HASHPA’AH: Jewish Spiritual Direction

Since 1999, Rabbi Shawn Zevit has offered Spiritual Direction/Hashpa’ah for individuals, groups, communities and organizations in private practice, as an organizational consultant for spirituality in the workplace, and through numerous clergy training programs:

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is a process for exploring our connection with what we experience as God, Spirit, Truth, Ultimate Values, however we express and understand the sacred in our lives.

Unlike Psychotherapy, which may focus on a problem needing a solution, Spiritual Direction attends to the experiences of connection to or distance from God/Holiness/Truth/Core Values during times we feel whole as well as times we feel shattered.

The Practice of Holy Listening is the process, used by spiritual directors to attend to the experiences shared by those who come for Spiritual Direction. Holy listening brings the sensibilities of prayer and meditation to the act of listening. While hearing the concerns of their directees, spiritual directors, facilitate spiritual development, as they take note of the way in which what is expressed reveals alignment or distance from the sacred and balanced life as each person, community or organization experiences this Force or Energy in the world.

Spiritual Direction Sessions may take place one-to-one, in a group relationship, faith community or organization as a whole. In one-to-one Spiritual Direction, a trained spiritual director, meets with a directee or group to explore life issues through a lens that seeks to reveal the unfolding presence of Holiness in the life of the Directee. The subject matter discussed may be the simple activities of every day or a significant or challenging event in the life of the directee. Through these explorations, those engaged in Spiritual Direction, try to discern the presence of the Sacred, in their everyday lives, work, celebrations, and struggles. Rabbi Zevit also integrates this work in areas of mission, planning, creative visioning and even financial organization of congregations, organizations and a variety of workplace settings.

A Typical Spiritual Direction Session is likely to begin with a shared meditation or with a prayer. From that contemplative space, the directee and the spiritual director reflect on issues of concern to the directee in an effort to invoke or reveal the presence of the Sacred in the current journey. For example, an individual may seek spiritual direction following a loss, which has caused him or her to question God’s role or a sense of ultimate purpose and meaning in the situation, as well as the nature of and the existence of God. The director will enable the directee to articulate, his or her questions and find a healing path through them that represents the directee’s unique experience. In addition, the director may share wisdom of a tradition, spiritual practices, or personal or traditional stories with the directee, bringing them to bear on the situation under discussion. Together they may study a relevant text or reflect on the Directee’s expressions through prayer, journal keeping, art, dance, or dreamwork. The session often ends with a blessing formulated in response to the sessions’ content, recognizing and deepening the sacred dimension of individual or communal life.

See: ALEPH Hashpa’ah/Jewish Spiritual Director’s Training Program.

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