Most of us have a hard time letting go of our beliefs, our actions and thoughts. I know I do. As we engage in our day-to-day activities at work and home, we tend to cling to the familiar and avoid the unfamiliar. We hold on to thoughts and attitudes that don’t challenge us. We vote for candidates who are like us. We stay away from situations and people whose beliefs and lifestyles don’t mimic us. We’re like the monkey and the coconut.
Ever hear the story? Villagers in a far-off land wanted to capture monkeys. So one ingenious person thought of cutting a hole in a coconut and stuffing peanuts in it. Then he placed the coconut in a tree frequently visited by monkeys.
Within minutes of putting the coconut in the tree, a monkey wandered by, smelled the peanuts, crawled up the tree and put his hand inside the coconut. As villagers approached to nab the monkey, the monkey couldn’t climb down the tree because he was clutching the peanuts inside the coconut and his hand was stuck. If he had let go of the peanuts, he would have made a quick getaway. The monkey got caught.
Aren’t we all like that monkey? We’re stubborn and hold on to beliefs that cause arguments with others. We like to be right. We like to think others think we’re right. Clutching peanuts and not letting go causes us a lot of troubles in our lives.
Instead of behaving like the monkey, we could occasionally open our minds to conflicting beliefs, listen to others who say things that upset us and stand up for causes that might help reduce anxiety and suffering in the world.
Just think if we tried doing that: letting go, just for a moment, opening up, allowing our minds to change. The world we see would change before our eyes. Unlike the monkey, we could end up having both the coconut and the peanuts.