You can learn things with others than you don’t learn by yourself or with just one other person. Group spiritual direction is an excellent way to explore your spiritual path with other people wanting to do the same. In group direction you discover:
- You are not alone in your questions, doubts, or need to articulate your faith.
- While your spiritual path is unique and it may parallel another person’s from time to time.
- God interacts with each of us in varied and meaningful ways.
- How powerful it can be to have a group of people listen to your story and pray with you.
Group spiritual direction may take many forms, but it will always have at least one spiritual director present in the role of facilitator. Your group needs one person trained in the art of spiritual direction to guide the discussion, help people respect one another’s personal boundaries, and to be the non-anxious presence that is so helpful to spiritual growth.
In group spiritual direction, you will hear and experience many people’s sacred stories. You will share your own stories and experiences. You may be given an opportunity to offer some simple responses or questions (depending on the form of direction chosen). What you will not be doing is evaluating, judging, offering advice or in any way imposing your views on another member of the group. That is the strict boundary the spiritual director will make sure to maintain.
You would be a good candidate for group spiritual direction if you enjoy a communal atmosphere and are not shy about sharing your deep feelings and spiritual experiences with others. You might also choose it for affordability because in group direction participants generally pay a bit less per session than they would for one-on-one direction. The cost is spread among the participants.
While there are many good reasons to choose group direction, it is not for everyone. If you feel you need the quiet and privacy of one-on-one spiritual direction or if you would not feel comfortable sharing your deepest questions or experiences with more than one person, then group direction might only frustrate you.
Trust your instincts. If being with others in spiritual direction feels like a fit, you could either gather your own group and hire a spiritual director or search around for a group that is forming or adding new members and join it.
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.