Monkey’s Liberation

The following interview is based on the allegory of the ‘monkey trap’.
Fortunately, managed to find and speak to this famous monkey! 🙂

Interview with a famous monkey

Hi, sweet monkey. How are you?

I wasn’t a sweet monkey at all!

Oh? Why not?

I was furious. I cursed everything that was movable and immovable! Especially that darned pot.

What do you mean? Which pot?

Well, the one I was stuck in with my hand, I couldn’t get it out. And just when I had gotten something good. I found a delicious fruit in that pot and was already drooling. I was happy to finally have some luck.

So, what’s the problem then?

Well, I got stuck. My freedom was gone!

How did you get stuck?

Well, I didn’t realize it at the time. It was only later that I figured it out. Because I held onto the fruit, my fist became too big to fit through the pot’s opening. No matter what I tried – yanking, pulling, turning the pot upside down – I couldn’t free my hand. The pot wouldn’t break when I slammed it on the ground; I only hurt myself. I was furious!

Goodness… such a struggle… Are you okay now?

Yes, I’m much better now!

Oh, do tell, how did it end?

Well, I had this delicious fruit in my hands but didn’t see that it was the fruit itself that prevented me from freeing my hand. I should have let it go. It wasn’t the pot that trapped me, but my desire to have the fruit. When I finally let go, everything was “all right”.

Yeah, haha, handy! But you lost that delicious fruit.

Yes, that’s true. I was upset about it, but I realized that my freedom was more important. When I sat down next to the pot and looked around, I saw how the fruit got in the pot. It had fallen from a fruit tree. And I noticed that the tree was full of fruits. Once free, all I had to do was climb the tree and enjoy plenty of fruits up high. Down there, I was completely focused on a single ‘treasure’ that literally had ‘bound’ me. The pot became my prison, my ‘monkey trap’.

Wow… what an insight.

Yes… it took me by surprise and made me very happy! I realized that my attachment to the ‘attractive little’ kept me from seeing the ‘abundant large’. But I discovered something else!

Oh? Do tell!

Well, being stuck in that pot, I realized I shouldn’t act like a lobster.


Indeed, because, you see, a lobster has unique ‘hands’, claws, in which it can only grip very hard. We have muscles to release as well; just open your hand from a fist to spread fingers. A lobster can’t do that.

That’s true!

So, because a lobster can only grip, when it feels stress, it just grips harder! To free itself, it needs to relax its grip, which it can’t do because of the stress. It has to consciously become aware of its stress and its automatic reaction to grip harder. It needs to bring itself into relaxation and peace.


Exactly. That’s how I figured it out. I had to relax! Exhausted from yanking at the pot, I relaxed my hand out of sheer fatigue, which caused the fruit to fall out. And then, just like that, my hand was free, and so was I! That’s when I thought of the lobster and got it! If I really want to have something and attach to it without realizing, then I’m trapped. If this causes me stress, I’m even more trapped because I’ll grip even harder. If I let go of that desire, in relaxation, I’m free and unattached. Just truly seeing this is already relaxing and liberating.

Brilliant! But you can’t just relax in stress, right? Are there ways to do that?

Definitely! Now I know that I relaxed just out of fatigue. But I also now know that you can learn to relax in various situations, and then I won’t get ‘stuck’ so quickly. Through regular and practiced relaxation, I won’t get stressed so easily. This way, I can fully appreciate all the abundance around me, which might never be my private possession, but from which I can enjoy and be nourished. Much more than just that one fruit became mine!

Goodness… What a story!
So, this would apply to every attachment from a ‘wanting to have’, don’t you think?

Yes… that’s right. There’s no difference between physical and mental ‘fruits’. The stronger we’re attached, the more freedom we give up. My liberation suddenly seemed so easy to achieve… A real eye-opener. Because of my experience with that pot and that desirable fruit, I truly see it now because I really got it. Who said that again?

Yes, that was a quite famous smart coach!
Well, monkey, sweet wise monkey, may I congratulate you on this huge liberating discovery?

Yes, please!

Well, congratulations!

© Michiel Koperdraat