real healing happens between people

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is the practice of being alongside people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn to grow in their own spirituality.

Spiritual direction focuses on being whole within the presence of love that expands from the here-and-now into past and future. It is a love that heals, forgives and hopes. During spiritual direction the divine listens and talks through the relationship. Listening requires a total openness of the heart but needs to be combined with the sharpness of insight.

Spiritual direction is not about fixing people; it’s about the great unfixable in human life. It’s also not therapy, but might use insights and resources from counselling. One needs to be practical. Too much holiness can make us blind for the small things that matter sometimes.

From £40 upwards. Sessions last 60 – 180 minutes. Spiritual Direction can find place outdoors, at sacred places or in a hospice, a hospital or a retreat centre. I can also arrange visits you in your own home.

An idiosyncratic take on the Transpersonal

The transpersonal has usually been associated with spiritual bypassing, emotional denial and infatuation with the sublime. This is because there has been a strong tendency in our society to define spirituality as personal, subjective, internal, disembodied, as a vertical flight up a hierarchical ladder: an effort to satisfy our longing for perfection by reaching a higher level of being.
 As a consequence and at its best we are left with the insights of individual spiritual practice at the expense of human emotions and issues arising from relationships.

We are all familiar with spiritualised personalities, ranging from the holier-than-thou, the ungrounded mystical dreamer, the abusive spiritual leader and the religious fanatic.
It is important to recognize clearly that the self always arises in relationship and hence questions of the soul must always be recognised as relational too. The challenge lies in deconstructing traditional definitions of the transpersonal, spiritual practice and enlightenment.

Conversely it could be said that any new foundation for the transpersonal is not to be found in the principle of transcendence but as a process in which an individual finds its place in the universal order.

A tentative new definition of the transpersonal therefore includes embodiment, relationships, inter-subjectivity, collective wisdom, in fact all that is in-between.
Relational transpersonal psychotherapy aims to enable people to cultivate a deeper connection with their individual potential for growth and change and that of others. This requires attention rather than denial of wellbeing, community and environmental issues.

Relational transpersonal psychotherapy transcends the pathological. It looks at the whole human being in the context of relationships, culture, global transformations and physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. It offers a comprehensive understanding of the relational aspects that lead to more compassionate modes of being and connecting. Of particular interest may be collective peak experiences and how these impact on our mental, emotional and spiritual development.

I view spirituality as embodied, participatory and non-hierarchical. There is an understanding that many models of human development –and especially those related to gender, sexuality, emotions, communication and morality– can only unfold through engagement with other people. As John Heron says: ‘A person cannot develop these on their own, but through mutual co-inquiry.’ Seen from that perspective, the transpersonal is located in the interpersonal heart of the human condition: the realm of the in-between, the here-and-now, a place where divine self-disclosure can manifest as a collaborative discovery and creation.

This expression of spirituality is radically different and demands a shift in how we define the divine. It integrates the notion of a transcendent God with an immanent one, found in community, our partners, families and friends.

The concept of a God, both immanent and transcendent, integrates body and mind instead of separating these. The consequence is that we have to review together the relationship between body, spirit, sexuality, gender, cultural differences and ecology.

Winnicott says there is no such thing as a child, there is only an infant and its mother. The same can be said for spiritual development. There is no such thing as a believer or a seeker, there is only a soul in co-creation. The world is us. Where I meet the Other, God can be.