Not all members of Spiritual Directors International are comfortalbe calling spiritual direction a "ministry." Some Jewish spiritual directors use the term avodah. Some see it as a sacred call. Others say it is a sacred work or a sense of shlichut (rather than being called, being "sent"). Another option is to refer to spiritual direction as a service rather than a ministry.
How do you refer to what you do in spiritual direction?
The author of The Universe is a Green Dragon and other books was the keynote speaker at the five-day conference, the annual gathering of Spiritual Directors International, an association of 6,000 spiritual guides from 51 countries. They hail from Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and other traditions.
Read more of the Vancouver Sun's coverage of the annual Spiritual Directors International events here.
Executive director, Liz Budd Ellmann, is quoted by Women's Press:
One of the goals of Spiritual Directors International, the Washington-state based membership organization of spiritual directors, is getting the word out about what spiritual directors do and are. According to Executive Director Liz Budd Ellman, MDiv, "We are all about reaching out, letting ordinary, everyday people know that spiritual direction-there was a time when it was for the priestly class, only for the religious, pure and pious-is really available for all of us.
By profession, they're Catholic nuns, chaplains, psychotherapists, college professors, meditation teachers, even ordained clergy. How are these "spiritual directors" different from therapists, life coaches and clergy?
So said Mark Twain once. Before he died that is. But even though rumors of his death eventually proved true, rumors of Spiritual Directors International's death are not.
There is another organization in the world, Retreats International, which is closing its doors at the end of this year. Retreats International is not associated with Spiritual Directors International. Spiritual Directors International is growing everyday, and there are lots of exciting plans for the future. So keep praying and working for the spread of the ministry of spiritual direction in the world. Spiritual Directors International is alive and well.
John writes fiction, poetry, and music that arises from the well of silence. He has practiced psychotherapy, taught psychology and conflict resolution, and facilitated spiritual groups for twenty years. All his work is oriented to inviting people to discover the essential, unconditioned Self. He lives in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, USA, with his wife and a family of animals.
According to an old Turkish Sufi saying, "You can bandage a cut for yourself, but you cannot take out your own appendix." That is, we can learn and grow through our own efforts, but for profound spiritual transformation we need a guide.
Read more about Islamic spiritual direction here.[@more@]
Workplace analysts report that a growing number of American companies are hiring chaplains to minister to their employees, offering counseling services and helping with family crises. Listen to this report by Joyce Russell on a pork-processing plant in Iowa that uses chaplains.[@more@]