What is it? Spiritual direction or companioning, is an ancient practice of guiding an individual to help them see and discover how they may be encountering God in the day to day. Regardless of your spiritual or religious tradition, if you desire a more meaningful and deeper spiritual life, a spiritual companion will walk with you on your journey, holding sacred space and using deep listening and reflective questions to help you discover your relationship with whatever you call the Holy – God, Brahman, Yahweh, Jesus, The Mystery, Higher Power, Cosmic Consciousness, etc.
A spiritual director or companion is a specially trained trusted companion who can help seekers notice the inner movements of The Deepest Truth however they may name that. It is generously, deeply and nonjudgmental listening to the Spirit of the deepest Truth and to the heart of those on the journey. A spiritual companion provides a safe, confidential, and sacred space to allow an individual to recognize his or her own unique spiritual path. The ancient Celts used the term anam cara which literally means “soul friend” in describing a spiritual companion.
While at times some aspects of an individual’s psychology are discussed, spiritual companioning is not therapy nor is it life coaching. For example, supposed you desire or need to find a new career path. A life coach encourages and counsels you through a specific project of obtaining by helping you set goals and achieve future outcomes.
A counselor or therapist focuses on mental health and emotional healing which is often the result of something in the past. Suppose you experience anxiety at the thought of interviewing for a new job or you experienced a toxic work environment and need to find new employment. A therapist will help you work through the errors in thinking and help you come to terms with the emotional scars of past work place relationships and provide you with new ways of thinking and interacting.
By continuing the simple analogy above, a spiritual companion focuses on the present. He or she will deeply listening to you – and to the Spirit working within him or her – and help you uncover how and where The Mystery, the Spirit or God is working in your life, supporting you and guiding you in your every day present life to discern what that new job might be and how you might encounter God in that new place. A spiritual director will do this through a variety of ways without judgment in a safe and confidential space typically in one on one sessions on a monthly basis.
My approach – While I am rooted in Catholic Christianity and received my training through the Benedict Inn in Beechgrove, Indiana, I am interspiritual in my approach as a companion. I am willing to journey with directees who may name the deepest Truth in a variety of ways. If you want to talk about Jesus or Buddha or Yahweh, or any other name you use to name the Unnamable, I will journey with you without judgement.
How I develop as a spiritual companion? – I care for my own spiritual growth and development by meeting with my own spiritual director, engaging in peer group supervision, attending workshops and trainings, participating in days of reflection and retreats and maintaining regular practices of prayer, contemplation and meditation. Daily mediation and prayer nourishes me and is the bedrock of my spirituality. Spiritual reading is a must. I tend to my own body, mind and spiritual well-being through creative practices like photography, journaling, SoulCollage®, labyrinth walking, walking in nature, Tai Chi Chuh, and Zen meditation. I adhere to the ethical guidelines developed by Spiritual Directors International.
What to expect? – A first session is typically a getting to know you session and going over expectations. The relationship between spiritual companion and one with whom they are companioning (a companionee) develops over time. Typically we meet monthly for about an hour in a confidential setting. I prefer to meet in person however in light of COVID19, Zoom or FaceTime meeting is available.
A companionee is free to share whatever may be occurring in his or her life that helps him or her discover that which they call God. He or she may talk about the basics – who am I, why am I here, who is God, etc.; how she prays or why it is particularly difficult to pray at this time; a new book or workshop which opened up new questions or feelings; challenges in various relationships; a nudge or push to respond to a particular social justice issue and become more active in living out his faith.
Maybe a piece of scripture or poem, YouTube or TED talk brought about new awareness; maybe he is challenged to let go of beliefs which don’t fit any more. Maybe she senses something is emerging and is not quite sure how to name it. Maybe she is transition toward death and letting go. All of this and much more can be things a companionee can bring to a session as a way to discover how that Higher Truth is working and moving in his or her life.
Fees – There are fees for spiritual companioning as there are for other professional services. Please contact me to discuss.
Questions? Need more information? Email me through this site.