An ancient spiritual practice rediscovered—and re-imaginated—for today.
This fascinating introduction to an ancient spiritual practice is for all of us who are searching for fresh spiritual insight. People of all faiths—and even those with no particular religious involvement—are discovering spiritual direction.
Traditionally identified with Christianity, but also resembling the relationship between teacher and student in Buddhism, sheikh and disciple in Islam, and rebbe and Hasid in Judaism, spiritual direction is a distinct kind of relationship for enhancing spiritual growth. And its renewed popularity has led to a now uniquely accessible modern phenomenon: interfaith spiritual direction.
Howard Addison presents personal accounts from the lives of people representing a broad spectrum of religious and spiritual traditions to show how we can find guidance and inspiration from people of other faiths—without ever leaving our own. This one-of-a-kind guide explores:
Where to find spiritual guidance within your own faith community or beyond it. How spiritual direction can help you, even if you come from no formal religious background. Why and when it may be appropriate to seek a spiritual guide from a faith other than your own.What interfaith spiritual direction means for the future of religion and spirituality in our world.
According to Addison (rabbi and author of The Enneagram and Kabbalah: Reading Your Soul), spiritual direction is a mentoring relationship in which the director draws on personal experience, insight into the spiritual seeker's personality and knowledge of the seeker's religious tradition to guide the seeker in reflection and perception of God's leading. The model was developed in the context of Christian monasticism but has recently spread into Protestantism and beyond. Addison writes from his own experience; he once wanted a spiritual director but could not find one in his own Jewish tradition, so he began meeting with a Catholic nun. Through his own positive discussions with her, he came to believe people could benefit from having a spiritual director from another faith without sacrificing the integrity of their own beliefs. Spiritual direction, Addison cautions, is not instruction in a religion with the goal of conversion but a means of deepening one's spiritual journey. Addison is aware of the pitfalls if a director is moved to proselytize or if a seeker is more in need of counseling than direction. After thoroughly explaining the concept of spiritual direction and highlighting its benefits and drawbacks, Addison discusses where to find it, sensitively addressing compatibility issues and different styles of spirituality. This is a well-informed, thoughtful treatment of a potentially beneficial interfaith practice.