One of the things I love about reading books on spiritual direction is that I always—always—learn something new. Take this excerpt from Rabbi Howard A. Addison’s Show Me Your Way: The Complete Guide to Exploring Interfaith Spiritual Direction for example:
- If you are interested in learning about the beliefs, observances, and texts of a religion because you want to know more or seek to more fully identify with that faith community, you are seeking religious education or formation.
- If you want to relieve your anxieties and learn how to understand and deal with their causes, you are seeking psychotherapy.
- If you want insight into how the wisdom of religious tradition might help you understand and respond to your problems, you are seeking pastoral counseling.
- If you wish to deepen your relationship with God so that you can recognize how God’s spirit might be calling you and moving in your life, you are seeking spiritual guidance.
While I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the difference between spiritual direction and pastoral counseling, I haven’t been able to come up with something this succinct.
And even though I consider myself a religious educator, I’ve never really bothered to think about where, exactly, religious education or formation fits into the scheme of things.
As always, my Unitarian Universalist friends, feel free to replace “God” with language that’s consistent with our religious tradition. My go-to phrase is “transcending mystery and wonder.”
So I’d change the last bullet point to
If you wish to deepen your relationship with the transcending mystery and wonder so you can recognize how the spirit is moving in your life, you are seeking spiritual guidance.
And speaking of spiritual guidance, I’m current accepting a limited number of directee’s (not thrilled with that word, by the way) in my spiritual direction practice. You can find out more at inwardsprings.com.