Why We Need a Spiritual Guide

While going it alone can be peaceful, even then there are times we need a spiritual guide.

Last week I intended to use the sacred spiral at the Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix as a labyrinth. I entered and began to walk the spiral clockwise because a native friend of mine convinced me that clockwise was the way of nature. My goal was to shed worries and fears moving into the depths of the spiral and feel empowered as I walked out. I didn’t want to offend nature so I veered to the left to work the spiral.

I began in good faith, but instead of deepening along the path to the center, I kept returning to the same starting point, which was frustrating. Surely this was a metaphor for my life. I seem to keep circling around to my same old worries and fears and staying on the surface instead of finding that deeper core where my spirit communes with God’s spirit.

How does this thing work?

Unsure whether I was “doing it wrong” or whether I had entered a spiritual twilight zone, I paused to ask a Native American family at the center of the spiral for directions.

“How many miles have you been walking?” asked the elder. “I don’t know, but I’m puzzled because I’m trying to circle down into the center but I keep returning to the same spot.” They just looked at me and smiled.

“What am I doing wrong? A friend of mine told me always to walk clockwise, as it’s the way of nature.”

A younger member of the family decided to let me in on the secret.

“Well, clockwise may be the way of nature, but this path winds counterclockwise.”

And that, my friends, is why we need guides along the path.

A guide sees what you have not yet seen or are too stubborn to see. (I was sure that spiral would be curling clockwise — big assumption.)

Good guides do not point your faults out until you ask them to. (I’m sure they figured out what was happening long before I asked.)

Listening to  your guides and correcting your course rather than beating yourself up for not paying attention or being stubborn is how we grow in awareness. (After all I did round that spiral clockwise at least 3 times before I asked for help.)

Thank you, gracious family at the sacred spiral last week. Whether you realize it or not, you offered me a wonderful spiritual lesson.


Want to learn more about spiritual direction? I’ve written Spiritual Direction 101: The Basics of Spiritual Guidance for you.

Want to be in spiritual direction with me? Contact me at teresa@teresablythe.net.

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