Every culture supports the roles of mentoring, guidance, and accompaniment. Spiritual direction describes the inner path of each person because direction comes from within the heart. A spiritual director is simply a companion on the path, a mentor along the way.
In western cultures these roles assist people growing in self-awareness, attending, and listening. These tasks are part of ‘discernment’ in finding one’s sense of purpose and direction. In western and Christian cultures this mentoring and accompaniment relationship is often called Spiritual Direction.
We have studied western mysticism and spirituality, taking degrees and ongoing studies in these fields to better understand human growth and potential. Our studies have spanned many cultures and traditions including Christian, Druid, Teutonic, Wiccan, First Nation and Aboriginal cultures and methods in ceremonial and relationship methods that assist in therapy. In terms of psychotherapy and counselling, these domains are increasingly included within transpersonal psychology and more broadly within the fields of counselling practice.
We also study Buddhist teachings. The sayings of the Buddha provide extensive help on the paths of personal growth and enlightenment. Many Buddhist cultures align with spiritual guidance from a dedicated monk or guru. Western Buddhism tends to be more flexible given the fact that monks are more rare and must travel great distances to visit various places. As practitioners of mindfulness and meditation practice, we have tested first hand the theories of the Buddhist canon and found a great deal of insight.
In secular mainstream cultures today people tend to seek people with senior therapeutic insight who take non-sectarian views. A sense of intuition and scepticism is ripe, but people are in fact very open to spirituality, intuition, and insight.
Really and truthfully “spiritual direction” comes from within, and for those who believe as such, from God. For many others, inner direction and spirituality comes from the ecology of our life and a living relationship with our environment. Atheists may find the latter definition quite comfortable, as the observable relations between ecologies give rise to much sensory experience that leads people toward insight and wisdom.
In Mi’kmaq First Nation paths spiritual direction arises from vision quest, time alone in nature, sweat lodge ceremony, and listening to our elders. We appreciate and study over many years various Aboriginal paths of cultural and spiritual practice, growth, and ceremony. Druidic and Wiccan paths place emphasis on remaining in sync with nature and ecology. Spiritual accompaniment formally and in a professional model compliments other forms of fellowship found in Druidic groves or Wiccan circles.
In Christian and Catholic cultures spiritual direction varies according to the particular tradition, denomination, and cultural history. As specialists in Franciscan and medieval forms, we have degrees in theology and spirituality that incorporate contemporary study of spirituality as a form of personal growth and therapy. Experiential methods in Christian mysticism, use of scripture, metaphor, and theology, all play parts in assisting individuals toward finding inner direction and peace-making.
Wisdom comes from many paths. Wisdom is certainly the joining of knowledge plus experience with the added spice of insight and intuition. Wisdom is part of spirituality and arises in the process of sharing story and life. Our story is our medicine. The inner pulse of subtle energy or light may provide cues for personal direction, as your story becomes both medicine and inspiration.
Spiritual life might then be a process of personal and relational growth, discernment, awakening, conversion, discipleship, formation, and transformation… surely many things to many people! Sometimes a long term commitment, Spiritual Accompaniment is a profound investment in your well being.
We do not “provide direction,” we provide a space where people are more likely to find inner light and peace. Inner direction is what this process is all about. This is a sacred pathwork. Walking with humility and peace of heart.