"I'm spiritual but not religious" is a statement that is frequently used in today's Ireland (2020). But what precisely people mean by being spiritual is as varied as the people themselves.
If people are religious they generally know where to go - there are networks, gatherings and services easily accessible all around the country for many of the religious traditions. But where do the people who declare themselves as "spiritual but not religious" go to attend to and nurture their inner spiritual life?
Spiritual Direction (Ireland)
Mary Stefanazzi has been working with people for many years now helping them to unravel the often tangled web of ideas, attitudes and beliefs that can make it hard for people to recognise the call of the soul from deep within. Spiritual direction is best understood as a generic term because it can mean different things to different people. The purpose of this article Spiritual Direction (Ireland) is to outline Mary's approach to spiritual direction which ultimately is about caring for the soul or the inner life.
If you google the word 'soul' you will get millions of websites in reply with very little in the top results considering what has been known since ancient times about the soul. There is soul food, soul coffee, soul furniture, soul holidays and many many more familiar everyday things and services with the word 'soul' stuck in front of them with little, if anything, that could reasonably be called soulful content. So it seems that 'soul' is a useful word to use in marketing a product or service. The top google result was most interesting though - it seems that Disney is due to release a film late in 2020 entitled 'Soul' which raises some of the following questions:
- Do you want to become the person you were born to be?
- Don't waste your time on the junk of life?
- Spend your precious hours on what will bring out the real you - the brilliant passionate you that's ready to contribute something meaningful to this world?
These important questions are from the trailer of Disney & Pixar's forthcoming film Soul and encapsulate the human search for meaning which underpins the questions raised by many of the great spiritual traditions down the ages. Spiritual direction with Mary Stefanazzi helps you to uncover what you most deeply desire at the level of your soul which is generally different to what we think we desire from the level of the ego, personality, culture or conditioning.
What is notable in those who have entrusted Mary to engage in spiritual direction with her is that what they find is rarely something that needs to be be bought. It is never a material object. When people have no contact with informed religious / theological / philosophical thought yet are aware of their innate spiritual nature, finding sound spiritual guidance can take a bit of shopping around. The soul deserves not be duped by the myriad of phony soul products and services that abound.
Against that backdrop how Mary understands spiritual direction rests on the meaning of the word direction. Direction can mean a set of instructions: A + B = C. Direction can also mean the general line along which something is moving in much the same way a compass will point north yet there will be a variety of ways to follow that direction. Mary is not about giving instructions but in helping to tease out the general line of the spirit or soul in a persons life.
Part of Mary's academic research studied the work of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) the Swiss Psychiatrist and founder of Analytical Psychology.Throughout Jung's life he sought to encourage human beings to listen to their inner life. Mary draws on Jung's work in helping people to understand what their dreams, among other aspects of the inner life, are drawing their attention to. More about Jung to come in another article.
To conclude, if you are interested or curious about any aspect of the spiritual life do contact Mary to see how her Spiritual Direction Service may be useful to you. Mary is accredited by the All Ireland Spiritual Guidance Association and is a member of Spiritual Directors International.