Please enjoy a guest post by Greg Richardson. Spiritual Direction has been utilized by Christians (and other seekers of truth and growth), for nearly 2,000 years. Before the age of psychoanalysis (which began as an atheist response to wellness) , people trusted spiritual directors for “soul care” (whole care of mind, body, spirit, emotions, etc).
Greg reveals why there is a renewed interest in this area, and how God, through his Holy Spirit, teaches us about the reality of God’s omni-benelovence and omni-presence, as we walk with him. A spiritual guide is very helpful on the journey.
Spiritual direction is the art of spiritual conversation and listening carried out in the context of a trusting relationship.
Spiritual direction follows a model drawn from biblical and other ancient practices. When Nicodemus comes to Jesus in John 3, for example, Jesus guides him by asking deep questions and listening to how he responds. It has a long history, including the early Desert Mothers and Fathers, roots in Celtic Christianity, and many other examples.
Interest in spiritual direction is now increasing, at a time when people thirst for spiritual depth and connection but grow disenchanted with traditional forms of organized religion. Silence and listening are rarer and rarer in our time. We long to know that someone is listening to us so we can hear ourselves.
A spiritual director is a faith companion who listens to your life stories with an ear for helping you discern the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life. God is the true guide and director, while your human spiritual director is like a coach or midwife, supporting you as you pay attention and respond to the inner voice of God. The director is primarily interested in your experience of God and how you can follow God’s call. That process is a spiritual journey into the truth about God, yourself, your relationships, your work, and the world.
The premise of spiritual direction is that God is present and active in your everyday life in a multitude of ways that we often do not notice. When you slow down, breathe, begin to reflect and take a long look at what is happening around you, you begin to become more aware of your experience of God’s loving presence. The better you know yourself, the more you know God; the more you know God, the more deeply you know yourself and your direction and purpose. Intimacy with God leads into transformation, healing, and action.
Spiritual direction takes many forms. I have met with people in churches, in coffee shops, and in homes. I go on walks with people, listen to them via email and telephone, and meet with people on Skype. I have met with people once at a retreat or a conference, intermittently at key points in their lives, or regularly each week or each month over a period of years. With some people I say very little; with others I do more prompting or suggesting.
People tell me many things. Some people confess things of which they have been ashamed for years. Some people get angry, some cry, some laugh. I listen, ask questions, and help them hear their own stories.
I am a spiritual director. I am trained, certified, and experienced, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. I spend time listening to people’s stories; we let go of the past and put concerns about the future out of our minds so we can spend time in the present.
Greg Richardson is a spiritual director, leadership coach, and consultant to nonprofit organizations in Pasadena, California. He is a recovering lawyer and professor, as well as a lay oblate connected to the New Camaldoli Benedictine Monastery & Hermitage in Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, you can reach him at StrategicMonk@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter, here: @StrategicMonk
Do you have questions for Greg? Please leave you questions or thoughts.