Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Your Heart's Desire

The book I mentioned earlier this week, “Sleeping with Bread” introduces a spiritual practice called The Examen. This practice comes from The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Ignatius taught that God speaks to us through our deepest feelings and yearnings.

Ignatius believed that we should pay attention to our “consolations” and our “desolations”. Consolations are whatever helps us to connect with ourselves, others, God and the universe. Desolation is whatever disconnects us.

The Examen is simple—and we love simple.

Each evening you take a few minutes to sit in quiet and then ask these two questions:

For what moment today am I most grateful?
For what moment today am I least grateful?

You can also ask it like this:

What gave me energy today?
What drained my energy today?

The idea of the Examen is that, over time, a pattern will emerge to show us our true heart’s desire, the purpose of our life, or God’s will, if you use that language. This can be a very simple way to incorporate ongoing inventory and listening to God or one’s own inner voice.

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