What is Spiritual Direction? (And what is spiritual direction like with me?)
Check out this interview with me from 2022 where I explain in detail my background and my approach to spiritual direction! https://streamsgrace.com/2022/10/12/meet-lauren-phelps-spiritual-direction-for-the-spiritually-curious/
Spiritual direction is the ancient contemplative practice of accompanying another as they explore their spirituality. To me it’s best viewed as spiritual companionship or friendship. Rather than "direct", I use love* (see note below) as a guide as I listen deeply for the nudges and invitations of that same love within each person. My role is to act as a listening presence who gently guides my clients inward to discover their own loving presence, deep wisdom, and their unfolding spiritual path.
Informed by my eclectic, interfaith, and multi-spiritual background, I celebrate and affirm the unique spiritual journey of every individual. Spiritual direction is appropriate for people from all religious traditions as well as those outside traditional religious structures.
I emphasize mindfulness, which supports discovering a place of fundamental well-being inside that's not dependent on conditions being a certain way; a place that can be OK even in the midst of all that's going on in our lives. This kind of focus supports us in waking up to our natural goodness and presence. It’s a fundamentally different approach than the idea of striving hard on the spiritual journey to arrive someplace better than where we started. My approach supports clients in realizing that the deepest truth of who we are can be found right here and now, within ourselves.
Meditation or other contemplative practices can assist with this inner exploration, and as a certified mindfulness meditation teacher I can support the development of this and other contemplative practices within the spiritual direction context.
Whether you consider yourself a member of a particular tradition, interfaith, interspiritual, spiritually fluid, spiritual but not religious, or none of the above, I would be honored to support you on your journey!
I consider it a gift and a privilege to accompany diverse individuals from different ethnic/racial backgrounds, economic experiences, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, and religious affiliations. All are welcome here.
*Love in this context can also be translated into Spirit, God, Being, Holy Spirit, Presence, Awareness, or any term used in the world’s wisdom traditions for that which is larger than ourselves and holds us with loving compassion.
To "listen" another's soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.
~Douglas Steere, Quaker author
What can you expect in a session?
There is no fixed formula for what happens in a spiritual direction session but here are a few examples of what could happen. To begin, we might start with a short, guided meditation or time of silence. I may read a poem. You can share what’s on your mind and heart, and I listen carefully. I may ask questions to assist you in going deeper. We might pause for additional times of silence where you can listen inwardly and develop greater clarity. We might read verses from the Buddha, the Bible, or another text.
We might discuss spiritual practices you could try like meditation, journaling, or another creative means of inward listening. If you're interested in meditation, we can find the right style for you and I can support you in developing a regular practice.
There will probably be some laughter, there might be tears. If you’d like, I can make suggestions for reading or guided meditations for you to practice between sessions. But there’s no required homework!
The possibilities are endless and driven by whatever it is you bring to each particular session. And if you're not sure what you want to explore, that's fine too! I will ask questions that can serve as prompts to help you focus in and identify what resonates for you during this season of your life. I meet clients where they are and create a warm, non-judgmental, and supportive space.
All of these ingredients combine to create a unique space in your life where you can be curious and explore.
Click here to access an interesting article on spiritual direction
from the New York Times.
What I believe is that we have this extraordinary spirit inside ourselves...our Buddha nature. I believe we are in the process of opening and getting closer and closer to our Buddha nature and stripping away all that is covering it.
~Eve Ensler, playwright, activist