Rev. Katherine Gould Epperly, D.Min.

Holistic Spiritual Direction

What is holisitic spiritual direction?

Kate Epperly.

Holistic spiritual direction is a low-key but highly intentional, contemplative form of companionship in which persons are prayerfully and gently guided and nurtured along their own unique path of discovery and renewal.

It involves helping persons learning to listen to the “still small voice” of God within their conscious and unconscious thought processes, creative expressions, spiritual intuitions (dreams, visions, and ki energy) as well as the felt wisdom of their physical bodies. It is grace in action. It is opening to new dimensions of relationship with our truest, deepest Self. It is also yielding to the surprising Divine presence within one’s relationships and the life-giving order of the Universe itself.

Iona cross.

In partnership with God persons are invited to gently explore new frontiers of healing transformation for ourselves and the world. It is a “holy adventure”!

“There is no right way, only that which love is inviting in you at this very moment.
If you seek a way of relating to God, you can do no better than
to let God come into your awareness as God will.
Be open to any possibilities, willing to be surprised.
At one moment there may be a very distinct image;
at another, an imageless presence;
at still another, only the groans of your yearning echoing in emptiness.”

Gerald May, The Awakened Heart

May peace prevail on Earth.

In holistic spiritual formation, the development of spiritual practices are in large measure simply a matter of pausing and noticing:

Sunrise over the bishop's house, Iona.

The manner in which I most often encourage facilitating this pausing and noticing is breath or centering prayer as popularized by Thomas Keating. After learning to pause and notice the voice of God in whatever manner is most authentic for them, persons are the invited to consciously open and more fully embrace the Divine in their lives through whatever contemplative and/or actively creative practices work for their particular personality type and gifts.

I administer and interpret the Myers Briggs Type Inventory as a helpful guide for discerning one’s personality type and most effective spiritual pathways.

Prayer chapel in Iona Abbey.

Depending upon one’s personality type, one’s “adventure” of spiritual practices to explore can include practices as diverse as guided visualization, journaling or other daily writing, painting, meditating on Scripture passages (lectio divina), chanting, walking in nature, dance, or dreamwork.

Some persons experience the healing and comforting presence of God through the felt senses of the body and its energy flow through Reiki healing touch, body prayer, light massage, and movement.

It is my experience that in time, no matter what their personal history—spiritually, emotionally, or physically—that through holistic spiritual direction all persons are able to experience and grow in a trust-filled, enlivening partnership with God’s love and light “in whom we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

St. Columba's Bay.

At its root, holistic spiritual direction affirms the universal human quest for experiencing the essential unity of all life in God as the deepest and truest Reality of the Self and Creation. I believe that the journey “home” is always much shorter and easier than we imagine, even during times of great struggle and suffering.

“Nothing is more beautiful than the uniqueness
that God has created.

…You don’t have to create the beauty
—you’ve got the beauty.

…You don’t have to create the freedom
—you’ve got it.

…You don’t have to create the image of God in you
—you have it.

…You don’t have to win over God’s love
—you have more than you know what to do with.”

Thomas Keating, “Centering Prayer,” TheHeartfulness: Transformation in Christ