What Is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is a practice where time is intentionally set aside to contemplate how
and where God is moving or present in your life. This is done in companionship with someone
who is trained in the practice of holy listening, discernment and thinking about the sacred in
our ordinary lives. Time set aside for Spiritual Direction is a place of sanctuary in our complex
world and in the midst of busy lives. This time that is set aside for contemplation with a spiritual
guide is a way for people to discover their own wisdom that is deep within them.
The word “direction” may sound as though the director will offer solutions to problems
or try to fix things. Instead, most Spiritual Directors will try to draw forth the directee’s own
inherent wisdom, through a process of asking questions and deep listening. The director and
the directee will walk together, noticing God’s presence, remembering those moments when it
was deeply felt, and listening for divine insight into life’s path ahead.
Spiritual Direction is an ancient practice. It developed out of the Catholic tradition, but is
practiced today across Christian denominations and in a variety of spiritual traditions. People
may come to Spiritual Direction seeking a deeper relationship with God. They might want help
with tough spiritual questions, or companionship during a difficult time of struggle or decision.
Spiritual Direction is not a substitute for counseling, but may be a good compliment to therapy.
Spiritual Directors may be lay people or clergy. There are many different training and
formation programs, but no standard certification for Spiritual Directors. It has long been
considered a charism, or a gift from God. People who seek Spiritual Direction are diverse. They
may be religious or non-religious, male or female, devout or unsure of what they believe. They
come from a wide variety of religious traditions, or no tradition at all. Whoever they are, they
seek a deeper connection and awareness of the mystery we call God.
Spiritual Direction is both a personal and a professional relationship and should be
guided by boundaries of confidentiality and respect. If this is a practice that is right for you, I
hope that you will find the director who is right for you.