Saturday, December 29, 2007

Monkey Traps

I was told the story of the monkey traps the other day in a meeting the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. What bobbles have trapped me in my life? What insignificant trinkets lead me towards certain destruction?

In Africa, monkey hunters will take a coconut and drill a hole in it, wide enough to fit a monkey’s open hand, but not wide enough for a monkey’s clenched fist. The coconut is anchored to a tree, and a shiny object is put inside the coconut, normally something like a worthless pebble.

Time and time again, the monkey comes along, sees the shiny object, and has to have it. He sticks his hand in the coconut with ease, grabs the trinket, and now is trapped. He is unwilling to let go of the shiny object, despite the growing fear of being trapped. Even when the hunters show up to gather the caught monkey, he won’t let go of his prize.

Now, I know people talk up this evolution thing, but I’m not far up on the evolutionary ladder from the monkey. There are quite a few trinkets which, upon taking hold of, I will not let go, even as they lead to my demise.

At first, I thought the trinkets were drugs and alcohol, consistent plagues in my life. Yet, on further reflection, these are more aspects of the trap, probably the tree, holding me in place once the trap has been triggered. No, the trinket I must have is subtler than this, though worth much more.

I almost thought that women were the object of my desire, and here I was closer. But this was a superficial view, as I could not see the forest through the trees. Yes, women are a huge part of the attraction inside the coconut, but they are more the shine than the object itself, and other shines are available as well.

No, I discovered my shiny object is acceptance! Acceptance by a woman, acceptance by a group, a feeling of belonging, a feeling like I’m not an outcast, like I’m not hated, here lies my shiny bobble, and for that feeling I would remained trapped for the rest of my life without even fretting any potential ramifications.

For that special feeling of not being alone in the world, of not being isolated or unloved, I would take any risk, whether it is being trapped by the tree or at the mercy of my addictions. Because the feeling of emptiness that comes with being alone is a fate worse than death in my perception.

Today that is changing. I am beginning to feel a bit more comfortable being alone. I am also just starting to realize that I may belong, that I may be accepted, more than I truly understand. Slowly but surely, I can resist that trap, because I know that I already have what’s in the coconut.

Yeah, sometimes my paw still gets caught. Yes, sometimes I’m put at peril as I seek out the close friends or the overall acceptance that I’ve always wanted for myself. But more and more, I see that by not needing the trinket in the hole, it comes to me on its own.

Posted by Scottage at 9:44 AM / | |