Spiritual growth happens when your soul expands to include and accept all aspects of your life, the good along with the not so good, and to invite Grace and Time to make you as whole as you can be. This process is known by many names — growing up, becoming mature, walking in the spirit, knowing God, enlightenment.
Many times — if not always — it is necessary or at least helpful to have a person join you on your journey to wholeness. They can be invited to come along and help, or they can just show up at some crucial turning point on the road. These people are also called by many names: parents, godparents, mentors, true friends, pastors, counselors, therapists, and sometimes “spiritual directors.”
“Spiritual direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories every day.
— Liz Budd Ellmann, former Executive Director, Spiritual Directors International
A spiritual director accompanies a person who is moving forward in the spiritual life (or one who fears that he or she is standing still) and helps to take note of all of the many ways that the Divine shows up to assist that journey. It is so easy in the pitch and bail of daily life, and in the sometimes oppressive struggle of work and responsibilities, to miss the way we are surrounded by Grace, Mercy, and Love. Seeing those many “signs and wonders” of daily life along the way makes the journey bearable — sometimes even enchanted — and prevents us from falling into the pit of despair. It also connects us to the energies of renewal and guidance.
Spiritual Direction is a unique kind of mentoring. It is not psychotherapy, because it is not so focused on your relational life, or strengthening your ego, or solving your problems, although all of those things arise in a conversation about your spirituality. Your spiritual life is underneath all of those other aspects of you, and as your spiritual life solidifies, it becomes the foundation for growth in every aspect of life.
As you seek to move forward, your spiritual director will help you notice when Kindness or Wisdom or Love or Grace in their many guises are flowing your way and are available to drink as if from a fountain alongside a forest path. We all need help seeing the Living Water which is flowing up hidden in the underbrush.
"Spiritual Direction most often takes place in a once-per-month meeting for one hour. After a short period of silence to invite Grace and Wisdom to be with us, there is opportunity to talk about what is happening in the life of the Directee. It sounds like a conversation between friends, and it is, but the Spiritual Director has a wide-angle lens, a dual focus on both the immediate words and the larger Message. As themes emerge in the conversation and particular incidents are shared, the wider lens catches small and large surprises which open up the ways that Grace and Spirit are blessing us today, this week, and next week."
— Elizabeth Rechter, Executive Director, Stillpoint
Still More About Spiritual Direction
Spiritual Direction is an ancient ministry, a unique one-to-one relationship in which a trained person assists another person in the search for an ever-closer union of love with God.
Spiritual Directors listen carefully to the unfolding of directees' lives to help them discern the ways in which God is leading them.
Spiritual Direction is a life-changing experience of community and communion with God/Spirit/The Holy, and one other person.
Spiritual Directors meet regularly (usually once a month) with persons who are seeking to share and explore their journeys of faith.
Spiritual Direction as a term has a long, rich history within the monastic tradition. Today it is often called "Spiritual Companioning." It is more about "holy listening" than of providing "direction" in the sense of offering instructions, assignments, or direct advice, although that sometimes happens and can be requested.
A Spiritual Director is a privileged witness in the spiritual unfolding of another person. The focus is on the relationship between the directee and God more than on the relationship between the director and directee.
Spiritual Direction has emerged in many contexts using language specific to particular cultural and spiritual traditions. Describing spiritual direction requires putting words to a process of fostering a transcendent experience that lies beyond all names and yet the experience longs to be articulated and made concrete in everyday living.
Spiritual Direction helps us learn how to live in peace, with compassion, promoting justice, as humble servants of that which lies beyond all names. It is easier to describe what spiritual direction does than what spiritual direction is.
To learn more about the collaboration between Spirituality & Practice and the Stillpoint Community to provide spiritual direction, or to sign up to receive spiritual direction, please visit this page.