The Monkey's Fist

Published: Friday February 17, 2017


Not until we let go, do we find our true selves

The monkey held tightly to the rice in the coconut.  Its fist gripped the food hard.  It wouldn’t let go.  The rice was for the taking, but its hand was stuck.  The clever Chinese farmer knew the monkey and its stubborn habits – that was just his advantage in trapping the pesky animal.  The farmer had hollowed an opening in the coconut the exact size of the monkey’s open hand and baited it with rice.  The monkey easily reached in for the rice, but once it grabbed the morsels in its fist, it could no longer fit its hand back through the opening.  The monkey’s reluctance to let go, made it a prisoner of its own making. 

What is your rice?  What are you clinging to that is keeping you from opening your grip?  It might be a relationship.  A house.  A job.  A habit.  A memory.  Often we hold on to that thing for so long that we forget what it is like to be truly ourselves.  Each and every day we grip it more tightly.  Even as we become trapped in our present circumstances, we are unwilling to let go.

The real challenge of surrender is not just in the letting go, but in the letting go of something we yearn for.  We fear what would happen if we just stepped away in faith. We worry that it can’t be replaced or that life will never be the same.  The tighter our hold becomes, the greater our loss of freedom.  

The stubborn monkey believed in that moment that there could be no other source of food to satisfy its hunger.  Yet, it simply had to open its hand, to be free.  Our journeys are no different.  If we would only loosen our grips, our lives would unfold just as they are intended.  Breaking free is the surest way to discover who you yet might become.  And, sometimes you may have to lose yourself to find the one thing that matters – the real you.