The role of a spiritual director is: to listen, keeping in mind: “there comes to me a human being whom God created and loves” and to be a companion along the way to hear all that is brought up. Most important of all, there is a third partner in this relationship: God, The Divine, Higher Power, Source, Creator, Great Spirit. The basic understanding of God in Spiritual Direction is that God is a Mystery. A candle is lit before each session to be a reminder of this presence with us.
A spiritual director functions as a mirror for our sacred stories, someone to explore things with that are happening to us inwardly and outwardly, and who then helps us to step back and take a look. This is done through the posture of “devout curiosity”. We are so close to our own lives it is hard to be objective about them. When we tell our stories and someone else hears them and then sees links between the pieces, we gain an objectivity and a perspective. We see more clearly how the Divine is working in our lives.
This Hasidic tale strongly speaks about the goal of spiritual growth and development:
Rabbi Susya was very ill and at his advanced age it was clear that he would not live much longer. He was very sad and told a friend about his approaching death in gloomy tones. The friend said, “Well, are you afraid God will think you didn’t turn out like Moses? The rabbi replied, “Oh no, I’m afraid God will think I didn’t turn out like Susya.”
A typical session would include a few minutes to catch up on what’s happening, a brief time of silence to center, a prayer, and then 30-40 minutes on the most important thing that has been sent for enlightenment since the last visit…it might be a dream, something read that keeps coming up to the conscious mind, an outer event in daily life or some fruit or difficulty in one’s prayer or meditative life. The session would then end in prayer. It is a privilege to share another person’s spiritual growth.