In India, during the summer, people drink a lot of coconut water. They just make a small opening in the coconut and drink the liquid that’s inside. There is also a nice, tasty jelly inside, the tender kernel before it hardens; but it takes a big machete to open the shell. Sometimes people don’t have a big machete so they just drink the water and throw the rest of the coconut away.
When the monkeys see a discarded coconut, they know that there is something nice inside. One of them will come, slowly put a hand inside and grab that tender kernel. But when the monkey tries to pull its hand back out, the hand gets caught. You see? The hand is now a fist clutching the prize and it’s bigger than when it went in. The monkey screams and runs around, but still it holds onto the kernel. Sometimes the monkey’s wrist will even get cut and bleed. Still, it won’t let go because it’s eager to eat that treat. It continues to hold the kernel tight, and continues to run around screaming, screaming, screaming.
At last the monkey gets really tired and stops running; but it still holds on. Finally, when it is so exhausted that it loses its capacity to do anything, slowly the grip loosens and the hand slips out.
Many of us are like those monkeys. We hold some attachment tightly and say, “I don’t want it! I don’t want it! I’m tired. I want to get out of this!” When you are really tired, you will let go.