Chapter 4 of Moon Over Water describes the purpose of certain meditation exercises, "... mental disciplines aimed at achieving a state of intently concentrated and yet relaxed stillness within ourselves ... an open space in the mind". Author Jessica Macbeth then notes:

The circle symbol used in the illustrations is called enso in Japanese. The Zen calligrapher uses it to symbolize the state of mystical union — "empty yet full, infinite, luminous, complete". In the West, the circle has long been the sign of something that is endless, complete in itself, perfect. As used here, it is a symbol of that open space in the mind, the state of perfect stillness, as silent and reflective as the moon. Let us think for just a moment about what else might happen in this still, open space. Imagery and healing may happen or be evoked in the still and concentrated quiet. Images that occur or are deliberately called forth may be used to help us with self-exploration, self-healing, and relaxation; to gain insight; and to receive inspiration. Images may be visual, as people most often think of them, but they may also be auditory or kinesthetic — that is, we may see, hear, or feel them.

Insight, information, and inspiration may also come into the silent mind in other forms — as if we were remembering something we had once experienced or learned, or simply as a sudden thought, a burst of knowing. These things enter the busy-mind only with great difficulty, and then usually only when there is an interruption to its busy-ness and a momentary silence. This is yet another reason why these exercises, which teach the mind stillness and develop the openness necessary to self-awareness and psychic and spiritual growth, are so valuable.

^z - 2012-02-29