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Let Go of the Rice

There is a story my husband would tell me when we were first dating.  It had to do with monkeys out in the jungles of Africa (isn’t this what YOU usually talk about when you are first dating someone??).  It went something like this:

       These villagers in Africa were having a hard time capturing these monkeys.  Finally someone got wise and using some sort of container with a small opening on top (an empty gourd or carved out coconut – the story is a little fuzzy to me after all this time), they filled it with some rice and left it out for their “guests.” 
       The monkeys, being the curious little creatures that they are, would run over to it, and eventually stick their hand in the gourd to get the rice.  They would grab a big fist full of it and then go to pull their hand out, only to find their hand was stuck!  The hole on top wasn’t big enough for their wide, round fist to get through. 
       Capturing these monkeys now became a piece of cake because the monkeys never once thought about just letting go of the rice, pulling their hand out and running off. 
       Moral of the story:  sometimes you just need to let go of the rice. 

I have been guilty of this behavior so many times – haven’t you?  Wanting a certain outcome so badly that I become so attached to it (too attached to it) to the point I’m practically forcing it.  You think you are focused on a goal, when really you are stuck (with your hand in the jar) and just don’t realize it.  Working towards a goal is good.  That is taking action.  But the attachment to it is all emotion – and that is the unhealthy part.  It stems from our need for control – and it is based out of insecurity and fear. 

Detaching from the outcome of things is one of the hardest life lessons this Zen Mama Wannabe has learned – and I have by NO means finished learning this one!  I am better at it now than I was, but it still presents a struggle for me on many occasions.  You know – when I really really really want something.  Because when I really really really want something, there is emotion attached.  I’m vested; I’m hooked.  I want (no I NEED) this to happen.  Or, so I think. 

Deepak Chopra calls the practice of detaching one of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and says:

“The Law of Detachment says that in order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it.  This doesn’t mean you give up the intention to create your desire.  You don’t give up the intention, and you don’t give up the desire.  You give up your attachment to the result.”

The times in life when I have done this, when I have ultimately let go and detached, things have always worked out – either as I had hoped or even better!  Often we see (with our limited vision) X, Y, and Z.  But what is out there is a whole realm of possibilities with a much wider range than we could have ever dreamed. 

Are you hanging on to some desired result?  Are you clinging to your belief that X or Y just needs to happen for you and by golly, you are going to do all in your power to make that happen?  Are you so vested in one particular outcome that you are missing the fact that there are other possibilities out there (maybe some even better than what you are shooting for)? 

Sometimes what we need to do is just let go of the rice.

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