In My Mind Through My Eyes

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There is only the all-encompassing blueness and bliss of infinity. At last, visualize before you a silvery-white, five-pointed star of light. Surrender every thought, every feeling into this star of absolute, ever-existing bliss. The spiritual eye is best seen during or after a period of deep meditation. Here is a simple technique you can learn in a few minutes, which was originally taught by Paramhansa Yogananda to his students. If you would like to receive more videos and articles on meditation, you can sign up for our Daily Meditator newsletter by entering your email below.

By Paramhansa Yogananda Practice this prayer before meditation, or even several times a day to help awaken the spiritual eye. Bless me, Father, that I behold the Eastern star of wisdom. May it shine before my human eyes as much in daylight as in darkness. Long my eyes were blinded by the tinsel-glitter of materiality.

Seeing things always outwardly, I saw not the Spirit behind and within them. I saw the mustard-seed of matter, but spied not the oil of Spirit that it contained. My third eye of wisdom is now opened.

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Oh, may it always be so! Bless me, that my sacred, wise thoughts, following this star of knowledge, lead me to the Christ in everything. For some people it takes a while, maybe many years. For some, it is immediate; and for others, it appears once or twice in the beginning and then is not seen again for a long time after that. Some meditators are more tuned into hearing sounds like the sound of AUM than seeing light the spiritual eye , or having feelings of energy rising in the spine.

We are all different, and we are at different places in our spiritual evolution. Just because a person does not see the spiritual eye does not mean that the person is not making spiritual progress! However, with that said, it does help to visualize or imagine the spiritual eye at the point between the eyebrows when you are meditating.

Sometimes there will be a dim or bright light or moving light patterns which will appear behind closed eyes, even if very briefly. Eventually, as the mind and breath becomes very calm, these lights will form themselves into the true appearance of the spiritual eye, which is very beautiful: a halo of golden light, surrounding a deep blue-violet tunnel at the center of which is a tiny, silver-white, five-pointed star. Concentration in meditation is very important, but concentration alone does not, in itself, bring on the appearance of the spiritual eye.

Many other factors are involved: devotion, grace, perseverance, relaxation, joyful expectation, self-offering, help from and faith in God and Guru, as well as always praying for guidance in meditation and non-attachment to results, to name a few. How do I know that I am looking or concentrating at the right spot? We ask people to lift the eyes slightly to help lift the consciousness. Practice of the Hong-Sau technique of concentration will help direct your mind toward the spiritual eye. We suggest that you concentrate first on the breath, and watching the breath as you are taught through the Hong-Sau technique will naturally draw your mind to the spiritual eye.

The more deeply you are able to concentrate on the breath, and interiorize your awareness, you will begin to sense the spiritual eye. During meditation I get some sensations around the spiritual eye, is this normal? You are beginning to sense the spiritual eye.

This is what should be happening, and is a sign that you are concentrating as you should be. Can it be dangerous to activate the spiritual eye? No, activating the spiritual eye is not dangerous. Paramhansa Yogananda recommended focusing our attention there as much as possible, even when not actively meditating. I am seeing a gold circle of light during Hong Sau and after, but it's not always round and retreats when I exhale. It seems likely that you are indeed experiencing the spiritual eye but in a way that is not completely focused and therefore the image recedes at times or changes shape.

Relax into whatever experience is happening and also to continue with the practice of Hong Sau so as to go deeper within. In that way the right experiences will open up. As such, we iteratively tested all combinations of the repeated items with CFA; results for the best set of items, according to the CFA fit indices, are presented in Tables 4 — 6. In a CFA this structure was an improved fit according to the CFA fit indices when compared with the complete Eyes Test, however only five of the 17 items had moderate or higher loadings on the single factor, and five items were not even significantly related to the central construct, suggesting that single factor did not adequately account for the variance in the 17 items and this solution had poor structural validity evidence.

Similarly, the omega estimate of this short-form structure was poor indicating poor factor saturation and internal consistency. Finally, based on the latent correlations, this short-form solution had weak to moderate relations with Cognitive Empathy, moderate relations with Emotion Perception, and was strongly related with Vocabulary.

Because this short-form solution has poor internal consistency according to omega and had poor structural validity evidence, this structure is not a sufficient solution.

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Table 5. Study 1 and 2: Comparison of possible short-form and subscale solutions. Table 6. Table 7. Study 1 and 2: correlations of the eyes test with the latent constructs cognitive empathy, vocabulary, and emotion perception. In a single CFA, we modeled both subscales as two latent constructs indicated by their respective items and correlating with one another. The model resulted in an improper solution, with the predicted covariance matrix not positive definite this also occurred with the factors modeled separately suggesting this solution was not an adequate fit to the data.

As such, omega could not be estimated. Because these subscales could not be modeled in a CFA, their latent correlations with Cognitive Empathy, Vocabulary, and Emotion Perception were not estimated. Overall, this subscale structure is not a sufficient solution. Harkness et al. When modeled in a CFA, with the three subscales modeled as latent factors indicated by their respective items and with the factors correlated with one another, the test structure was a poor fit to the data according to the fit indices, with many items loading weakly on their respective latent factor note: the poor fit is also supported by Vellante et al.

The omega estimates were poor for all three subscales indicating poor factor saturation and internal consistency. Finally, because the measurement model was a poor fit to the data, the latent correlations with Cognitive Empathy, Vocabulary, and Emotion Perception were not estimated. Overall, these results suggest this short-form structure is not a sufficient solution. These results suggest that none of the empirically proposed short-form or subscale structures adequately fit the data. Next, we applied two statistical tools in a data-driven fashion to identify the best fitting short-form structure according to that particular statistical tool that maximize one or both of our criteria.

In both attempts, we are assuming that all items are equal indicators of ToM.

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First, all 36 items were modeled in a single CFA, with all items loading on a single factor. Then, the item with the weakest loading was removed and the model was re-estimated for the reduced item set; this was done iteratively until the model had adequate fit according to all fit indices.

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This process resulted in a much reduced model, retaining only seven of the original 36 items. This final model showed acceptable fit according to the CFA fit indices, with all items moderately or strongly loading on the latent factor.

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However, despite an adequate measurement model structure, this short-form solution has a poor omega estimate indicating poor internal consistency and factor saturation, so this short-form solution was also not sufficient. ACO is a heuristic algorithm that converges to an optimal or close-to-optimal solution over the course of iterations. Subsets of items are picked based on probabilities, and these probabilities are then modified after each iteration based on the suitability of each item to reach the specified criterion.

Assuming an item contributes to improving the specified criterion, ACO will then increase the probability of that item in the subsequent subset of items Leite et al.

This is vintage Jan Morris—the mundane mingling with the majestic in a casual embrace.

In a CFA, all items loaded moderately to strongly on the latent factor. The average inter-item correlation 0. At the latent level, this short-form solution was weakly related to both measures of Cognitive Empathy and moderately related to both Emotion Perception and Vocabulary. In contrast to the complete Eyes Test, the ACO Model has adequate psychometric properties according to our criteria, suggesting this is a sufficient short-form solution to the complete Eyes Test. At the latent level, this solution was most related to Vocabulary, followed by Emotion Perception and Cognitive Empathy.

Because the ACO solution might be somewhat overfitted on the current sample, we cross-validated this solution on a second sample. Participants were again sampled from Amazon Mechanical Turk. We administered the same measures described in Study 1 in order to reduce the testing time, we administered only those scales discussed in this paper and the 10 ACO Model items of the Eyes Test. The measurement model structure fit the data sufficiently according to the CFA fit statistics, with eight of the 10 items loading moderately to strongly on the latent factor.

To test for measurement invariance in the scale structure between the two samples, we estimated a multiple-group analysis. In the first model, comparable to traditional constraints associated with configural invariance, item thresholds and factor loadings were allowed to vary freely across the samples, while the scale factors were fixed at 1 and factor means were fixed at 0.

Next, the item thresholds and factor loadings were constrained to be equal across samples, while the scale factors in Sample 1 were fixed to 1, the factor mean in Sample 1 was fixed to 0, and in Sample 2 the scale factors and factor mean was allowed to vary considered similar to strong factorial invariance. At the latent level, the model was weakly to strongly related with measures of Cognitive Empathy, weakly related with Emotion Perception, and strongly related with Vocabulary.

The change in relation could be due to differences in the loadings of indicators on their respective measurement models, difference in intercepts, and so forth, so the model was remodeled in a multiple-group analysis comparing both samples.

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Given that the final constrained model had acceptable fit, we will interpret the final constrained latent correlation i. In a second sample, the ACO Model maintained an adequate omega estimate, indicating sufficient internal consistency and factor saturation, and demonstrable homogeneity. The model maintained moderate relations with Emotion Perception and strong relations with Vocabulary, and had weak to moderate relations with Cognitive Empathy. Overall, the adequacy of the ACO Model solution was supported in this second sample.

We performed a psychometric test of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test and found, as reported by others e. In previous work, several empirically derived short-form and subscale solutions were proposed. We evaluated these proposals on three criteria: 1 omega estimate, indicating internal consistency; 2 factor saturation; and 3 measurement model fit.

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Using these criteria, we identified a short-form solution ACO Model that meets both criteria. The ACO Model was sufficiently cross-validated in a second sample. At the latent level, the ACO Model is weakly to moderately related with Cognitive Empathy, moderately related with Emotion Perception, and has the strongest relation with Vocabulary. Based on the results presented in this series of studies, and inferred from evidence by other groups also suggesting that the full measure has poor psychometric quality, we recommend the use of the item ACO Model short-form solution instead of the full Eyes Test.

This recommendation applies to all uses with unimpaired healthy adults where the goal is to assess individual differences in ToM. If the population or measurement intention changes, adequate evidence concerning the criteria we applied should be presented. This short-form solution is homogeneous with adequate internal consistency suggesting it is a more precise measure of ToM compared with the original form. The short-form solution is considerably reduced from the complete Eyes Test, making it much quicker to administer.

Also, the descriptive statistics suggest that the spread of person-level scores is comparable to that of the complete Eyes Test, thus the short-form solution still acts as an adequate individual difference measure. Regarding the design, the ACO Model has an almost equal distribution of male and female identities, like the original version. Also, while it is possible that the ACO Model short-form solution might be conceptually limited from Baron-Cohen et al.

First, Baron-Cohen and colleagues did not discuss purposely including items with different affects and they never proposed that the affect of the target word could be used to create subscales or should bias performance on the test, so in our analyses we operated under the assumption that there was no preference in terms of which items were the most appropriate for the measure of ToM.

Also, as presented above, we found that the affect classifications by Konrath et al. Thus, the ACO short-form solution should not be considered to be a measure of ToM that is biased toward assessing ToM of negative mental states any more than that assumption is made of the original test. ToM is largely considered by some to be similar to, if not the same as, Cognitive Empathy e. That these two were not more strongly correlated can be attributed to the differences in measurement methodologies Nunnally and Bernstein, Likewise, the moderate relation with Emotion Perception is also supported in the literature e.

Both ToM and Emotion Perception tests are described as ability tests and both test the extent to which participants can read the minds, facial expressions, and feelings of another person. Finally, while a relation with Vocabulary was expected, we did not expect such a strong relation. Previous research suggests that at the manifest level, the Eyes Test is weakly related to verbal fluency Ahmed and Miller, and moderately related to verbal IQ Golan et al.

At the latent level, however, we found a strong correlation 0. That this is the second study to identify such a strong relation between the Eyes Test and Vocabulary suggests that performance on the former may be heavily based on one's vocabulary knowledge.

The response options of the Eyes Test, in general, occur less frequently in the English language [e. The test's reliance on Vocabulary was mentioned by the test designers, however the inclusion of the response option definitions in the instructions for the test was designed to mitigate this effect. Our results, and that of others, suggests this may not be sufficient.

Future revisions of the Eyes Test should focus on minimizing the test's reliance on Vocabulary, so that the test might be a more precise measure of ToM and less a measure of Vocabulary. Overall, we were able to identify an adequate short-form solution to the Eyes Test that is homogeneous and has adequate internal consistency. That short-form solution was strongly related to Vocabulary, moderately related to Emotion Perception, and moderately to weakly related with self-reported Cognitive Empathy.

Given the relatively high relation with Emotion Perception, and other research that consistently identifies the Eyes Test as related to Emotion Perception, and sometimes a measure of that construct, future research should attempt to incorporate ToM research, in particular the Eyes Test, in research on emotional intelligence and interpersonal abilities with the goal of identifying the convergent and discriminant validity of this test amongst these abilities.

Finally, the strong relation with Vocabulary suggests that the Eyes Test still has a large reliance on one's vocabulary, and future revisions of the test should try to reduce that bias. The relations of the Eyes Test with Emotion Perception and Vocabulary is of particular importance for the study of clinical populations identified to have a deficit in ToM.

Given that the Eyes Test correlates moderately with Emotion Perception and strongly with Vocabulary, as the Eyes Test is designed currently one cannot rule out the possibility that perhaps the Eyes Test discriminates between these groups on Emotion Perception and Vocabulary, and not just on ToM. Research regarding the extent to which individuals on the Autism Spectrum have a deficit in their ability to perceive emotions in the face cf.

Harms et al. Bosseler and Massaro, is mixed, however findings generally point to a deficit in both. Thus, the differences in groups identified by the Eyes Test might be because the test identifies differences between these groups in their Vocabulary and Emotion Perception abilities. This should be examined in future research. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

This research was supported in part by U. All statements expressed in this article are the authors' and do not reflect the official opinions or policies of the U. We would like to thank Jeremy Burrus and Heather Walters for their assistance in data collection. Adams, Jr. Cross-cultural reading the mind in the eyes: an fMRI investigation.

Ahmed, F. Executive function mechanisms of Theory of Mind. Autism Dev. Astington, J. Macquarie Monographs in Cognitive Science , eds B. Repacholi and V. A longitudinal study of the relation between language and theory-of-mind development.

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Baron-Cohen, S. Another advanced test of theory of mind: evidence from very high functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome. Child Psychol. Psychiatry 38, — Sex differences in the brain: implications for explaining austism. Science , — Cognition 21, 37— Psychiatry 42, — Batki, A. Is there an innate gaze module? Evidence from human neonates. Infant Behav. Beauducel, A. On the performance of maximum likelihood versus means and variance adjusted weighted least squares estimation in CFA. Modeling 13, — Bentler, P. Comparative fit indices in structural models. Berinsky, A. Evaluating online labor markets for experimental research: Amazon.

Bora, E. Theory of mind impairment in schizophrenia: meta-analysis. Bosseler, A. Development and evaluation of a computer-animated tutor for vocabulary and language learning in children with autism. Buhrmester, M. Amazon's Mechanical Turk: a new source of inexpensive, yet high-quality data? Calder, A. Reading the mind from eye gaze.

Neuropsychologia 40, — Casler, K. Separate but equal? A comparison of participants and data gathered via Amazon's MTurk, social media, and face-to-face behavioral testing. Clark, L. Constructing validity: basic issues in objective scale development. Cortina, J. What is coefficient alpha?

An examination of theory and applications. Cronbach, L. And so, by observing where someone is looking, we can infer which options they consider. In a study lead by James Cavanagh of Brown University, participants were asked several questions involving such difficult tradeoffs between payoffs and probabilities.

Participants were paid according to their decisions—you can imagine that they thought really hard about which options to choose! Our pupils get bigger as choices get harder. The eyes can also tell us if we experience something unpleasant. In a study, Chapman and colleagues at the University of Washington administered a painful stimulation to the fingers of 20 participants. Although experiencing pain is very different from looking at semi-nude pictures, it elicits a similar pupil response. Taken together, this suggests that pupil size reflects the strength of feelings, rather than whether those feelings are positive or negative.

Therefore, to deduce whether someone is feeling good or bad, we need to consider the context of the situation in addition to their eyes. Does this mean that we can read everything from the eyes, and that the eyes are the only signal we should attend to? When making a high-stakes decision—such as whether someone was guilty of a crime—we should not rely on pupil dilation alone to make our judgment.

This is great—because from the perspective of the observed, the privacy of thoughts is maintained. But eyes tell us much more than we sometimes assume—and our eyes, unlike our mouths, cannot lie. The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. She studies how people make decisions with the help of behavioral experiments, eyetracking data and computational modeling.

Follow her on Twitter ChristinaLeuker. He studies the relation between the developing brain and changes in learning and decision-making. Amongst others, he works with Elke Weber and Eric Johnson.