Spiritual direction has had a long and distinguished tradition going back in Christianity to the Desert Fathers and Mothers and the writings of Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and other venerable souls. Of course, shamans and medicine men in primal religions, rebbes in Hasidism, sheiks in Islam, and gurus in Hinduism and Buddhism have added their combined wisdom to this noble listening ministry.
In this wonderful collection of essays, editor Norvene Vest (Still Listening: New Horizons in Spiritual Direction) has gathered selections about spiritual direction across the traditions. She notes in her introduction: "God is indeed Mystery, and every form of religion is an effort to respond faithfully to the mystery of the sacred whatever name. The sacred breaks through into human experience in many ways, and humans respond variously to the awesome experience of the holy." Some of the best essays in this Spiritual Directors International Book include Fariha al-Jerrahi's "The Sufi Path of Guidance," Christopher Key Chapple's "The Guru and Spiritual Direction," H. Paul Santmire's "The Spirituality of Nature and the Poor," and John R. Mabry's "The Care and Feeding of The Gen-X Soul."
These essays reveal some of the exciting and dramatic new paths that spiritual direction can take in the years ahead as more adventuresome souls try to discern and practice beauty, wonder, justice, compassion, hospitality, and listening in the midst of their busy lives and the ever changing world around them.