In parts of India and Africa, monkeys can be quite troublesome. They steal crops from farmers, and swoop down and snatch lunches from folks taking noon day breaks in city parks. One method of controlling the pesky critters is to trap them, …and then hopefully transport them to a more suitable environment.

One of the most effective ways of trapping them, is to put pieces of fruits or nuts into gourds, termite mounds, or caged traps. Now the monkey is too smart to fully enter the trap, so the entryway of each of these vessels is designed to barely accommodate the monkey’s empty hand. The monkey reaches in, grabs the goodies but when he tries to remove his hand, clasped to the goods it won’t fit back through the hole or the bars of the trap. This creates quite a dilemma for the monkey: let go, or remain trapped.

How many times in our lives are we faced with the choice of letting go or remaining trapped? Old wounds, grudges, habits, notions, ways of doing things: these can be sources of the clenched fists of our being, holding us back from better versions of ourselves. It’s good to have rock solid values -integrity, honesty, charity, self-discipline, but sometimes we have to take a second look at our daily practices. Maybe there are things we need to let go, in order to set us free.

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