One practice that Henrieta and I both utilize is a daily contemplation (mostly daily, sometimes weekly, but my goal is daily, I am far from perfect in any practice I am working with (I just try my best!)). The practice is referred to as the Daily Examen and it is a Spiritual technique created by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
I was introduced to this exercise when I was going through my Enneagram training. I found it life changing. I really needed the specific steps to develop a practice that will help me let go of the craziness of the world around and take some time for self-reflection and self-care.
Here is a little history for you. Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Catholic Priest who lived in the early 1500’s. He was one of the founders of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus, religious order). He was a spiritual director who, among other things, wrote a thesis on Spiritual Exercises. The thesis contained prayers, meditations, and mental exercises to help people connect with God and experience God’s direction for our lives. These practices are known as “Ignatian Spirituality.”
I am by no means an expert on Saint Ignatius or his Spiritual Exercises, so here is my take on the Daily Examen. Let us just call this - the Daily Examen according to Maryanne!
The Daily Examen is way to look at our day through a lens of grace and find gratitude in all that we experienced. It is a time to find God in our day and look for His direction for moving forward. As we reflect on our day in prayer and silence, we find the places where we felt God’s presence, and we take time to listen, and to discern, His direction for us.
The following is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius created. The steps that I am sharing with you are from the Ignatian Spirituality website. This website has a lot of additional information and some great resources.
I also highly recommend journaling and/or mind mapping the experience. We learn from seeing, listening and then repeating what we saw and heard. Journaling and/or mind mapping may take a little time but the time spent will have its rewards.
The five steps for the Daily Examen:
· Become aware of God’s presence
· Review the day with gratitude
· Pay attention to your emotions
· Choose one feature of the day and pray from it
· Look toward tomorrow
I encourage you to join Henrieta and I in this very special, personal and enlightening practice.
· Do you take time to review your day?
· How do you discern God’s direction in your life?
· Do you take focused time for gratitude?