Oct 21, 2015

Monkey Traps.

So on Thursday of this week I get to teach a lesson and as I have been studying for this lesson I have happened to learn about monkey traps. Is it weird that I have never heard of monkey traps before? It is a shame because this juicy little piece of information probably could have been used at some moments in the past 46 year of my life. But before we lament together about that let me first tell you all about monkey traps.

So in Africa and apparently other countries as well, they have a very effective way to trap monkeys. They take a coconut, lop off the top of the coconut, and take all the coconut meat out. They leave a hole in the top of the coconut that is just large enough for the monkey to stick his paw inside. They anchor the coconut to the ground and put some peanuts inside of the hole. Apparently monkeys will smell the peanuts, come to the trap,and put their paws down inside to get the nuts. Then they try to get them out. But with their little paws clenched around the peanuts they can not remove their paws from the hole because it is too small for all of that to come out. The monkeys will not let go of the peanuts...to literally save their lives and thus they are caught when the natives return.

Seems silly, right? All they have to do is let go. I read somewhere in the midst of all my googling on this topic something that really got me thinking, "the monkey is caught by its rigid values not the trap."The trap works because the monkey is so focused on getting the food inside. The silly monkey does not understand that the price of trying to get the food will be his freedom.

It seems so obvious to us...just let go of the food Mr. Monkey, run away, and find some other food. But supposedly we humans think better than monkeys and we "get it". But do we? The more I researched and the more questions I asked the more disconcerting it all got. Pretty soon I could painfully see places in my life where I had had my hand in the top of the coconut clutching some short sighted thing that I was sure I could not leave or live without. Ever been guilty of short term thinking? Ever been paralyzed by making decisions? Oh and the worst question is, "have you ever struggled to acknowledge that a decision you made was bad?" I fear I could probably write the book on monkey traps.

Why are things that matter the most always at the mercy of things that matter the least?

So right now as you are merrily reading this I am currently aware of not one but two monkey traps I am caught in. Did learning this fabulous lesson help me to let go, run as fast as I can and focus on things that matter the most??....Um no....not yet. But do not worry I always come around :)

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