Author Rev. Ann Corbet says spiritual direction allows her to nurture her ability to perceive herself the way God perceives her. (Photo: Jesse Morrow/Stocksey)

Topics: April/May 2022, Spirituality | Religion

Why having a spiritual director is so important to me

Spiritual direction helps me grow in my understanding of myself and see myself the way God sees me


God is present in every time and place. To acknowledge this with our minds is one thing; to experience it with our hearts is quite another. A spiritual director can help us strengthen our awareness of the Holy and discern the movement of the Spirit in our lives.

I am a spiritual director. I also have a spiritual director. This ancient discipline is practised both within and outside the Christian church. While spiritual directors are not licensed, they have completed considerable training, especially in the art of deep listening.

My director listens to me, without interruption, without judgment, without unsolicited advice. My director, gifted with the economy of words and the ability to challenge me with carefully chosen questions, makes space for the Spirit to move in our presence. I experience the presence of the Holy.  

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Direction provides me with spiritual practices. Early in the morning, I sit in silence — breathing gently, enjoying the rhythm of my breath. I review the incidents of the previous day. I recall a variety of interactions. The wordless exchange of smiles with a stranger is just as remarkable as the lengthy encounter with a beloved member of my faith community. I am able to give thanks for the presence of the Spirit in these moments. And further, I give thanks for my awareness of this presence.    

I move from a sacred time of sitting to a time of movement, embodied prayer. I walk in the park, alone, where I can rejoice in God’s creation. As I tread on the uneven grass-covered earth, I become connected with the Ground of Being. I walk with mindfulness, engaging all senses. I watch, listen, smell and touch. I am sensitive to the gifts each season has to offer. Whatever the month, I never cease to be in awe of the flash of ruby red that is a cardinal in flight.  

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Spiritual direction leads to self-knowledge. I gain an understanding of myself as a flawed and broken yet truly beloved creature. I grow in the process of unveiling my authentic self. I learn to be loyal to this self, and nurture my ability to perceive myself the way God perceives me. 

As I hunger for deep listening, for meaningful spiritual practice and for self-knowledge, I embrace the necessary beauty of silence. John of the Cross, the 16th-century mystic, said, “Silence is the first language of God.” It is a language that I have learned to embrace at frequent intervals throughout my busy day.  

A life lived attuned to the Spirit’s direction is not easy, nor is it meant to be. It strips us down to our spiritual bones, drawing us into the Holy Mystery. And it’s that for which I yearn.  


Rev. Ann Corbet is a United Church minister and spiritual director living in London, Ont. This piece first appeared in Broadview’s April/May 2022 issue with the title “Sacred practice.”

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  • says:

    What I read here is typical "new age" beliefs.
    What you are seeking is truth from others rather than from God. Instead of going to a "spiritual person", try finding out what the Bible has to say about your position with Him, you likely won't appreciate it. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Isaiah 64:6 says, "our deeds are like filthy rags". (Literally used tampons)
    We do not have a divine nature, nor should we strive for it.
    There is only one true God, John 17:3 and James 2:19
    There is only one way to God. Christ stated, I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man comes to God except through Him.

  • says:

    Psalm 46 says "Be still and know that I am God." Thank-you Ann for your wonderful story. Over the years I have come to appreciate the spiritual path. God has led me, pushed me, cajoled me and loved me along the path of self-discovery and God-discovery. I have found that all spiritual paths are not alike. Each person is unique and their relationship with God is unique yet there is much that each of us shares. Over the years I have learned patience, gratitude, the blessing of silence and the wonder of the love of a beautiful partner who was, indeed, an answer to my prayer. The knowledge of God within and our connectedness with creation is truly a joy. Thanks again. As God has blessed you, so your article has blessed me.

  • says:

    Thank you Ann for a poignant article. The spiritual path is a path of discovery: self-discovery and God-discovery. Over the years God has beckoned me, pushed me, pulled me and even cajoled me into a relationship that is rich, rewarding, peaceful and loving. The path isn't easy but the joy of having a peaceful mind and heart; of waking up in the morning and being grateful; of being connected to creation and knowing that the life energy that flows through us is the same as that which flows throughout the universe is awe inspiring. For me, this is true relationship with God. That knowledge plus the ethical teachings of Jesus have made for a fulfilled and fulfilling life for me. Thank-you for sharing.