by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Howard A. Addison is a rabbi and author of The Enneagram and Kabbalah: Reading Your Soul. In our times, more and more seekers are sampling the spiritual practices of different religious traditions. As they do so, they are witnessing the dawning of a new era of interfaith tolerance and exchange. These two developments signal the expansion of interfaith spiritual direction, which Addison defines in Show Me Your Way (2000) as “the interaction of your own knowledge and longings with the insights of a guide beyond your religious home.”
Spiritual direction has had a long and distinguished tradition going back in Christianity to the Desert Fathers and the writings of Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and Ignatius Loyola. Rebbes in Hasidism, sheiks in Islam, and gurus in Hinduism and Buddhism have refined the process.
Addison points out the difference between spiritual direction, psychotherapy, and pastoral counseling. He discusses four kinds of spirituality and the criticism coming from different religious quarters on “mixing and matching” or “spiritual hybridism.” Addison introduces us to three interfaith spiritual directors, uncovering in their work of “a commonality among faiths at the contemplative level.” They have also been buoyed up by the treasure trove of spiritual practices available to the seeker.
Addison is a resourceful and pensive scout who’s discovered the new territory that we will all be exploring in years to come. Interfaith spiritual direction is the wave of the future, and this pioneering work covers the turf.
This review was originally published by Spirituality and Practice.