Spiritual Direction. . .
is an ancient tradition of spiritual companionship harking back to Bible times and preserved by the church through the centuries. Its purpose is to strengthen the awareness of God in one's life, deepen one's relationship to God, and enhance one's prayer life.
The role of the spiritual director. . .
- is to direct the attention of another toward God
- and to listen to God for understanding and direction.
- "The spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or of the affections, or of the 'summit of the soul'--it is the life of the whole person." Thomas Merton
What happens in a spiritual direction session?
- A person meets with a spiritual director usually once per month for an hour.
- At that time the two together before God look for the movement of God in the ordinary circumstances of the directee's life.
- They explore ways to respond to God's presence.
- A person meeting with a spiritual director brings what ever spiritual concerns or experiences they wish to share. The director listens carefully to the directee with a sense of God's nearness and concern. At times the director may ask clarifying questions or offer suggestions that promote reflection. This process has been known as "holy listening".
- Since these sessions are confidential with an appreciative, non-judgmental listener, people often sense God more deeply in areas of their lives.
How is spiritual direction different from. . .
psychological counseling or pastoral counseling?
There often is significant overlap among these various disciplines. However, both psychological counseling and pastoral counseling are problem oriented, whereas spiritual direction is process oriented. In counseling, the client comes with a specific problem to tackle and when they have worked through the issues and are back on their feet again there is no need to continue. In spiritual direction the directee may also come with problems but the purpose is to focus on who and where God is amidst their problems and also amidst their joys. Spiritual direction is usually ongoing as it is a spiritual companionship where the director walks with the directee along his spiritual journey.
Answers to common questions about spiritual direction
Ron Rolheiser is interviewed at a Spiritual Director's International conference about spiritual direction. He answers some common questions about spiritual direction. You may view the interview on YouTube here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVpxL9WImIM