People often ask, “What happens in a spiritual direction session?” Rather than describing spiritual direction with all its uniquenesses, let’s engage in a group exercise.

A friend recently shared, Missionary Eaten by a Jaguar, by artist Noé León, on social media. Before reading further, spend time with the details in the painting, pictured below. Articulate any raw thoughts and feelings this picture evokes in you. 

Now, for these few minutes, look inward, allowing the exercise to invite previously hushed voices, to speak. Try to turn from any outer blame and instead, engage with yourself.

What is causing that triggering emotion? Or, why do you suppose compassion is rising up?

Cross: Let go of the obvious Christian theme. What is the last thing in this life, you would give up? Can you name it? How does it help or hinder you from facing your truest Self?

Robe: What do you put between yourself and other people that keeps you separate? Does it serve as a healthy boundary or a wall? Is it a statement of your availability, a need to be noticed or a self-aggrandizing attitude?

Eyeglasses: Which of your once certitudes, look different to you now?

Jaguar: Some people believe that Jaguar represents integrity. Others believe that Jaguar is the archetypal energy that retrieves our lost soul parts. Considering either, how do you view Jaguar, in the picture, now?

Blood: Our bodies cannot live without blood, nor our spirits without essence. Is Jaguar taking life from, or giving life back to the missionary?

How do the trees and smaller creatures add to this new story you are creating?

We rarely change other people with our accusations. We can; however, transform our own violent energy, act with integrity and trust the Sacred within us. Facing ourselves is one way to strengthen our trust in the universal and sacred laws.

When we place our judgment aside and allow the image to be a mirror, Missionary Eaten by a Jaguar invites us to deepen beyond the superficial. Amazingly, as we accept more of ourselves, the world around us becomes more generous, too. 

Making Spirit Flesh*

We may not be able to change other people. We can; however, cultivate love in ourselves, observe anyone other with compassion and awaken to a more evolved life. 

How long has it been since you have spent time with a person you consider other, completely dismissed your biases and listened as if you knew absolutely nothing?