Spiritual Accompaniers

The journey of life brings many challenges and choices.

How do we make sense of the journey and make choices that are creative and life-giving?

Often we can find ourselves without support as we face these realities of our lives.

Many people find that having someone who gives them space to look at their life and spirituality for an hour or so several times a year makes a huge difference to their lives.

This is often called “Spiritual Direction” or “Spiritual Companionship”, but other terms sometimes used are Soul Friend or Anam Cara (from the Celtic tradition). Its purpose is to enable people to see more clearly where God is at work in their lives and how this can be responded to. It is open to anyone who desires to pay more attention to the presence of God in their lives.

How does this work?

The term Spiritual Direction can conjure up unhelpful images of a “spiritual” person who “directs”. In reality, the person receiving Spiritual Direction finds that they are listened to as they reflect on their life and are helped to look more deeply at where God may be nudging, calling or inviting.

The purpose is to allow the Spirit of God reveal the direction – to enable a movement towards becoming more the person we were intended to be, and find the resources for living this out. The Spiritual Companion may offer suggestions of ways to pray, reflect and meditate, ideas of helpful reading, as well as practical suggestions relating to lifestyle and life choices. However, in all this they will leave the decisions and choices in the hands of the person seeing them.

Most people would see a Spiritual Companion once every four to 12 weeks for about an hour. This is usually a fairly long term relationship that can continue for many years. However there is no ‘rule’ to this and it can be valuable for a limited period.

A Spiritual Companion would hold all that is shared with them in complete confidence and would seek to ensure that they did not impose their own agendas upon those they are companioning. It can often work best when the Spiritual Companion has no direct involvement in any aspects of the lives of those who come to see them.

Most people offer this companioning without charge, but some do make a charge, or invite donations.

How do I find someone?

Finding the right person for you can feel a difficult if not impossible task, however there are ways in which this can be helped.

A good starting point can be to ask yourself if there is anyone you have come across who you sense would be able to both give you the space to share in this way, and that you felt you could trust. It may be that they are just the right person, so worth making contact and asking them.

It can also be worth asking others if they know of suitable people offering this.

In the UK the Retreat Association can help point people towards potential accompaniers.