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10 Spiritual Exercises for Everyone

1. The effect of external events (discernment of spirits)

We are affected by our surrounding and what we experience through our senses, it is important to notice what those effects are and what images we should surround ourselves with. Try this exercise: Take two widely different types of images, spent some time looking at them and then notice how you feel afterwards. The same exercise can be used with ...

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2. The Lotto experiment

You have won 1 million Euro in the lottery and after the initial excitement, you are trying to decide what to do with it. There are three possibilities you are invited to imagine, when you consider these, see them in your imagination, as if it were really happening, and see what sorts of feelings go along with them. You want ...

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4. Freedom or detachment (when willpower is not enough)

Often we become aware that we are in a rut with regards to our emotions or reactions to people and situations. For example, I can get angry whenever someone challenges me even in small ways. Sometimes I am conscious that I always fall into the same trap, that I act in exactly the same negative way, even though I don’t ...

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7. Forcing your way out of a blind alley

Sometimes we end up in a tough situation where it seems that we have no choices left, or that there are only bad choices. This dilemma seems particularly relevant today where the only choice is between the ‘devil and the deep blue sea’. Often the pressure to rush into a bad decision is self-generated and can be very unhelpful. The ...

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8. Discerning your thoughts (just because you can think it doesn’t mean it is good or helpful)

Descartes claim “I think therefore I am” gave way to a whole culture of the superiority of ideas and a downgrading of experience and the body. The contemporary growth of extreme ideologies is a sign of this, thinking divorced from reality. People often live in ‘their heads’, slave to ideas and thoughts, which can wreak havoc with their mental health. ...

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9. Trust your instincts (God is in our deepest desires)

“Desire is a key way that God’s voice is heard in our lives,” says Fr. Jim Martin, SJ. Part of the joy and the pain of being human is that we find ourselves made up of complex desires and instincts. We want to live a great life and do something significant and yet we find ourselves compromising and living less ...

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10. Channel surfing versus targeted viewing

TV or video is a great gift and brings a lot of education, pleasure and entertainment. There can often be a difference in how we watch and what we tell ourselves. See how these different styles of TV viewing affect you and leave you feeling afterwards. Try this exercise: 1. Put aside some time to watch TV for an evening, ...

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