Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week Two of 30-Day Contemplation

*Please read the two posts in November for an explanation of this post.

If you have stayed with the daily schedule, then you are almost one week into the Exercises.  Here is the next set of topics for days eight through fourteen (Dec. 8-14).  If you are off schedule, as are some of our family, just pick up the next exercise and finish in January, or whenever you finish.

I think I understand why St. Ignatius originally set this up as an all-day-every-day-for-30-days method.  I've found that I want two or three days to ponder each topic, so the pace is a little quick.  That said, I do like that after spending several days thinking about Christ, we are now transitioning into evaluating our own standing before and with our Savior.  I especially look forward to Days 12, 13, and 14 this week.  Those are Exercises that take years to get a handle on, let alone mastering.

Some of these exercises encourage meditation.  I usually meditate to silence or to spa music.  However, I've found an app with free guided meditations, most of which I like.  One of the five that I've listened to mentioned Christ and one of his teachings.  It is "Class One: Meditating With A Candle".  It goes well with yesterday's question, "Who am I really?"  That particular guided meditation is helpful in letting go of darkness and tension, and recognizing the light that we each have in ourselves, which is the light we all share as children of God.  Give it a try if you're interested.

And now, for the next week of exercises:

Day Eight
Question:  What is really happening when I take the sacrament?
Read:  John 6:54 and 1 Corinthians 11:26
Ponder:  What promises have I made to Christ?  How will my life change if I truly take on His name?

Day Nine
Question:  How do I guard against pride?
Read:  Proverbs 6:16-17 and 8:13
Ponder:  Am I being truly honest with myself?  With others?  Do I do the right things for the right reasons?

Day Ten
Question:  Whom can I serve?
Read:  Joshua 24:15 and Galatians 5:13
Ponder:  Am I overlooking family members or friends in order to serve in my church or my community?  Or, am I too focused on family and not offering my skills to a wider community?  What answers do I get when I pray to the Lord about this?

Day Eleven
Question:  How do I control physical passions or addictions?
Read:  1 Corinthians 10:6 and 2 Timothy 2:21-22
Ponder:  How can I take my Savior's hand and rise to set a righteous example for others who also struggle?  How can I build a spiritual network of support when I am tempted?

Day Twelve
Question:  How can I stay in a grateful frame of mind for my many blessings for just one week?
Read:  2 Corinthians 9:15 and Ephesians 5:20
Ponder:  What ten things would I list as the most important blessings I have received from my Savior?

Day Thirteen
Question:  How can I elevate my thoughts?  Find a mountain of dispassion to climb and rest upon?
Read:  Psalm 119:99 and Exodus 26:30, 34
Ponder:  Do I really want to work to keep all idle, unclear, or negative thoughts out of my mind?  Am I willing to discipline myself to practice meditation techniques to rid myself of these?

Day Fourteen
Question:  How can I withdraw my negative projections from individuals and institutions so that I do not gossip or think negative thoughts about them?
Read:  Matthew 5:11 and Proverbs 21:23
Ponder:  Do I project onto the world my own unfinished or unresolved issues?  What can I do to work on them?  Can mediation help with the detachment necessary to accomplish this task?  Should I get counseling help to accomplish this?


VickieG said...

Completed Week 1 and you are right; I would love more time on each subject. I am enjoying the scriptures with each question and finding new little insights. Thanks so much.

Mary said...

A thought from Day Ten, Galatians 5:13

Living in circumstances of peace and abundance is unusual for much of history. Do I use the Liberty that Paul speaks of in the service of God, or in satisfying my own natural tendencies? Honestly, I do both. We probably all do both. This is the great struggle of mortality. Will I put aside things that don't matter to choose those things of eternal significance?

Service requires sacrifice. But sacrifice only feels like sacrifice when my heart is still tied to the thing I am giving up, such as my time or means. Sacrificing for the Lord, in the long run, is really just opening my life to the blessings and understanding He has to give me.

Mary said...

From Day Twelve, my ten most important blessings from my Savior--I couldn't keep it to ten blessings, so there is a bonus item. (I wouldn't say this is in order of importance; this is in the order that these blessings came to mind. All eleven made my Top Ten list.)

1. The Atonement and an understanding of repentance and forgiveness and their accompanying healing for the injured and the injurer.
2. My fabulous marriage with my husband, Kent. So blessed to be best friends with my spouse.
3. My amazing children (ordered alphabetically): Andrya, Gwen, Heber, Kassidy, Madelyn.
4. Knowledge of the gospel through the context of the LDS faith.
5. Priesthood power active in my life. This power comes to me through many sources, not exclusively through my husband. It is everywhere.
6. Living in a great location (I love my home, community, and country) and at a great time in this beautiful planet's history.
7. The Holy Ghost as a witness, comforter, and guide through my life's journey.
8. Angels who watch over me and mine.
9. Being sealed to, and thus connected to, a great heritage and great people in my family of origin and my family of marriage.
10. Friends who have been placed in my path and who each contribute richly to my life in unique and important ways.
11. A healthy mind and body.