Spiritual direction: Why and how in the digital age

Spiritual Direction

It seems people today are keen to explore their spirituality!

For some they discover the desire within their relationships, through their yearning to develop or deepen the quality of these relationships, whether with individuals, within groups or within the wider global community.

Others desire is born out of their commitment to bring about justice within the social systems in which they live and work.

While it seems, another group discover in their passion for the natural world the desire to ground their deep concern for the well-being of the environment in a spiritual context.

Traditionally the desire for spiritual direction is a means to reflect on their inner-self, through meditation or the search for deeper meaning in their lives.

It’s different for each of us and whatever the presenting factor, a director helps the person to explore their human experience to encounter their spirituality within their lives.

In spiritual direction spiritual accompaniers companion people to attend to the life-giving presence of what is ultimate in their life as they perceive it and it is in this sense that we know spiritual direction by many names: spiritual accompaniment, spiritual companioning, spiritual guidance, spiritual mentoring, etc.

Finding a spiritual director

Traditionally a person seeking spiritual direction meets in-person with a local person but these days that’s less necessary.

Knowing where to start looking a spiritual director is probably just as difficult as finding one.

Then again, for some people who have enjoyed a long association with their spiritual director, either they or their director is shifted. The tyranny of distance now makes it too difficult to continue meeting. What might they do?

 

Alternatively, either through the onset of illness or disability, it becomes too hard to travel for spiritual direction.

Another possibility is people might transfer overseas where local directors neither speak their language nor understand their culture. Whom might they approach as a spiritual director?

These questions assume spiritual direction can only happen in-person, in a face-to-face environment. Once that was true but no more.

So where do they find a director?

The traditional face-to-face environment within which people seeking spiritual direction is changing.

Spiritual seekers, young people in particular live in the Digital Age which has modernised communication processes.

Internet that has issued in unimaginable possibilities of connectivity.

The potential of this radical communication’s platform has penetrated every part of society and this connectivity offers those seeking spiritual direction a virtual meeting place.

Local means global

In the digital age, the global is the new local.

Location no longer limits the time and place in which people meet a spiritual director.

Global services are as accessible as local services.

The Internet opens endless choices for everything, including spiritual direction.

Supervision, counselling even making a retreat is possible over the Internet

Privacy

While meeting with a spiritual director in a virtual environment is convenient, is it safe? Is it confidential?

Some spiritual directors use a range of popular and free services, however we all know that nothing is free.

When something is offered free to us we know we are the product. Our data, our information, our friends, our location are some of the elements free solutions put up for sale.

But wait, there’s more!

Some major solutions actually record what is said and these recordings are available to society surveillance agencies and the like.

Opening ourselves is a relationship of trust. Opening ourselves to our self is often hard enough, however it is unwise to share our souls with the world.

Making wise choices

The Digital Age makes it much easier to search for a spiritual director; the person can be in across town, in another city, even in another country. The world’s our oyster.

However, when looking online for a spiritual director as well as getting the right person be sure to ask if they meet over a 256bit encrypted video solution.

Failure to use a highly encrypted communication solution means it is most likely means others will know as much about you as you do.

It is like engaging in spiritual direction with a microphone at the local shopping mall.

If a spiritual director doesn’t advertise their video communication solution is secure, it’s probably not and if they don’t know or have scant regard for online security, keep looking.

The experienced and skilled spiritual directors at the Fullness of Life Centre Perth offer a secure, encrypted service.

Please consider visiting www.fullnessoflife.org for further information.

  • Stephen Truscott SM, PhD is the Director of the Fullness of Life Centre (Inc.) Perth, Western Australia www.fullnessoflife.org.

 

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