Osho used to say, spirituality / true religion is not about finding God, it is about letting go of yourself.
Some of us might know about the monkey trap. This is probably how it was invented:
Many years ago, Hashim was a trader who lived in a village just outside the Moroccan city of Fez. He used to trade in nuts and spices. One day, he was sitting in the warehouse at the back of his house, planning his next business trip. He saw a monkey enter through a window of the warehouse and take some nuts from a bag lying close to the window.
Hashim was a clever man. He immediately saw this as an opportunity to capture the monkey and sell it somewhere where there were no monkeys and make some extra profit.
He decided to capture the monkey. He tip-toed towards the other end of the warehouse, where he had a net lying around. He picked up the net, but the moment he started moving towards back, the monkey saw him and ran away. Hashim tried this many times, but each time the monkey would run away.
So, Hashim decided to try something else. He came upon an idea. He took a pot which had a big base and a narrow round neck. Then he took a big banana and put it into the pot and he placed the pot near the same window through which the monkey used to enter the warehouse. Sure enough, after some time, the monkey came back. It saw the pot and decided to check what the pot contained. It put its hand into the pot and when it came across a big, fresh banana, it immediately grabbed it. Monkeys love bananas and when this monkey had found this big banana, it could not resist. It tried its best to get the banana out of the pot, but the neck of the pot was too narrow and it was impossible to pull out the banana. Hashim was watching all this from a distance. He started moving in with a piece of rope to tie the monkey with, if he could just move close enough. When the monkey saw Hashim moving in towards it, it started crying and making noises. Hashim thought the monkey would leave the banana and run away. But to his great surprise, the monkey stayed in its place, jumping up and down and making crying noises and kept holding on tot he banana.
Hashim realized what was going on. The banana was too good for the monkey to let go of and run away. The monkey was already captured by the attraction of the banana. Hashim then went over and calmly tied the rope around the monkey’s neck. And all the monkey did was hold on to the banana and just cry and jump up and down.
In our own lives, are we like the monkey? Are we holding on to the banana and feeling trapped? Can we let go of some of these things that we think we cannot let go of, but their lure, their attraction is just too strong for us?
Money, bank balances, properties, investments, reputation, friends, family, high end vacations, expensive suits, clothes, shoes, watches, social status, religious or spiritual status, entertainment, alcohol, cigarettes, weed, sex, etc., etc.
If we think we are in a similar condition, then we can try to change things. The first step is to see the bananas. Lets make a list of all the bananas we are holding on to in our lives. And lets see if we can drop a few of them or even just one to begin with. It will be impossible in the beginning. But one day, if we keep entertaining the thought in our minds, we will be able to start. And when we start doing it, it will be painful in the beginning, but we will eventually get around to doing it. The more we drop these bananas, the more we can let go of the self-imposed slavery and the more we will regain our freedom and the more freedom we regain, the more calm, serene and blissful we will be.
Going back to Osho’s words that we started with: spirituality / religion is not about finding God, but about letting go of ourselves, I think this is exactly what he was saying too… let go of all the artificial and superficial things that you are holding on to so dearly… drop the banana!