Let us analyse the statement, “The moon is out there in front of me whethere I look at it or not.”
The light from the moon reaches eyes, and the signal from the eyes goes to the brain and mind interprets the signal as moon. It is just the signal that is reaching the brain that the mind reads as moon. Even if the moon is not out there but the signal is there, mind still labels it as moon. In dream for example there is no moon out there but it still appears to be moon. So, actually what is interpreted depends solely on the signal. If moon is experienced, we cannot infer that physical moon is necessarily out there. Hence, the statement is not necessarily correct. Moon may appear to be out there, but what appears need not necessarily be real.
If we go a step ahead then where is the moon for the inert stone. It is only due to the body instruments (senses, brain etc.) does the moon exist for us. An ammeter shows the current, the brain shows the moon. There is no experience in the absence of a suitable measuring instrument or signal.
Since one can see the moon even by closing eyes, it is clear that it is mind that takes the shape of the moon. The logic that is applied to sight can be applied to sound, taste, smell, touch as well. Since it is mind that takes various forms, all we can say with certainty is that everything is mind only. Consciousness and still mind are synonemous. We Are THAT.
Q: Why is my mind not in the present moment and how to bring my mind to the present moment 24×7?
A: In modern fast life too much Rajas (activity) could be the major reason for the existence of the habit of living in head. There could be too many tasks in, “To do” list made by your mind and it wants to jump from one task to another quickly. In this case your mind is always looking for, “What next?” and it may even treat a particular task as an obstacle that needs to be got rid of. Perhaps your mind wants to prove something to somebody or your mind is programmed from childhood to do too much work and not to rest etc. You need to do self inquiry to find out the real cause of this attitude applicable in your case, to slow down and to concentrate on doing one thing at a time .
While self inquiry is the fastest method of purification, Karma Yoga attitude is also very effective to mellow down Rajas.
Self is revealed in the final stage of Self Inquiry when the doer who does Self Inquiry surrenders/loses himself and Impersonal Awareness claims the, “I” status. The doer, “I” does not know Impersonal Awareness as object but the Impersonal Awareness as true, “I” recognises ItSelf after removing doer, “I”. This shift is subtle and is not necessarily as dramatic as the words, “Awakening” and “Enlightenment” may sound. Surrender happens when you understand that the results of action are beyond your control and only then you let the doership go. Surrender does not necessarily mean surrendering to a physical guru.
[Mundakopanishad, 3-2-3 Portion]
Meaning: The Self is gained only by him who longs for It with the whole heart. For to such a one the Self reveals Its own nature.
Enlightenment means direct knowledge of the Seer as Seer. In NDE (Near Death Experience), since there is an experience without body and this experience appears much more real than the experience that a normal mind has, there is a clear realisation that one is not the body and not the mind. One is inclined to call oneself as the individual soul after NDE. There is a feeling of unconditional love, of timelessness etc. in NDE but it is a feeling after all. Seer merely sees without feeling. Seer does not have any individuality also. Negating body and mind is fine but if individual soul is not negated it is not enlightenment. Seer is pure Consciousness which is beyond body, mind and individual soul. NDE does not necessarily mean enlightenment. If Self Inquiry continues during NDE, it can give rise to enlightenment.