In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn tells a story of how farmers in India would catch monkeys that were destroying their crops. Because they practiced compassion, shooting or killing the monkeys was not an option. They had to find a way to capture the monkey, and then return it to the jungle.
After observing the monkeys, one farmer found a way. He cut a small hole in a coconut, just big enough so that the monkey could slide its hand through. He put a banana inside the coconut, then tied it to the side of a tree. The monkey came up, smelled the banana, and stuck its hand into the coconut to grab the banana. When it tried to pull its hand out, because his hand was clenched in a fist holding the banana, it did not fit out of the small hole. And because the monkey refused to let go of the banana, the farmer was able to capture it. Had the monkey just let go, he would be free.
Much like the monkey with the banana, we have a tendency to hold on to things — things that don’t necessarily serve us. Old habits, behaviors and even relationships. Attachment is a very natural part of life. But sometimes those things that we’re attached to are the very things that hold us back, even causing pain in our lives.
What are you holding on to that no longer serves you? Just for today, what can you let go of in order to be free? No, it’s not always easy. But neither is living life on a roller coaster, or living in pain.
(I love the book, Letting Go: Pathway of Surrender, by David R. Hawkins)