1. WHY A DAILY GUIDE
Maybe it’s a fantasy or a delusion, but there is in me a determination to live a spiritual life awake to God in all of life–intentional, happy, and compassionate. I’m unwilling to drift along, buffeted by the expections and agendas of others and not living from something deep and abiding–something not just my own but shared by others on a similar journey.
In his introduction to the most famous of daily guides, The Rule of Saint Benedict, Thomas Moore writes, “In our day of existential self-discovery, individualism, and the literalization of freedom, it may seem odd to reflect on one’s culture, decide to live an examined and thoughtful life, and then choose a strict rule of conduct and attitude.”
I’ve come to realize that my health, my spirit, my relationships, and the fruitfulness of my life cannot be sustained if I simply drift along in the wreckage of lives lived with so few real moorings. A Guide is not, I’m learning, a code that is followed slavishly and legalistically. It’s a way to measure the health and quality and character of one’s life; in a word, it is true “freedom”.
I don’t think it’s possible to live well without some guide; without one we’ll be taken captive to a false life—to things and people and ways of living that are simply not congruent with the life that wants to live through us.
And so, below are the various strands of the little guides I’ve been experimenting with for quite some time. I’ve pulled these strands together in this simply but tightly woven cord that’s not just holding me together these days, but is largely responsible for the quality of life I now know.
3. SOME SIMPLE TIPS ON HOW TO USE THE GUIDE
I think this little Guide is clear enough to provide the direction I need, simple enough to be memorized and prayed at the start of each day as I greet the dawn. It also returns to me at points throughout the day as a little voice reminding me of my commitments. Others who pray this Daily Guide also tell me that it’s poetic and open enough to let them improvise rather freely, like a jazz musician with a score, as they live the life given them each day.