Spiritual Direction, also called spiritual companioning, is the ministry of listening and paying attention to God’s/Spirit’s movement in our daily lives in a confidential setting of encouragement and compassion. A Spiritual director companions rather than “directs” individuals. Through conversation, storytelling and reflection on life experience, a director forms a supportive relationship with a directee to help foster openness and responsiveness to God’s (Holy) presence in our lives. You are encouraged to listen more deeply to your own experience and to speak from that experience while witnessing, reflecting, and interpreting the significant movements (where you are being moved, invited, or nudged), and countermovement (where you are challenged or experiencing stagnation) in your daily life. The conviction in this ministry is that you are guided, nudged, lured from within by an “inner voice,” “God,” “spirit,” “inner teacher,” or “soul.” It is through the process of connecting to this deep part of yourself that greater clarity, insight, and direction comes forth.
This process also connects one to a more intimate relationship with God, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Great Spirit, Christ, YWHW, or the Creator whom has many names. The Holy Spirit is the “third guest” in the spiritual companioning process, and the one leading the spiritual accompaniment process. In “Basics in Spiritual Direction,” Shaun McCarty states:
By whatever name, this ministry calls one to a reverence for the mystery of the other and others and for genuine hope in the more-to-come in persons. Its primary focus is on a person’s relationship with God. Any genuine spiritual help should aid another in becoming more open to the promptings of the Spirit in ordinary events of life. Here people are summoned to continual conversion and toward a deepening union with God and communion with others. Through the real presence of one person to another, the presence and power of the Spirit of God can be better discerned (McCarty, p. 58).
Spiritual companioning focuses on holistic discernment which “encourages us to put our whole self – mind, body, feelings, imagination, intuition, dreams – into the process of seeking God’s guidance. A holistic approach insists that God is found everywhere and that attention to the divine must be wide-ranging and inclusive” (Wilkie Au, Holistic Discernment). Spiritual direction is a sacred experience leading to a deeper relationship with oneself, others, and the Divine. One of the gifts that can occur from this process is to gain clarity on your soul’s passion and mission in life.
Spiritual direction is for people of all faith traditions as well as for those who may not claim a particular religious tradition yet seek to explore the deeper meaning of spirituality in their lives. Spiritual direction meetings are usually about an hour long and typically take place every month or six weeks, although there may be times that the directee may want to meet more often during the spiritual journey.
During the meeting of an hour, director and directee seek to enter a prayerful atmosphere where together they can be attentive to the Holy Spirit who is in fact the Real Director. The content of a meeting is usually not just the individual’s prayer but their whole life experience reflected on as part of the encounter with God.
Cost: $65 per hour
Differences Between Spiritual Direction and Therapy
Spiritual direction is not counseling, therapy, pastoral counseling, coaching, or mentoring. There are distinctions between spiritual direction and therapeutic relationships. Therapy and counseling deal primarily with problem areas of one’s life with the goal of bringing healthy resolution to issues. Spiritual direction is concerned with finding and responding to God (in the midst of pain or disorder as well as in the rest of life).