What is Spiritual Direction?
Are you craving deeper connections with others? Do you find yourself questioning your spirituality or faith and not knowing how to process these questions? Have you found transitions in your spirituality particularly challenging lately, or you just want to talk to someone else who values the spiritual journey like you do?
Much of the time when I say I offer spiritual companioning, I am given a look of questioning or curiosity. It isn't new--spiritual direction is thousands of years old, a practice steeped in history.
Thankfully, nowadays, spiritual direction is not just offered by priests, those shuttered away in monasteries, or ministers. The common knowledge that we are all on a quest to know how God (Divine, Spirit, or whatever your preferred name) is present in our life has driven spiritual direction into the mainstream. "Lay directors," like me, offer support from a spiritually informed, honest and humble place of call.
How can spiritual direction help you or someone you know?
1. A spiritual director or companion is an individual who has received training in the role of being present and supportive of individuals on their spiritual journeys. Often it takes years of discernment and education. They have knowledge of contemplative practices and ways to engage with God or the Divine. The director has historically been a priest, rabbi or minister, but in the past half century has expanded to lay directors, chaplains and other helpers. I personally am receiving my training in Jungian-based spiritual direction through the Haden Institute, finalizing my formation in this wonderful field of service.
2. A spiritual direction relationship is 3-way: director, directee, and God (Divine, Spirit, etc). The role of the director is to reflect back to the directee what possibly the Divine is saying, to be a mirror for the directee on their specific journey, to provide space for the Divine to “move,” or to be present with the individual when God seems absent.
3. You don’t need to be religious, pious, or faithful to go to spiritual direction. We are all on a spiritual journey, whether we realize it or not, or even name it that. You just need to have an open-hearted, open-minded willingness to lean into Spirit and learn what Spirit is saying.
4. Spiritual direction is not therapy, counseling, nor common friendship. It involves boundaries, and especially with a lay director, often is fee-based. It isn’t advice giving or pastoral counseling or education, and isn’t about perfecting one’s faith or getting better at anything. It may incorporate some teaching, when the individual requests direct guidance. But that is not the point of the relationship, which indeed often centers on non-doing, non-striving, and instead listening—even silence—to heighten awareness of the Divine.
5. Spiritual directors are informed, skilled in being present to seekers and get supervision and continuing education, ideally. We have an ethical obligation to maintain our skills and provide the most informed and supportive relationship we are able to give.
6. Spiritual directors are found all over the world. If you have questions or more curiosity, or wondering if spiritual direction is for you or someone you know, connect with me today. I provide online spiritual companionship worldwide and am happy to talk with you about your needs.
Spiritual direction is a call that humbles me and teaches me more than I can ever give. It has been a profound and beautiful gift to have been on the journey to companion those who too feel the call to go deeper. If you are curious and want to learn more, email me and I'd be happy to chat!
With Light and Love,