Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Take the Spiritual Direction

Those of you who know me personally know that I have been a spiritual counselor for more than 25 years. That astonishes me. I never set out to be a counselor—it happened of its own accord.

At the time, I was teaching a class on how to create Affirmations that work and one of the students asked if she could come and talk to me outside of class. I said sure, and a spiritual counseling practice was born.

Like anyone’s lifework, my practice waxes and wanes. I’ve never advertised it, although I did once try to write a brochure about how I do what I do. The brochure was dreadful, and I gave up. Part of the reason it was so hard to do is that it’s almost impossible to explain what I do. It’s never uniform, nor is it system-based.

Loosely, I work with a client’s conception of God to help that client create the changes desired in her or his life. Sometimes that takes one session. Sometimes, four or five. Then, usually, that client goes away till the next time a particular change is desired.

When I was in seminary, I heard about a “new” practice called Spiritual Direction. It’s actually an ancient practice and a precursor of what we’d now call a therapist. The purpose of a Spiritual Director is simpler than that of a therapist. An anonymous nun is quoted by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in Sharing Sacred Stories: Current Approaches to Spiritual Direction and Guidance edited by Robert Frager,

“Spiritual direction deals with only one thing:

how to reduce our resistance to God.”

When I read that sentence, it occurred to me that this is really what I do, and have from the beginning. I use my intuition to listen, ask questions, make connections so that a client is able to let his/her own version of God work in her/his life.

The next time you’re not sure of how to make a change in your life or are uncertain of how to get where you want to go, if you’d like some assistance in reducing your resistance, by all means, take the spiritual direction.

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