Obama has one, or at least he did until some of the guy’s comments drew unfriendly fire for the president’s association with him. So did Paul, the transformed disciple from the New Testament whose less savory buddies knew him better as Saul. And so does Gabrielle Giffords, the American congresswoman whose injury at the hands of a crazed killer in Arizona vaulted her tragically into the headlines recently. Indeed, with the world still reeling from the incident that delivered her there, it’s a solid assumption that all of us could benefit from contact with someone who plays this role in our own lives.
“Spiritual mentor” is not an official title. No one goes to school to learn how to be such a thing, though you can. More of an honorary designation, a spiritual mentor is an individual who has achieved a state of spiritual contentment inside her own life such that she enjoys credibility when it comes to extending counsel to someone else looking to do the same.
This is a person who can speak about our obligations to love one another, about how to balance spiritual well-being with all the other demands of a busy life, about the trick to being true to our genuine selves. A combination of experience and evolution positions this individual to help others make important decisions, discern their spiritual gifts or revitalize their relationship with whichever higher power they endorse. Spiritual life coaching can help solidify your beliefs, and provide wisdom and insight into how human beings can honor the spiritual foundation of their earthbound existence.
Not surprisingly, given the messed-up, overwhelmed playing field in which many of us cavort, a spiritual mentor is emerging as an essential member to the modern team.
A mentor can spring from any part of your life. He can be your father, your old high school teacher, your neighbor, your friend. And your relationship with this person needn’t be a flesh-and-blood one. A virtual mentor, with whom you communicate via e-mail or instant messaging, is entirely acceptable. So long as you respect this person and aspire to possess some of his qualities, he is a candidate for such a role.
Ideally, a spiritual mentor should be grounded within her spiritual beliefs, and should radiate an impression that she’s in a spiritually secure place—the story of the journey to which others might benefit from hearing. There’s much to be said for hooking up with a being that is somehow more evolved than you, and who has the capacity to distinguish the path that will deliver you to a similarly enlightened place.
One of the best ways to identify a spiritual mentor is to start talking about it. Tell family members and colleagues about your search. Ask if they’ve had experience with a spiritual counselor or life coach.
Before making an official proposal to a would-be mentor, think about your own spiritual intentions. The clearer you are about your goals for a mentoring relationship, the more successful your ability to find someone who can help you fulfill them will be.
The tragic massacre in Arizona that killed six and injured many others probably have left you supremely unsettled. The addition of a spiritual mentor to your life may be the start of feeling better.