Many people come to spiritual direction wanting to better understand an experience of God from their past. Perhaps it was something that happened in prayer or worship. Or it might have been an experience in daily life that opened them to a deeper sense of being loved by God. A spiritual director is trained to help you remember times when you felt close to God or felt “at one with the universe.” If we stay with the memory and allow God to reveal something new as a result of it, we experience the blessing again. Better yet, we learn something new about ourselves or about God. Sitting with that memory—in silence and gratitude—helps us savor the fullness of God.
Just like turning up the volume on a great song you hear on your iPod, sitting with a past experience can amplify the experience. As you re-experience it, you change and grow.
You can do this on your own in prayer by asking the Holy Spirit to help you remember significant moments in your life. See, hear, feel and taste those moments again in your mind and body. You may want to journal about the experience, both past and present and also where the experience may be leading you. Lots of directees bring their journals of memories into direction for just this kind of work.
The experience you return to in prayer doesn’t have to be a warm and fuzzy one. Sometimes we need to face the fearful and anxious experiences again in a safe place with a spiritual director. Until we work through them adequately, they can easily crop up as triggers that torment us. I find that spiritual direction is the perfect safe place for me to remember and face those rocky places.
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