I’m currently reading a book called The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski. In it, Michael tries to regain the joy of being alive by using spiritual practices from earlier centuries of Christianity.
In one of the chapters, he learns about a spiritual practice called The Daily Examen, which was developed by Ignatius Loyola, who made it a requirement of Jesuit priests that they practice it twice a day, at noon and before beddy-bye.
This is a version of Ignatius’ Daily Examen (from ignatianspirituality.com):
- 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
In the past year or so, I’ve become aware of the importance of regular reflection, to understand what’s happening in life, to learn from experiences, to know how to move forward, and to see the bigger picture.
Practicing some sort of daily reflection both in the morning, looking forward to the day, and in the evening, looking back at the day has been extremely meaningful to me. I don’t follow Ignatius’ examen exactly. Mine looks more like this:
- Become aware of how exhausted I am
- Type out all of the things I did today
- Think about what I’m grateful for (usually something food- or friend-related)
- Think about what I need to do tomorrow
But I want to get closer to Ignatius’. For the record, I don’t know about the God or the prayer part. I’m just going to do the best that I can, but I do like the idea of thinking back through each part of the day and noticing, really noticing, how I lived it.
This helps me recapture some of my life before just moving on to the next thing.