Taking time to reflect in a non-stop world
Keith Morris suggests a way of providing some time for reflection in our busy lives.
I don’t about you, but for me 2019 has had an explosive start - so much for the Christmas break!
My wife and I started it, as we often do, by watching the wonderful firework display off Cromer Pier – in what seemed like a gale force wind, blowing the fireworks in graceful arcs through the sky rather than going straight up.
I also enjoyed some more fireworks at Epiphany (January 6) with the youth team from the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia. The fireworks there were more sedate and not blown off course and followed on from a Mass in which young Catholics from across East Anglia were encouraged to light a candle as a representation of Jesus Christ - Light of the World – and, for those of faith, our hope for the future in our presently uncertain world.
The well-known Norfolk phrase “Slow yew down bor” has never seemed more appropriate or needed for me personally, and maybe for our whole country as well, with all the uncertainty around Brexit.
One new weapon in my own armoury to try to achieve this – there I go again trying to set constant targets – is a very old form of prayer or meditation called the Daily Examen. Introduced to me by my Vineyard church pastor, who is keen for his congregation to start the year in a contemplative way, the Daily Examen is a technique which harks back to the Jesuits and their founder St Ignatius Loyola.
It comprises a prayerful (or meditative if you don’t pray) five-step reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us (or just be mindful of the present, if not religiously-inclined). It is an ancient practice that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.
Broadly, the five steps are:
Become still and aware of God’s presence
Review the day and give thanks for every detail you can recall
Become aware of your emotions about happenings in your day
Choose one positive or negative feature of the day and pray around it
Look with hope and expectation toward tomorrow
This can be done first thing or last thing, or even several times during the day.
For me, at the moment, I am just concentrating on slowing down for long enough to get to grips with this technique and to give it a good go.
This article has also appeared on Network Yarmouth
Keith Morris is publisher of the Christian community website www.networknorfolk.co.uk and Director of Communications for the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia.
The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users.
We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted below, upon the ideas expressed here.