If I find God I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find God. ~ Thomas Merton
Now, as this breathing exercise of silence & solitude (see last chapter) is finding a regular place in your life, I’m going to ask you to add a second step.
Followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who regularly practice silence & solitude, add in a simple tool of self-awareness, called the Examen. This is simply your short, honest responses to situations you have experienced thus far in your day.
Here, in brief, is a sample Examen. After your time of silence & solitude, remain still and bring three questions to mind. Allow yourself to relax and ask Jesus to help you respond as honestly and simply as you can…
- Acknowledge at least one person, place or thing that you are truly thankful for today.
- Review at least one situation that has happened today that has drawn you closer to Good.
- Review at least one situation that has happened today that has taken you away from Good.
Don’t be-labor these three questions. Give yourself the freedom and grace to answer these questions freely and openly. Now, once you’ve arrived at your answers, the Examen adds these two additional suggestions…
- As you reflect upon your feelings that are stirred within as you answered the three questions above, take a moment and bring these feelings to Jesus of Nazareth, inviting Him to bring His Good into them. Sit quietly in that Good you might feel.
- Now, take a moment and tell Jesus how you’d like to respond to these feelings going forward. Invite Him to be with you as you go. Invite Him to give you the Good you need for the remainder of this day.
There, you did it.
You have just practiced two ancient disciplines of those who have successfully followed Jesus of Nazareth over the centuries.
Silence & Solitude
How did it feel to practice these two exercises?
I’ve found that as I try to institute these two simple pieces into my daily life, I’m finding more and more of the Good found in Jesus is becoming more evident in my life. It’s my belief that you will find that true as well.
It will, indeed, be Good.
Very Good, in fact!
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