the raft is not the shore

I have told you many times the importance of knowing when it is time to let go of a raft and not hold on to it unnecessarily. When a mountain stream overflows and becomes a torrent of floodwater carrying debris, a man or woman who wants to get across might think, ‘What is the safest way to cross this floodwater?’ Assessing the situation, she may decide to gather branches and grasses, constructing a raft, and use it to cross to the other side. But, after arriving on the other side, she thinks, ‘I spent a lot of time and energy building this raft. It is a prized possession, and I will carry it with me as I continue my journey.’ If she puts it on her head and carries it with her on land, do you think that would be intelligent?

(from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Thundering Silence)

What rafts are you still carrying on your head? What streams have they helped you cross already? And what rivers might you have to ford next?


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