Cat From The Mat



To build up, dismantle first

To expand, contract first
To attain clarity, allow confusion
To become civilized, first live in the world
The balance of all things is in their opposites.
The truth points in both directions,
thus the clenched fist holds weakness within.
And the open hand offers the hidden power of suns.

     - Haven Trevino, from The Tao of Healing



Have you ever felt cornered by a decision?  Do you feel often stuck in a cycle of behavior that no longer works?  Do you wish to find a release from entanglement that originally felt comforting and even desirable?  Perhaps it's time to practice the art of letting go. 

There is a trap designed to catch animals too smart to fall for an ordinary ploy, known as the Monkey Trap.  According to Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “a monkey trap consists of a hollowed out coconut chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be grabbed through the small hole. The hole is big enough so the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for his fist with rice to come out. The monkey reaches in and is suddenly trapped — by nothing more than his own rigidity. He can’t revalue the rice. He cannot see that freedom without rice is more valuable than capture with it.”   

This trap is a great metaphor of how to appreciate something without having to possess it.  Or to  value someone without clinging.  The way to escape the monkey trap is to simply let go.  Easier said than done.  This by no means is a passive endeavor.   It takes action to relinquish expectations that you hold on to so tightly.  In fact, it can feel quite scary. But has the discomfort of clutching to the familiar become more of a hindrance than the fear of release?  

Yoga is a practice of questioning your deeply engrained patterns on physical, mental, and emotional levels.  Just because something is habitual doesn't mean that it's beneficial.   "Aparigraha" is the Sanskrit term for non-grasping.  If some behavioral defaults no longer serve you, then it's time to loosen your grip of assumptions, situations, and perhaps relationships.  

Before you can blossom into springtime,   you must first have ample space in which to germinate and grow.  As you move from winter into the next season, there is an opportunity to clear out.  Spring cleaning is a way to free up stuck energy and to recognize that which you treasure without feeling bound by it.  An open palm is more receptive than a clenched fist.  

Your monkey mind can chose to either hold on to the tangible treat inside the trap or to loosen the grip in hopes to find other nourishment.  You gotta know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em, with various options in between.  A full spectrum is within your reach.  Your choices might help the fabric of your life to have less static and be more cling-free.

Happy Spring Equinox!

Cat From the Mat
March 2015