Letting go and finding freedom - A mindful monkey's tale
Just to lighten your day, here's a story about a monkey, a banana and a coconut.
A long time ago a village was plagued by hungry monkeys. They would charge into the village with their ravenous appetite and steal all the farmers lovely fresh fruit and vegetables. Each time the villagers would chase the monkeys away but each day they would return.
Then one day, a wise farmer from another village arrived. The villagers told of their plight and the visiting farmer suggested a solution.
'Cut a hole in a coconut, just big enough for a monkeys hand, and place a juicy banana inside. Because the monkey will not want to let go of the prized banana, he will not be able to extract his hand and will be caught. All you need to do is to pick up the monkey and the coconut and take them to another forest away from other villagers'.
Within a week the villagers had caught and relocated all the greedy monkeys and peace and harmony returned to their land.
In Mindfulness we begin to see how attachment and the clinging to our desires, whatever they maybe, ultimately causes our own suffering and if we can simply let go, then we will free ourselves. It is often our own ignorance that is the root cause of desire, the 'ignorance' that this is happening and the 'unwillingness' to take action. All this keeps us on our autopilot in life, maintaining the illusion of comfort and security and yet at the same time anesthetising us from the rich experience of life. It is the opposite of healthy detachment, acceptance and mental freedom.
Whilst I am not advocating the giving up of our worldly possessions or giving up on our hopes or dreams, I am suggesting that we take time to examine what it is that keeps us trapped or stuck in what Buddhists call 'Samsara', the constant wheel of repeated suffering. In plain English, 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got'.
So, how would life be if you chose to examine which desires keep you 'trapped' in your own Samsara and ultimately let go of your own particular banana?
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About Gavin Weir-Jones
Gavin Weir-Jones is an experienced Therapist and Mindfulness teacher who uses Buddhist psychology to help heal western suffering.