We Listen for the Essence
How did we come to be?
To what do we return when we die?
What is our true purpose in this life?
These fundamental questions have been the province of spirituality, religion and philosophy for millennia, and are some of the core issues that spiritual directors and companions tackle.
One might even say, they represent the “essence” of the practice of spiritual direction and spiritual companionship.
And yet, the answers to these questions are difficult, if not ultimately impossible, to capture with words. That’s because the questions lead to experience, rather than rational conclusions. And that experience, while vibrant and true and sometimes transformative, is beyond words.
In truth, the essence of spiritual direction often unfolds in silence, through deep listening and the welcoming space of companionship that turns such listening into a journey of discovery.
Anyone can awaken to joy for it is the birthright of every human – a gift already given. The irony is that we can only experience spiritual joy if we first embrace the mystery of not knowing. Grasping for something tangible can leave us with fists closed on foregone conclusions. But when we open our hearts and minds to receive and welcome truth beyond our reckoning, serendipity and synchronicity become part of our every-day experience.
Into open hands, into open hearts, blessings fall.
Spiritual directors and spiritual companions work to support people to ask their own questions and discover joy on their own terms. One spiritual director we know likes to ask these questions to help people get started in the process:
To put it another way, spiritual direction/companionship can help you get closer to the insights that already lie within you.
It is no accident that one of the key characteristics of our work is to listen; attentively, mindfully, and deeply. This allows you to unspool your own discernments and strong intuition, and encourages you – through patient, kind presence– to meet and befriend your deepest truths and your authentic self.
Mystery might seem elusive, even daunting. But the good news is, you don’t have to approach it alone. With a spiritual companion, access to this mystical connection with God, the infinite, the ground of all being, the Universe, beyond the beyond, or however you might choose to describe it, can become easier.
The mystery begins to reveal itself.
As intuitive attunement grows, it will continue to drive and motivate us in mysterious ways – occasionally nagging, disturbing and upending us. But all the while, it will encourage us to strive harder and further than we thought we could to reunite with our true essence. It can fulfil our otherworldly longings by reconnecting us to the undergrowth of our Being, with a capital “B.”
As we finally bathe in the infinite, we will have found our way home, describing the indescribable, thinking the unthinkable, pondering the imponderable, and experiencing something far beyond ourselves.