In the Christian tradition, Spiritual Companionship goes back to the contemplative desert hermits of the 4th. century Church. However, all religious traditions have some form of Spiritual Companionship (or Spiritual Friendship).
Spiritual Companionship—also called Spiritual Direction—usually takes the form of an on-going, contemplative, confidential, non-judgmental and one-to-one conversation on a regular basis in a safe and welcoming environment for exploring and growing the Divine presence in one's life.
Starting ‘where we’re at’, it helps us appreciate our unique distinctiveness, know our heart-felt desires, enrich our prayer-life and deepen or renew our relationship with the Sacred. It is a time of intentional listening to each other and the Spirit, the real Spiritual Companion or Spiritual Friend, a time for discerning suitable responses so that ways forward are found.
Spiritual Companionship helps us to be responsible for our own spiritual welfare. Since it ranges over many areas of our lives, it is suitable for anyone with specific life issues. These may include grief and loss, suffering or periods of transition. It is particularly beneficial for anybody experiencing a spiritual dry spell, encountering spiritual difficulties generally or wondering where the Sacred fits into their daily routine. It gifts us, too, with time to express our delight in the presence of the Sacred in our lives.
Finally, Spiritual Companionship empowers us to live in peace, truth, compassion and simplicity. It supports those who actively promote and work towards justice and equality.
A QUICK SUMMARY
The benefits of Spiritual Companionship are life-giving and bridge-building in the way it,
- Deepens self-knowledge, inner wisdom and mindfulness,
- Increases enjoyment and celebration of life,
- Enhances growth in faith, hope, love and prayer with respect to our feelings, family, work, choices, forgiveness, grief and loss, illness, loss of faith and other spiritual struggles,
- Explores and handles personal issues in a sensitive and constructive way,
- Accepts reality,
- Moves us from guilt and shame to forgiveness and compassion,
- Strengthens self-esteem by setting people on a path of growth into wholeness,
- Emphasises love over fear,
- Fosters healthy relationships,
- Promotes a greater understanding of peace, justice and compassion.