Spiritual direction is an ancient Christian tradition. Today, this ministry is no different from early times ~ it remains a form of "holy listening" wherein the seeker explores his/her spiritual journey with the help of a trained spiritual director to discern God's movement in her/his life.
With the help of a trained spiritual director, the seeker explores his/her relationship with God and how God is moving, or is not, in her/his life. Spiritual direction is a process, a gradual unfolding, not an event. There are always three people present in the process of spiritual direction ~ the seeker, the Holy Spirit and the director.
Spiritual direction can be defined as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God's personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship. ~ William A. Barry, SJ, William J. Connolly, SJ, The Practice of Spiritual Direction
What Spiritual Direction Is Not
Spiritual direction is not: psychotherapy, pastoral counseling or any other form of counseling. It is not spiritual companioning or spiritual friendship. Spiritual direction is not coaching, advice giving or a "confessional."
Who Might Spiritual Direction Be For?
Spiritual direction typically appeals to a person who "has lived life and not been afraid of its joys and pains..."; people who "have strong desires for something more in their relationship with God." [W. Barry, SJ] It is for those who believe in God; who have and value a prayer life, who are on a spiritual path.
What Is The Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?
Religion is a system of beliefs we choose to espouse; typically includes faith, religious practices, worship, liturgy, doctrine, dogma, catechism, etc. It is about what we believe and how we practice living out our faith tradition.
Spirituality is within us even before we espouse a religion. Our spirituality is our "lived experience of God", our experience of the Holy One ~ how we come into contact with and live out our relationship with God. It penetrates to the deepest part of us ~ where we connect with God. Our spirituality is what keeps "us glued together, integrated so that we do not fall apart and die." (Rohlheiser)