All of us are spiritually formed by our early life experiences. As we evolve independently, we search, question, experiment and try on the clothes of other traditions. It seems to be part of the human experience; this searching, need for experience and doubting. It is at the core of our understanding of who we are and the struggle to learn what we are here for. We search and many of us will experience the beliefs, traditions and truths of our seeking ~ some we adopt, some we reject. Through it all we are continually developing and expanding.
Marianne Borg shared an African saying that sums it up for me (paraphrased) ~ As Antelopes on the African plain, we are here for each other; walking beside one another with encouragement and as an aid to help blow the dust from each others eyes.
My journey began when I questioned what I was being taught when the teaching did not balance with the acts. When I first walked into a Quaker Meeting for Worship, I had the overpowering sense of being home. The roots of that tradition are my foundation and established my core goals, what Quakers refer to as testimonies: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality (SPICE). Adding to these beliefs have been the study of the Mystical teachings of other faith traditions, including Judaism (the Kabbalah), Sufis (the Koran) and other traditions including Buddhism. My journey has led me to take vows as an Oblate at the Queen of Angels Monastery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. As a Benedictine monastic Oblate, I seek to embrace the additional testimonies given to us by St. Benedict: Stability, Fidelity, Conversion of Life, Hospitality and Humility. My practices include contemplative prayer (prayer of the heart), Quaker worship and Discernment.
My studies have included participating in the course offered by Marianne Borg at the Center for Spiritual Development through Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland. Instructors at the Center have included (along with Marianne) Marcus Borg, Khadim Chishti and Jack Kennedy. The offerings at the Center have been rich and diverse with speakers and teachings from a range of theologians and religious including:
Dorothy Butler Bass, Marcus Borg, Kate Campbell, Joan Chittister, Esther De Waal, John Dominic Crossan, James Finley, James Forbes, Paul Knitter, Beldane Lane, Rev. James Lawson, Ken Leech, Sallie McFague, Kathleen Dean Moore, John O'Donohue, Houston Smith and Barbara Brown Taylor.
In summary, a Spiritual Director, for me, is more of a Spiritual Companion, or as John O’Donohue has termed, a Soul Friend. Someone to sit with you, listen to you without judgment that will be there to accompany you and be a resource for your spiritual journey.
A Sefirot Practice Seeking Balance with all Creation