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Spiritual Direction, often called spiritual companioning or spiritual friendship, is an intentional relationship between a person seeking spiritual guidance and a trained individual (the spiritual director).
It’s the decision to explore the inner self, the opportunity to accompany someone while they do it, and the invitation to lean deeply into God.
Sacredness, presence and listening are key components in Spiritual Direction
The space shared between the spiritual director and the person seeking spiritual direction should be cherished throughout the relationship of accompaniment. “Parker Palmer talks about the soul as a ‘shy wild animal’ that stays hidden in the woods near an open meadow”. Both companions should respect the relationship by holding whatever is shared in the safety of the sacred space.
Aside from being welcoming, affirming, and genuine, spiritual directors should always lead their companions to God. As former Associate Director of Spirituality Programs, Debra Weir said, “Spiritual directors are witnesses who affirm the presence of the activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the other.”
Ultimately, the goal of the spiritual director is to sojourn with their companion and help them discern their next steps as they offer feedback, prayer and support along the way.
Active listening is crucial in Spiritual Direction. Its posture is acute and humble as it takes in what another person is saying in an effort to point the person in the direction God may be leading them. Spiritual directors listen for God, trusting that life’s deep mysteries will be revealed in time. The practice of deep listening cultivates an “experience of intimacy and relationship with the living God”.
If you’re discerning a call to become a Spiritual Director, the CLL offers a certificate program comprised of four week-long residencies on the CTS campus, and an 18–month supervised practice in the art of spiritual direction. The certificate can be completed in two and a half years. Applications for the next cohort close on November 1.
Click here to apply.
Portions of this blog were adapted from the post, Listening for God: The Practice of Spiritual Direction