About Spiritual Direction
Wikipedia says, “Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality.”
In asking the question, “What is Spiritual Direction?”, the Spiritual Direction International offers that Spiritual Direction is the place where we address our deepest questions. “Who am I? In the truest and deepest sense? How can I nurture the connection I feel in nature or in peak experiences where I feel “at one” with what I’m doing? What do I have to give to life? What spiritual skills for living can help me cope with the inevitable pain, loss and difficulty that beset us all at some time?”
Spiritual Direction as a spiritual practice
I call Spiritual Direction a spiritual practice. Spiritual practices, like meditation, religious devotions, mindfulness, almsgiving, charitable acts, or acts of justice, gradually form who we are. Over a period of time, those practices shape us and crystalise in us a higher level of being. This higher level of being is not about being better than someone else, smarter, or fitting in better in our social environment. It is closer to being less consumed with the self, less needful for happiness, control, and esteem.
Spiritual Direction, like other spiritual practices, does not bring about instant change. Transformation takes place in living the practices and mostly happens slowly. However, Spiritual Direction, helps, in observing the changes that are taking place, is an experience of encouragement in the journey, and discerning the dynamics at work in your life.
In a Spiritual Direction session
Spiritual Direction involves meeting with a Spiritual Director for about an hour. It is most common to have Spiritual Direction sessions about once a month. Sometimes the “directee” will bring something specific he, or she, wishes to discuss. At other times the “director” will invite the directee to reflect generally on his, or her, life as they both observe particular themes or dynamics emerging. Sometimes, according to the wishes of the directee, dreams might be discussed, drawing or painting might be used, or reflecting on images. One of the wonderful aspects of Spiritual Direction is to experience someone intently listening, and without judgement.
Finding a Spiritual Director
There are a number of ways to find a Spiritual Director. Often directors are found by referral. The Australian Network for Spiritual Direction has a list of directors around Australia. Some directors have their own websites like this one.
There is often a sense of “fit” between the director and the directee. After a few sessions often a director will ask the directee if they would like to continue sessions. The same question will be asked about once a year. There are many reasons why it is useful to change to a different Spiritual Director.
Most often there is a fee or donation involved with Spiritual Direction. The amount will vary and usually discussed before the first session.