A Spiritual Examen
I believe in a Power beyond me. I call this Power God or the Source of all Love. I connect with God through my spirit which actually is His Spirit within me. We are connected as one Spirit. Not that I am God, but that God - Spirit dwells within me and as such I dwell with Him. From this conjoining I have life, and can become fully alive in service to others through love, compassion and forgiveness.
Whether one believes in a higher Power, a God beyond Self, a Source from which we all come, or not, I think we can agree that we do have a spiritual self that becomes a source for our creativity; and we can rejuvenate our spirit through meditation, quietude and relaxation. This is known as living in the "now" or living in the presence of God.
From time to time it is good for us to examine our spiritual well-being. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Society of Jesus or Jesuits proposed a daily exercise which he called the Examen of Consciousness or the Daily Examen – a simple exercise in discernment. The exercise encourages us to reflect on our day and review moments when we were conscious or aware of God – or when we were present to His Spirit of Love – and times when we were distracted or forgetful about this awareness.
Note that the exercise does not pass judgement on right or wrong, or how well we succeeded or failed, or about moral and immoral behaviour. It is simply about our presence in the now with God. Or if you are a non-believer, just being in the presence of the now as a giving and loving person. St. Ignatius recommended we do this at the end of each day. Initially it may seem like a taunting task, but once we get into a rhythm of daily practice we find it becomes an exercise for greater fulfilment.
The following are the five steps St Ignatius suggests; I have presented them for those who believe in God and for those who are non-believers.
For the Believer
For the non-Believer
May you live in peace and joy.
(Julech is a pseudonym for someone who is on a spiritual journey)
Image: D.Swanston, from Fontanie Archives
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