Awareness Examen

The Awareness Examen is a form of contemplative prayer.  It builds on the fact that at the end of each day we often find ourselves looking back over the events of the day and reflecting on how we have been impacted by those events.  In the Awareness Examen, we suspend the temptation of making our own analysis and judgments and invite God to bring to our awareness whatever in the day – an event, a person, a mood, an insight – is important for us to notice right now.

We may ask questions of ourselves like, For what during the day am I most grateful?  Or, What during the day did I find least pleasing?

In this reflective moment we wait – we do not control this time – but allow the experience of the day to flow back into our awareness.  We stay quiet and still, patiently letting our hearts be touched.  We listen for what God may be saying to us in this.  Later we spontaneously respond to what we have heard, maybe with gratitude, with sorrow or with a cry for help – whatever is real for us.

This process only takes 10-15 minutes.

A possible framework:

  1. Take the time to relax in mind, body and spirit becoming aware of being enfolded in God’s love.
  2. Ask the Spirit to bring to your awareness whatever from the day is important for you to notice.
  3. Gently allow the experiences of the day to flow back into your awareness lingering on the moments and events which catch your attention.  Let them touch you again as you re-live them.  You may be surprised by what you notice.  As you re-experience them, be open to what God is saying to you in this.
  4. Respond spontaneously and truthfully from your heart – with joy, gratitude, laughter, sadness, a prayer for deeper trust or surrender – whatever is authentic for you.
  5. Bring the meditation to a close with a prayer that gathers up your responses to the day.  Gently let the next day come to your awareness, commit its unfolding to God in deeper trust and a growing desire to be shaped by God’s spirit.

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