What is Spiritual Direction?
Sometimes also called Spiritual Companionship, Spiritual Direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories everyday.
Spiritual direction helps us learn how to live in peace, with compassion, promoting justice, as humble servants of that which lies beyond all names.
Here are some helpful resources for those interested in connecting with a Spiritual Director, training to become a Spiritual Director, or deepening contemplative practice:
Spiritual Directors International (Multiple Locations)
Spiritual Directors International is an inclusive, global learning community of people from many faiths and many nations who share a common passion and commitment to the art and contemplative practice of spiritual direction, known as spiritual companionship, spiritual guidance, anam cara in Gaelic, and mashpiahin Hebrew.
For more than twenty-five years, SDI has served this community through educational events, publications, and outreach programs, helping people connect with one another and with the Sacred. As a registered nonprofit charity, our mission is to tend the holy around the world and across traditions.
SDI has a vibrant membership of more than six thousand individuals on six continents who represent more than fifty spiritual traditions, from Anabaptists to Zen Buddhists and many spiritual traditions in between. Everyone is welcome to join this rich learning community.
Shalem Institute (Washington, DC)
Since 1973, the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation has fostered contemplative living and leadership by caring for the spiritual heart in prayer and by offering ways of opening into the life of the Spirit through our programs and other resources. We welcome individuals wherever they are on the path of spiritual discovery.
Shalem is grounded in Christian contemplative spirituality yet draws on the wisdom of many religious traditions. We provide opportunity for spiritual exploration individually and within a community of seekers.
We provide resources for contemplative living, prayerful reading, invitations to silence, retreat weekends, online courses, speakers and events, and long-term programs for clergy seeking to go deeper, aspiring spiritual directors, contemplative retreat and prayer group leaders, and executives seeking to lead from the heart.
The Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction focuses on the ancient art of Christian spiritual direction in a multi-faith context. Hesychia means “watchful, inner stillness, silence” and offers contemplative study and practice designed to prepare lay professionals, clergy, and the vowed religious for a ministry of spiritual guidance within the diverse context of contemporary life.
The art of Christian spiritual direction traces its roots to the Desert Fathers and Mothers of Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, and Persia. Having left the noise of the cities to live in solitude, and seeking community with like-others, the Desert Elders recognized the need for on-going guidance of the Spirit. Their desire to be attentive to God’s movement in one’s life, and to the inner motivations which lead one closer to or further from Truth, provide for women and men today respite from the demands of modern culture, and restoration of the life of prayer.
Christian Formation and Direction Ministries (Multiple Locations)
We founded CFDM to “lead others into a renewed love for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through spiritual formation and the art of spiritual direction.”
Our central focus has been to establish and develop relational networks of spiritual directors in regions in the western United States for purposes of continuing education and formation, referral, and partnership for spiritual directors. Toward this purpose, we have offered training programs in Christian formation and spiritual direction, ongoing supervision, and continuing support, encouragement, and enrichment for spiritual directors.
Stillpoint: The Center For Christian Spirituality (South Pasadena, CA)
Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality has been offering programs for personal spiritual formation, and training in the Art of Spiritual Direction, for over thirty years. Rooted in the Christian tradition, we are open to and appreciative of all traditions. Whether you consider yourself a committed member of a spiritual tradition or a "solo" seeker, you are welcome at Stillpoint.
The Living School (Albequerque, NM)
The Living School for Action and Contemplation offers a unique opportunity to a select group of students to deepen engagement with their truest selves and with the world. Discover your authentic identity and grow your capacity to embody this calling in the world. Through rigorous study and contemplative practice, awaken to the pattern of reality—God’s loving presence with and in all things. Embrace a rich heritage of faith from the Christian mystical tradition.
Learn from three of the greatest living contemplative teachers, Living School core faculty Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley.
Mercy Center (Burlingame, CA)
Mercy Center Burlingame has been engaged in the formation of spiritual directors for more than 27 years. Our experienced staff guides participants through processes, presentations and prayer in discerning the call to this ministry. The Spiritual Direction Institute includes two years of the Art and Practice of Spiritual Direction and a required year of our foundational certificate program, Sacred Journey.
Center Quest (Online)
CenterQuest (CQ) exists as an inclusive venue for genuine seekers engaged in the ecumenical exploration, study, and practice of Christian spirituality.
We seek to carry out our mission via the ongoing avenues of open forum, dialogue, conversation, consultation, resource development and sharing, research, and training in the field of Christian spirituality and formation.
Soul Formation (Portland, OR)
SoulFormation was founded by Morris Dirks in 2006 as a nonprofit organization committed to the spiritual and emotional health of leaders in Christian ministry. It was birthed out of his increasing awareness of the intense challenges he saw in the lives of other leaders.
KAIROS: School of Spiritual Formation (Lancaster, PA)
KAIROS is a School of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction Training. The school is rooted in the life and teachings of Jesus and is informed by Ignatian spirituality and the wisdom tradition.
In addition to our Formation community, we offer monthly retreat opportunities, including weekend Silent Retreats. Participants are invited to explore a journey to inner stillness as a path to seeing God in all of life.
CASCADIA LIVING WISDOM SCHOOL facilitates accessing and living the wisdom that flows from the mind of Christ. Seeing through the eyes of an awakened heart we then become aware of the sacredness and interconnectedness of everything in existence. Grounded in the One who creates, sustains, and brings us to fullness of being, we are then able to live in alignment with the creative Spirit of Wisdom who inhabits all of creation and is our truest and deepest self.
PAX Center (Essex, MA)
The vision of PAX is to integrate spiritual formation into the life of worshipping communities. PAX offers a variety of programs that seek to root you deeply in Christ while nurturing a vibrant and healthy spirituality in the life of our churches. PAX is committed to a way of life that is centered in Christ becoming like Him in love and service for the sake of others, and to the glory of God.
Oasis Ministries (Camp Hill, PA)
Training programs offered through Oasis draw from the depths of Spirit revealed in many traditions, with the well of the contemplative Christian tradition providing the main source of the teachings. We offer retreat nourishment and educational programs steeped in the experience of community for persons seeking refreshment, deepening and growth for their lives of service to, and presence in the world.
The Empty Bell (Northampton, MA)
The core of the Empty Bell vision of spirituality is drawn from mainstream Christianity and is based on Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the contemplative theological tradition, the writings of many Christian saints, and the ongoing inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We are Trinitarian. We believe that God is a Creator who created and continues to create everything-that-is from nothing, and who declares that creation is good. God has created the physical cosmos to develop through the evolutionary process. We believe that God created us to love and serve God, to care for the natural world, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
To stay connected with Contemplative Light, sign up below.