“a spiritual teacher does not tell us what to do, they show us who we are.” (Lawrence Freeman)
“before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity.” (Parker Palmer)
“the whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of our lives, get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which we present to the world and draw out our inner spiritual freedom.” (Thomas Merton)
to continue to discern inner wisdom’s invitation towards personal wholeness, authentic communal belonging, and joyful humility and reverence for the mystery of being human within a wondrous universe. (Kaye Twining)
Spiritual mentoring is not a therapist/client relationship; rather an ancient spiritual practice reclaimed for our Time. In its reclaimed form spiritual mentoring is an ongoing contemplative practice which involves an individual meeting monthly with a qualified spiritual mentor in order to discover, express, explore, integrate, and celebrate their own response to their own spiritual questions around identity, purpose and belonging. In this way, a spiritual mentor accompanies an individual on the individual’s path of Self realization.
As the individual continues to grow in Self understanding they may live within, and act upon their world, with inner freedom, personal wholeness and authentic communal responsibility. In this way, the formal practice of spiritual mentoring follows a bi-directional pathway, i.e., towards the individual’s inner being and towards their outer world.
The labyrinth symbolizes such a bi-directional pathway.
By way of symbol the labyrinth encompasses four particular movements:
- Drawn to engage in the inner journey and choosing to take the first step.
- Following the inward path of recognizing and accepting the reality of current lived experience and attending to the meaning giving questions arising.
- Reaching the centre where authentic Selfhood is met and befriended.
- The outward journey of integrating the inner being with the outer world; of living daily life in accord with a values system which seeks the flourishing of all.
One model of spiritual mentoring
There are many models of spiritual accompaniment. The model presented below is one of them. This model centres on contemplative Self enquiry, within the context of the human tradition. The human tradition draws from the rich tapestry of wisdom, beliefs, knowledge, and values accumulated within human experience from ancient times through to the present. The human tradition includes that which continues to resound in our time and place in history and transcends that which does not. Within such a context, contemplative Self enquiry leads towards Self understanding, which leads towards Self love, which leads towards becoming the change we want to see in the world.
Lawrence Freeman, Jesus, Teacher within
Parker Palmer, 40-Day Journey
Thomas Merton www.thomasmerton.org
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
Anne Hillman, Awakening the Energies of Love