I want to share with you a metaphor that I have crafted. I created this metaphor to assist my patients in their process of healing with Chinese medicine. The metaphor is in the form of the short story, below.
Not long ago, there lived a young monkey in a lush green forest. The forest was so popular with the local animals that there were many monkeys living in there. Food and other resources were becoming scarce.
One day, the young monkey spotted a ripe and delicious looking peach at the very top of a tree. She jumped up into the branches of the tree and started to climb. Up the tree she worked her way toward the fruit but soon realized that she was getting to where the branches were too thin to support her weight.
She pressed on anyway and before reaching the fruit, the branch supporting her snapped and she fell. She caught her self on another branch and regained her footing but decided to climb back down the tree, thinking the fruit out of reach.
When she had reached the ground, she saw that there were several other young monkeys watching her attempt to attain the fruit. They all laughed and called the young monkey “clumsy” and “stupid.”
The young monkey became quite frustrated since now she had not only failed to obtain the peach but she had also humiliated herself in the attempt. The more she thought about that beautiful peach, how sweet it would be, and how much she desired it, the more unhappy she became.
So, she went to her mother and sought guidance.
“Mother, how can I become less clumsy?”
The monkey’s mother thought about this question for a moment.
“If you can follow me and mimic my every move as we race through the forest, I think it could help you become more dexterous,” mother monkey said.
The young monkey agreed and the mother monkey sped off into the forrest, swinging from branch to branch and tree to tree, while the young monkey followed her every move.
Finally, both monkeys finished their race and fell together in laughter onto the forest floor. The young monkey realized that she could easily follow her mother and make all the same moves, naturally. She discovered that she was no longer feeling so frustrated.
Feeling better but still somewhat uncertain of herself, she decided to go find her father.
“Father, how can I become less stupid?”
The father monkey, knowing very well that the young monkey was actually quite bright, said nothing for a short while, looking up and to the right for a few moments
“What runs but never gets tired?” he asked.
The young monkey paused for a moment to think about the question.
She asked as a smile spread across her face. The look of realization lit her face and she answered, “it’s the stream! It seems to run on and on, ever moving yet ever staying the same.”
“That is correct and a very smart answer indeed for I could not have given a better answer myself!”
The young monkey smiled widely and no longer felt unhappy.
By this time it had become late so the young monkey settled down to sleep. That night she had very vivid and colorful dreams of the peach – she saw it at the top of the tree and in her dream, took a silly flying leap to the top, snatched the peach from the branch, then landed softly on the other side of the tree.
She looked at the peach in her hand just before taking a big juicy bit out of it. As he did, the sweet nectar spilled around her mouth and the tangy flavor danced upon her tongue. She took bite after bite in her dream until there was nothing left but the pit. When she awoke from the dream, she knew what she needed to do.
The next morning, the young monkey returned to the peach tree. This time, she knew how to succeed at the task. She climbed to the top of the tree… and…
I am interested to find out what you get out of this story. What is the message that I’ve encoded in this metaphor? Can you identify any individual symbols? Please leave your guesses and any comments you may have, below. Thank you for reading my monkey metaphor.