Doing the right thing, after we exhaust the alternatives



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Big Texan


May, 2009

The following words of wisdom were copied from Aleroy:

Let Go of Your Banana

In India there are a lot of monkeys. When the locals want to catch one, they anchor a bottle to the ground. The neck of the bottle is just large enough for a monkey's hand to fit through. Then, they put a small banana in the bottle, sit back and wait.

The monkey trap

Before long a monkey comes by, sees the banana, reaches his hand into the bottle, and grabs it. But then, the monkey discovers that he can't get his hand out of the bottle while holding onto the banana. There is loud chattering and squealing as the person who set the trap walks up to the monkey and places a burlap sack over him. In the darkness the monkey releases the banana and is captured.

The monkey could, of course, let go of the banana and run before getting caught. Some do. But most of the monkeys hang on to the banana until the sack goes over their head. Why? Because the banana has value to the monkey and the monkey is unwilling to let go of that value. So unwilling that he gives up his life for it. People do the same thing.

The people trap

People get trapped by their thoughts in the same way monkeys get trapped by bananas.

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "I get through many a bad night with the thought of suicide." Suicidal thoughts had value for him; comforting him when he felt down and depressed, easing the pain of his sadness. Unfortunately, these thoughts that seemed to help, also trapped him in the depression, like the monkey was trapped by the banana. He, and the monkey, could have let go and gained their personal freedom.

The religious person has thoughts of "heaven" to get through troubled times. The business man has thoughts of "making more money" to keep him going. The gambler has thoughts of "hitting the jackpot" to comfort him; the drug addict thinks about the "next fix;" the alcoholic, the "next bottle," etc, etc. We are all, to some extent, trapped by our own thoughts.

Thoughts color all our decisions. A suicidal person seldom makes good life choices because they dislike themselves and feel they have no future. The religious person may endure much abuse and discrimination because they feel resolved in the future, and the business man may actually cheat, lie and hurt others in his pursuit of money because he is trapped by intense thoughts of wealth. etc, etc.

You are not your thoughts

Thoughts arise from beliefs. If we believe life to be bad, we will expect bad things to happen. Beliefs are like filters, allowing what we expect to experience, and diminishing, or eliminating, things we don't expect to experience. That is why understanding ourselves is so important. We are not our thoughts. We are in control of our thoughts and our destiny at all times whether we know it or not. We create our own reality with our thoughts and beliefs.

Diogenes refused to bow before Alexander. As solders moved to kill Diogenes, Alexander stopped them and asked: "I am Alexander the Great, I have conquered the world, why do you not bow to me?" Diogenes replied: "because I am Diogenes the Cynic, and I have conquered myself." After a moment's thought Alexander stated: "were I not Alexander, be I Diogenes, go in peace." Being in control of your thoughts is very powerful, it means freedom and peace of mind. If you can't be Alexander, be Diogenes.

Changing your world

To change your world, change yourself, the world will follow you. It has no meaning until you give it meaning. What you believe about the world is reflected back to you as reality. You can change it any time you wish. Is the world bad because you see no good in it? Yes! Is the world good because you see no bad in it? Yes, again! What you see is what you get!

Now, it is possible to see beyond good and bad; happy and sad; real and fad. There you will find peace of mind. There you will find the self knowledge you seek. There you will find freedom. But you have to let go of your banana to get there.

Sat, 9 May 2009 01:03:18

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Name: Quantumfog
Posted on: Wed Jul 1 00:22:24 2009
Message: Always a pleasure.

Name: Carlos Lorenzo
Posted on: Fri Jun 26 15:13:37 2009
Message: I have read your post in detail and enjoyed every line. I am not fond of self help, I mean I tend to regard such literature as something difficult to attain and I forget what I read the following day. Nevertheless, the idea here is simple and yet deep. It talks about something we know but hard to admit once you are concentrated on the banana. I have told myself to let go many many times in my life but sometimes I wake up with the hand in the bottle. It is always good that somebody or some reading slap you in the face and push you out of such trance. Thanks for that my friend.



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