Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to Let Go — and What to Let Go Of


In certain parts of Asia, they have an ingenious method for catching monkeys alive. The hunter cuts a hole in a coconut just big enough for a monkey to reach in with its hand, but not big enough for it to remove its closed fist. Then the hunter puts a ripe banana inside, attaches the coconut to a string, and waits. Upon grabbing the banana, the monkey becomes so attached to keeping the fruit that it refuses to let go, and the hunter can reel the animal in like a fish on a hook.
As I mention in Chapter 6, your mind is like a monkey in more ways than one. Not only does it leap about from thought to thought like a monkey in a tree, but it also has the annoying tendency of holding tightly to certain ideas, opinions, thoughts, memories, and emotions, as though its life (and yours) depends on it — and pushing away others with equal force. This constant shifting between attachment and aversion causes you stress because you’re constantly struggling to control what can’t be controlled. Thoughts and feelings come and go whether you like them or not, and the stock market falls and relationships end despite your preferences to the contrary. In Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, people recite the following prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” In meditation, you develop the power to control or change what you can — not the events or circumstances of your life, but how you relate to them — and the peace of mind to accept what you can’t.
Meditation teaches you how to loosen your monkey-grip on your experience and create a kind of inner spaciousness and relaxation by letting go of control and allowing things to be the way they are.

1 comment:

Dr. Larry Deutsch said...

To cope up with the daily stress in life, using simple stress relief hypnosis can help release tension in the body and mind.