Hello everyone, my name is Dave Miller, I am director of Sacred Breeze Ministries at SacredBreeze.org where we provide instruction and resources for meditation, spiritual discernment, and inclusive faith communities.
We continue to live in interesting times. We live with the threat of a virus that continues to infect and kill people every day. Our justice systems continue to discriminate based on skin color, often with deadly results. And people who speak out for justice in a peaceful manner continue to be victimized by false information and violence incited by factions who do not want justice and peace.
We are ever reminded that while we may speak out, while we may be present, and while we may have hearts that long for love, justice, and peace, we cannot control the thoughts or actions of others.
Where do we go for shelter? Where can we find peace? How can we recharge our Spiritual batteries so that we can find the strength to carry on?
Today I want to talk about Spiritual Discernment, and I’m going to do so by considering 4 questions.
Why would someone seek Spiritual Discernment?
How is Spiritual Discernment different than MH Therapy?
Why explore Spiritual Discernment with Sacred Breeze Ministries and Dave Miller?
How do I get started?
So, for the first question, why do people seek spiritual discernment, there are several reasons. The first reason that comes to mind, which is very much connected to the challenges we face today, is to explore some of the Big Questions that life throws at us. Questions like Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why do people suffer and die? Is God Real? How can I connect with my Higher Power? And How can I make a difference? Spiritual Discernment seeks out the answers to these and other questions that the Spirit, with a capital S, may reveal within the hearts and minds of the seekers.
Another reason people engage in Spiritual Discernment is to try and understand conflicting messages they have received over a lifetime regarding God and Spirituality. We receive many messages every day, from friends, family, from all of the religions and cultures and identities we participate in, from circumstances and events both positive and negative that happen in our lives, and from some place deep within us. Not surprisingly, sometimes these messages conflict with one another. Spiritual Discernment seeks out the authentic message that the Spirit, with a capital S, has for the seeker.
And while I’m on the subject, I have a special message for LGBTQ people. You are perfect just as you are, just as God made you to be. Many faith traditions have made life very hard for LGBTQ people and their families. Traditional roles are often assigned to people based on physical attributes. When approached from a Spiritual perspective, all faith traditions call us to be true to each our own authentic Spiritual identity, whatever that may be. And that is part of the Spiritual Discernment practice, to help people to discern and celebrate each our own unique and wonderful and beloved Spiritual identity.
So far, we’ve talked about discussing big questions and conflicts in Spiritual discernment sessions. Often people come to Spiritual Discernment with heavy burdens that they may have been carrying for years, including feelings of grief or guilt or shame. This especially is an area where Spiritual Discernment sessions can be helpful. This is also an area where there may be some crossover with mental health counseling. And this is an important distinction to make.
Spiritual Discernment sessions are different than Mental Health therapy sessions in several important ways. During mental health sessions, specific pathologies are addressed, including depression, anxiety, and addiction. Feelings of grief, guilt, and shame are often intertwined in these pathologies. If underlying issues that require Mental Health counseling are brought up during Spiritual Discernment sessions, we discuss referral to a licensed therapist in the state or location where the seeker resides.
Whereas mental health therapy sessions include established treatment modalities such as cognitive behavioral and dialectical therapies, Spiritual Discernment sessions discuss how Spirituality may be part of releasing burdens and accepting healing Grace.
Another way Spiritual discernment is different from mental health counseling is in how often sessions occur. Usually, mental health sessions are weekly and last for perhaps 8 to 12 weeks or more. Spiritual discernment may begin with a couple weekly sessions to get acquainted, but usually continue meeting less frequently, once per month or so. Whereas mental health therapy usually concludes after 2 to 3 months, spiritual discernment sessions may continue on as long as the seeker finds value in the discussions.
Mental health therapy practice is limited by law to the state in which the client is physically located. On line Spiritual discernment sessions are available to anyone anywhere.
So, now that we’ve discussed why people seek out spiritual discernment, the next question is why explore Spiritual Discernment with Sacred Breeze Ministries.
It is important to know that there are no credentialing requirements for Spiritual Directors or Spiritual Discernment companions. A seeker must verify a potential provider’s education, experience, and religious or philosophical affiliations. Registration on sites like Spiritual Directors International is just that, registration, with no verification of qualifications. And perhaps most importantly, a person seeking help has no way of knowing whether the potential provider is willing to walk with the client, or whether the provider will be pushing a “one size fits all” agenda, theology, or philosophy.
Speaking for myself, Dave Miller, I have a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Emory University, and a Master’s degree in Community counseling. I’ve studied Buddhism, and I have read many diverse Sacred writings, including the Jewish and Christian bibles, the Quran, the Gita, Upanishads, Rumi, and the sacred writings of Japan just to name a few.
I have worked as both a licensed therapist and as a Director of Spiritual Discernment in private practice and in addiction recovery settings. I have served as lay minister in various church settings, including the United Methodist Church. I consider myself an inclusive Buddheo-Christian, which means I connect with both the Buddhist philosophy of reducing suffering and Christian message of unconditional love as revealed in the Fruits of the Spirit. I actually love exploring the diverse ways people experience Spirit, and I have worked with Christians, Buddhists, Jewish people and Muslims, neo-Pagans, Wiccans, and others in a nonjudging supportive manner. I celebrate diversity of all kinds.
My approach to Spiritual Discernment is one of open-minded listening, and accompanying the seeker on a journey of discovery. People connect with Spirit in a variety of ways, some connect through nature, others through prayer and meditation, and others connect through social interaction. The ways the Spirit communicates are as varied and diverse as humanity is. My job is to help seekers to connect with Authentic Spirit in the way that suits and applies to them.
We also have other Spiritual Discernment helpers available on the website, for more information about them, please explore their biographies.
How do I get started with Spiritual Discernment sessions? To get started, simply send me an email to initiate contact. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. From there, we can discuss whether individual or group sessions best suit you.
For a limited time, I am going to be offering free Spiritual Discernment group sessions on Wednesday evenings at 8:00 PM Eastern United States time. Both group and individual sessions usually last 50 minutes to an hour. And as I said previously, usually Spiritual Discernment sessions happen only once per month after the relationship is established. I use Google meet for sessions, which means that I will email you a meeting link to click on to get connected. You will need access to the internet and a computer with a mic and camera in order to meet.
So, if you are interested in exploring this further drop me an email, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Have a Blessed Day.