What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction with Individuals
Spiritual Direction is a form of spiritual guidance that strives to create a consistent, reliable and safe space for a person (a directee) to explore their relationship with God (the Sacred) through the presence and guidance of a companion (a director) who can be attentively and prayerfully present in ways that help the seeker to turn toward God and become sensitized to God’s working in their life. Aspects of spiritual direction include:
Learning to notice God’s action in their life.
Paying attention to signs of God’s grace and invitation in all of life’s events – especially the ordinary ones.
Responding to God’s invitations to engage in Christ’s work of love and justice in all of life’s dimensions
Exploring and developing spiritual disciplines
Healing from past trauma and pain in order to more fully embrace one’s true, authentic self – the self that is created in the very image of God
Discerning God’s leading and guidance in decision-making at all levels of life.
A central goal of all spiritual direction is discernment – the challenging and transformative process of learning to sift through one’s own life experiences in order to uncover God’s movement in all areas of life. All aspects of the spiritual direction journey lead to one point – assisting the directee to focus on their relationship with God.
The ultimate director is the Spirit of God, who is the source of all growth, guidance and healing. The Spiritual Director is present as a companion for the journey, providing support, focus, resources, and encouragement as the directee turns his or her attention to God.
Spiritual Direction sessions are approximately an hour in length. Traditionally, the sessions occur every 4-6 weeks, and can be short term in duration (1-3 sessions) or can take place over a period of months or years, depending on the needs, desires and goals of the directee.
Spiritual direction is neither psychotherapy nor counseling, although many find spiritual direction to be an important adjunct to work already happening in counseling or psychotherapy.
All conversations are kept confidential, unless an individual shares information about plans to harm him/herself and/or others (including vulnerable persons).
Spiritual Direction with Groups
Spiritual Direction can also be done with small groups, using spiritual disciplines such as the following:
Lectio Divina - Latin for divine reading – a traditional Benedictine practice of reading scripture or sacred art/music and nature in a contemplative way,
Examen - a Jesuit practice involving prayerful reflection on events covering a period of time – like a day, week, month – for the purpose of noticing God’s hand at work in those experiences,
Social Discernment - a process of discernment that helps groups to make decisions by increasing their awareness of God’s invitation, movement and working in their current circumstances while helping the group to clarify its identity and intentions.
Group Spiritual Direction can be a powerful tool for building community. It can take place on a weekly or monthly basis, can be short-term or ongoing, can be used for specific season of the church year (Lent or Advent are popular options), or when a spiritual community faces an important decision.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 208-344-5731.