Desert Voices is framed by a set of theological assumptions written by Teresa Blythe, an experienced Spiritual Director, and Shaleen’s Spiritual Direction mentor. With her blessing and permission, we slightly adapted her words to fit our context here at Desert Voices.
Whether you prefer the term “God” or some other term for the unseen reality that is the source of all life, we uphold the foundational belief that a creative life force exists; the force is good, relational, and is love: noncontrolling, unconditional, radical love for all creation.
This incredible Divine mystery we sometimes call God lives in relationship with all of creation. God is not separate from creation but lives and breaths in all creatures, past, present, and future.
“It is not too high or too far away—the word is in your hearts for you to observe.” (Deuteronomy 30: 10-20) We believe the Divine is already at work in the hearts and minds of ALL people, drawing them closer to love and leading them on a good path. The spiritual practice of discernment—in which people pray and seek holy guidance along their journey—is the practice of trusting that God’s desire for all is written on their hearts for them to observe. The role of a spiritual guide is to help them locate it, honor it, and trust in it.
When we are in love with a person, we stay connected to that person. The same is true with the Divine. To be in a living, loving relationship with the Source of Life, we cultivate our awareness of our Divine relationship through spiritual practices such as mediation, reflection, prayer, study, art, music, writing, community, and creative forms of worship.
We each come from our own religious or spiritual tradition, and our audience does as well. Dogma and doctrine are ways humans within institutions have sought to understand God, and as such, they have their place. We work in a different realm–the realm of what we experience of God, even while understanding that beliefs about God influence one’s experience.
This assumption is essential to keeping spiritual guides humble. We may think we know where a person is being led but we don’t know! Your journey is your own. Trust yourself. We listen…
We encourage the balance between contemplation and action. Discernment is not finished until some action is taken. The journey inward leads us to the journey outward, into this hurting and divided world.