Our metaphors become like stone birds.
A familiar one is the image of serene reflection: the moon reflected in water. The moon [enlightenment] is clearly reflected in the still water [the tranquil mind]. Someone tries to convey a feeling-state through an image, and then the image becomes an aspiration: something to gain, something to lose.
And all of this is to practice, and to judge practice, from the perspective of the self. But that isn’t our practice.
If the water is enlivened, it doesn’t break the moon. If the sky is suddenly aflock with birds, it doesn’t shatter the light