Intuition is an inner knowing that is not necessarily based on cold, hard facts. Some people are better at identifying and listening to intuition than others. I want to reflect on how you may use your intuition to find the right spiritual director.
One reason experts suggest you make appointments with at least three spiritual directors when you begin your search is so that you have a chance to be with three practitioners for one hour each and then reflect on how you felt in the presence of each. They may each have the same education and level of experience, but which one has that intangible special something you are looking for?
It’s not that you are looking for a director who will affirm your every assertion, but you want one you feel is committed to helping you explore and process your journey through peaks and valleys. You need one who doesn’t have an agenda for you. You want someone you can trust, deep in your gut.
I’ve had many spiritual directors over the past thirty years and all have been good in their own way. But I once had an experience in which the previously excellent relationship took a turn. All of a sudden it felt like he didn’t want to hear about an aspect of my life that was critically important to me at the time. My intuition said this was a roadblock. But I was too young in my experience of being a directee to know what to do. I assumed I just didn’t want to hear his objections to a choice I had made in life. I assumed I was being a bad directee.
You cannot be a bad directee (unless you do an objectively bad thing such as turn to violence or aggression). What I did—based on my intuition—was call a previous spiritual director who I trusted and told her the whole story of how the relationship had changed. She advised me not to stay in a direction relationship where I felt pushed in any one direction or felt shamed in any way. So I ended things.
Your intuition is good for choosing a spiritual director and it is useful for the time when the relationship changes or you discover you need something different. And you do not have to explain in detail or justify your decision if you do not choose to.
Intuition is a gift from God. A good spiritual director will help you expand that gift and will honor what you share from your intuition—even if what you share is “I’m at the end of my time with you.”
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.