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The pineal is in the wrong place

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The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/15/18 4:14 PM
Greetings all, quick quezzy.
In the model that posits chakras as endocrine glands the third eye is supposed to be the pineal.

Yet the pineal is next to the brain stem, not between the eyes where the brow chakra is felt.

Personally, my experience of brow chakra feels more like something going on in the sinuses.



How would that subjective between-the-eyes feeling be linked to the pineal ?

Is it misleading to think of the third eye as anything to do with feeling rather than internal vision ?

Please explain and debunk!

Thanks.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/15/18 6:26 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Yes, the "pineal gland" thing is a big ole' load of new agey bollocks.

There is also no such thing as a "third eye", of course, in the strict anatomical sense of the word. It is a metaphor.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/15/18 6:32 PM as a reply to neko.
Refreshing bluntness.
Nevertheless, like many people I get a strong sense of pressure between my eyebrows when I meditate, especially as I relax. There is also a faint sense of inner light from the region when I close my eyes, and also there have been other light type effects right there.
So there are a few things happening, though I'd hesitate to call any of them mystical energy, especially what feels like tissues dilating.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/16/18 2:52 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Ajna chakra kshetrem is located on the forehead approximately between the eyes.  The chakra itself is located within the brain in a position equivalent to where the pineal gland exists in the physical body.  The kshetrem is easier to feel than the chakra itself; ajna is famously difficult to feel, whereas the kshetrem is much more easily located and yes, many people feel 'pressure'at the kshetrem once Ajna has been 'activated'.  If you are interested in this sort of thing I recommend Kundalini Tantra by Satyananda Saraswati and published by Bihar yoga.

As to this being "new agey", this knowledge has existed within yoga and Kabbalah and many other traditions for thousands of years, so, you know....,  that statement is "glib and ill considered" rather than "blunt and refreshing", in my view.

It is very strange that we appear to possess a "magical" astral body as well as our physical body, replete with chakras, magical vessels etc etc . It is nevertheless "true" in a sense and can be experientially proven . Many people, myself included have experience of this type of thing that predates any learned knowledge.  Certainly, from my point of view, I believe I can discount any type of structured hallucination having taken place when I first had experience of Ajna chakra.  

Having said all of that,  It is extremely easy to become mired and tangled in this sort of thing and it is worth remembering that from the standpoint of insight, there is no substantiality to any of this, any more than there is to day to day reality and investigation (with a small "I") of these things will lead you away from rather then towards awakening if that is your aim.  

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/17/18 12:57 AM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
Hello Tim, welcome to the forum!

Thanks for recommending Kundalini Tantra by Satyananda Saraswati, I will certainly have a look. This being said, when you say:
The chakra itself is located within the brain in a position equivalent to where the pineal gland exists in the physical body.

I have quite a few doubts about this claim. For starters, because the pineal gland is extremely small and located in a very specific place inside the skull. Do you have an operative means to verify this claim that the chakra is located exactly there?



this knowledge has existed within yoga and Kabbalah and many other traditions for thousands of years

Another reason to be skeptical about it is that different authors and traditions place the chakras in different parts inside the body (not to mention having a different number of chakras).

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/17/18 2:46 AM as a reply to neko.
Hi Neko.

The chakras don't actually sit within the physical body.  They are located within the astral body, together with the "Nadis" or vessels, (meridians in the Chinese system) that connect them.  Chakras tend to correspond with the position of glands in the physical body but they are not glands. Therefore the pineal gland is not Ajna chakra, any more than the astral body is the physical body.

I realise this is pretty far out and many people will be skeptical about this stuff.  I think the key here is accepting that "reality" exists in a number of separate layers, some of which we are party to and others of which we are not and none of which have any intrinsic solidity, permanence or "self".  Prior indoctrination into the Western, scientific-materialist religion makes it very hard to see and accept the astral layer.  Doesn't mean it isn't there.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/17/18 5:47 AM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
Tim Mullan:
Ajna chakra kshetrem is located on the forehead approximately between the eyes.  The chakra itself is located within the brain in a position equivalent to where the pineal gland exists in the physical body.  The kshetrem is easier to feel than the chakra itself; ajna is famously difficult to feel, whereas the kshetrem is much more easily located and yes, many people feel 'pressure'at the kshetrem once Ajna has been 'activated'.  If you are interested in this sort of thing I recommend Kundalini Tantra by Satyananda Saraswati and published by Bihar yoga.

As to this being "new agey", this knowledge has existed within yoga and Kabbalah and many other traditions for thousands of years, so, you know....,  that statement is "glib and ill considered" rather than "blunt and refreshing", in my view.

It is very strange that we appear to possess a "magical" astral body as well as our physical body, replete with chakras, magical vessels etc etc . It is nevertheless "true" in a sense and can be experientially proven . Many people, myself included have experience of this type of thing that predates any learned knowledge.  Certainly, from my point of view, I believe I can discount any type of structured hallucination having taken place when I first had experience of Ajna chakra.  

Having said all of that,  It is extremely easy to become mired and tangled in this sort of thing and it is worth remembering that from the standpoint of insight, there is no substantiality to any of this, any more than there is to day to day reality and investigation (with a small "I") of these things will lead you away from rather then towards awakening if that is your aim.  

Thanks Tim I didn't know about Kshetram, a new term to me. I've been reading about chakras for about 25 years and hadn't picked up the term.  I think the reason for that is opinions on chakras are so confused and badly grounded that I gave up looking into the question. Myself I had been told so many times that the chakra is on the brow that I just accepted it, and ignored all the other contradictory stuff because at least I can feel something there.

I hadn't seen the word kshetram before, but just googling it got me a mass of contradictory opinions on what and where chakras are. It's in the front, it's in the middle, it's on the spine, it's the pineal, it's the pituitary, it's etheric, it's astral ....etc etc....

It's pretty hopeless.

Source for the original idea is just as hopeless - the yoga teacher said so, it is written in ancient texts, a channeled being said so, someone thinks they can see them.... etc. etc...

Then there are the moving goalposts that change when science changes - it's blood vessels, it's nerves, it's electromagnestism, it's dark matter, it's quantum fields.... etc etc...

Probably the most persistent, and most resonable in a way, ideas come from people who claim psychic vision - seeing auras etc. At least they claim to see the things directly, rather than relying on guessing what is making their physiology do things. But such folk are notoriously fallible when tested.

Which isn't to say there aren't invisible forces at work in the body that we haven't found. There's probably no end to how complex biophysics will get.

I know siddhis are supposed to be a distraction from the path, but then so is any other activity. I don't see why thinking about the energy body is any worse than any other hobby or vocation.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/17/18 7:42 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Hello Tim, welcome to the forum!

Thanks for recommending Kundalini Tantra by Satyananda Saraswati, I will certainly have a look. This being said, when you say:
The chakra itself is located within the brain in a position equivalent to where the pineal gland exists in the physical body.

I have quite a few doubts about this claim. For starters, because the pineal gland is extremely small and located in a very specific place inside the skull. Do you have an operative means to verify this claim that the chakra is located exactly there?



this knowledge has existed within yoga and Kabbalah and many other traditions for thousands of years

Another reason to be skeptical about it is that different authors and traditions place the chakras in different parts inside the body (not to mention having a different number of chakras).


Mind you, the story of physiology that we have is pretty freaky. It starts from nothing, for no particular reason, then the entire universe was the size of a pinhead, then it expanded and sprouted stars which gave use planets and then we evolved from hot puddles of goo which eventually became kidneys and legs and wotnot, and that was only in the 5% of matter that we can see. And that's just the idea of a bunch of apes who haven't even left Earth. So let's not get too snooty about chakras emoticon

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/17/18 11:06 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
All good points stickman. I agree with pretty much everything you say.  I accept the paradigm presented by the yoga tradition because it is the most complete in my view and chimes with my own experience but agree that the subtle body is by no means as "solid" as the corporeal one.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/18/18 4:24 AM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
Tim Mullan:
All good points stickman. I agree with pretty much everything you say.  I accept the paradigm presented by the yoga tradition because it is the most complete in my view and chimes with my own experience but agree that the subtle body is by no means as "solid" as the corporeal one.


Well, the yoga tradition offers valuable ways of manipulating consciousness, and ways of describing subjective experience, that science is only just catching up with and may never fully describe.
I do think, though, that people (ie. me) can waste an awful lot of time on "energies" that are better labelled as physiological activity. I'm a lifelong science fan, so I never really bought into such simplistic talk, even if I didn't feel it worth the effort to counter people's opinions on such things.
The biggest problem that I see is when we start getting into energy medicines that people place their faith in when they shouldn't, a mistake that can be lethal.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/18/18 6:21 AM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
Hi Tim, the tirade on skepticism and the chakras and prana being "far out" is unwarranted. I work on those in my daily practice.

I will restate my question: You claim that the ajna chakra is in a position that corresponds to the pineal gland. This seems a strangely precise claim about the physical location of sensations that are fuzzy and very dependent from tradition to tradition, practitioner to practitioner, and also at least partly scriptable.

More specifically, the reason your claim seems very hard to corroborate to me is that the pineal gland has the size of a grain of rice or of a pea, and quite close to it there's a bunch of other structures. How do you know that the sensations that you have there correspond to the physical position of the pineal gland itself, and they are not, say, half an inch to the front, back, top, or bottom of the pineal gland? How do you know that the sensations you are talking about are not in a location that is closer to your thalamus or hypothalamus or pituitary gland than your pineal gland?

You are basically claiming that:

1) You are able to pinpoint the location of these sensations of yours extremely precisely within your skull, with an accuracy of about one tenth of an inch,

2) Those sensations are extremely localised, within a space that has the size of a grain of rice,

3) Those sensations are always in the exact same spot,

4) You are not able to move those sensations around, and the precise location where you have them is not scripted.

Even if (1-4) are true, it would not be enough to know that these sensations of yours correspond exactly to the physical location of the pineal gland, since there are no nerve receptors there (as far as I know) so you wouldn't have any physical body sensations there to line up with what you call "astral body sensations".

Compare this with "I feel prana in my left little toe". This is a very easy to verify claim (at least subjectively), because, although the location in your body is pretty small, the fact that you have in that region both ordinary physical sensations and pranic sensations allows you to superimpose them and to verify the location of the pranic sensations very precisely. This does not seem to be possible with the pineal gland.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/19/18 11:43 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:
Hi Tim, the tirade on skepticism and the chakras and prana being "far out" is unwarranted. I work on those in my daily practice.

I will restate my question: You claim that the ajna chakra is in a position that corresponds to the pineal gland. This seems a strangely precise claim about the physical location of sensations that are fuzzy and very dependent from tradition to tradition, practitioner to practitioner, and also at least partly scriptable.

More specifically, the reason your claim seems very hard to corroborate to me is that the pineal gland has the size of a grain of rice or of a pea, and quite close to it there's a bunch of other structures. How do you know that the sensations that you have there correspond to the physical position of the pineal gland itself, and they are not, say, half an inch to the front, back, top, or bottom of the pineal gland? How do you know that the sensations you are talking about are not in a location that is closer to your thalamus or hypothalamus or pituitary gland than your pineal gland?

You are basically claiming that:

1) You are able to pinpoint the location of these sensations of yours extremely precisely within your skull, with an accuracy of about one tenth of an inch,

2) Those sensations are extremely localised, within a space that has the size of a grain of rice,

3) Those sensations are always in the exact same spot,

4) You are not able to move those sensations around, and the precise location where you have them is not scripted.

Even if (1-4) are true, it would not be enough to know that these sensations of yours correspond exactly to the physical location of the pineal gland, since there are no nerve receptors there (as far as I know) so you wouldn't have any physical body sensations there to line up with what you call "astral body sensations".

Compare this with "I feel prana in my left little toe". This is a very easy to verify claim (at least subjectively), because, although the location in your body is pretty small, the fact that you have in that region both ordinary physical sensations and pranic sensations allows you to superimpose them and to verify the location of the pranic sensations very precisely. This does not seem to be possible with the pineal gland.
Hi Neko.  

Actually, what I'm saying is more far out than that.   emoticon.  When I say that the pineal gland corresponds with the location of Ajna, what I mean is that the pineal gland is located in the same approximate location as Ajna but in the corporeal, or mundane, body. Ajna, like all the other chakras and the Nadis, is located in the astral body.  The astral, or personally, I like to think of it as the "imaginal", body is located within the astral realm, just as our corporeal bodies are located in the physical realm.

I should perhaps point out that you don't need to take my word on any of this.  If you have access concentration and lots of free time you can independently verify or refute these claims  by following the exercises detailed in the Kundalini Tantra book I mentioned earlier in the thread.

This stuff (sidhis, chakras, non-corporeal beings etc etc) remain the last great taboo in spiritual practice.  Lots of damage was done to the credibility of meditative practice during the sixties, so I think it's reasonable and understandable that the focus over the last few decades has been on establishing a serious, grounded reputation for Buddhism etc.  But it's also nice to see advanced practitioners like Daniel Ingram tackle some of the wackier side of practice head on in books like mctb2.  This stuff happens to people,  regardless of whether  
any of it is "true" or not.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/19/18 3:06 PM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
Hi Tim, I found the book

https://thekingdomwithin.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Swami-Satyananda-Saraswati-Kundalini-Tantra.pdf

Near the beginning it says...

"The seat of kundalini is a small gland at the base of the spinal cord. With the evolution of the natural forces in man, this gland has now come to a point where man can explode it."

And a little further on...

"Kundalini is the name of a sleeping dormant potential force in the  human  organism  and  it  is  situated  at  the  root  of  the  spinal  column.  In  the  masculine body  it  is  in  the  perineum,  between  the  urinary  and  excretory  organs.  In  the  female  body its location is at the root of the uterus, in the cervix. This center is known as mooladhara chakra and it is actually a physical structure. It is a small gland which you can even take
out  and  press"

Without going any further I'm just going to ask what this gland is ?

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/19/18 3:26 PM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
Hi Tim,

Tim Mullan:

Actually, what I'm saying is more far out than that.   emoticon.  When I say that the pineal gland corresponds with the location of Ajna, what I mean is that the pineal gland is located in the same approximate location as Ajna but in the corporeal, or mundane, body.

How do you know this? Could you describe to me what are the sensations that you experience that make you say this? Specifically, how are you able to pinpoint the fact that ajna is in the same location as the pineal gland and not rather an inch away from it, say where the thalamus / hypothalamus / pituitary gland is located?

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/19/18 7:21 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Tim Mullan:


I know siddhis are supposed to be a distraction from the path, but then so is any other activity. I don't see why thinking about the energy body is any worse than any other hobby or vocation.

I strive to make every moment of my life into good practice, including vocation and hobbies. In fact, most of my hobbies have been extremely conducive to the cultivation of mindfulness and taming the conceptual mind: martial arts, yoga, art, walking the dog, throwing knives... In my experience recreational thinking generally strengthens all the wrong mental habits of the conceptual mind, especially when it comes to woo-woo stuff like energy bodies. Why not make insight practice your primary recreational activity instead?

Don't get me wrong, I've done and do all sorts of energy/etc. practices that fall into the woowoo category. Extremely fruitful, highly recommended. But I don't waste precious time analyzing any of it or trying to find a scientific explanation because life is too short and time too precious for that kind of rabbit hole. Who cares how or why it works if it's useful? I forget about the stories and just try to perceive what's going in the sensory field (which feels to me like just one sense door anyway) clearly. And I am ruthless about doing this as close to 24 hours a day as humanly possible.  

Just my 2 cents.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/20/18 4:27 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Stickman2:
Tim Mullan:


I know siddhis are supposed to be a distraction from the path, but then so is any other activity. I don't see why thinking about the energy body is any worse than any other hobby or vocation.

I strive to make every moment of my life into good practice, including vocation and hobbies. In fact, most of my hobbies have been extremely conducive to the cultivation of mindfulness and taming the conceptual mind: martial arts, yoga, art, walking the dog, throwing knives... In my experience recreational thinking generally strengthens all the wrong mental habits of the conceptual mind, especially when it comes to woo-woo stuff like energy bodies. Why not make insight practice your primary recreational activity instead?

Don't get me wrong, I've done and do all sorts of energy/etc. practices that fall into the woowoo category. Extremely fruitful, highly recommended. But I don't waste precious time analyzing any of it or trying to find a scientific explanation because life is too short and time too precious for that kind of rabbit hole. Who cares how or why it works if it's useful? I forget about the stories and just try to perceive what's going in the sensory field (which feels to me like just one sense door anyway) clearly. And I am ruthless about doing this as close to 24 hours a day as humanly possible.  

Just my 2 cents.

Well, yeah that's good dedicated practice. What I find, though, is illness will force the issue when having to shop around for healing modalities. Getting battered in the street also forces the issue on people who think their chi will save them. Having a peaceful, clear mind coupled with good running shoes is probably more helpful than the ability to project chi balls. And then your life isn't maybe so short. But probably being calm enough not to get in trouble in the first place is a good start.

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/22/18 4:03 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Muladhara chakra.  The base chakra.  

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/22/18 4:17 AM as a reply to neko.
Hi Neko

I assume you've read mctb.  You may remember that Daniel remarks during his discussion of the jhanas that these can appear very different depending on the meditation object being used.  In kriya Yoga, one uses a series of visualisations, meant to represent the chakras as well as concentrating on and to an extent, creating, sensations in specific areas of the body, these areas corresponding with the location of the Chakras.  Over time and with sufficient concentration, both the sensations and and the visualisations become stronger.  At a certain point a predictable series of events take place, in much the same way as they do with the Jhanas.  In fact, I would argue that chakra realisation is indentical to the various Jhanas, just viewed differently.

If you like to know "precisely" what these sensations are like, where they occur etc I suggest you undertake the suggested exercises.  As Daniel observes in mctb, very few people have his skill for minutely dissecting phenomological experience and I regret I am not one of these.  Good luck on your journey Neko

RE: The pineal is in the wrong place
Answer
11/22/18 9:00 AM as a reply to Tim Mullan.
  In fact, I would argue that chakra realisation is indentical to the various Jhanas, just viewed differently.



Well, Leigh Brasington in his book on jhanas posits chemical correlates for jhanic phenomena

http://www.leighb.com/jhananeuro.htm

So, yeah, if it's the endocrine system why not ?
But once you've pinned down the biochemical correlates for all that, are you left with anything subtle like chakras ?