What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction attunes us to the stirring of the Divine deep in our soul and this ancient land, calling forth our true essence. Spiritual direction takes place when one person accompanies another in their unique life journey, attentive to the presence and movement of the Divine (however understood) manifesting in everyday life. Through deep listening and quiet still awareness in conversation and in silence, spiritual direction offers a sacred space where our heart’s deepest desire for communion with God, each other and all things is heard, awakened and nurtured. It is a ‘three-way’ relationship between the Divine, which is acknowledged as the true director, the human director and the directee.

Spiritual direction is also known as spiritual companionship, with the Latin origin of the word com (with) panis (bread) pointing to the nature of the relationship of spiritual direction – the director participates in the breaking open of the bread of your life which is shared and which nourishes you both. As your soul companion, the director is open and compassionate, and shares honestly with you the movements of the Divine she witnesses, enabling you to dive deeper into the Divine, to explore uncertainty and doubt, to find meaning and inner healing. With a spiritual director, you can speak freely and safely about all life experiences, savour Mystery, or simply appreciate being deeply heard.

Anyone seeking deeper wisdom and insight for their life journey would benefit from spiritual direction as found in all the world’s ancient wisdom traditions.

Hear more on this Podcast by Richard Wiltshire (Tomorrow’s Faith – 1 August 2022) featuring our current President Dr Beth Roberton discussing “Spiritual Direction and New Contemplative Communities.”

Spiritual Direction and Counselling

Spiritual Direction should not be confused with counselling, where a client seeks help with particular issues or problems, often on a weekly basis. A well-trained spiritual director offers the same confidentiality and a safe space for sharing your experience, but through a more reflective and gentle sacred listening to discern with you (not for you) where you are being led. The focus is on your own journey and the resources you have within you. As Barbara Brown Taylor puts it in her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, when we find ourselves in a cave and want to get out, we go to a counsellor; but when we find ourselves in a cave and are ready to go deeper in, we go to a spiritual director.

When looking for a spiritual director, it may take a couple of visits to different people to find that ‘soul friend’ with whom you feel rapport. Most people see their spiritual director about once every four to six weeks, but the frequency can be adjusted as needed. Individual spiritual direction usually requires about an hour. Group spiritual direction is also possible if several directees wish to journey together, building deep connections by holding sacred what each person shares.

Are you seeking a Spiritual Director?

A list has been compiled from members of the Australian Network for Spiritual Direction who are available and willing to be included on this list. Spiritual Directors and Supervisors will normally request a fee or donation. Please bear in mind that for some spiritual directors this is their only or major form of income and it is an acknowledgement of their ministry. Spiritual directors themselves have to pay for spiritual direction and supervision, membership of professional organisations and attendance at conferences etc to keep their skills current.

Whilst taking every precaution and duty of care, ANSD does not warrant the capabilities or suitability of any spiritual director or supervisor and does not accept any liability arising from allowing spiritual directors and supervisors to make their services known through inclusion on this list.

Names and contact details can be accessed in the button link below.