Although I have a circle of wonderful life-long friends, we generally don’t discuss our spirituality. And when we do discuss spirituality, we sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye or hold the topic in the same high esteem as others (me) do. Spirituality is a vulnerable subject, so it’s hard to let our guards down and reveal what we think is the meaning and purpose of life. “Don’t discuss religion or politics” is an old piece of advice that still rings true because our identities are so tied up in our religious and political beliefs that a differing viewpoint can feel like a personal attack. But the problem with this advice is that our religious/spiritual beliefs are what structure our entire worldview; these beliefs are how we answer all the big questions about life; they’re the foundation underneath everything we do. Why wouldn’t we talk about these great truths?
As someone who is passionately curious by religion and spirituality, not being able to discuss it freely with my closest friends and family has been stifling and isolating. So when I learned about the practice of spiritual direction, I was enchanted. Spiritual direction known also as spiritual companionship, is defined by the Home of Spiritual Companionship as:
Spiritual companionship is a relationship in which a companion allows through deep listening the spiritual story of the other to unfurl. Through this relationship, the person seeking companionship is empowered to explore a deeper relationship with God, Allah, Tao, The Universe, or however you may refer to the Ground of All Being.
Working with a spiritual companion helped me recognize and accept my authentic spirituality. I finally had someone I could talk to about all those deepest thoughts and feelings about: What makes a good life? How do I find meaning and purpose in my life? Is there a God? How do I understand the mystery that created life? My spiritual director never tried to steer me in any particular faith tradition; she validated my religious independence and nurtured my spiritual formation, so I could walk confidently in my own personal understanding of divine mystery.
So do you need a spiritual friend? I did. Maybe you could use one too, if like me, you don’t have anyone in your life to bounce those big questions off of. Maybe you’re also ready to be guided by your own inner wisdom to answer life’s big mysteries.
Check out SDI: The Home of Spiritual Companionship to learn more about starting a spiritual friendship.
See you on the other side.
Featured Image by Sebastian Voort