Stopping at a gas station or consulting MapQuest or GPS is often sufficient to keep us, quite literally, on the right road as we travel from place to place these days. For the “inner journey,” assistance may also be needed in recognizing and understanding the signposts that guide us to our most authentic selves and to God’s presence within us and our life experiences. It is for this reason that the ministry of spiritual direction developed centuries ago.
What Is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is an ongoing conversation between a trained director, guide, or companion and a person seeking self-knowledge and an understanding of what the Spirit invites that person to do with his or her life. Through regular private meetings, the seeker is invited to relate, integrate, and embrace his or her inner and outer life experiences and attend to elements of both the conscious and unconscious. The seeker is invited to do this in order to recognize the movement of God in these events and to respond in a way that leads to greater compassion, freedom, and mission. The ultimate goal of this “soul work” is for the individual to gain a conscious awareness of and participation in the ongoing dialogue with God that gives meaning to life and to thus become more fully who they are meant to be, to reveal one’s true self.
People from all walks of life seek to know themselves better and through spiritual direction can focus on questions related to “Why am I here?” “What is the purpose of my life?” and “Who is God?” Spiritual directors actively listen to those questions, become attuned to the individual‘s true nature, and help create the space for further discernment.
Spiritual direction is often about expanding perspective. A variety of creative tools from labyrinth use to dream work to creating a soul collage may be employed, and there is often playfulness to the ongoing process. Spiritual directors personalize their work and approach for individual clients, sometimes helping them develop spiritual practices such as meditation—all with an eye to opening hearts and minds to what is possible.
Spiritual direction is not only for churchgoers or those with formal religious traditions, and in fact, many clients start by saying they are not sure whether they believe in God. The process of regular, private meetings helps people better view their inner landscape, appreciate a sense of the divine, and go back into the world a fuller version of themselves, able to be of more service to others.
Spiritual direction is not counseling, therapy, pastoral counseling, coaching, or mentoring, though at times it may seem to overlap with those healing practices.
Who Are Spiritual Directors?
Spiritual directors are trained and experienced in listening deeply. By attending to a person’s story, they are often able to point to significant issues or moments in a particular life that open the seeker to the leading and healing power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual directors at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being come from different religious traditions and are experienced in working with a vast array of clients.
What Can I Expect from Spiritual Direction?
Meetings are normally fifty minutes once a month, though initially you may want to meet twice a month. There is a fee (a sliding scale fee schedule based on need is available). The director provides a safe and confidential space for you to share your story. In your first meeting, information will be sought as to what you desire in spiritual direction. Spiritual direction is not counseling, therapy, pastoral counseling, coaching, or mentoring. It may, at times, seem to overlap with some of what takes place in these other “helping professions,” but each of them has a different focus and unique purpose. Spiritual Direction does not involve telling one how to act or pray in a particular way and is inherently respectful of the uniqueness of each individual and various faith traditions. Spiritual direction will focus on your relationship with God, yourself, and others, prayer, reflection, discernment, spiritual growth, obstacles and resistance.
How Do I Make an Appointment for Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction appointments can be scheduled by calling the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being at 312.787.8425.