Why Do People Sign on for Spiritual Direction?

When you contact a spiritual director, you can expect that one of the first questions you will be asked is: “What are you looking for in spiritual direction?” Another way the question may be asked is: “What do you hope to accomplish in spiritual direction?”

In the past, my own answer to this question when I was the directee has probably been a little vague, which isn’t uncommon. So much of our spirituality isn’t really rational, so why would we think we would always have a reasoned, rational explanation for where we are spiritually? My answers have usually been along the lines of: “Guidance is a good thing, especially in something as important as my spirituality.” Sometimes people I’ve seen as directees have been a little more direct: “I’ve been feeling a little lost lately, and I think that spiritual direction will help me get more grounded.” One person said, “It’s time I did a little growing.”

After a hiatus of a few years, I recently resumed being a directee myself—in large part because I see directees on an ongoing basis and know that it is important to be in direction at the same time. This time when that question came addressed to me, an answer came readily to my lips, even though I had not thought about it ahead of time. “Because I need a place where I can be in conversation about spirituality.”

This is a new answer. I’m no longer looking for a one-directional situation, in which I am simply a receiver, whether a receiver of direction, advice, grounding, support, reinforcement, or whatever. Now I am looking for the mutual, two-directional situation. I want to talk with someone who speaks the same language, will understand what I am talking about, will know how to address the subjects that are important to me, and will be able to receive from me as much as I receive from her/him.

If you think you might be interested in spiritual direction, check out Spiritual Directors International (website: http://www.sdiworld.org/) to find out more about the practice. Especially look at the Seek and Find Guide to find spiritual directors in your area. Click on the tab “Find a Spiritual Director” to access the Guide.


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