The Daily Examen: A Spiritual Practice for Personal Responsibility

This past Sunday as we continued to reflect upon Sabbath, I spoke about the Daily Examen.  I shared in the “Conversation for All Ages” what the Daily Examen is about and invited us to an experience.  I thought I would follow that experience up with this blog.


St Ignatius offers us a spiritual discipline through which we can step onto the path of personal responsibility — the Daily Examen.  The Daily Examen offers us a prayer formula that invites us to become aware God’s presence and guidance in our daily life.  For St Ignatius this was a prayer that was performed twice a day.  St Ignatius spent much of his life creating his Spiritual Practices that he believed would connect people deeper into the movement and love of God.


The Daily Examen asks us to reflect upon our day, noticing where we felt aligned with Spirit and where we felt in dissonance with Spirit.  It is a very simple prayer:


                        Become aware of the Sacred’s presence

                        Review the day with gratitude

                        Pay attention to your emotions.

                        Choose a moment to reflect upon in prayer

                        With Gratitude, receive Spirit’s grace and love


What I have learned and teach in terms of this formula is that when you review the day, allow your emotions (feelings) be your guide.   Your feelings will bring forth an awareness about when you were aligned with Spirit and when you were in dissonance.  They will highlight the moments when you were aware of Spirit’s presence/guidance/love and when you experienced an absence.  Your emotions will aid you in noticing when you were reflecting the Sacred Light into the world and when you were not.


This prayer is all about personal responsibility.  Those moments when you feel in dissonance with Spirit, those moments when you felt an absence of Spirit, those moments when you did not feel you were reflecting the Sacred’s Light into the world — those are the moments to pray and reflect upon — to take personal responsibility and transform.


When you choose a moment to reflect upon, it is not meant to create guilt or negative feelings about yourself.  The purpose is not to put yourself down.  The intention in praying a moment is to open yourself to understanding the why.  What happened in that moment that I did not reflect fully compassion, Light, love, justice, mercy, etc?  What beliefs were underlying my silence, my lack of action, my discompassionate response?  What wound was I reacting out of?


This prayer’s intention is to offer you an opportunity to sit in compassionate safe silence with the Sacred and receive healing — healing that will allow you to be more compassionate the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.  This prayer is about becoming aware of how you operate in the world, of what your buttons are so that you are able to chose how you want to react.  The Daily Examen invites you to deepen your self-awareness so that you can fully live the way you want to live.


It is important to remember to close your prayer time with gratitude for what you experienced and learned.  God’s grace shows up and is experienced in many ways.  Whether you can notice it in the moment, it is present.  By acknowledging with gratitude, that you are thankful for God’s presence and grace in your life, you turn and face God (repentance) and step onto the path of redemption.


I invite you to give this beautiful ancient prayer a go.  It does not take long. The more you practice it, the quicker you begin to fall into its rhythm, the stronger your sense of personal responsibility becomes.  As your sense of personal responsibility grows, your power to create your positive desires increases.


The Daily Examen is a foundational spiritual practice that aligns you with your personal responsibility and creating power and abilities.


May the Sacred guide you on your path from personal responsibility to redemption.