What is spiritual direction?

Spirituality involves your personal relationship with the Sacred, yourself and the mystery of the cosmos. Every human person has spirituality. It is embedded in the deepest experiences of your life, particularly awe and wonder, love and compassion, reverence for life, personal meaning, and creative expression. Spirituality also encompasses the values and ethics in your relationships with others and your relationship to the world.

The focus of spiritual direction is the exploration and deepening of those relationships. It involves an ongoing conversation between a trained director and a person seeking to discern and respond to the calling of their innermost spirit and develop a more authentic way of being. The seeker is invited to embrace life experiences, both conscious and unconscious; to recognize the movement of the Sacred in these events; and to respond in a way that leads to greater compassion and wisdom. The ultimate goal is to gain a conscious awareness of and participation in the ongoing dialogue with all that gives meaning to life.

Many people today are exploring spiritual direction as a way of deepening and opening up their spiritual lives, learning about their personal gifts and callings, working with the places where they feel blocked or discouraged, and exercising discernment in their decisions at times of life transition. In essence, spiritual direction is a process by which one person (the director) bears witness, listening deeply and providing support and sometimes guidance, while another (the directee) seeks to recognize and share the sacred, authentic, and meaningful dimensions of his/her own experience.

So how does spiritual direction work?

Spiritual direction provides a safe place to explore any and all questions and concerns about your spiritual life. Typically a spiritual director meets with a directee once a month for one hour in a quiet private setting. Strict confidentiality is observed. The person seeking direction shares stories of his/her understanding of the divine, or how he/ she is experiencing spiritual issues. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his/her process of reflection and spiritual growth.

Spiritual direction is distinct from therapy, though the two may overlap. While therapy often seeks to work with life challenges as problems to be resolved, spiritual direction acknowledges those challenges and tries to see through them and beyond them. A spiritual director may just listen, sit with you in silence, ask questions, offer suggestions and new perspectives, help you to develop spiritual practices, or act as a sounding board. The path is yours; the work is yours; the deeper meaning is yours.

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