The Pineal Gland – The Actual Third Eye Inside your Brain
When I was 14, and inspired by Gwen Stefani, I bleached my hair blond, applied bright red lipstick, and wore a bindi on my forehead. Now days that would be considered cultural appropriation but back then it was simply considered fashion.
In Hinduism, the bindi is worn to identify a married woman. It also represents bindu; the point at which creation begins, and the centre of the mandala, which symbolises the universe. The bindi, worn in the centre of the forehead, just above the brow line, also represents anja, the third eye chakra, A.K.A the pineal gland.
For years I knew about the third eye. Or I thought I did. I simply thought the third eye was about attaining a heightened level of spiritual awareness; a higher state of consciousness. I wasn’t wrong, but what I didn’t know was that the third eye is actually a real eye, inside the brain, known as the pineal gland.
What is the Pineal Gland?
The pineal gland is located in the centre of the brain inside the epithalamus, nestled in the groove where the two sides of the thalamus meet. It is bumpy, lined with ridges, resembling a pinecone – hence the name.
The pineal gland’s function is to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. Through the optic nerve, light is transmitted into the pineal gland stimulating the production of melatonin. This process helps us establish our circadian rhythms; becoming tired at night and alert during the day.
What’s really interesting about the pineal gland is that just like our eyes, it contains retinal tissue. Yes, that’s right, as in the very tissue inside our two seeing eyes. The tissue inside the pineal gland has the same rod and cone structure found inside the retina. And according to neurologist Dr David Klein: “The photoreceptors of the retina strongly resemble the cells of the pineal gland. It even has vitreous fluid in it like the eye does.”
So there you have it. Our third eye is not simply a spiritual notion nor a metaphor for higher consciousness. It’s an actual eye, inside our skulls. But what does it see?
The True Function of the Pineal Gland
The philosopher René Descartes spent his life studying the pineal gland. His book The Treatise of Man, published posthumously back in 1664, detailed his beliefs that the pineal gland was “the principal seat of the soul and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.” He also believed that the gland is what links our physical body to our soul.
Interestingly, the pineal also produces N,N-dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT, the naturally occurring hallucinogen found in plants and animals. When taken recreationally DMT brings on hallucinations of passing through a spiralling portal into the afterlife or other dimensions.
The Pineal Gland and DMT Research Trials
In his book and subsequent documentary titled DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr Rick Strassman, undertook a government sanctioned DMT research trial, in which fellow scientists took DMT in a controlled environment in an attempt to study the hallucinogenic effects.
Half of the test patients reported entering higher realms of existence and interacting with intelligent beings of higher consciousness, described as aliens, guides or helpers. Visions like this are regularly reported by users of DMT, including those who partake in the Amazonian ayahuasca ceremonies; a tea containing high levels of DMT. These visions seem to be uniquely linked to DMT trips.
While more research still needs to be done, it’s believed that the pineal gland is the part of the brain that produces DMT. It is also theorised that just before we die, DMT is released by the pineal, which may explain the visions witnessed during near-death experiences.
The Pineal in Ancient Spiritual Text
While in modern times the true gifts of the pineal gland have been almost forgotten, through out history there were many mentions of the pineal in ancient texts and art work. The Eye of Horus bears a very strong resemblance to the pineal and ancient Buddhist statues often depict a pinecone shaped object on the head. Pinecones themselves seem to feature very heavily in many ancient artworks.
Unlocking the Pineal
Another intriguing thing about the pineal gland is that in children, the pineal is more active. During childhood we produce more melatonin; as we require it to ensure that we sleep deeply in order to grow. As we reach adolescence our production of melatonin starts to slow. This is interesting, as children are generally more connected to the spiritual realm than adults. Ever heard stories of kids “seeing things” or commenting on the colours around people’s heads? Children and babies are much more likely to see aura and spirits, but as we get older these abilities can peter out. This could in part be due to the calcification of the pineal gland.
Some children however, if taught early enough, are able to completely activate their pineal gland, allowing them to see perfectly, while blind folded. Take Nine-Year-Old Yogamaatha, of India who appears to be able to read and draw whilst blindfolded, a skill that she learnt after attending a course to unlock her third eye.
Calcification of the Pineal Gland
French philosophical writer, Georges Bataille, referred to the pineal-eye as “the blind spot in western rationality.” Bataille, who lived from 1897 – 1962, may well have been commenting on the effects modern society was having on human spiritual awareness. When the pineal gland becomes calcified, it does so due to excess amounts of environmental chemicals, such as fluoride, which is added to many municipal drinking water sources.
Fluoride accumulates in the pineal gland and overtime forms phosphate crystals, thus hardening the pineal gland. Once this hardening has occurred, the pineal produces much less melatonin. This is problematic when the calcification begins at a young age, as reduced melatonin production cues the onset of puberty, causing girls develop and an earlier age.
As well as being associated with migraines and cluster headaches, calcification of the pineal has also been shown to be more prominent in patients with Alzheimer’s.
What bothers me the most about pineal calcification, is that not only does it affect our physical health, but it could also be inhibiting our spiritual growth and awareness! Fluoride is in our New Zealand water supply. I used to approve of it as it supposedly helps prevent tooth decay (though I challenge you to find any neutral studies to support this), however reportedly Hitler added fluoride into the water supply in the concentration camps to make the prisoners more compliant.
How to De-Calcify your Pineal Gland
While we inevitably come into contact with heavy metals and free radicals every day, there are still things that we can do to de-calcify or prevent the calcification of our pineal gland.
Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water
This is a rather controversial issue, but personally I do not believe fluoride prevents tooth decay at all. But, don’t take my word for it, do your own research. Aside from dental health, there is evidence that fluoride calcifies the pineal, so the first step is to stop drinking fluoridated water.
This can be easily done if fluoride is not in your water source, but if it is there are still options. We are lucky enough to live near an aquifer, giving us access to pure natural spring water for free. We go and fill our large (BPA free) drinking containers once a week, giving us around 60 litres of spring water, filled with natural minerals and microbes.
Eat Organic Where Possible
Pesticides contain a myriad of harmful chemicals, including fluoride, benzene and chlorine. Ideally we’d all be able to eat a diet comprised entirely of organic food. However, that is not always an affordable option. Get to know the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen, that way you’ll know which fruits and vegetables to buy organic and those of which you can buy from your regular store.
Sleep in Total Darkness
I used to get given shit by my bestie for complaining when it came to sleeping in a room without blackout curtains. I swear, unless I am in a pitchblack room I cannot fall asleep. Perhaps the pineal has something to do with this! In order for the pineal gland to produce melatonin, it requires zero light to be transmitted in through the eyes. This is also why it’s best not to look at your phone too close to bedtime, as the blue light tricks your brain (and pineal) into thinking it’s day time.
No. I am not telling you to go and stare down the sun for hours on end, permanently destroying your retina! But sun-gazing is said to help boost the function of the pineal by jump starting those circadian rhythms back into action. The method is to stare at the rising or setting sun, for a one to two seconds at a time.
Ensure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Low levels of iodine can cause the body to hold on to chemicals like fluoride, so ensuring you are getting enough iodine will help you to pee out any fluoride you come into contact with. I like adding sea vegetables to my daily smoothie. You can’t even taste them! Honest!
While we’re on the subject of peeing out fluoride let’s talk about tamarind. Tamarind is an African tree fruit that helps the body flush out toxins through urine. If teamed with iodine just think how many toxins you’ll be wazzing out.
Last but possibly the most important is meditation. While you can physically prevent your pineal from calcifying, the true function of the pineal is spiritual. The best way to keep any part of the body from atrophying is to use it regularly. To activate the pineal during meditation simply send your awareness to the point in the middle of your forehead, just above the brow line. Imagine a glowing light emanating from this point. It may start to tingle after a while but don’t panic. Much like going for our first run in months, the muscles can feel fatigued when we first start using them again. The pineal is no different. The more you practice this the easier it will become.