A Deep(er) Dip Into The Benefits of Spiritual Direction

A bit more detail on the benefits of spiritual direction, and some of the things that will safeguard you as a directee at Still Lake Listening.
Long-haired little girl standing in front of a chalkboard with her finger to her bottom lip, thought bubble chalked onto the board behind her with caption More Info Please Benefits of Spiritual Direction Still Lake Listening

Between the two of us, Michelle is the researcher. Whether she’s choosing a vacuum cleaner or a spiritual care practitioner, she’s going to need information! If you can relate, here’s (a lot!) more detail on the benefits of spiritual direction, and some of the things that will safe guard you as a directee.

A not-so-junky drawer full of info bits & bobs

Still Lake has recently given its website a rework. In the process of trimming and skimming and tucking things away, we’ve been left with Stuff You Might Want to Know about the benefits of spiritual direction, but may not need to see immediately. Read on if you’re a person who just wants all of the goodies!

A couple of quotes…

Spiritual direction is “…the simple gift of sacred presence offered to another…”  ~ SoulStream

Do not run or fly away in order to become free. Rather, go deep into the narrow space given you. There you will find God and all things.~ Gustave Thibon

We practice spiritual direction as hospitality.  Henri Nouwen says, “Hospitality (or spiritual direction) is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.

It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.

It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.

It is not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories, and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample fruit…The paradox of hospitality (spiritual direction) is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free….not a subtle invitation to adopt the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find their own.”

To that end…

We meet with people from all over the world and all walks of life; people who are seeking discernment, support, and safety. We meet online, and in person — for individual and group session care.

You will be offered (again and again) the value of the present moment with clear-eyed love and compassion, seek out Holy Mischief, and follow the path of heart’s desire.

You will discover and embrace your own life-shaping questions.

“…be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.”~ Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”

Benefits of spiritual direction as listening care

Attunement with the Source of Your Being

Do you feel a connection to God as you understand Godself? This can be closeness to God, relationship to Nature, oneness with the Universe.

Purpose/Meaning

Discern what truly matters to you:  What has real meaning in your life? What is your life’s purpose? What feels true, or feels alive in you?

Alignment

Do your mission, purpose, and meaning align?  Do your habits, work, and relationships inhibit or run counter to your longings (your heart, your Soul)?

Peace

When we live in alignment, we grow in our experience of Peace.  Might this be true in times of suffering? In times of restoration? While we mourn and while we heal? The synchronicity of the  “peace that transcends all understanding” reveals itself to be something deeply personal.

Balance

What would it be like to experience the rhythm of work, play, rest…maybe even a little Sacred Idleness?  Without guilt or fear; with wonderment and hope-filled curiosity?

Processing

In spiritual direction, you have a place to unpack what is happening in your life; where you feel stuck, a sense of desolation, boredom, frustration, confusion.  Could it be that if your deepest truths are heard that you will find ways to move from despair into joy, breath, imagination, formation, and healing?

Soul Friendship

“In everyone’s life, there is a great need for a…soul friend. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away. You can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.”

~John O’Donohue

Mystical Awareness

Mystery is all around us. Have you had experiences that were unexplainable or hard to understand? Maybe they felt strange or out of body? Maybe the experience doesn’t match-up with what your faith tradition teaches?  Sometimes these are easy to describe. Other times, we feel uncomfortable sharing these experiences. What if we are judged? Perceived as crazy or broken?  Here, you can bring these experiences forward and we will receive, hold, and honour your sharing of them with no judgement.  We believe you!

Growth

“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin, Risk 

Could it be that “growth” is simply an awakening, a forming, a deepening and opening…even a re-emerging as our Truest Self? What would it be like to be companioned in this journey with dignity, patient tenacity, and hopeful curiosity? 

(c) We gratefully acknowledge Matthew Whitney for some formatting and content per the above section.

Portrait of a Spiritual Companion

We are welcoming and present, listening and responding without being judgmental. We are contemplative and honour silence as a spiritual practice. As intuitive spiritual friends, we are accountable and compassionate, hospitable and open, loving yet independent.

Nouwen says, “A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds.

We will endeavor to inspire you to experience authenticity in your life as you connect with and explore your Ground of All Being, that deepest of truths which is beyond life and death and goes by many names, including God.

Abilities of a Spiritual Director

We offer the gift of

  • discernment
  • guidance in prayer (as you understand that practice) and silence
  • the ability to see and name what is arising in you during a session 
  • capacity to explore deeply and broadly (theologically, spiritually, personally)
  • the ability to meet you where you are and hold a safe space for you and your spiritual exploration (whatever tradition, or lack thereof, that may include)
  • connection between you and your deepest truths, integrating mind, body, will, and spirit

Skills and Knowledge

We have training and experience in

  • listening deeply: noticing, tracking, distinguishing, prioritizing, paraphrasing, waiting, probing, challenging and disclosing—always to serve you and the spiritual direction relationship.
  • maintaining an inner life practice: including prayer or other contemplative practice, reflection, deepening self-awareness, and familiarity with personal gifts, limitations, and wounds.
  • honouring healthy interpersonal boundaries: understanding when and how to make appropriate referrals; acknowledging assumptions and personal biases, and recognizing and avoiding dual relationships.
  • exhibiting habits of self-care and care for others, including careful attention to Spiritual Directors International’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.

We are competent in

  • honouring your confidentiality in accordance with SDI’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.
  • distinguishing between psychology and spirituality, and recognizing the limits of our own personal knowledge and experience which might indicate the need to refer to another professional.
  • recognizing your varied states of Being, including mental, emotional, physical, spiritual states; noticing shifts in spiritual movements, affective moods, cognitive states; naming personal triggers, hooks, wounds.
  • maintaining ongoing learning as part of our practice, including study of various faith or wisdom traditions and orientations. We are open to insights from other professional disciplines, and the dynamics in psycho-socio-cultural integration — all religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and races are welcome.

Accountability and Integrity

We are committed to

  • attending regular spiritual direction for ourselves.
  • receiving ongoing supervision by peers and teachers.
  • showing respect for your person and autonomy.
  • following universal ethical guidelines, summarized as, “Do no harm”.
  • finding support and accountability in a community setting.
  • inspiring others to explore and embrace trustworthiness, vulnerability, openness, courage, faith, integrity, and transformation.
  • integrating values into daily life, such as: nonjudgment, inclusion, contemplation, compassion and service for the common good.
  • being members, in good standing, with Spiritual Directors International.

Terms of Reverence

We acknowledge that there are many ways to name and honour the Source of our Being, or Deep Truths. We wish to honour the names that you may revere, or as you wonder about how the Identity of God may be forming in you.

Here are a few terms of reverence that Still Lake Listening directees use:

Universe, God, Lord, Allah, YHWH, Great Spirit, Ground of our Being, Higher Power, Mystery, Divine, Sacred, Holy, Almighty, Ultimate, the Beyond, Intimate, Abba, The Christ, Wisdom, Source, Spirit, Creator, Enlightenment, Interconnection, Holy One, Breath, The Holy Wholly Other (The Wholly Holy Other), Energy, The Divine Mother, Original Love.

And there you have it! A few things we weren’t ready to toss out, so we popped them in here in our wish to ensure that the benefits of spiritual direction are resoundingly clear! We are so glad you’re here, and we welcome you to connect for more!