As you read through the meditation below, take a moment to think about your banana. I apologize if this post makes you hungry as it did some of my students yesterday :).
Let Go of the Banana!
I am fascinated by an ancient of capturing monkeys in India. Like the breath and the trapeze artist, this process gives us insights into how we stay attached to objects of life and how deadly that can become. In this process of catching monkeys, small cages with narrow bars are made and a banana is placed inside the cage. The monkeys come along, reach in between the bars and grab the banana. Then the monkeys begin the impossible task of trying to pull the banana through the bars. And here is the amazing thing – in the moment when the monkey catchers come along, the monkeys are totally free. There is nothing keeping them from running off to safety as they hear danger approach. All they have to do is let go of the banana. Instead, they refuse to release the banana and are easily taken into captivity.
“Bananas” for us are anything we expect to give us the same fulfillment the second and third time. When we expect our spouse to make us feel good like they did the evening before, or when we expect a dinner out to satisfy us like it did the last time, or when we expect to be appreciated like we were yesterday, indeed anytime we want the same “feel good” results, we are “holding on to the banana.” Our expectations keep us captive and often disgruntled.
The image of the monkey holding on to the banana is real for those of us captured in our attachments. Indeed, nothing is holding us. We, like the monkeys, are totally free. Instead, we choose to hold on, choosing our attachments and our greed rather than our freedom. To choose freedom, we simply need to “let go of the banana.” Instead, we create our own prison of captivity. What we hold, begins to hold us. As illustrated in the following example, captivity can also be an image of our self that we insist on holding.
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele