In the October 1989 issue of MACROBIOTICS TODAY, Herman Aihara, a great teacher and founder of the Vega Study Center, gives an example of what happens when we do not let go and hold on too long:
“Southeast Asian people take a hollow gourd and make a hole just large enough for a monkey to slip its hand in. Then a banana is put inside. This is a monkey trap.
He sticks his hand in and grabs the banana, but with his hand in a fist to grasp the banana, his hand is too large to slip out of the hole. And rather than let go of the banana, the monkey will allow himself to be caught.”
The picture of a monkey struggling to get the banana out is very clear to me. I can see it jumping up and down; banging the gourd on the ground; shrieking; trying to drag it away. Anything not to let go. The image symbolizes so much.
We are often trapped in much the same way as the monkey. Our ego, pride, guilt, shame, whatever – keep us holding on to a situation, feeling or belief long after it began. We run the same thoughts over and over in our minds in the same way that the monkey keeps trying to get the banana out of the small hole.
Herman Aihara advises us not to be too serious – nothing is very serious in this world, he says. Those who hold on can’t move on. You lose your love, faith and freedom if you hang on. Through these last months of being locked down in our homes, many people found ways to simplify their lives and they like it. We had to let go, and it has benefits.
As a society, we believe we must work very hard and long to do the things that others do or others tells us we should do. Because we believe this is true, we make it real. It is time to stop believing that we have to be crazy-busy in order to be productive and worthwhile.
We are facing a time as we move forward out of these lock-downs, when we must be creative and open to inspiration in order to find productive solutions to the societal and economic declines caused by the lock-downs.
Think about the monkey next time you are sure you must run around, over-schedule, buy more, work late, or multi-task. Build the skill of discerning what is truly important and leave the rest. Know that you accomplish all needed tasks quickly and easily.
Practice being a deliberate creator of a happy life by affirming aloud that all is well. Become still and listen to your inner voice to hear how to create a new story of how we operate together. Repeat with conviction: “All I do works perfectly for my highest good and the highest good of all life everywhere.”
Let go of the banana and be free.