What is Spiritual Direction?
We live in very stressful times. Between demands of daily life and the anxieties of our global age, rare are the moments of quiet contemplation. With little time for reflection and spiritual nourishment, we lose touch with Self, with God, with our sense of calling in life. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Spiritual Direction as a way of listening to the stirrings of spiritual yearning in our lives, even amid the “noise and haste” of our times.
Spiritual Direction is a sacred process of exploring one’s spiritual journey. In Spiritual Direction sessions one has opportunity to reflect on spiritual experiences, spiritual practices, openings and obstructions in relationship with God, blessings and difficulties of the spiritual life, and on issues, events and relationships of life. However, regardless of the content one brings to a Spiritual Direction session, problem solving or therapy is not the focus. Rather, as a reflective, contemplative process the focus in Spiritual Direction is always on one’s relationship God, on the state of a one’s spirit. Working in close relationship with a Spiritual Director, who is trained in the art of sacred listening, one begins to uncover and discover the multitudinous and often unseen ways in the God/Spirit/Presence appears in one’s life.
According to Rabbi Isaac Luria: “No day or hour that has ever existed from the beginning of time can be compared to any other day or hour. And in the same way, there is no comparing one human being to another since the creation of the first human onward, and no one can do the repair work (tikkun) of his fellow human, which is determined by the season, the hour and the unique code of that person.”
These words become the important groundwork for finding our task in the world. Indeed we need extreme clarity to discern exactly what it is that God is asking of us, and what path is ours. It is according to the unique root of our soul and our personal tendencies, combined with the specific era and situation in which we find ourselves, that we will be able to draw near to God. For if we lack personal responsibility for our world or lose touch with our task and purpose in life, we are like travelers who get lost on the way, unable to find our destination and never reaching our goal.
Before anything else, a person needs to meditate well and dig deeply into the knowledge of what his/her special task is in the world· We are given signs by which to discern it, and sometimes we know it because it is the most difficult thing we could ever undertake· But when we have clarity about our “special mission to earth”, through which we fulfill ourselves, we no longer get confused about the great work or equivocate about the amount of energy we must invest in it. Nor do we lose hope in life, because we know that our soul’s purpose is fulfilled by means of it and no sacrifice is too precious if we can carry it out.