A common misconception is that spiritual direction is mostly about people’s discomfort or problems. In fact, much of what spiritual directors do is help you savor, appreciate and explore wonderful places in your life–places where you feel deeply connected to the source of all life. This is an important practice because as the world seems to speed up, we can easily push right past those moments where the holy “breaks through” and touches our lives. Taking time to savor what is good is an effective remedy to the chronic rushing around that plagues our life.
Here are some of the kinds of positive spiritual experiences you might bring to a spiritual director:
- Something you experienced in prayer or meditation
- A dream that feels significant to you
- A moment in your day when time stood still or expanded and you felt at one with the universe (mystical experience)
- A vision you have nurtured or one that came over you unexpectedly
- A moment in one of your relationships where you felt deeply satisfied and connected to what is important in life
- A time when you felt transparent to God’s love
- An insight into what is real in your life
- A moment when you received a blessing
- A time when someone showed great compassion to you
- A moment when you felt truly and wholly free
- A moment of love or grace given or received
- A longing or “call” that is forming within you
When you bring this experience to spiritual direction, your director is likely to help you explore this in a number of ways. He or she will probably:
- Have you talk about the experience (to the best of your ability)
- Invite you to sit in silence with it for a few moments to allow space for the experience to emerge
- Offer ways to re-enter the experience in your imagination to see what—if anything—shifts for you
- Invite you to pray with the experience (if that is something you desire to do)
- Reflect back to you what he or she notices about your exploration of that experience
- Assist you in linking the experience to your daily life
Appreciating spiritual experiences in direction is more than counting your blessings. It’s diving into them, one by one, for a deeper and richer understanding of them.
For more about spiritual direction as I practice it, check out my website. If you have questions or comments about the content of Spiritual Direction 101, please let me hear from you in the reply section below.