'We are all just walking each other home.'
For centuries, people of all faiths and spiritual traditions have been seeking spiritual guidance, mentoring or discipling from others within their own tradition. As early Christians, we might perhaps have sought out one of the Desert Fathers or Mothers, holy men and women known as Abbas and Ammas who lived as hermits, monks and nuns in the deserts of Egypt from around the 3rd century AD. These were men and women who had developed a reputation for their holiness, wisdom and closeness to God and consequently became sources of inspiration and guidance for others making their own pilgrimage.
Contemporary spiritual accompaniment is, however, a very different experience. What it can offer us is a safe, accepting and supportive space in which we can tell our sacred stories, explore our spiritual journeying and ‘live the questions’ that are meaningful to us. It is essentially a non-directive process. It is not about one person giving moral or spiritual advice, guidance or direction to the other. It is an offering of companionship from a fellow traveller, from someone who is willing to walk alongside us for a while as we seek to find and follow our own unique path to the Divine.
Particularly for those of us who may not have found a spiritual home within the walls of organised religion or are struggling on our own with aspects of our spiritual lives, this can be an invaluable resource. You do not have to adhere to a particular spiritual tradition or to be part of a spiritual community to benefit from spiritual accompaniment. Wherever you may be on your spiritual journey and whatever it is you are searching for, setting aside an hour or so every few weeks to attend to your spiritual self in this way can be a profoundly growthful experience.
Finding a spiritual companion
Increasingly, those who are offering spiritual accompaniment are trained to work not only with people who are following a particular spiritual path, but also with people who may not yet have found their own way. Some are also trained counsellors or therapists and so bring to their work a particular understanding of the ways in which our psychological and spiritual journeys are closely interwoven and are willing to work ‘in the overlap’ between the two.
There are a number of websites which can help you to find a spiritual companion (also known sometimes as a spiritual director) to accompany you. Try doing a search using the words ‘spiritual accompaniment’ and/or ‘spiritual direction’ for the area in which you live and explore the sites that interest you.
If you would like further advice around finding a spiritual companion, please feel free to contact us. A member our Spaceforsoul Co-ordinating Group is a trained spiritual accompanier and would be happy to talk through with you how to set about finding the right person.