The Buddhist Parable of a Raft:
A man is trapped on one side of a fast-flowing river. Where he stands, there is great danger and uncertainty - but on the far side of the river, there is safety. But there is no bridge or ferry for crossing. So the man gathers logs, leaves, twigs, and vines and is able to fashion a raft, sturdy enough to carry him to the other shore. By lying on the raft and using his arms to paddle, he crosses the river to safety.
The Buddha then asks the listeners a question: “What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river, then said to himself, ‘Oh, this raft has served me so well, I should strap it on to my back and carry it over land now?’”
The monks replied that it would not be very sensible to cling to the raft in such a way.
The Buddha continues: “What if he lay the raft down gratefully, thinking that this raft has served him well, but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?”
The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude.
The Buddha concluded by saying, “So it is with my teachings, which are like a raft, and are for crossing over with — not for seizing hold of.”
I've read about when animals are brought into refuge after being abused or injured, and even though at first they wildly resist going into the cage, once they realize they are safe there, they refuse to leave the cage even once they are healed, and being released. Even though the immediate danger is gone, they relate the wide open fields that were once their home to being hurt or injured - they choose to continue to live in the safety of the cage, and they resist leaving with every fiber of their being. They miss out on being fully rehabilitated because they live in fear, and they choose the cage.
I am not going to lie - it took a lot of convincing to tell me I was now safe, I was free to leave my sanctuary, and I had crossed the river. There is no danger in my new home, I am not in peril. It was my time to leave my refuge and live my life. It was time to let go of my raft. Time to leave the cage. Time for me to fly.
As the moving van pulled away and I looked at my new surroundings, littered with moving boxes and
MyHoney walked in with an arm full of boxes, and beamed at me like a ray of sun. Noticing my tears, he put down his cargo, walked over to me, and embraced me. As I buried my face into his shirt and breathed in deeply his warm hug, and I watched in my minds-eye as I cut the rope to the raft, and gratefully let it float away.
Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now, Paradise is Releasing the Raft....