely results of events around or one’s actions – leading to one taking early preventative action or positioning oneself well to take advantage of opportunities that arise. Working with Vishuddha (to help with gathering and organizing information) in addition to Ajna is likely to be helpful.
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