What is Spiritual Direction?
What it is NOT
The goal of therapy is to feel better and/or to function more successfully. The goal of spiritual direction is to explore the meaning of one's life and to nurture one's relationship with the Divine/God.
The goal of coaching is to identify and reach one's goals. The goal of spiritual direction is to discern one's calling and to embrace it.
Mentoring is learning by example from someone with experience. Spiritual Direction is a companionship with some who will help you listen to the Spirit.
The goal of teaching is to impart knowledge from a source of information external to the student. Spiritual direction uncovers the knowledge already present in the directee, guiding them away from listening to the external and toward listening to their own innter knowing and wisdom.
Pastoral counseling integrates psychological principles into a spiritual context to address a range of challenges, while spiritual direction primarily focuses on nurturing and enhancing an individual's spiritual experience and connection with the divine.
What it IS (or what I hope it to be)
The answer is waiting to be discovered within the directee. It is often obscured by words and feelings and thoughts. Deep listening begins with the radical assumption that the Divine Spark/Holy Spirit is present and within and eager to be discovered.
DISCOVERY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
For thousands of years, people have developed and refined practices that help to deepen a relationship with the Divine/God. Spiritual direction guides the directee to see which resonates with them or to discover something completely new.
MID-WIFERY (my favorite)
The role of a spiritual direction is the that of a mid-wife. The labor is often long and painful. The birth happens in its own timing. The mid-wife is present to encourage, to know when to wait and when to push, to help the other breathe through the difficult parts, to create as much safety as possible in an inherently risky situation, and to be completely present with the one giving birth and the one who is born.
The spiritual director see the Divine Spark/Image of God in the directee and deeply loves that soul. Love is always the intention of the director. The director holds a compassionate space for the directee, resisting the temptation to control or soothe or manage.
Being a spiritual director is not about having all the answers, but about walking alongside someone on their journey, offering support, understanding, and a presence that transcends words. It's a sacred connection where empathy, compassion, and shared vulnerability create a space for spiritual growth and exploration.