I often ask people in my audience, “What brought you to this workshop?” Other than the obvious interest in my work, the other response I hear most often is some version of, “I’m on a spiritual search,” or “I’m just seeking to learn more.” We are, by nature, “seeking” creatures. We need to seek out our life path and what we are meant to do and who we are meant to travel with in our lives. And we have a need, if not a curiosity, to explore a spiritual path. Perhaps we call it a “search for meaning and purpose” or a need to “give back” or some other wording that suits our station in life – ie, intellectual comfort zone. But we human beings are drawn like moths to a flame to at least investigate the realm of our celestial nature. We simply need to know more about what makes us who we are. Given the wide range of all the information, seminars, retreats, and workshops on spirituality a person can now explore, you would think that people would be able to find their “right spiritual path” quite easily. But abundance of spiritual options, as it turns out, is not really-exactly-specifically what most people are “seeking”. The solution to inner chaos and confusion, as it turns out, is rarely “more options” with an “anything goes” sticker attached. When we feel overwhelmed, we need direction, not a mandala full of choices going nowhere.
Let me put it this way: We human beings require certain things to thrive, like food, shelter, other people. But among the requirements for stability of heart, mind, and soul that we require is “direction”. While we balk at being told what to do, we must have direction in order to get from here to there, from A to Z, from our childhood to our adulthood, from being an amateur to becoming a professional. And we require direction on our spiritual path, otherwise we will wander aimlessly, never developing the resources of our soul, which are beyond anything your mind can imagine. As an analogy, imagine that you decided to visit the Chicago Art Institute (symbolic of your soul), which is an absolutely awesome art museum. Now, let’s say you are someone who knows very little about art (the nature of your soul), just a smattering about this artist or that one. So you walk into the Art Institute “unescorted”, overwhelmed by the size of this magnificent building that houses the creativity of thousands of souls (all the people in your life, all your experiences, all that is you) that have made it what it is today. You actually have no idea where to go so you decide to go to something familiar, like the Impressionists. Off you go to that gallery, where you spot a Monet and a few others. You admire the paintings. A “wow” here and there. You move to another gallery, walking past one painting after another. The truth is you do not know enough about any of these artists to appreciate the nuances of their styles or why they are considered geniuses. You have no idea what they did to capture light or why people study their styles. You would not recognize one artist from the other. You finally leave the Art Institute, feeling you had a nice day but so much for that. An escort would have made all the difference in the world. Had you the benefit of an escort, you would have been able to access your “soul” hiding in plain sight all through the museum that represents the physical expression of your life. But you can’t see that because you lack a trained eye and the expertise. So you leave the Art Institute (your soul) after a brief visit (perhaps a short meditation experience), having barely scratched the surface. In fact, less than scratching the surface. You merely circled your soul. You think, “Ah, I’ll visit again in a year or so.” The soul remains unreal to you – an idea, a thought form, something that exists in theory but not accessible in practical life. Nothing practical about the invisible, mystical world, after all. (Nothing practical about a miracle, right?)
How different you would feel had you gone into the Art Institute (your soul) with an escort (Spiritual Director). Imagine how differently you would view your own life? What if you could “perceive” your soul hiding in plain sight? How in the world can you resist such a possibility? How can any one prefer ordinary sight when they have the option to engage the world as a mystic?
I deeply believe that Spiritual Direction offers people a resting place on their search, a way into their souls and a genuine path through which they can open their soul to experience the Sacred.
My new Reflections class, Jewels at the Well, begins this Wednesday, March 18th. This is a continuation of Pebbles at the Well, the series that introduced Spiritual Direction. This series emphasizes the deepening of your inner journey and what it means to pursue “self-knowledge.”
While all are welcomed to take this course, I do recommend that you listen to Pebbles at the Well prior to taking Jewels – if at all possible.