Spiritual direction is not counselling or therapy, we are not trying to ‘fix or resolve’ anything. It is not coaching or mentoring, we are not trying to help you to set and achieve goals or life purposes. In their book, The Practice of Spiritual Direction (William Barry & William Connolly) offer this definition: “We define Christian spiritual direction, then, 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”.
The role of the spiritual director is to act as another set of eyes and ears, to help the directee to see, and be attentive to, the presence and movement of God in their lives. Spiritual Direction creates space for this attentive listening and conversation to take place. As spiritual director, I listen to you and the Holy Spirit, to help ask good questions and enable you to hear the invitation and activity of God. Attention and attentiveness are the two key words.
It is important for the directee to “bring something specific” to the spiritual direction session. You should take some time before each appointment to determine what you would like to talk about and process. It might help to examine your prayer life, (is it meaningful? personal? where is there space for growth?). It may also help to consider your primary emotions—what have you been feeling of late?—to determine the place where God may be at work. Some people journal in advance so to have a clearer sense of what needs attention.
You may ‘bring’ to each session whatever you want, whatever is going on in your life, work, family, faith, vocation, the stress and joys, anything at all. However, in each case we will bring it back to you and God, what is God saying, where is God in this, what are you being invited to? Whatever you share in spiritual direction will be held in confidence and will not be spoken of outside of the session.
There is no formula for the sessions. These times together involve sharing, listening, prayer and times of silence as we listen to the Holy Spirit, who is the true ‘Director’ of our time together. The goal is to discover what God is saying and doing in your life: “How is Jesus seeking to reveal himself through the experiences of your life?”
Spiritual Direction can take place face to face in my office or we can do it virtually over Zoom or Skype. A session typically last about 60 minutes, beginning with silence, prayer or scripture as we create space and silence apart from the busyness and noise of life, whatever you prefer and a session usually ends in prayer too.