In southeast Asia, a monkey trap is constructed from a hollow gourd with a single opening, just large enough for a monkey’s hand to fit in and out of. To load the trap, a hunter simply places a piece of bait in the gourd; a tempting slice of fruit works well. A hungry monkey reaches into the tethered gourd and clenches the fruit, but when he tries to take his hand out of the gourd, he finds that his fist is too big to get through the opening. He cannot remove his hand with the fruit clenched in it.
So what does a monkey do in this situation? If you think he drops the fruit and pulls his hand out and escapes, you’ve missed the essential point about the psychology of monkeys, and perhaps of human beings as well. The trap works because the monkey refuses to let go of the fruit, even if disaster is approaching.
In much the same way, metaphorically, we suffer the same plight. So often in life we mentally and emotionally hold onto things which trap and imprison us. And like the monkey, when we refuse to let go, we can face dire consequences.
Since Transformation is a growth process which requires that we move forward in all aspects of our life, anything that keeps us stuck has to go. And yes, that includes monkey traps of all kinds.
How do you know if you are stuck in a monkey trap? Well, let's see... Is there any area of your life that is not changing the way you would like it to? Are you stuck in any way? We can check our health and happiness for starters. Are you feeling lighter and brighter, kinder and more joyful as the weeks go by? Is your body becoming leaner, stronger and more energetic?
If so, keep up the good work!
If not, that could be a sign you're stuck, or even trapped, by something your mind is holding onto. It could be a limiting belief such as, "I don't have time to work out and eat healthy." Or, "My body will never change; this is just the way I am." And then there's this one, "I don't deserve to be healthy or happy."
It could be that you're holding on to your old self (the before version of you). It doesn't make sense on the surface that we wouldn't find it easy to let go of whom we are, especially if it is causing us suffering, in order to embrace what we can be; however, it happens all the time.
So often, we limit our progress in transformation by holding on to what we are or were, and that is a trap. Until we let go of our old self and surrender our identification with whom we were ("Oh, I've always been out of shape and tired... that is just who I am."), we will prevent ourselves from making the decisions and taking the actions we need to in order for us to each create a better and brighter future.
It's imperative that we step back and look at the bigger picture. We need to see our situation with a fresh perspective. When we do, we often quite quickly see something very obvious. "Silly monkey... just let go of the fruit and pull your hand out of the trap." I mean like that obvious.
So we see our monkey traps can be uncooperative beliefs, attachments to past identities, and we can also add regrets and resentments to the list. Anything that keeps us mentally and/or emotionally stuck we have to let go of. When we do, we give ourselves new power and freedom to transform.
So now I ask, "What is your monkey trap?"
What is one specific thing you are holding onto right now which you need to let go of in order to free yourself? Is it a belief? A perception? A resentment or regret? A low-level habit? Or is it an attitude or mindset which is keeping you from being healthier and happier as time moves forward?
Consider it for a few moments...
When something becomes clear to you, write it down. Then ask yourself if you are willing to let it go? What price will you pay emotionally and physically if you don't release your grip on it?