The Art of Spiritual Direction.
Just over twenty-five years ago whilst attending the Institute of Spiritual Leadership in Chicago my supervisor’s last words to me were; ‘Lyndall there is the Art of accompanying another and that is one’s natural gift and the skills are what you learn along the way.’ I often recall the wisdom of those words. The call to the ministry of Spiritual Accompaniment began for me with a stirring deep within to journey with others in their search for authenticity and a desire to grow into the fullness of their beings. It flowed from my own search for the Mystery of Life hidden in my own journey and the thirst I had for the Sacred.
Over the years I frequently return to two images that honour this ministry for me. The image of being a Guest into the depths of another’s life highlights for me the invitation, the privilege to listen, to attend to, and to marvel at the person’s openness and trust in their exploration of their journey. The Directee is like a host to me offering a hospitable presence which is reciprocated with sensitivity, gratitude and genuine acceptance.
I often also see my Ministry of Spiritual Direction through the lens of a Mid-wife. Sometimes the journey into transformation of the other, letting go of old ways, opening to the new, patiently waiting for light to shine through confusion and pain calls me to be present with hope and an ability to wait for the emergence of new life.
The words of Thomas Merton resonate with me as I invite the one being accompanied to go deeper, to discover an inner freedom and ultimately experience the Sacred in the mystery of their own becoming.
I feel gifted in the opportunities for life that being a Spiritual Director has offered me. Once when moving from one place of Ministry to another a young mother said to me; ‘My children will be eternally grateful to you!’ On many occasions I find myself being personally challenged as I listen to the unfolding of another’s life. I come away from many encounters being inspired to live differently, and to be more attentive to life through the lens of the Sacred.
Over the years I have ministered at Retreat Centres in both Wellington and Mission Bay Auckland. I am now embarking on a ministry amongst the people of South Canterbury. It has always been my dream to minister in Spirituality in a rural area. I take with me the memory, wisdom and gifts received along the way open to receiving more gifts from those I minister among.
Lyndall Brown rsj