It was good to hear how you fared with the listening exercise. As it prompted you to be thankful for the gift of hearing, it seems logical this week, to revisit the Examen!
In one of my earlier letters on meditation, I mentioned St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and his Spiritual Exercises. A key element of Ignatian spirituality is the practice of the Daily Examen. Ignatius required the Jesuits to pray the examen at midday and again at the end of the day. There are numerous websites/Youtube videos devoted to this practice (click here for an example).
Ian Adams writes about the Examen, in his book Running Over Rocks. What I really appreciate about his take on it is, that he adds simple gestures, at each step, and I find that really helpful. I appreciate that you might not feel that is feasible for you to use the gestures, if you are doing this in a more public place. If this is the case, you may like to picture yourself sitting peacefully on the seat in the photo below, as you go through the five steps. (photo courtesy of Johannes Plenio @jplenio)
The Examen is a way of prayerfully reflecting over the events of the day and of looking forward to tomorrow. Though if you do this midday you will reflect back over the morning and look forward to the afternoon!
It has the following five steps:
Be still and become aware of the presence of God.(Open your hands)
Review the events of the morning/day with gratitude.(Place your hands on your heart)
Recall the emotions you have experienced during the morning/day, and consider why you felt this way. (Place your hands on your stomach)
Select one moment/element of the morning/day and pray about it. (Hands to lips)
Look forward to the afternoon/tomorrow. (Open your hands again)
Ian Adams comments, that if we practise the Examen for a while, we will find ourselves giving thanks during the day and not only at the end of it! “It will start to become an unconscious stance of your life.” This has been my experience, and I have grown in my understanding of the ability thankfulness has to change us.
I encourage you to try it and let me know how you find it!