As part of the incessant
need to provide monkeys to research labs around the world, teams of monkey catchers
have developed an interesting system to capture live monkeys. While it is still
dark, the teams take long necked heavy ceramic vases to places where monkeys
are known to frequent. Fresh bananas are then placed in them and the teams go
off and lay similar traps elsewhere.
In the morning, the monkeys
find the vases and discover the succulent fruit that has miraculously appeared
overnight. With gusto, they reach into the vases and grasp a banana. When they
try to extract their arms they discover that they can't. The fist that is grabbing
the banana has now become thicker than the neck of the vase and the monkey is
unable to get the arm out. When the monkey catchers return that night they find
that the monkeys are still there, usually exhausted after trying in vain for
hours to lift the heavy jar and escape with it. The monkeys are then caged and
sent to some university lab on the other side of the world.
Now all that monkey had
to do to escape from his unfortunate fate was to let go of the banana, but the
poor stubborn thing just hung on and on. We can smugly chuckle at the antics
of the poor dumb creature that just didn't have the sense to release the desired
prize. Of course, we're above that, right?
What you may wish to ask
yourself is whether this monkey business has any relation to your life. Do you
in fact have patterns in your life that approximate those of our evolutionary
cousins? Are there counterproductive activities that you hang onto with the
Would you rather slowly
kill yourself with rich, fatty food rather than eating sensibly by telling yourself
that if you have to eat "healthy" food, life would not be worth living?
How many marriages or relationships
do you have to experience before you are willing to let go of your need to be
right, or in control, or to blow up in a torrent of anger if things don't go
How many stress symptoms
or illnesses do you have to deal with before you can let go of the obsessive
perfectionism that drives you to work long and hard and keeps you enslaved to
your deep insecurity?
How many demerit points
and traffic fines will you put up with before you let go of your compulsive
need to drive faster and faster?
Recognizing and letting
go of that which doesn't serve you is the constant challenge that everyone faces.
As you confront these tricky life situations, remember the monkey trap and choose
to let go of the inappropriate choices. Alternatively, you can begin to look
for a tree to swing on.