by Michael Ketterhagen
Reviewing our day as we lay in bed at night is a wonderful practice.
Both the Christian monastic tradition and the Himalayan Yoga tradition have similar methods of examining how much we have acted in tune with our spiritual goals throughout the day.
The Christian method, started by Ignatius of Loyola, is called The Examen and approaches the practice from the position that our loving and caring God is always watching over us and is separate from us. This approach is the understanding of the transcendent God, the God beyond our usual daily life.
The yogic method, presented by Swami Rama, has no particular name and approaches this examination process with the belief that our core self is one with God. It understands that no separation exists between our conscience (inner voice) and the loving and caring God. We don’t have to invite our God to join our awareness/consciousness, but our inner core and God/the Holy Spirit or Brahman/Ishvara are completely united. God is the essence of the human. This is the immanent understanding of God where God and human are totally united here and now.
Let me explain the methods.
The Examen has five steps:
1. I give God thanks for all that I am grateful for today.
2. I ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may honestly review my day.
3. I ask the Lord while reviewing my day to point out the ways in which I failed to act as God wished.
4. I ask for forgiveness and healing and the wisdom to discern how I might better act. (This is an act of repentance, asking for the sin to be removed.)
5. I ask God to show me how I might not act tomorrow in that failing way.
The Yogic method has two or three steps, depending on how you look at it:
1. I review my day and recognize those thoughts, words or actions that disturb my conscience.
2. I repent, which means resolving to “not repeat” the thought, word or action again, because the thought, word, or action is contrary to the divinity within, contrary to my true self. My thought, word or action has offended my inner core, my conscience, my divine essence.
Whichever method we use, whether viewing God’s help as coming from outside of ourselves or from within ourselves, the Divine Source of Life will let us know what we need to do. All we have to do is, in the Christian perspective, to ask the Holy Spirit to come to us and give us the strength to follow through on our desire to act as God wishes or, as in the Yogic perspective, realize that confidence in our determination and will power (our sankalpa shakti) will firmly lead us to align ourselves with our essential divine core, God within, who is always speaking to us in our conscience.
Happy examining and sleeping!
I pray to the divinity within you!