How can you experience everyday life spiritually

The search for the essential - what spiritual women teach us

There are occasions in life that await clues. Just a sentence, maybe a thought, uttered by someone you suddenly notice. It is a stroke of luck to be open at that very moment and to be able to accept what is good in store for you. Or to keep what you have heard within yourself so that it opens up again by itself when it is needed.

My grandma, for example, said such sentences to me, many of which I only remembered much later and found them relieving. With God these were not always grandiose messages, but simple statements.

“We collect the herbs for the tea ourselves,” she said, for example. “You can take a lot. Take care that you are not always that strong, ”she said. I could easily accept that from her. And I collect herbs because then I feel close to her, and in times of weakness I think of her and of the fact that she would now approve of my "leaving it out".

Facilitating Insights

If there is a lot to endure in life, then you not only find support from family and friends, but also consciously seek help from outside. I've done this several times in my life. At some point I also realized that nobody would come to present me with the solution and then do the work for me. There was a lot of incomprehension and resistance on my side until I was ready. So far, namely, to recognize the happy meeting of suggestions and personal responsibility and to get going.

In this process, something developed in me that is commonly called spirituality. The confrontation with my existence, my hurdles, my opportunities brought with me the relief that I realized that I am integrated into something bigger. In something over which I have no influence and which, if I do not defend myself further, it always means well with me. One of my teachers once said to me: “The meaning of life is to live.” What a simple, liberating thought!

Role model, advisor, discussion partner, quiet island - all of this can be a life teacher. I'm not talking about the "compulsory" search for someone like that. That one has to walk over fire under supervision, undertake shamanic journeys, hug trees and meditate for hours or retreat to a distant ashram in search of ultimate happiness. All of this can be good and good. But it doesn't have to.

The realization of my life so far: When the “must” loses its strength, life gains clarity and there is again more space for free decisions. For my part, I also become quieter, want to go out into nature and experience the presence. “The journey is the goal”, this sentence has taken on a new meaning for me. And when I have someone by my side on this path who stimulates me and still lets me be who I am, then I really appreciate it.

Make offers

“The principle of accompaniment is not to be the 'smart one' who gives instructions. You listen, you can maybe make an offer. Each person walks the path for himself ”, says someone who has been listening and making offers for many years: Sr. Esther Ganhör belongs to the order of the Sisters of the Cross, lives in Linz and has enjoyed silence and meditation from an early age Profession developed.

The former teacher is also active as a spiritual guide. Among other things, she worked for three and a half years with the Catholic theologian Pierre Stutz, in the team of the open monastery "Abbaye de Fontaine-André" in Neuchâtel. Is there a difference between spiritual and spiritual accompaniment for them? “Oh, that's all just a question of vocabulary, I think. The accompaniment is first of all about personal matters, and then, as a matter of course, spiritual and spiritual issues come into play.

Of course it can be that someone is far removed from the religious, but is looking for a way to deepen and become more authentic. Then the term “spiritual‘ may be more appropriate ”, believes Ganhör, who says of herself with a smile that she“ apparently also has a gene for accompanying people who are far from faith ”.

In times of efficiency and purpose, something else is particularly important to her, namely to ignite the love for the apparently useless and to create awareness that not everything always has a meaning, has to serve a purpose. Whatever question arises from an accompaniment: You can't "ramify" anything.

"So if someone wants to achieve more independence in their relationships, for example, I cannot stand up and say: 'You will become more independent if you meditate for 15 minutes a day'", says Esther Ganhör, indicating that caution is required when dealing with too much great promise of salvation.

“I would like to clearly distinguish spiritual accompaniment from spiritual wellness and the search for eternal happiness.” Happiness is of course something beautiful, but life should be understood more comprehensively. "A spiritual path is always one with narrow or even closed doors."

Someone from the outside

Relationships, partnerships, jobs, questions of meaning that become urgent in the case of illnesses: all of these were topics for which I was looking for new perspectives because my previous answers were no longer sufficient. Susanne Gross, who is responsible for the “Spiritual Accompaniment” course offered by the Department for Spirituality of the Diocese of Linz, confirms that I am not alone in this. "These topics are likely to drive everyone, and in recent years I have already noticed an increased need for spiritual access."

Such approaches can open up in the aforementioned course, which is based on a concept by Father Johannes Pausch. “To convey a spiritual life, to accompany others in the process - that is what our participants strive for. And they also want to find something for themselves to move on, ”says Gross. What are the requirements for the two-year course?

“You should be ready to get involved in a development process with others and also seek support yourself. You need access to faith and should respect other religions without fear of contact, ”says Gross. The latter seems particularly important to her - also to recognize similarities and differences between the religions.

Heavenly friend

Andrea Leisinger from the management team of the course “Spiritual Theology in the Interreligious Process” at the University of Salzburg talks about human discussions with a theological “background”. At the age of 16, Leisinger felt the impetus for her spiritual search during a visit to the Wernberg Monastery.

“A very deep relationship developed with one of the sisters, Sr. Assumpta, who was many years older than me. She has always encouraged me in what I do. She was instrumental in my decision to study theology. Or also because I got married. She taught me the simplicity - meditation and contemplation - living in the moment. She stimulated me to think and listen to the inside, ”she says of her long-time companion.

The death of her spiritual teacher in 2013 pains Leisinger to this day. “I sometimes feel their closeness very intensely and I am happy when they suddenly occur to me in the most varied of situations,” says the mother of three girls about how nice it is to have such a “heavenly friend”.

Orientation aids

But how can you recognize a good companion, a spiritual teacher who you can trust? “For me it is important that she is doing well in practice, that I can learn from her. Then I am also ready to follow her unconditionally sometimes, although at first I may not agree at all ”, says Andrea Leisinger, who clearly connects her spiritual path with her personal longing for God.

“I can only pursue or trace this on my own. To do this, I need role models, people who are a step further in their search. People who answer me honestly, ”she says of herself - and is convinced that a spiritual path always leads back into life, into everyday life.