A recent speaker at my local church talked about the importance of thankful reflection. He presented a practice called The Examen — a prayer aimed at looking back over a specific time period. It was a powerful experience, but I have to be honest.
I didn’t really think it was something I’d factor into my daily life.
While I always start my day with a time of Bible reading and prayer, I’ve never really gotten into a practice of reflection or meditation. I’ve tried it in short snippets before, but I guess I haven’t really ever given it a fair shake besides that.
About a week after that church gathering, I decided to try it out. A friend of mine had sent me an email with a link to an audio guide for The Examen, and I decided to try it out.
Right now I’m in the early stages. Building new rhythms and habits is always difficult, but I’m inclined to see this through. Why? Let me tell you…
Do you ever feel that when you get to the end of a work day your body is just tense all over? I feel that way sometimes. Or maybe there’s a family situation that’s weighing on me. Or a friend that I haven’t reached out to. Or a section of my book that I’ve been putting off writing. Or that chapter that I haven’t read yet, but was supposed to. Or that deadline for that movie review that’s looming closer. Or that house project that could be done but doesn’t have to but if I don’t do it I’ll feel ashamed. Or…
…you get the picture.
We all let life weigh us down from time to time. On the day I started doing The Examen, it didn’t help that the sky was overcast and it was one of those cold rains. Just a crummy weather day. So I wasn’t in the greatest headspace.
But then I just began to breathe. In and out. And it felt so good.
Before I go any further, let me just say that this post isn’t really about The Examen. That’s just the avenue that I’ve found for myself into this powerful practice of reflection. There may be some other entryway that you find.