Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Silence: Structured Christian Prayer to Center Thoughts


“I am a person with bipolar disorder.  It has been with me since my teen years, although it was not diagnosed until I was in my forties.  I have tried numerous variations of psychotherapy and medications.  One therapist, a Quaker pastoral counselor, has made a difference in my recovery from this illness.   I met him when I served in the parish in Florida.  I had been having panic attacks, severe mental chaos, and periods of depression.  I had developed a phobia about closeness with other people.  I was getting very little sleep and not carrying out my duties at church adequately.  I asked for a referral and was given Michael’s name, and we began therapy on a January day.  … Each morning I would spend twenty minutes in silence before going to work, a practice I continue to this day.  In that silence, using the rubric of the Ignatian exercises, I would calm the chaos in my mind and allow God’s peace into it.”

The Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Pastoral Counseling: Community and Silence, David Welton

My Pastor as Person professor answered a prayer. He provided a book on a Quaker spirituality approach to pastoral counseling applied to the treatment of bipolar disorder symptoms. I think the author may also have to deal with the condition. I feel blessed to be at seminary around such spiritual knowledge.  Interestingly enough, the author utilizes the Ignatian spiritual exercises as a prayer structure. I was just reading about this method today. I found the books in the library and a commentary by Karl Rahner. Coincidence or providence?  A friend provided a modern interpretation of the Ignatian exercises in this book.

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About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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