"Those who seek the Mystery and those who accompany them are united in the conviction that the sacred is somehow present within creation, and that humans are invited to be engaged with the mysterious presence here and now. That common ground — seeking the Mystery, tending the holy — is by no means widely shared in the twenty-first century. More and more people live as if the sacred were absent or unimportant, as if seeking the holy within daily experience were merely a luxury for those who do not have more pressing responsibilities. . . .

"While the holy may increasingly be seen as absent from ordinary 'public' experience, the longing for some form of spirituality seems to be increasing. We know that demand is rising for books on spirituality and for classes in spiritual direction, even as there is corresponding confusion about what those terms mean. The purpose of this book is by no means to move toward a defining consensus, but even as we explore multiple perspectives about tending the holy, we find common ground.

"The first ingredient for the soil of this common ground is found in the sense of being 'drenched' in God, or surrounded by the hints of the sacred. Those who tend the holy or spiritual directors, whatever they call themselves, are people who seem almost unable to turn away from the Mystery. We find life to be empty without an ongoing relationship with 'the more.' Something beyond ourselves and somehow bigger than we are keeps calling us forth. Thus, we find human life itself to be more than a mere container for discrete individuality: human mastery is of less interest to us than exploring the possibilities involved in surrender to the unknown. Indeed, we might almost say that one of the primary reasons for seeking spiritual direction is the longing for a place to speak about and to the holy. All the authors here write from the conviction that Mystery exists as a haunting presence for us and that engagement with Mystery brings fullness of life.

"Mystery, of course, is mysterious — not a puzzle finally to be solved, but a wonder at which to marvel. The divine nature is intrinsically intangible, elusive, never subject to confinement by thought or word or any of the five senses. On the other hand, Mystery is somehow always present in the midst of sensory reality. Holiness is not only a quality of God; it is; it is shared by all creation and often found in places once thought to be 'secular' — in matter as well as in spirit, in body as well as in mind, in working life as well as in the church, temple or mosque."