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 our last chapter) is finding a regular place in your life, I’m going to invite you to add a second stepping stone.
Followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who regularly practice silence & solitude, add in a simple tool of self-awareness, called the Examen prayer. This is simply your short, honest response to situations you have experienced thus far in your day.
Here, in brief, is a sample Examen prayer. After your time of silence & solitude, remain still and bring three simple themes/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. Recall something or someone in the last 24 hours where you experienced some “goodness” in your life and then simply thank Jesus for it.
- Review at least one situation that has happened over the last 24 hours that has drawn you closer to the “goodness” of God’s presence.
- Review at least one situation that has happened over the last 24 hours that has taken you away from the “goodness” of God’s presence.
Don’t be-labor these three themes/questions. Give yourself the freedom and grace to answer them freely and openly. Now, once you’ve arrived at your answers, the Examen prayer suggests that you add these two additional pieces…
- As you reflect upon your feelings that are stirred within as you responded to the three themes/questions above, take a moment and bring these feelings (good/bad and/or ugly) to Jesus of Nazareth, inviting Him to bring His presence into them. Sit quietly for a few moments and breathe in the “goodness” He has for you today.
- 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 breathe His Spirit upon you, giving you all the “goodness” you need for the remainder of your day.
There, you did it.
You have just practiced two ancient disciplines, two stepping stones, used by those who have followed Jesus of Nazareth in God’s “goodness” 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 disciplines into my daily life, I’m experiencing more and more of Jesus’ “goodness” in and through my life. It’s my belief that you will experience more of this “goodness” as well, as you journey onward and upward with Him.
It will…indeed…be Good.
Very Good, in fact!
Click here to go on to our final chapter.