There is a story which has been often used, especially by motivational speakers and the like about the capture of monkeys in India. Apparently, a banana is placed in a bottle. The monkey is able to reach its hand in to get the banana and can remove its hand easily but not while keeping hold of the banana. The captor turns up and throws a sack over the monkey and bottle and the monkey loses its life. It could have let go and run off and maybe eaten a different fruit or an unencumbered banana, but lost its life instead because of its sheer determination to have that banana.
Do you see where I am going with this? I use this overworked story because it so beautifully illustrates me and many like me. I had a check list for my life. I set such high goals for myself, which often I reached but weirdly didn’t feel elation or joy, just exhaustion and a sense of “why did I do that?” I have achieved many things, like all of us, some of them extraordinary, on my journey but it is only in recent years that I am able to experience contentment.
In large part this contentment comes from not putting so much pressure on myself. On trusting the soft voice of my soul which I believe is divine, as opposed to the voice in my head which is my ego. Sun Temple grew out of me organically. I didn’t decide to create a website dedicated to healthy living, it evolved naturally, and continues to surprise and delight me.
I’m not saying that we don’t need to strive for ideals that drive us. What I am saying is that if we sit still quietly enough to truly listen to the sound of our own soul rather than the clamour created by the “shoulds” and “oughts” of life, then true happiness, contentment, is ours for the taking. Out of that contentment comes more generosity of spirit, greater kindness to others, unconditional love….all of that good stuff.
A very important realisation for me too is that if we “live with looseness” in other words don’t predestine (or try to) every step we take, then the path is open and situations, people, feelings, experiences have a space and can be welcomed and lived. How many times have you been disappointed because you couldn’t go somewhere or eat something (metaphorically) and the substitute, the thing you wouldn’t have chosen because maybe you didn’t know it existed, ends up being fabulous and you exclaim “wow! who knew?! If I hadn’t been disappointed I would never have learned that.”
I’m trying not to be that monkey. I remind myself often that there are many different fruits in the forest. I’m actually excited about what will come next, indeed how my life will continue to unfold.