The Client-centred Blog

Keeping your hand out of the jar

In Africa there is a technique that hunters use to catch monkeys. Ordinarily, because monkeys are intelligent and cunning, they are extremely hard to trap but there is a way.

A small jar with a certain size neck is placed where the monkeys frequent and inside the jar are placed the monkeys favourite nuts. The neck of the jar is wide enough so the monkey can get its hand inside the jar but once its fist is closed around a nut it cannot get its hand out without letting go of the nut.

Even when the hunter appears some of the monkeys are unwilling to let go of the nut. They go crazy, screeching and hissing but still they refuse to let go and are, therefore, trapped.

This idea of being trapped because of being unwilling to let go is a fascinating one.

I worked with an adviser who is successful in business but used to drive himself hard through a constant feeling of guilt. He told himself he was never doing enough and although he got good results, he was paying an extremely high price for them in terms of his quality of life. 

My question to him was, “What makes the future look better to you than right now?”

He began to realise the future looked better because he imagined it being free of all the guilt and stress and he would then feel happy.

There is a certain logic to this and yet it is doomed to failure.

Dr. David Hawkins, author of ‘Power vs. Force wrote:

It is helpful to understand that if one is not happy with present circumstances, the chances are that happiness will still be elusive when conditions change to meet one’s current desire. That is, if happiness is elusive now, it will continue to be so in the future because the ability to locate the source of happiness has not yet been found.”

I have found it helpful to reflect and see what I am holding on to that is trapping me (and it can only ever be thoughts).

P.S. The greatest thing you can do for yourself, your loved ones and your clients is to relax into life. Learn to live without stress, tension, and melodrama.


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