Spiritual Direction is a listening practice that occurs between two people where one person accompanies another as they seek to deepen and clarify their walk with God. Someone may come to spiritual direction because they are seeking a closer relationship with God but are at a loss as to how to go about it, or they may have a feeling that something is missing from their spiritual lives and are searching for something “deeper,” or they simply want to learn how to pray or how to enhance their prayer practice.
While it may look like a counseling session, the word “direction” in “Spiritual Direction” can be misleading, because there is really not much “directing” being done by the Spiritual Director. It has been referred to as “Spiritual Guidance” or “Spiritual Companioning” among other descriptions. The Spiritual Director is specifically trained in how to notice God moving in people’s lives, in multiple prayer practices and in spirituality resources, and is able to gently offer suggestions to the to the person coming for direction for their consideration as they deepen their spiritual practice. A typical spiritual direction session lasts for an hour, and meetings are generally monthly. Often there are three chairs in the room, one left empty, as a “host” for the Divine Presence. Many Spiritual Directors will light a candle to signify the presence of the Holy as sacred stories are shared. While Spiritual Direction is usually between two people, there are also Spiritual Direction Groups, either led by a Spiritual Director or co-facilitated by the group. Here are some quotes about Spiritual Direction:
"Spiritual direction is the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awaken to the mystery called God in all of life, and to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment." James Keegan, SJ
"We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship." William A. Barry, SJ and William J. Connolly, SJ
"Spiritual direction is essentially companioning someone in his or her spiritual life. Other ways of describing spiritual direction include holy listening, spiritual friendship, sacred journeying." Janna Larson
Spiritual Direction can be found in the history of many different faiths. While my faith journey and training in Spiritual Direction is Christian based, it is not exclusive to any particular Christian denomination and is welcoming and affirming to all. To schedule a session with me, visit the Contact Page. To find a Spiritual Director in your area, visit this site.
About the image: I was on a cruise, and happened to look up and see what you see in this image. It reminded me of the "three chairs" in Spiritual Direction, the ocean representing the third chair ... God's presence. It was a beautiful reminder from my gentle God of Spirit's presence in my life.