In Asia, hunters have learned of a very sneaky trip to trap monkeys: find a good sized pumpkin, make a hole in it (through which you’ll have to place a banana), take out all the pulp through this hole making sure not to break the shell. Once the pumpkin is empty, place a good sized banana in it. The pumpkin is then left somewhere in the forest, monitored by the hunters. Every once in a while a monkey comes along, notices the banana inside and immediately reaches his hand inside to grab it. As soon as the monkey grabs hold of the banana, the banana has him trapped. Both monkey and banana are now trapped by the banana because both the banana and the hand won’t fit through the hole. The monkey can’t let go of the idea of leaving the banana, he can’t leave it, and therefore he is prisoner to a banana. Soon the hunters come, the monkey is in big trouble, he doesn’t know what to do and becomes anxious and nervous, but he can’t let go of the banana. He doesn’t realize that is problem is clinging to the banana, and not running. So the hunter traps him. If the monkey could speak in an interview and relate what happened, surely he would blame the pumpkin, or the small hole, or maybe he’d blame the whole thing on destiny. What’s a banana doing inside a pumpkin anyway?
The story may sound a bit funny, but just like monkeys, human sometimes can’t see or recognize what the main source of our problems or unhappiness are.
Not wanting to let go of things because we’ve associated, internally, that the thing to which we cling produces, or will produce, a certain pleasure, happiness, or some benefit. The mind tells us that this object, thing or circumstance that we cling to will give us something that truly satisfies and pleases us, and then it becomes a question of clinging to this thing. How on Earth could we let go some something that representsour well-being, our pleasure?
By nature we incline ourselves towards pleasure, happiness, and the most benefit. But clinging to something only means that, up until that moment, we’re already prisoners. We decided that happiness and well-being comes solely from that thing we don’t want to let go of. We make voluntarily ourselves prisoners, and we make ourselves exempt from the pleasure we so strongly seek.
Letting go of something means freeing ourselves. It means that we know and recognize that there is more than just one banana in the world. In that freedom it becomes possible to experience or keep searching for what we want. Perhaps some day we’ll truly understand where true happiness and satisfaction reside, and maybe someday we’ll even run into one of those stubborn monkeys and give him a good tip.