By Peggy Guiler~
Life is easier and somehow safer in a cloister of people who have a similar understanding of God, but as I journey out to serve as a spiritual director, it’s almost startling to find that those who are seeking the presence of God have different ideas about what that means.
Perhaps one of the best parts of training to become a spiritual director was meeting a group of strangers who turned out to be so like-minded that we hardly had to breathe for one another to understand what we were saying or thinking. Most of us truly sought the face of God. We shared awareness of the Divine and had, in some way, come to a deep relationship with our Creator. We also all wanted to share that “knowing”.
Now as I move into serving people who believe they want spiritual direction, I have come face to face with the reality that all seekers are not in the same place. The first three people I encountered, who thought spiritual direction might meet their needs, had very different views of what “being spiritual” meant.
I was having trouble defining that difference until I read some words by Paul Murray Op in “In the Grip of Light – the Dark and Bright Journey of Christian Contemplation”. He says, “Mysticism is such a fascinating subject, it has attracted people in every age, and our own is no exception. But, for some of those who find themselves, dazzled by the phenomenon, it can be a rather dangerous attraction…people want the taste of transcendence but not the bite, mere tourists in the land of God.”
These folks who wanted spiritual direction were looking for an experience of God rather than a relationship with God. They wanted miracles. They wanted to hear from the dead. They wanted to have messages and direction from beyond. What they didn’t want was to be challenged to do the hard work of prayer or self-examination.
Because I have this desire for everyone to know my Creator as I do, it is difficult to back off and allow people their own way and time to explore. I find it hard to understand why people would not want more than the bells and whistles of spirituality. Why would they just want to see God in action rather than feel the depth of Divine Love?
And yet, as I seek the face of God on behalf of these people who do not have this same longing, I am forced to understand that God’s heart is toward them as much as it is to me. Perhaps the divine heart is even more toward them than to those of us who have this almost inborn desire to seek the “I AM”. The heart of God seeks the lost not the found. As someone who serves, I have to find ways to relate to those who only seek to be “dazzled”. The only way is to see them is through the eyes of the Creator, not through my own eyes.
Peggy Guiler is a business coach and spiritual director who works from her home near Port Dover, Ontario. Her business, River of Hope Enterprises offers a variety of services. Peggy recently graduated from the Ontario Jubilee Program ~ a two-year certificate program of practical learning in spiritual growth, soul development and the art of spiritual direction. Peggy is also responsible for communications for Ontario Jubilee. If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please contact Peggy.