Lenten Post for April 3, 2023

These questions are from today’s devotion from Good Courage:

“When you find yourself flying in multiple unhelpful directions, what grounds you?”

“What practices help you stay rooted in God, like the branches nourished by the vine?”

I wish I could find the origin of this illustration I often use when teaching Centering Prayer.

Our mind, when we attempt to enter into silence, can be like a tree full of monkeys, who, when they realize we want quiet, all clamour for attention, as only a tree full of competing monkeys can do.

If we call out, in our mind, “Silence, you monkeys!”, the monkeys are likely to respond to the stimulus not with obedient silence, but with even more yowling.

What to do? Breathe, and smile inwardly, and allow the various monkeys of our own mind to say their piece, until they all seem yowled out.

To argue with the monkeys makes as much sense as, well, arguing with monkeys.

I am convinced that whatever the monkeys wanted to tell me, they will remember, and can tell me later.

P.S. When I searched “tree full of monkeys” to illustrate this post, I found this website, which is worth looking at:


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