In Asia there is a very clever trap for catching monkeys. People hollow out a coconut, put something sweet in it, and make a hole at the bottom of the coconut just big enough for the monkey to slide its open hand in, but not big enough for the monkey to withdraw its hand as a fist. They attach the coconut to the tree, and the monkey comes along and gets trapped. What keeps the monkey trapped? Only the force of desire, of clinging, of attachment. All the monkey has to do is let go of the sweet, open its hand, slip it out, and be free. But only a very rare monkey will do that.
~ Joseph Goldstein, Transforming the Mind, Healing the World
It is the attachment to the ideas about what that coconut can bring to us that keeps us trapped. My coconut can take a shape of an idea I have of what my life should be like that prevents me from seeing other opportunities, an image what my body should look like, what others should treat me like, that I should manage all the stuff on my to-do list no matter what… It takes a good amount of self-observation to catch oneself clinging to that coconut and some courage to let it go. But then – the sweetness of the liberation is all mine! 🙂 Also, I cannot receive anything if I have my hands full all the time!
Today I practice the art of letting go of the coconuts and saying to myself “Släpp!” (SW: let go!).