I recollect a number of times in my life being involved in conversations which begin with, “If you could choose, what would you really want to be in life?”
On a few of those occasions, I remember my response was, “Poor and happy!” I don’t ever remember anyone telling me that was their favourite answer! However, the reason for my answer is I figure that if I was happy even while poor then my happiness wouldn’t easily be taken away from me.
For many of us, happiness is determined by factors external to ourselves. Are people treating me well? Do I have a secure, well-paying, job? Do I have a home, without a scary debt, all the furniture, nice car, and overseas trip each year?
When the poor person is happy it seems it must come from a deeper place. It seems less likely that their happiness is derived from external factors. Happiness, if in this case happiness is even a sufficient word, seems to be something that they bring to their world rather than get from the world.
This is a shift in the dynamic of people who participate in Spiritual Direction. It is the shift in the focus that takes place in those who go and see a Spiritual Director. How they are fairing arises less from externalities but in their sense of “being”. As I reflect back on those who I have met for Spiritual Direction I remember a number of occasions the directee telling me he, or she, has chosen to walk away from security, walk away from physical comforts, away from the things others admire. They have discovered something more valuable in themselves.
It is a privilege to share those moments in the directee’s life. It reminds me of the power of the practice of Spiritual Direction supporting people to discover a greater sense of being – less fazed by the vagaries of life around them.