Over the next few weeks, Lauren Hansen, a Young Adults leader from Chicago, shares with us how her students are building sustainable spiritual rhythms in this season of lockdown. This week, we're hearing from Jason.
Welcome to week two of our Spiritual Rhythms Challenge! Did you give the breath prayer a try last week? Pretty amazing, isn’t it? If it was difficult for you, give yourself lots of grace because starting new rhythms takes time.
This week, we’re looking at an ancient practice called the Daily Examen. The Daily Examen originated from St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God. St. Ignatius encouraged his followers, the Jesuits, to practice the Daily Examen at noon and at the end of their day. In this spiritual rhythm, you prayerfully reflect on your day in order to recognize God’s presence and direction in your life.
As our spiritual rhythms journey continues, we now travel all the way across the country to California where my dear friend Jason agreed to try the Daily Examen Challenge for a week. Jason is a spontaneous, adventurous, kind soul and one of my favorite people to travel with (and I love dragging him out on the dance floor)! Let’s see what he said!
Jason, how was your Daily Examen experience?
"It was good! I would do the Daily Examen at night and it helped me reflect through the day. There is so much in the news and work and our personal lives, even trying to maintain friendships, that the mind can be so scatterbrained. The Daily Examen calms your mind a little bit. It reminded me of the fact that we’re bigger than our circumstances and what’s happening around us. Just because you had a bad situation doesn’t mean you are a failure. And for the good things that happen, you can reflect and be thankful for them."
What parts of the Daily Examen stood out to you?
"Examining your emotions. It helped me reflect when it’s so easy to go through emotions and not be self-aware. Sometimes we can be so accustomed to feeling certain emotions. Our fists may be clenched or the muscles in our face aren’t relaxed and we don’t even realize it. When we take a moment to look at our emotions, we can validate them but not let them define us."
Do you feel like the Daily Examen helped connect you to God?
"You start the Daily Examen with a breath prayer and become aware of God’s presence. The man leading the Daily Examen video used the phrase “God is here and I am with him.” I liked how it was both ways – a lot of times in Christianity we hear that God is with us, but we’re also with him too. The Daily Examen also helps you connect things you might not have seen as God’s hand throughout the day. You reflect on things that seemed random and think, “Maybe there’s more to this. Maybe there’s a bigger meaning.”
Would you recommend Daily Examen to students?
"Yes, I think it was worthwhile. It’s definitely beneficial. Some people may not be used to it because our world is so fast-paced and this has you slow down and reflect. It’s different but I think it’s beneficial for anybody. It was short and sweet, too. It wasn’t like “clear your mind for 30 minutes.” It had a nice flow and that helps, too."
Interested in trying out the Daily Examen over the next seven days? This video will walk you through the entire process. Play it in the morning, in the afternoon or at night and reflect on the previous few hours in your day.