Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What makes a good spiritual mentor

A good spiritual mentor does not have answers so much as 
she is willing to share her own difficult questions.

A good mentor recognizes that like the fastening on the back of a frame drum, it is the strength of her inner work, and its ability to hold steady, that enables her outer voice to be heard as a guide.

Mentoring is not the same as teaching.  There is a requirement of shared action on a parallel level, rather than someone who is giving to others who are receiving in an uneven dynamic.

This interlacement pattern of a double 7 is a good visual example.  Between the outer pattern of 7 and the ring is where the drummer puts her fingers, but what makes the star have good space is the inner pattern of 7. So both are different and yet each needs the other to do the work.

In a mentoring relationship that has a shamanic dimension, there is of course a third participant: the spirit world itself.  The wise, old Lady Nature who wraps around something fixed, which is our identity--with something stretchy, which is her reaching toward us in all her many guises.

A good spiritual mentor is like a shelter that allows our uncertainty, 
our halting gestures to the Mystery find the quiet to be visible. 

This shelter is just enough to keep the streamers of snow 
from making cold and inflexible
 our hopeful attempts at contact with the Divine, 
however we may understand this word.

But a shelter not so enveloping that we are prevented from seeing with our own eyes, 
and through our own experiences, 
how joy and pain can wound and heal us.