Are You Stuck? Let It Go!

Do you know how they trap certain species of monkeys in Africa? Some of the indigenous populations devised an ingenious method to trap monkeys. They would take a coconut, a jar, or a container and make a hole small enough for the monkey to stick it’s hand in it. Then they would place a piece of fruit or food inside the container and wait for the monkey to come down and stick their hand in to grab the fruit. The hole was just small enough so that the monkey could not pull it’s hand out unless it was willing to drop the fruit. The monkey was physically trapped as long as it was holding on to what was inside the container. [mks_highlight color=”#eeee22″]Escape from such a simple trap was just a matter of “letting go”[/mks_highlight] and yet the monkeys were not able to because they were determined to keep what they were holding on to. The hunter would approach and the monkey would frantically pull harder and harder to try to escape with it’s piece of fruit only to find it was hopelessly stuck and then trapped or killed.

The Buddha taught that the root of our suffering (ignorance) is what gives rise to our tendency to “cling”. What you should be asking yourself is, “What am I clinging to?” Just like the monkey, our clinging doesn’t accomplish much for us. Why do we persist in hanging on to things when we would feel so much better if we just let go?

…As the great Confucius said, “The one who would be in constant happiness must frequently change.” Flow. But we keep looking back, don’t we? We cling to things in the past and cling to things in the present…Do you want to enjoy a symphony? Don’t hold on to a few bars of the music. Don’t hold on to a couple of notes. Let them pass, let them flow. The whole enjoyment of a symphony lies in your readiness to allow the notes to pass…- Anthony de Mello

Take some time to think and really ponder on what you are currently “clinging” to, whatever it is, you may feel that it’s so important that your life depends on it, but in reality[mks_highlight color=”#eeee22″] your freedom depends on letting it go.[/mks_highlight]

About the Author
Noah Rasheta is a Buddhist teacher, lay minister, and author, as well as the host of the podcast Secular Buddhism. He teaches mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy online and in workshops all around the world. He works with others to make the world a better place as he studies, embodies, and teaches the fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy, integrating Buddhist teachings with modern science, humanism, and humor. He lives in Kamas, Utah, with his wife and three kids.