Presence, Listening and Depth: An Invitation to Spiritual Direction

Presence, Listening and Depth: An Invitation to Spiritual Direction

By Debra Weir, Associate Director, Spirituality and Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminiary

One of the great spiritual longings of modern times is the longing for ‘depth.’ Some might call this a search for meaning or a desire for connection. But I think the longing for depth is the longing for God. It is a desire that wells up from deep within us and emerges in those rare moments when we are captured by moment of awe, or sudden knowing.

We all experience these holy moments.  It’s part of how we are wired as human persons.  But somehow, we long for more, or perhaps a readier awareness to the presence of the Mystery we call God.

The reality is that we are busy and are often distracted with too many things to do, seemingly all at once. Last year I found myself frazzled, and discovered underneath it, my own deep longing.  An intention formed:  to ‘be more present.’ Meeting regularly with a spiritual director has helped me unpack what it means to be more present.  A spiritual director prayerfully listens with an open heart to help uncover signs of the holy in the life of another and helps one find clarity and discern direction in the busyness of life. This time my spiritual director helped me recognize my need to slow down, to breathe deeply, to pay attention and pray. She held me accountable in my prayer and spiritual practices. She prays for me.

This simple monthly practice of humbly opening my life to the prayerful listening and wise gaze of a spiritual guide has saved me more than once over the last twenty years.  It has helped me find and recover the awareness and depth that satisfy my longing, and has restored my hope in the Mystery of God at work in my life and the life of the world.

If you are interested in finding a spiritual director visit the Spiritual Director’s International online directory.

The Spirituality Program at Columbia Theological Seminary offers a Certificate in Spiritual Direction for those who discern a call to the ministry of spiritual direction. Applications for the 2017-2019 cohort are now open.

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