The moon in the water is a familiar illustration and it is also a yoga practice.
Swami Rama Tirtha, a fellow disciple of my teacher Hari Prasad Shastri, used to take a little boat on the river Ravi at night and meditate on the reflection of the moon in the water. And our teacher referred to this also.
In the far east the true Self is often represented by the full moon, in India it is usually the sun.
There is a Chinese poem:
The shadow of the bamboo sweeps the steps,
But the dust does not stir;
The moons disc bores deep into the lake,
But on the water’s surface there is no scar.
The moon is in the sky and we see it also deep in the waters of the lake, but if we examine the water very carefully we cannot find the scar of where it entered.
In the same way we can examine the body and the mind very carefully, but we can’t find where the reflection of the self has entered, and yet it is there. Now as to the moon in the water when the water has ripples and disturbances the moon seems to be broken up into confused flashes of light. In the same way our mind when we are ourselves disturbed seems to be broken up: I have been hurt, I have been triumphant, I lost there, why did they do that? The reflected Self seems to be broken up, but when the mind calms down the image of the moon or the image of the self becomes clear.
© Trevor Leggett