Love keeps an eye on the monkey braining

by Craig on May 5, 2011

First – an apology –  I’ve monkey brained.

Now let me explain.

Monkey braining…

It’s a psychological term. It explains how we begin a conversation about – let’s say – subject A. But by the end of the conversation we’ve not finished talking about subject A – but instead subject – say – Z. And somehow A gets lost.

How does that happen?

The psychological premise is based on the idea of swinging through the forest on vines, like Tarzan, or George…

George of the Jungle.


let’s say a monkey…

and let’s call him George…

hey wasn’t that the name of a monkey?

A curious monkey?












Ahhh. See! That’s how monkey braining begins.

You start out in the forest, on a tree. You pick a vine to swing from. That’s topic A. Then at the next tree there’s another vine. It’ll take you in pretty much the same direction as the right vine – except just a little bit off track.

But it’s a nice vine, it’s headed in the same direction – and your brain thinks – I’ll just correct course at the next vine. But then your brain forgets.

So you get to the next tree. And there’s another vine – and it takes you just a shade off target.

Your brain again thinks, “Not to worry. I’ll just correct on the next vine.” But then it forgets – again.

The brain thinks all of this “course correction” stuff in secret, in the subconscious. In the conscious mind you’re just merrily swinging along on vines, not once thinking you’ve even gotten off course.

But by the end of a series of vines, assuming you watch out for trees, you end up in a whole different area of the forest than you intended. And you can’t remember how you got there.

And that’s monkey braining.

About a thousand years ago I began a series on love – and prayer – it started with the idea of tweeting little blurby prayers to God.

Remember that?

Then began the monkey braining.

I’ll make the long story shorter – lest I monkey brain – and say this.

The last installment on “Love prays”? That was way back … say … ohhhhhh … a month ago … April 4th.

Those darn vines.

I taught a teen Sunday School once. I told them about monkey braining. They agreed that yes, I monkey brained, but…

they added…

I always came back to where I left off. And they said they didn’t mind – because it was entertaining to watch the vine swinging.

And they coined a phrase that you won’t find in the psychological textbooks – but it should be there.

“Circular monkey-braining”

Anyway I’m only three steps away from finishing my “Love prays” series. And I’ll start the finishing tomorrow. Next week I’m sure I’ll see a couple of tantalizing, but off target vines. But I am certain I’ll conclude my three last steps by the end of next week.

I just have to say focused …

like a lazer beam…



{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora May 5, 2011 at 8:18 am

Personally??? It has been great to go “monkey braining” with you. I’ve been hanging on to the vines the whole way, and I’ve learned a whole lot on the journey. Maybe it wasn’t what YOU intended, but there was so much in that forest that some of us needed to see and learn. I guess I’m more of a “feet on the ground” type of person, so I’ve always called these “rabbit trails.” Most of these have proven to be more important in my life than the original, drawn out map of where I intented to go. Wherever it was you had drawn out on your bloggy map for our journey, the monkey braining was definitey in GOD’S plan —- a least for me. And just think, even Laska was in the plan, swinging on the vines with us. I agree with your Sunday School kids — it has been entertaining, but not wasted, and if we have come full circle, think of all we have encompassed on the journey. Looking forward to the rest of “Love Prays. . . . .”


Craig May 6, 2011 at 11:22 am

First, I’m sorry I’m so late responding to your comment, it’s been a horrendous couple of days – you witnessed much of it – but Our Lord is good – he’s good.Thank you for not minding my monkey braining Cora. I think rabbit trails are a lot like swinging through trees :) And the day after my promise to get right back on track. Ohhhhhh. Shiny – today I continued my Love Fairy Tale. Such focus – it’s incredible. No? God bless you Cora!!


Miz Liz May 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I’m laughing out loud seeing myself. THANKS! I needed a huge grin. Like Cora, I always thought those were ‘rabbit trails’ and I’ve scampered down the best (and worst) of them. Somehow, swinging through trees is much more appealing at this stage of my life. Yes, you absolutely do the circle thing and I stay with you. At least we learn and grow and grin and cry and think along the way.


Craig May 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

First, I’m sorry I’m so late responding to your comment Liz, it’s been a horrendous couple of days – but Our Lord is good – he’s good. And that circle thing – so true – I still do it. Thank you so much for hanging on. God bless you. I’m so honored that you read me. Thank you!!


Debra May 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I call it stream-of-consciousness writing, or going with the flow. In some Christian circles, it’s called being led by the Spirit. I like being led by the Spirit, and it sounds like you do too :) Being led by the Spirit is like getting new manna from heaven every day. It’s never stale or moldy but always fresh and new. Nothing wrong with structure either, but I just love the adventure of Spirit-led living.


Craig May 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

First, I’m sorry I’m so late responding to your comment Debra – you know it’s been a tough few days. I guess you’re right – I have a “stream of consciousness” life :) And I do write each post fresh – I don’t bank posts – which would be a smart thing to do – but like you say, this way “It’s never stale or moldy but always fresh and new.” Thank you – I so heart your wisdom. God bless you Debra!


gina reid May 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

LOL…you all just don’t know how bad Craig’s monkey braining is. This is his sister by the way. I have the gene, but not near as bad. We just have so much to say and so much in our little heads…it needs to come out somehow :).


Michelle May 6, 2011 at 5:31 am

You’re right, Gina. We don’t know how bad it is. I’m sure he tries to keep it in check when writing. And I’m not even going to mention monkey-braining to my family and friends because I’m positive that it will come back to bite me!


Mari May 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Haha…I monkey-brain alot when I pray, so there you go: monkey braining when we pray, taht can be your next study =)


gina reid May 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

Mari, The good thing is, God can filter and understand our gibberish. We can get away with it when praying. My engineer husband gets frustrated though :)


Craig May 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

Mari – that is an awesome post idea – and something I’ve done – and something I do – if I don’t write it soon please remind me – because right now when I look at it in my head – it’s a good one!! Thank you so much Mari – God Bless you – God Bless you!!


Debbie May 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I think this is going to be one of my joys today. Monkey-braining. :) Thank you for the fun of it all. God bless you!


Craig May 6, 2011 at 11:31 am

Monkeys in the trees do look like they’re having fun Deb – so guess it’s not all bad – monkey braining – at least mine is circular :) God bless you Deb. I am so honored – really – that you read me. Thank you.


A. May 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

Just smiling. Monkey-braining…new term for me, but I have never minded yours. it means we never know just what you will be writing about on any given day, and that is ok by me. i am glad to hear your heavy days are a bit past now.


Craig May 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I just have to remember to go back to where I left off – one of these day’s I’ll start a series and never finish it. Grrrrrrrrr – monkey braining. God bless A.


Rae May 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm

“Circular monkey-braining” as you call it is nothing less than a gift when it is done your way: including many wonderful things along the way that would otherwise be missed. Continue giving and blessing and circular monkey-braining exactly as much as you need to!


Craig May 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Rae, perfect – thank you. God bless you.


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