Praying the Examen - Part 3

Praying the Examen - Part 3
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Having connected ourselves back to the experience of God's ever-presence, and taking some time to savor what is good in our lives, we get to the third step: remembrance or reflection.

We join with the Holy Spirit to reflect on the previous day.

This can be done at night, as one reflects on the day they just completed, or it can be done in the morning, as one reflects on yesterday.

The key is to remember the full human experience of the day, not just tick off activities that were performed.

From an objective position, after the day is considered complete, embrace the highlights of the day, but don't fear remembering the lows of the day.

The highlights can be as simple as the incredible smell and taste of that morning coffee or how amazing that warm shirt -- fresh from the drier -- felt against your skin.

The lows are honest acknowledgements of the unpleasantness through the day, such as a traffic jam or a pet that made a mess on the floor.

At either end of the spectrum offered in the previous two paragraphs, there will be days with greater highlights (a day spent spent getting married, closing on a house, or holding your newborn baby for the first time), and there will be days with significantly devastating lows (the death of a loved one, the crushing of a dream, the pain of a deep betrayal).

Our time of remembrance is a time to process, with the Holy Spirit, the good and the bad from the previous day.

It is a chance to prevent "stuffing" things, and to process our experience in day-sized bites.

When we act consciously to go through the good and the bad, it is also a chance to see that even in the worst of days, something good could be found when we are ready.

Focusing on the bad is a key trait to keep humans alive at a survival level, and forcing ourselves to look for the good is a key practice to carry us beyond simple existence to flourish.