How Does Spiritual Direction Differ from Speaking With My Faith Leader?
There are many benefits to meeting with a leader from your faith community. They are educated and experienced with helping members of your particular faith – they speak your language, know your sacred texts, and understand your religious traditions. There are moments in your walk of faith where it is very comforting to be reminded of your values and perspectives based on a common theology and practice.
Some spiritual directors are affiliated with specific faith traditions (e.g. Catholic priests, Lutheran ministers, Rabbis), and combine their theological background with the skills of direction.
For some people, at some times, a longing arises to explore another perspective. There are some who identify as “spiritual, but not religious,” or who are unsure about what exactly they believe right now. Perhaps you have been wounded by the church or by individuals within your community. Maybe you are dealing with shame or guilt regarding your beliefs. Some people feel like they have “outgrown” the church of their youth. Perhaps your partner comes from a different tradition… spiritual direction can help.
Many spiritual directors are distinctly interfaith and/or non-affiliated. They are non-directive. They are there to listen, rather than provide guidance from a specific viewpoint. The emphasis is on your personal experience of the Divine.