Do you have nights when sleep isn’t your friend?
If so, you’re not alone. I’m in the ranks of those who answer this question with an emphatic, “Yes!”
Sleep problems are common. ‘Tons’ of practical tips can be found by doing an internet search. Type in “Sleep Hygiene,” and you’ll find a host of excellent remedies from folks with far more expertise than I possess.
Today, though, I’d like to introduce a day-end spiritual ritual I began practicing recently. The Daily Examen helps to clear the clutter of the day, which is a great way to enter peaceful sleep.
“The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.”
Because this spiritual practice is new for me, I’m still learning, but these are the steps I’ve been using to practice The Examen:
First, I begin with deep breathing.
- Through the nose, inhale to a mental count of six as deeply as possible (as the diaphragm fills, your belly will push out). Hold that breath to a mental count of six. Through pursed lips exhale fully—again to a mental count of six. Take a couple short breaths, repeat. I like to repeat three times.
Next, I express thanks for the day I’ve been given and ask God to give me insight to review my day honestly, “listening” with my heart.
- What did I do well—either intentionally or unintentionally?
- Give thanks for the ability/willingness to make good choices and do good deeds.
- Where did I blow it?
- What was going on when I did not do well—either intentionally or unintentionally?
- How could I have handled a situation differently?
- Ask forgiveness and for help in the future with a behavior I regret or know was not God-honoring.
- Perhaps it wasn’t a behavior but rather fearful, resentful, worrisome, angry or unkind thoughts.
- Once again, I confess, ask for forgiveness and help with patterns of stinkin’ thinkin.’
I’m finding this process relaxing, and often fall asleep before I’ve finished. If I haven’t already fallen asleep, however, I think about tomorrow and commit the day ahead to God, asking for wisdom and help.
I hope you’ve found some of this information helpful. To learn more about The Examen, please check out the website given below. I’d love to hear from you. What practices help you lie down and get a good night’s rest?
- https://www.ignatianspirituality ↑