Monkey Traps

3 Nov


" know why the monkey gets trapped? Because of its greed.” He picked up a hollowed-out coconut and said, “Look at this hole. It is just big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for full fist filled with rice to come out. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and take out his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his own greed, until he is captured; forever a captive of his greed."

A monkey wakes up with no food in the refrigerator, no food in the pantry, no McDonald’s on the way to work, and yet hungry.  He comes across a jar with food in it and he sticks his hand in to retrieve the food, unwilling to let go because he knows not where else he might receive food from.  It is his need, not his greed that keeps him holding on.

How many of you are monkeys with your hand in a jar? Holding on to that man, that job, that life so tightly because you don’t know where else you might get another one?

After a few sessions, I start to get real with my clients.  We have established a relationship that allows me to speak a bit more candidly, and so when they exhibit cyclical behaviors or refuse to let go of something that hurts them, I tell them to read the quote on my table.  It says:

“Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.” – Dr. Robert N. Anthony

And then I challenge them.  You’ve told me that you want kindness, understanding, trust, and love in a relationship, yet you describe your boyfriend as mean-spirited, untrustworthy, cruel, and cold; what are you getting from this relationship?  Quite simply you have food in your hand, but you are still starving, is it not more tortuous to feel it, smell it, know its there and STILL not have it, than to simply be without it?  Either way, you’re not getting what you want, so tell me, what is the fear in letting go?

Often the response is a tearful, “I may not find it anywhere else,” to which I say a quiet, “But you don’t even have it now.” Then I sit back, and I wait.


2 Responses to “Monkey Traps”

  1. Cleo November 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    I admit I was a victim of being holding onto something ( a relationship) for fear of being alone. Whenever i felt lonely I would fall back on that relationship because it was old and familiar but not because it truly mad ME happy. I think it wasn’t until I started to be more self aware i was able to let go of that and move on…


  1. Rejection Reflection « Sincerely, Jess - January 21, 2013

    […] I was telling a friend of mine about my first love. How I’d never laughed so much with someone and how when that relationship ended I wondered if I’d be so lucky as to find that again. I was afraid *chuckle* to let it go because I thought I’d surely never have it that good again. The thing is…god/the universe/the divine or whatever you call your almighty, does not do almost or halfway. So what good was that laughter, that fun, that abandon without all the other stuff? The stuff that let me know I had to move on; the stuff that showed me he was nothing more than a monkey trap. […]

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