Rosicrucian Writings Online

Letting Go

By A Student of AMORC
[From The Mystic Triangle June 1929]
CURIOSITY, they say, killed the cat; be that as it may, we do not verify the statement. A friend of ours, who has traveled extensively, made the remark that of all the animal kingdom none equaled the monkey both for curiosity and cunning. He relates the following story:
"Down in the Islands when the natives spy a group of monkeys, up in the cocoanut trees, they take advantage of the situation and throw stones up at them. This has the effect of making the monkeys angry and they, in turn, do the next possible thing, by way of self defense: they jerk the cocoanuts off the trees and throw them back at the natives. This goes very well unless one of the nuts happens to light upon the head of a native, which, of course, is 'not so good' for the native. This is only a way of making the monkeys gather the nut crop, thereby saving the natives much labor and trouble.
"When the natives desire to capture a monkey, either for food or to sell to the zoo for exhibit, it is desirable to take the animal alive, so they resort to taking advantage of the monkey's curiosity. The native will select a large cocoanut, free it of its husk, and scoop out the meat from the inside of the nut, through a small hole that he has cut in one end of the nut, the hole being just large enough to permit a monkey paw to enter with ease when the fingers are extended, but not large enough to allow the clinched fist of the monkey to come out. After the nut has been properly prepared, and fastened securely to a nearby tree trunk close to the ground, the native places within the empty nut shell some bright bead or article that he knows the monkey will be tempted to try to obtain.
"Now the native knows that the curiosity trait of the monkey is such that the little fellow will take great risks in order to satisfy it, so he takes great pains to make all his preparations out in plain view, where the monkey can see all that is going on, especially making much of a show of placing the tempting morsel within the nut shell. After placing the nut in a conspicuous place the native retires from the spot. He does not have long to wait; for soon the monkeys come scampering down from amongst the trees, and cautiously approach the nut fastened to the tree trunk. First they will peek in the hole and then with great care try to take nut and all--nothing small about the monkey. Finding that they are unable to remove the nut from the tree a monkey will thrust his paw inside, tightly grasp the object within, and then comes the battle. He will pull and tussle trying to get the object out of the shell, which of course he cannot do with his fist closed over the object. The native now comes on the run, the monkeys utter screams of warning and spring for the nearest tree tops, that is they all leave excepting the one who has his paw in the shell. This fellow will not 'let go.' He has a firm hold upon the object within the shell, it is his and he has no intention of giving it up, or perhaps in his fright and confusion he has forgotten how to "let go." The rest is but plain enough, he is held securely, made a prisoner of, and is either roasted and eaten or else sold to other persons."
How simple we think the monkey was, not to let the object go and thereby save himself. Well, is this as foolish or a bit worse than what we so often see going on daily amongst us, right within our own homes? We can all recall a case where some mother or wife who has buried a loved one still goes through life mourning and moaning, often really suffering simply because she will not "let go." And perhaps we have observed the widow who having buried her husband, cannot let his corpse lie in peace, but even, perhaps, while she is courting number two she must daily dig up the body that she may again mourn and shed tears over it. Such a woman most assuredly "placed her fist into the cocoanut shell," and like the monkey is held a prisoner to her sorrow, she has not learned to "let go."
And so it is with a great many of us, it may not be the same cause that holds us a prisoner, it may be something that is outside of our own minds, or it might well be some determined stand that we have taken against something within our own selves, our own mind. We have all seen folks who simply will not be convinced of anything, and they insist upon retaining their often foolish views, in spite of the most reasonable and sane argument that can be made to bear upon them. We often think that such are a bit hard-headed, but if the truth is known it is more the fact that they will not "let go" of their fancied convictions and beliefs.
An eminent physician had been attending a certain poor man, and had been put to a great deal of trouble before the man recovered, having made at least fifteen or more visits to the poor man's bedside. When the patient was able to be about again he bethought himself of the bill he owed the doctor, and, therefore, called at the doctor's office for the purpose of settling the account. Imagine his consternation when the good doctor told him that his bill was exactly two dollars and a half.
"Why, Doctor," said the surprised man, "there is a big mistake here. Why my bill must be at least many times more than this."
"No, that is correct," said the doctor, with an amused smile on his face. He was getting keen enjoyment out of the man's astonishment.
"Well--if you are sure--but I know that nothing has been paid you; it must be that you have my account mixed up with someone else."
"No danger of that," replied the physician. "Your bill is exactly that and no more. I will explain the matter: There are many rich people among my clients, who, though they are not a bit sick, employ me to call upon them. I must feel their pulse, look at their tongues, take their temperatures, and write a prescription, often of something equally as useful to their health as sugar or flour would be when given in small pill doses. These people are the very fashionable ones who like to refer to me as their family doctor, amongst their friends. They are no more sick, physically, than I am myself, and they pay me enormously well for this make-believe practice--do I feel a bit bashful about taking their money? Not I; for I know that the instant that I tell them that they are not sick, only obsessed in their own mind, my practice as a physician will be ended. I will lose my reputation as a good doctor, and I might as well resign from the profession and go to work at something else. These people are the ones who pay me well to make believe that they are sick, they know it is all a farce, but they want it; so when a real honest to goodness case such as yours comes along, I am delighted, because then I can honestly do something--it is a sort of a relief, and makes me feel that I am really of some use. No, my friend, I cannot take your money, the rich have paid your bill, long ago."
This is another case of "getting our paws in the shell." We imagine all these little ailments, and we are willing to accept them, mother them, and let them take root within our minds--into the shell or trap we eagerly put our paws. The result is all too plain. By the mere suggestion of the thing we invite it, yea and often with fatal results. Why? Because we either will not or do not know how to "let go"; and often when we really do know better we seem to love to have trouble, perhaps some of us would feel lost if we did not have something to worry us. How many go through life worrying when they have nothing to worry about? Some worry simply because they have no worry, such people are looking for a "shell" to thrust their paw into.
What a world this would be if we had no trouble, no worry, no sickness, no work to trouble us, we could all go fishing or vacationing any time, but how long would it last? How tired we would get of life, what a drudge it would become, how useless, how unnecessary. The whole world would be all upside down. One cannot imagine such an existence. We should be thankful that we have a few worries, if only to keep us occupied and out of mischief. Often we think that we have more than our share of trouble, which perhaps we do. However, we have something that will make us feel free and enjoy life the instant we are relieved of it.
Even the savage in the most remote parts of darkest Africa or other far removed places has his troubles. He often has much more real danger at hand than we do, his life, perhaps, is never safe night or day; yet he loves to "let go," forget his cares and worries. The Eskimo, far to the North, in the cold frozen regions, where he has but six months of the year of daylight, the rest being the long night, has his moments of "letting go." Nevertheless, hard as his life is with all his troubles and inconveniences he is only happy when home. He cannot live away from the terrific cold, he sickens and dies if he tries it. Naturally, of course, he has an obsession, because he is not used to life as we live it, he will not "let go" of the old with all its attendant features of uncomfortableness and danger, he must remain savage. The Eskimo's problem is one of food and clothing only, but he must live in his native element or cease to exist at all.
All of us, at times, have felt that we simply must follow out certain lines, often things that have been almost born within us. How often we hear this or that one say, "I must do so and so, or do this way or that, because that is the way my parents did it." How our beliefs, ideas, and even daily routine seem to follow in the same old rut or groove! We see little beyond the vision of our forebears. If my father was a Democrat I must be one too, or if he believed this way I must also do likewise; and if my minister, priest, or preacher said so and so, I follow his line of thought even to the minutest detail. If this is not having our "paw in the cocoanut shell," what is it? Naturally there is reason to all things but why do we not use that reason--make use of the God-given right to think a little for ourselves, as long as we do so in a sane manner, and mind our own affairs, infringing upon the right of no man, nor disturbing his peace. Just at the present time there are about "forty-eleven" different opinions, versions, and points upon which no two people think alike; one adds a little more to this or that statement being discussed, often exceeding the limitation. Such people have their "paw in the shell," and seem not to rest until every paw in sight is likewise trapped. Talk about man's free will--how many use it? When the day comes when we learn to "let go," to see that things are not as we imagine them to be we shall then be "getting our paws out of the shell," and will be "letting go." In some respects we are not so far removed from the monkeys, at that, when it comes to hanging on to impossible beliefs, creeds, and teachings.
How are we ever to get anywhere, accomplish anything, or enlarge our minds, if we remain obsessed and hang on to things not worth the while? Is it any wonder that many of us go through the life upon this sorrowful star, suffering or in trouble, poverty, and sickness until the last breath? No it is not, the truth is that we seem not to learn: we do not take of our inheritance as is meant we should. God has fortunately given to man a way to make the most of his life; plainly has he pointed out the path, if we will but open our eyes and see it. Who is to blame but we ourselves? So many of us are obsessed, held-down prisoners. We do not try to help ourselves. We do not take advantage of the things that are so close to hand; but like sheep follow the bell ram--he who often bleats the loudest and the longest. And we say it must be so, for did not so and so say it was thus? There we are, held in the "shell" unable to do a thing, because of the fact that we will not try to do anything to help ourselves, merely go on and on.
How foolish does the monkey with his paw in the shell, that holds him tight, look to you now? It is not as if he had to remain prisoner is it? No, it is because he knows no better, he is an object of our pity, and so are a lot of other persons equally as helpless as he. It seems deplorable to say the least, but think of the millions who are playing the part of the monkey, with their paws held within the narrow grip of their imagined convictions--the results of a mind which is not broad or wide enough to permit of any expression of self assertion, self right, or self development. Our hearts go out to such people, we feel that they are truly in a bad way, because they are losing the greatest opportunity in life to make themselves what was intended that they should be.
Some of us are so quick to jump to conclusions. We sum up and weigh matters long before we have heard the end, and often before we have any more than an inkling of what the other fellow is trying to "put over" to our realization. How often phrases that the other utters seem to sting us or rub up against our beliefs, sometimes rather roughly it is true; and because we want no more of it, or because it overlaps some pet hobby of ours we say at once that he is not speaking the truth, or that he is a wild dreamer. The real facts are that many things go on about us every day that pass by unnoticed--things that we do not see, seldom hear about, sometimes things that seem as miracles when we do hear or see them, or things that were merely imaginations. Millions of just such matters are daily taking place right within our own bodies; and we know it not. If we did, we might learn much, think more, and accomplish greater things than the world has ever seen or dreamed as possible. Our mechanical development causes us to wonder where it will all end; but what trifles such things really will seem when once we realize the possibilities of the mental forces. Truly many of us have our hands still "within the shell," just as the monkey has.

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