By Morgan Snyder

Do you know how to capture a monkey alive? I’m not suggesting you do this; I just want to tell you how. You’re probably confused. Let me explain…

If someone wants to capture a monkey alive, it’s very simple because monkeys are simple creatures. All it takes is a calabash (a container like the one shown above) and a piece of fruit. Monkeys LOVE fruit. In fact, when they get their eye on a piece of fruit when they’re hungry, it’s all they can think about… sometimes to their demise.

Take the piece of fruit and cut it small enough to fit in the neck of the calabash container. Place fruit inside, tie it to a tree, and then wait! As soon as a little monkey smells that fruit, he will be locked in and will work hard to sniff out the treat you’ve put out for him. 

Why am I telling you this? You’ll see.

When the monkey realizes that the fruit is inside the container, it will reach its little hand in and grab the fruit. Its fist will be around his prize and he will gleefully try to pull his hand out of the container to begin his feast. Except he won’t be able to take his hand out. You see, his hand is now larger than it was going in to the container because his fist is around the fruit. He tries and tries, but he can’t get out! 

You might be asking yourself, “why doesn’t he just let go of the fruit and get himself unstuck?” Well, he wants that juicy piece of fruit SO much that even when his captors come to take him away he still doesn’t want to let go. He still has hope that he will get to eat that piece of fruit. He thinks that the taste of the fruit outweighs anything bad that could happen to him.

But that fruit is what puts him in chains, it controls him, and it ends up being the end of his free life. Many of us have “pieces of fruit” in our lives. Maybe we are so obsessed with getting rich that we compromise our values. Maybe we value pleasure above all else and we cheat on our significant other.  Or have your ever known someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol and it’s obviously killing them? It doesn’t even have to be an addiction; it could be just one party that we feel like we HAVE to go to, no matter what consequences could come from it. Gambling gives someone a rush but it could cost them their financial wellbeing and bring debt for years to come. Or we feel like what we want is more important than others’ needs; we end up pushing people away and losing friendships. All of these things are like the fruit that the monkey feels like he NEEDS, but long term, it’s not just bad for him, it imprisons him. 

When we choose momentary pleasure/ what feels good in the moment, we are often compromising our futures/, relationships, health, etc. What is blinding you and convincing you that you NEED it… but really it’s hurting you in the long run? 

You can choose to let it go and not get caught in its snare, but it takes an active choice.. but I bet our little monkey friend would tell you that the fruit wasn’t really worth the imprisonment it put him in.