Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they discern the presence of the Spirit in their life or attempt to grow deeper into the spiritual life. It is often practiced one on one, with a director meeting with a directee. Though it is also a group practice.
As a one-on-one practice, a directee usually meets a director once a month for an hour. The focus of each session is the directee’s experience of the Spirit in all aspects of their life–even in areas that might not, on initial reflection, have much to do with the Spirit at all.
In group spiritual direction, a group gathers regularly and each member of the group functions, in part, as spiritual directors for one another under the facilitation of a trained spiritual director.
The Christian tradition of spiritual direction dates back to the desert mothers and fathers of the 3rd and 4th centuries. These wise ones lived lives of solitude and received may visitors who sought insight about faithful living in the midst of Empire.
There have, since then, been a number of different traditions of spiritual direction. And, of course, there are non-Christian traditions as well.
Why should I consider meeting with a spiritual director?
Do you long for a deeper connection to God? Many folks find spiritual direction helpful in exploring a deeper relationship with God. A good spiritual director will help you pay attention to things you might not other wise notice in your relationship with God.
Do you want to develop or deepen practices of prayer or meditation? Spiritual directors are trained in a number of spiritual practices and can help you find life-giving practices to either integrate into your daily rhythm or to help you in a time of transition.
Do you need help discerning what’s next? Ultimately, spiritual directors exist to help you discern God’s presence. When you’re feeling stuck, or feeling stirred to respond to God’s calling in some way, it can be helpful to engage in discernment practices with a trained director.
What is it like to meet with a spiritual director?
The word director can be misleading. The posture of a good spiritual director is one of listening and asking questions that open up space for the directee to notice the ways that God is or is not present in their life. In fact, the Spirit is the real director; the spiritual director is more of an observer, companion, or discerner.
A good spiritual director is a good listener. They welcome moments of silence because they realize that silence is full of God’s presence.
Nevertheless, every spiritual director is different. The combination of training, personality, and experience varies. It is important to find a director whose personality and approach fits who you are and what you hope to find.
Why might I want to meet with someone from CPI in particular?
We come to the vocation of spiritual direction as activists and radicals. We are particularly interested in the intersections of spiritual formation, social justice, and creativity. We bring with us a recognition that oppression stifles spirituality—that the dominant myths of our society (which are tied up in capitalist systems, white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, etc) are barriers to liberation of our bodies and spirits. Our experiences help us notice things that other spiritual directors may not understand or might miss.
How does spiritual direction differ from counseling?
Generally speaking, the focus of therapy or counselling is to help clients work on thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that negatively affect one’s life or relationships.
Unlike counselling, spiritual direction can be a long-term process and doesn’t exist to correct a problem so much as to help people experience the presence of God more deeply. Often, spiritual direction can feel like psychotherapy, but the focus of direction is always the directee’s spiritual journey.
There can be some overlaps, however. Some people find it helpful to see a therapist to discern the big questions in their life. However, the approaches of a therapist and a spiritual director will vary greatly in helping someone explore “what is my purpose?”
Is this only for Christians?
No. Our approach is rooted in the Christian tradition, but we believe all people of any faith tradition (or no faith tradition) can benefit from spiritual direction so long as they are open to seriously asking “in what ways is the Spirit present in my life?”
How often and where do we meet for sessions?
It is most common to meet monthly, though meeting more often is a possibility. Our directors are located in the Twin Cities but are willing to meet via video conferencing (Zoom, Skype, etc) with folk from any location.
How much does it cost?
We have endeavored to set my suggested rates as affordably as possible. Keep in mind, these are only guidelines; individual income isn’t the sole indicator of wealth or capacity.
- If you make more than $75,000 a year, we suggest a rate of $75-$100 per session.
- If you make between $45,000 and $75,000 a year, we suggest a rate of $50-$75 per session.
- If you make between $25,000 and $45,000 a year, we suggest a rate of $50 per session.
- If you make less than $25,000 a year, we suggest $40 a session.
If you cannot afford the lowest rate, let us know. And if you are someone with extra discretionary income, please consider giving more so that we are free to offer spiritual direction to those with limited means.
How do I get started?
If you have any more questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org