Misconceptions about Spiritual Direction

Misconception 1


Spiritual companionship is only for the pious few (priests, rabbis, nuns, monks, saints).

All of us are seeking a deeper connection with the holy in our lives. The process of spiritual direction is for everyone who feels a longing for a more peaceful and hope-filled life. Spiritual direction helps us explore the spiritual aspect of being human.

Misconception 2


Spiritual direction is only for Christians.

Some form of spiritual direction or spiritual companionship exists in all the major religions of the world. Learn how people of different faiths describe spiritual direction.

Misconception 3


Spiritual direction is a new practice.

The origins of spiritual direction date back thousands of years. The process of spiritual direction is an ancient and venerable tradition in every culture and region of the globe.

Misconception 4


Spiritual directors are perfect and the spiritual path is about attaining perfection.

While it certainly helps to find a spiritual companion who is a “good fit,” God makes use of all of our experiences to help us grow in love and compassion. The spiritual direction tradition values humility and the journey toward ideals based on historic people’s lives, like Buddha, Christ, Moses, Muhammad.

Spiritual direction or spiritual companionship is not about fixing things or doing something perfectly, because it is not about accomplishing or doing. It is about allowing things to be as they are, resting in awareness, and then, taking appropriate action when called for. Silence, deep listening, and non-doing are contemplative practices often explored in spiritual direction as a way to deepen relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Fortunately, every day we are given new opportunities to learn how to live justly with an open heart, with compassion for ourselves, our neighbors, and all of creation.

Misconception 5


It is difficult to find a spiritual director.

There is a popular saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. But you don't have to wait for a spiritual director to come knocking on your door. Your local church, synagogue, temple, or chaplaincy can help you find a spiritual director. And you can also search Seek and Find: A Worldwide Resource Guide of Available Spiritual Directors.