Spiritual direction

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
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Tica
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Joined: 14 Jan 2018, 21:38

Spiritual direction

Post by Tica » 12 Jun 2021, 09:33

Hi! I am wondering if anyone here has ever participated in spiritual direction? If so, what was your experience? If not, I would also love your thoughts.

One of my (extremely wise, compassionate and insightful) co workers is also a spiritual director, which I have known about for years, and recently I heard a podcast episode about spiritual direction that sparked the idea for me. I think it could be potentially really helpful to talk with someone (not my work colleague) who could hold prayerful space for my spiritual journey without an agenda. Everyone in my life that I can talk with about religion has their own agenda/big feelings related to my faithfulness in the church, whether it's my family and LDS friends who need me to be orthodox, our ward members who are starting to see me as a project, my ex-mormon friend who is wonderful and kind but wants to show me know what she has learned, my non member friend who has been really disillusioned by organized religion...I just feel like I need space to process and feel my own experiences and feelings and to grow a relationship with God without worrying about triggering things in other people that I care about. I have been trying to do this alone for so long.

For anyone needing a definition, here is what Wikipedia says about spiritual direction: Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of their encounters of the divine, or how they are cultivating a life attuned to spiritual things. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction advocates claim that it develops a deeper awareness with the spiritual aspect of being human, and that it is neither psychotherapy nor counseling nor financial planning.

Thank you for your thoughts!

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Ilovechrist77
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Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 12 Jun 2021, 19:29

Actually, I have a question. How does this differ from most religious communities or spiritual gurus? I'm skimming through the link, but I'm not quite getting it.

Tica
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Joined: 14 Jan 2018, 21:38

Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Tica » 12 Jun 2021, 23:13

I haven't participated yet, so am far from an expert. There are probably a lot of similarities with some other traditions. From speaking with my colleague what I understand so far is that a spiritual director sees their role as helping you find your own spiritual path, as opposed to acting as a "expert" in whatever tradition. It sounds like they will often do a lot more prayerful listening than talking and will tend to ask questions more than give solutions. I'm sure it's like counseling in that every spiritual director is a little bit different in their approach, so there's probably something to be said for finding a good match. There are training/certification programs. The one that was recommended to me was non denominational and looks like it includes spiritual directors with really varied backgrounds.

Old-Timer
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Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Old-Timer » 13 Jun 2021, 10:29

I was going to say it sounds like individual spiritual counseling. As long as the person doesn't try to influence someone any particular way, I have no problem with it - although it can be open to abuse of various kinds.

I have a good friend who does this sort of thing in Utah from a foundational Buddist perspective, and he is exceptional.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Tica
Posts: 49
Joined: 14 Jan 2018, 21:38

Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Tica » 13 Jun 2021, 14:12

Old-Timer wrote:
13 Jun 2021, 10:29
I was going to say it sounds like individual spiritual counseling. As long as the person doesn't try to influence someone any particular way, I have no problem with it = although it can be open to abuse of various kinds.

I have a good friend who does this sort of thing in Utah from a foundational Buddist perspective, and he is exceptional.
Yes, that's what I don't want... someone telling me what to do! It could be really interesting to explore with someone with a different religious foundation...

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Minyan Man » 13 Jun 2021, 19:34

I have the feeling that there are a number of definitions for: Spiritual direction.
This is one I found through the Catholic church:
What spiritual direction is and is not
“What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What should I do for Christ?”
(Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola 53)

Fathers William Barry and William Connolly, in their book The Practice of Spiritual Direction, define spiritual direction as:

Help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of that relationship.

Echoing this thought, it is good to keep in mind that the real director in the spiritual direction relationship is the Holy Spirit. Given this, the primary relationship is between the Holy Spirit and the directee, the secondary relationship between the director and directee.

To further understand the ministry, below are some general thoughts as to what spiritual direction is (or can be) and what it is not.

Spiritual direction is (can be):

An experience that over time, helps you become more attentive to God’s presence and action in your life
Facilitates the growth of your relationship with God and can lead to a greater appreciation for the role of the sacraments in your life.
A contemplative approach rather than a psychological approach
Facilitates the formation of your growth (and/or development) in both the human and divine likeness of Christ
A process of seeking to understand and follow God’s will in all aspects of your life
Most particularly relating to your life of prayer and service, but not exclusively
Something that flows from and enriches your religious experience
A discernment of the movement of the Holy Spirit working in your life
A relationship of trust that involves a commitment to be open and candid.
Spiritual direction is not:

Directive in terms of telling a person what to do
Psychological counseling (as noted above)
Pastoral or crisis counseling
Life coaching
The sacrament of penance. However, if your spiritual director is a priest, you may discuss with him how the sacrament of reconciliation may fit into the direction setting.
Primarily advisory (although some suggestions might be offered)
Primarily informative (although there can be “teachable moments”)
Relinquishing of personal responsibility
Always comfortable
This is a link to their site:
https://www.archindy.org/worship/guidel ... 0a%20month.

What would the LDS approach be for a program like this?
It sounds interesting.

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Roy » 16 Jun 2021, 08:33

When I had my assumptive world collapse and I was very much in the crisis stage of my FC I felt the strong need to talk and write. Getting everything out of my head helped to organize my thoughts and feelings.

I had a coworker that was compassionate and a really good listener. My employer also had an EAP counselor on staff that was a Christian.

Although I am no longer in the state where I desperately needed someone to talk to, I am sure that I would find it beneficial (especially if that person is trained to ask well placed probing questions to help me examine my assumptions and grow).
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Ilovechrist77
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Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Re: Spiritual direction

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 18 Jun 2021, 20:20

Thank you, Minyan Man, for the link. It looks like for many people it would be helpful in their lives to have.

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