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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.

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