What is Spiritual Direction
Spiritual Direction, or Spiritual Companioning is a way of appreciating and responding to your life’s journey in the light of the Lord’s light and love. As you grow physically, spiritually, and emotionally, it’s often helpful to talk with someone about how to integrate all of these experiences into a life of faith. A spiritual director is someone with experience and training that is willing to listen and talk with you about your journey in all its joys and concerns.
Is spiritual direction for me? Perhaps you are experiencing a real spiritual hunger and want to explore ways of filling it. You may be asking yourself, “How is God real for me now?” or “How is my faith meaningful for me in this situation?” These are some areas that point to the need for a spiritual guide. Other areas that might be the focus of conversation with a spiritual director include: questions about religion; the need for expanding your image of God; successes or failures in trying to live a more loving life; “bringing the Lord into important decisions in your life; exploring moral dilemmas.
What is it like? You enter into a conversation and trusting relationship in which the director helps you to notice and respond to the movement of God in your life. It may be through an experience of prayer or just in the events of everyday life. The director is primarily a listener, a supportive person who can help you to look honestly at your relationship with God as it is lived out in everyday life. You are always the gatekeeper in terms of what you bring to spiritual direction and how much of yourself you share and reveal. Spiritual direction is not counseling, but a prayerful conversation designed to help you to become more aware of God’s voice and to help you to uncover the best ways to respond to that voice.
How do I get started? Ask about entering into a spiritual direction relationship at the Consultation Center; check out Spiritual Directors International; or ask at St Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. (Suggest including contact info for all.)You would have an initial meeting and then mutually agree to a period of time, e.g. three months in which you would meet, typically once each month and ultimately discern if you and the director are a good match. It is customary to offer a stipend. Some directors have a set amount, others a sliding scale and some request nothing at all.
What Should I Talk About? You might want to talk about how the rhythm of the liturgical season and how its prayer can become a part of your own rhythm; how to make new beginnings, or grow in ways of praying; where God fits into the joys and concerns of your life at this time; or whatever it is that you feel could help your relationship with God grow.
Is This a Life Long Commitment? Some people meet for years with the same spiritual director; some only for a period of time when they are discerning a new vocational path or enduring a personal crisis. It is totally appropriate if, after a period of time, you feel you are in need of a different approach to change directors
Parts taken from the website of:
Linwood Spiritual Center
139 Mill Road Rhinebeck, NY 12572