Postulants are required to have a local Spiritual Director. Oblates are encouraged to have a Spiritual Director.
It may take awhile to find a competent person, of the same gender as yourself, to guide your Spiritual Direction. It is well worth the effort.
Ideally a Spiritual Director has some formal training and experience in the art. Certainly they should have developed their own deep spiritual life and be a member of an historic sacramental church. He/she should understand and appreciate your vocation in the Cistercian contemplative life.
You may want to invite your Novice Master to be in communication with your Spiritual Director should your Director need additional information.
Your Novice Master must approve your Spiritual Director.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is concerned with helping a person directly with his/her relationship with God. The underlying question is, “Who is God for me, and who am I for Him?”
These and similar questions point to another kind of help. The Director helps the other to address God directly and to listen to what God has to communicate. The focus of this kind of direction is the relationship itself between God and the person. The person is helped not so much to understand relationship better, but to engage in it, to enter into dialogue with God. Spiritual direction of this kind focuses on what happens when a person listens to and responds to a self-communicating God.
We define spiritual direction as help given by a director that enables a person to pay attention to God’s personal communication and to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship within the Cistercian community. The focus on this type of direction is on experience, not ideas, and specifically on religious experience.
The spiritual director is most interested in what happens when a person consciously put himself into the presence of God. Not that the director has little or no interest in the rest of a person’s life. He is interested in the whole person, but the focus of interest is the prayer experience of the directee.
You should personally sit in front of your Spiritual Director one time per month. This should not be a long distance relationship.