Yesterday at our onground intensive, Dr. Amy Oden gave a presentation about spiritual direction which included some interesting questions for directees, questions that would be valuable outside of spiritual direction:
--When and where and with whom do you feel most alive right now?
--When and where and with whom are you able to rest and to be yourself?
--How do you listen to your life?
--What is your favorite time of day? What makes it your favorite time of day?
Our presenter noted that this question helps figure out when we are most present to both self and God, and she says it's one of the best questions that she's using with her directees right now.
--Where in daily life do you connect with God?
Dr.Oden pointed out that we already have a connection to the holy; God is already showing up and planting seeds. Identifying those seeds can be a crucial part of the spiritual direction process.
She presented the problems with our self-improvement culture and these problems aren't unfamiliar to most of us. One of the problems that we may not consider is that turning our spiritual life or our creative life or our relationship life into a self-improvement project can lead to a lot of self-judgment and shame. Instead of giving ourselves encouragement because we are able to meditate for at least 7 minutes a day, we feel bad because we can't go for 45 minutes a day.
Dr. Oden encouraged us to help our directees (and ourselves!) turn our gaze away from self-judgment and shame but towards desire and yearning. Many of us are already doing some of the things that are important to us we might be able to do more if we could get away from our tendency towards self-judgment and shame.