Dale Gish is a San Francisco based spiritual director, helping people deepen their relationship with God, grow in prayer, and discern God’s will in their lives.
WHAT DOES A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR DO?
A Spiritual Director helps a person to grow in relationship with the Lord. The director is a spiritual companion, walking with and encouraging them along the way.
What is spiritual direction?
Definition of Spiritual Direction:
Spiritual direction consists of spiritual conversations focused on assisting you to hear and respond to the voice of the Spirit. As David Benner says, “Discerning the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit is the central task.” The primary goal of these conversations is to lead you to a deepening relationship with God.
Spiritual direction is rooted in the belief that God is always active in a person’s life, and everything in our lives is raw material for our spiritual formation. Spiritual directors seek to help others make sense of what is happening in their everyday experience. As the directee pays attention to God in everyday life, he or she becomes more attentive to what the Lord is doing and saying. A directee may bring any topic to the session, but the focus will always be on seeing and hearing God in what is happening.
Spiritual direction does often center on prayer, but not so much as a technique or skill. It is more about how we live life as a prayer.
Process of Spiritual Direction:
Spiritual direction is an ongoing conversation that takes place over many months. It is more about spiritual dialogue with a soul guide than receiving lessons from a teacher. Spiritual directors may offer suggestions or ideas, but do not tell a directee what to do—that is the Spirit’s role. Through conversation, questions, observations and suggestions for the spiritual journey, a spiritual director helps you center in on God and listen to the voice of His Spirit.
Spiritual direction may be a good option for you if you have a deepening desire to draw near to the Lord, hear His voice and experience His presence.
Preparation for a Spiritual Direction session:
First, know that God’s Spirit is the Director and will guide each session. You prepare for spiritual direction by looking prayerfully over your last month of life: events, circumstances, relationships, and prayer life, as well as needs, struggles, questions. You may notice a dominant theme: a thought, question, attitude or situation that has repeated itself throughout the month. If so, bring that to the session. But remember, the Holy Spirit is at work in your life and we can hear the Lord together.
My Image of Spiritual direction
Welcomed by God
This Rubelev icon depicts God as Trinity, and we are invited to the table to join in the fellowship, join in their love relationship. But many of us experience how hard it is to stay alive spiritually, to live our lives daily in and through this relationship with God. We discover that we need help to remember who God is, to be open to God’s work in our lives, to experience and recognize God’s presence with us.
Whenever two or three gather in His name, God is present, and the Holy Spirit is the true Director. After all, the Scriptures are clear that the Holy Spirit is always at work in our lives, forming us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). So in spiritual direction, the crucial presence is God’s presence.
The ministry of a spiritual director then is to help a directee see how God is working in their life, hear what the Spirit is saying and respond in loving obedience to God’s call on their life.
This happens as they engage in spiritual conversations, prayer, and listening to God together. With God’s help, the directee becomes more attentive to the Spirit’s voice and more able to live life in awareness of God’s presence.
Schedule a session
A chair, a candle, and the Lord are waiting for you
Practical Details of spiritual direction
Location: For people in the San Francisco Bay Area, I typically meet with people in a meeting room in the Mission District of San Francisco. For people outside of the Bay Area I meet remotely by phone or video conferencing.
Frequency: Typically spiritual direction is once a month for a fifty minute session. If needed, especially at the beginning of the process, this can be increased.
Session length: Fifty minutes
Duration: This varies a great deal and in fact, there is no “recommended” duration. It depends on a person’s needs and the Spirit’s work. Often, however, the process continues for a year or more.
Availability outside of scheduled sessions: As a spiritual companion and shepherd, I am available to directees between sessions as time permits.
Fees: I don’t want anyone to go without spiritual direction for financial reasons. As a result, I gratefully receive $100 a session from any directee who can afford it. This enables me to offer a sliding scale for those who cannot.
More information: If you wish, I can provide articles and suggest books which give a fuller picture of spiritual direction.
Getting Started: Generally, we will begin with a free initial spiritual direction session and then discern together whether to commit to regular monthly sessions.