Letting Go-Monkey Trap

Monkey trap
Monkey trap

Image from Principles of the Gospel

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor, told a story: Indian farmers would catch monkeys by carving a hole in a coconut, stuffing it with a banana, and tying it to a tree. The monkeys would want to eat the banana. It would reach into the coconut and grab hold of the banana.

It is easy for a monkey to get its hand in, but it can’t pull it out once it is holding the banana. The only way out of the coconut trap is to release the banana. But the monkey doesn’t want to do that. He wanted the banana, so he did not want to let go. If he let go of the banana, the monkey could escape. But without letting go, the monkey eventually is caught by the hunter.

Like this monkey, we seem to grasp what we want, but in many cases, we become slaves to our desires, and when we cling to the hope for things to go our way, we fall into self-inflicted pain. Only when you are willing to let go and allow life to flow naturally can there be space, just like a monkey has to let go to have room to get out of a trap.

Holding on to something can be a source of pain. If we allow it to come and go, it’s easier to let go. When the mind is broader, there is room to create something new, just like breathing. When we take a breath, no matter how long we can hold it, we have to breathe it out. And when we breathe out, the new cycle comes, and we can breathe in again.






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