I originally talked about the Examen on my blog five years ago.
“The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern God’s direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience… described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises.”.
From the website: ignationspirituality.com
I thought it was time to revisit this practice since The Examen is an easy on-ramp spiritual practice and I’ve found a way to make it even easier. In her wonderful book, Be Kind To Yourself: Releasing Frustrations and Embracing Joy, Cindy Bunch offers a very practical examen.
It’s a simple way to check in with yourself at the beginning, middle or end of the day. Simply ask, “What’s bugging you?” and “What’s giving you joy?”
Not only have I been doing this for myself since I read Cindy’s book, but I’ve been using it in many zoom meetings I lead with my teaching team for spiritual direction or when I’m supervising spiritual directors. It’s such an easy way to focus a sharing time, which as we have all experienced, can go over-long and meandering if opened with, “How are you doing?”
The answers can be as deep as, “What’s bugging me is my friend just died from Covid19. He was a kind, loving man who was only sixty-two years old and in good health. He leaves behind a wife, three boys and three grandchildren. I’m devastated. (True story please get vaccinated if you can).
And, the answer can be as light as “What’s giving me joy is that the sun it out and it is beautiful outside.” (Also, true)
So, give yourself a treat and ask yourself — or your friends — these two simple questions. As you can see, they’d work in any kind of gathering, it is not limited to a spiritual situation.
I’d love to hear if you try this examen and how it went for you.
Also, check out Cindy’s book for lots of easy on-ramp spiritual practices.
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