Verzameld door Fien Wingens voor TBI


Maart – Juni 2004






Bron: http://tbi21.let.kun.nl/spine


Studentbijdragen in module Mystagogie, voorjaar 2004


SPINE - vragen mbt evaluatie


Deze bijdragen komen voort uit opdrachten 6.5a en 6.5b en hebben onder meer een evaluatief karakter. Studentnamen zijn verwijderd.

Studentbijdragen in module Mystagogie, voorjaar 2004

SPINE - vragen mbt evaluatie


6.5a (class 1) Inconsistencies as instrument of empathic understanding. 2

6.5a (class 2) Inconsistencies as instrument of empathic understanding. 10

6.5b (class 1) Reflection on empathetic understanding. 17

6.5b (class 2) Reflection on empathetic understanding. 19


6.5a (class 1) Inconsistencies as instrument of empathic understanding

Date: Wed Mar 24 2004 10:31 pm 

Author: [non-disclosed]


I’m not sure whether there are any clear ideas, but I did come to a basic understanding that it is the meeting place of two or more people whose desire it is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in their lives, that it is a three-way relationship- the true accompanist that is God, the human accompanist and the person being accompanied, and that the accompanist is a companion on the spiritual journey while at the same time, involved in his unique, personal path.

The questions I started out with were; what is it really about? How is it different from pastoral counselling and confession?

What is the method used? Is there a manual of basic guidelines? (yes , I’m a victim of the quick-fix society ;-))

I did receive answers, but not always the ones I expected, or wanted. New questions did arise; am I truly capable or is it another sign of my pride and ego? Do I project ? Do I listen with empathy? Do I even know how to do that? Is it me talking or is it the Spirit directing? Is my own journey adequate experience?



I found myself mentally retracing the material covered, thinking back to the time before the module and the first session of the module ,then back to the present and compared the situations.

My need to maintain grip and acquire an overall picture became quite obvious- it seems to be a strong driving force in my character.

I am disappointed neither in the module or myself- it was a valuable learning experience for me- there are some things that I have no control over and there are some things that are not fully digestible by my understanding- these are facts I will have to accept.


I have tried, as much as possible , to remain spontaneous and honest. There were times however, when I found myself thinking of how I sound to others that are reading my notes. I don’t know how much that must have influenced my writing and its formulation. Possibly more than I’d like to admit, to myself or to others. The doubts I experienced regarded my understanding of what was required, and whether I was on the right track.


I experienced some resistance in opening-up to a group of strangers, even if they are present in cyber-space. Expressing my desires and limitations openly was not a very comfortable experience. The origin of these resistances are, I believe, in fear of rejection, humiliation, exposing the true self and one’s hopes, fears, aspirations and inadequacies. These resistances are connected intimately to my spiritual journey as it is characterized by a fear of surrendering, of letting go. I want to remain in control and to cling on to securities and safety-nets.

Re July

I do resonate with your resistance in posting reflections on a cyberspace level. However, I appreciate very much your capacity for inner dialogue wherein you were able to articulate the sources of your resistances and its relations to your journey with God. Awareness indeed will keep us on the right track.

Re Annette

My english is not so good, but I will try to reflect. I read in your inner-dialogue that you want to controle (your life by your self). Very good, that you have written your pray and your innerst disere in the cyber-world. That is an excersise in releasing.
I recognised your capacitance, but I have experienced that these exercises give my many feeding on myself. And I hope you have the same feelings about it.

Date: Fri May 14 2004 12:41 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: reflection

The materials offered in this module did not come to me as a complete surprise or something that are really new. Thus, I cant say that their are inconsistincies with my expectation and the materials. However, I realized that I got more than what i expected. It is a nourishing experiences because cases were reality based and my reactions were dealt with in the sessions. Inconsistencies lurks perhaps in the modules inability to deal in details that which were posted in the discusion board. However, this offers an opportunity that I would emphatically read and enter into the experiences of others by reflecting on them.


Date: Wed May 19 2004 10:16 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: verwachtingen en vragen

Ik dacht dat het in deze opleiding zou gaan over God en hoe je Haar ter sprake brengt in een begeleiding. Dat daarin je eigen levensverhaal een instrument is, vond ik een eye-opener. Mijn vragen waren toen ik de opleiding begon: Hoe breng je God ter sprake in het pastorale werk? In welke beelden, metaforen spreek ik over Haar? Deze vraag geworden een verschuiving in mijn pastoraat teweeg. Niet zo zeer breng ik God ter sprake maar waar hoor ik in het verhaal van degene die ik begeleidt het verhaal van God met die mens en hoe geef ik dit terug aan die persoon?

Wanneer is een gesprek nu geestelijke begeleiding en wanneer is het pastoraat? Ik merk in mijn werk dat die scheidslijnen niet helder meer liggen. Dit komt de diepgang van het gesprek ten goede.

Re Marie-josé

Mooi hoor, te zien hoe je een perspectiefverandering hebt meegemaakt. ja, je eigen levensverhaal is instrument, en het is heel prachtig om de ruis van je eigen instrument opzij te kunnen zetten en te horen hoe God aan het werk is... ik vind dat je dat zo mooi geformuleerd hebt en hoop dst je ind e praktijk van alledag ook de verschillen van pastoraat en GB helderder krijgt, . Ik heb het idee dat het hem zit in de vraag van degene die bij je komt...
groet MJ

Re Annette

Dag Marie José, Ja, in de vraag van iemand die naar je toekomt, kan een vraag naar geestelijke begeleiding schuil gaan. Maar ik ontdek in mijn werk ook dat geeestelijke begeleiding soms ontstaat. Als ik een bezoek afleg namens de kerk, dan is dat niet vrijblijvend. Ik ben medemens in Gods naam. En wellicht door dit bewust te zijn, liggen voor mij de scheidslijnen niet zo helder tussen pastoraat en geestelijke begeleiding. Pastoraat kan zo maar geestelijke begeleiding worden.
Misschien is het dan ook niet zo relevant meer om die scheidslijnen te willen hanteren. Wel de kennis over geestelijke begeleiding en dit toe te passen waar dat kan, waar dat ontstaat. Groet,

Wellicht is het niet zo van belang om scheidslijnen aan te brengen tussen pastoraat en geestelijke begeleiding. In mijn werk ben ik mij bewust dat ik door mijn rol een medemens ben in Gods naam. Vandaaruit kan een gesprek wat als een pastoraal bezoek bedoeld was ook de vorm aannemen van geestelijke begeleiding. Hoe luister ik, wat pak ik op uit wat iemand mij vertelt? Ik heb het idee dat hoe ik reageer op die vragen in een gesprek van mens tot mens, het pastorale gesprek kunnen leiden tot geestelijke begeleiding.
Kunnen die vloeiende 'scheidslijnen' ook schade veroorzaken? Deze vraag houdt mij bezig nu.


Date: Wed May 19 2004 11:31 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: Mijn weerstand

Mijn moeite met de engelse taal maakte dat ik elke keer weer weerstand voelde om aan blackboard te moeten gaan werken. Wat mij geholpen heeft is de intensiteit van wat ik mocht leren dit jaar. Het verlangen daarna en het ook kunnen ontvangen via deze weg, deed mij mijn weerstand overwinnen. Ook voelde ik weerstand om mijn gebed en verlangen op te schrijven op blackboard. Dit komt voort uit de angst van het kleine kind in mij. Zij is door de moeder niet gezien zoals zij is. Het is moeilijk daardoor voor mij mijzelf toe te vertrouwen aan anderen. Loslaten, geen grip hebben op wat er dan gebeurt. Het toch doen (ook weer gedreven door de intensiteit die dit opleverde) is voor mij een oefening in loslaten geweest. Ik ben er door verrijkt.

Re Wendela

Hallo Annette,Wat schrijf je dat mooi. Ik herken de pijn en het verlangen. En dan ervaar ik Gods liefde als zo anders. Dat toevertrouwen aan Hem, vooraf,zonder het te weten,tja,a life -timme process in which He will help You. Een hartelijke groet van Wendela.

Re Annette

Dank voor je reactie, Wendala.
Een levenslang proces, waarin Hij/Zij meetrekt! Groet, Annette

Re Wendela

Ja,mooi he.Misschien heb je iets aan het boekje van Simone Pacot,"Tot in onze diepste diepten".Geschreven door een vrouw,verbonden aan een reformatorische communiteit in Longchamps in Zwitserland.Heilzaam boekje voor mij .


Date: Thu May 20 2004 2:04 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: ass 6.5

I like the contents of this course very much. .

I got words for experiences,feelings deep inside,I really explored my spir life story which is important to be a spir-acc in spe.

I knew spir acc is about listening and I learnt better what to discern .

I read the assignments of others and wonder:

how many ways does God go?

Yes I think God is a" amazing grace"

The technical side took much time :sometimes I lost a text and I'm not a quick typer.

The reflection on others was sometimes difficult because the written stuff was so condense (een ingedikte brei)

The background-information in the assignments was clear and the

way of questioning as well.

thank you.

Re July

It is a wonderful realization that in trying to enter into the demands of this kind of learning, you have discovered many things and affirmed that "God is an amazing grace." Indeed, your perseverance and commitment in dealing with these assignments led you to a clearer understanding of what accompaniment is if not more on the inworkings of God in your life as what transpired in your moments of listening.

Re Marie-josé

Wendela,wonderful to read how you intensely and deeply explored your own spiritual life, it's a miracle that happens sometimse, isn't it. And idneed: how many ways does God go, is a miracle too, isn't it!
I had to smile at your"dikke brei". Says exactly what is was,: too much to get through, though and tiresome, sometimes. But good to read that it helped you discern, how different we were in working on these assignments and how varied in appreciation


Date: Fri May 21 2004 10:33 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

For me are the lessons part of whole mystagogic setting. There are other courses and in the afternoon are there practical exercises and a plenty of possibilities for discussion. Out of this context I can imagine that the expectations are disappointed especially what the practical tools and the level of meeting concerns.

I saw the course as an intellectual approach of mystagogy and so I am not at all disappointed concerning the content, the readers and the assessments. In the face to face meetings there was nothing new according to the readers and assessments. I think that we were not in the capacity to deepen the material and often I found it talking for nothing. But I see it as my personal incapacity to have a substantial input and I was not enough engaged.

What I have learned:

I am myself the instrument by which I can guide others and my experience in spiritual matters is the ultimate measure to guide some one else. Therefore honestly knowing myself in spiritual matters, is important. The ultimate question is: can I perceive Gods working in myself and can I reflect on the processes that Gods working provoke.

In the course mystagogy I have learned a lot of the process of Gods working in the accompanied as in the accompanist. In the the course of John of the Cross I have learned a lot of the content of that spiritual and mystagogical process.

Re Marie-josé

dirk, it's good to read the last lines of your reflection. They stress I think what the whole business was about. It gives your reflection a soft touch. becuase you are a bit stern on yourself, talking about your personal incapacity to help deepen the level of conversation. I agree it could have been better, 9the concersation) but it was certainly not only your responsbility. MJ

Re teun

Dear Dirk, For me the question comes up what in the matter of s.a. is to communicate? And how do you do that? Maybe this course is indeed meant to learn knowing yourself, and to be aware of the divine reality in others. I don't know if this can be seen only as an intellectual approach, because it touches so much of the human existence: for me it askes for a direct communication with each other, maybe in small groups. The questions stays if you would learn than more. But that has to do with your own style of learning. Thanks, Teun


Date: Mon May 24 2004 2:18 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: 6.5 inconsistencies

well, I'm sorry to say that no new ideas have come upt for me in this course concerning spiritual accompaniment. Questions I started with were: can I acquire an instrument to test my own work with, so as to be more sure that I do it well. I did not acquire it.. Neither the discussions in the face to face sessions nor the group acitvities in the afternoon really geve me a sound methodological or theological or mystagogic basis. In my opinion talking about experiences was the main result.

I had studied Waayman's Book before I entered the course and found it very thorough and interesting, I had hoped the sessions would help me to fathom it's meaning at a deeper elvel. i was disappointed in that too.We hardly discussed it. the rest follows in 6.5 task 2

task 2 reflection on my reply, and more

Sorry, it's more than 15 lines (for once)


I experienced disappointment in writing the above 6.5.1. I was so eager to start on this course and cannot but say that it didn't come up to my expectations.

is this a matter of wanting to hold grip? or is it a matter of being respectful to my own inner movements and wanting to share only with whom and when I choose and feel like it. If you call this wanting to hold grip, well yes then you're right. in my experience it's something else.


I'm disappointed in the course , yes. Must I be disappointed in myself too? because of the English I encountered both in the material offered and in the discussions we had, which made my hair creep.( And I don't mean typing errors, as I am a lousy typist too.) But it took me off the contents more than once, yes, ok ,I should not have reacted like that, so yes, I'm disappointed in myself too. I am still a teacher of English although I left behind teaching years ago.


I'm disappointed in the module, in the face to face sessions it did not provide material that was much different from the afternoon sessions . We could have had interesting and insight-giving sessions if we would have talked in class about the assignments on the reading material, the questions posed in these assignments were quite interesting, but formulating answers only for oneself and having to make them as compact as 15 lines is not very inspiring. A discussion on our appreciation and understanding of the theory would have been very welcome. Case studies should be restricted to the afternoon part of the course, which seems to be more practical.


I was disappointed because we have to write about very private and internal things in a foreign language and share with strangers. This I think is not a good example of spiritual accompaniment. I would have loved to be in a small group face to face with some of these people. No doubt we would have shared a lot.

But then: is this the aim of a post doctoral course???


The deadlines were a crime.

I've noticed that on this module I needed to spend far more time than I usually have to spend on a course. All this trouble for so little result!


The fact that many people did not restrict themselves to the assignments made things hard too. Eleborate pieces of writing where we were asked to reply to the point. However interesting peoples' stories are, I hope you don't think I didn't value them, because I truely did and I was really moved by them. but again.. is this the aim of a course like this?



I've tried to formulate accurately what I'm thinking just now. But at the same time I know this is not a reaction on the spur of the moment, but the expression of a feeling which has been with me all through this module. At the same time I hesitate to write all this down as I know my remarks are not very flattering.So be it.


inner dialogue

Well these were also my resistances in carrying out the assignments. Sorry but I cannot make a link between them and my own spiritual journey and the process of abandoning myself in the hands of God.

But then: my resistances were based on the handling of the material and the way the assignments were set. So just the practical side of it. Why link this to my relation with God? It's of a totally different level.


Another reflection I want to make: is critisizm the same as resistance? because in resistance we talk about something inside a person which doesn't want to step into a process. In my case it's the contents of the module and the way it's been dealt with that rouses my critical reaction, not my own inner being.


Is there a connection to make with my own spiritual journey? perhaps yes, I've had spiritual directors for many years and am quite familiar in my personal life with the things the module offered. So there was nothing really new in store for me.


As for putting myself in the hand of God... this is a lifelong process which will go independently from this module. marie-José


Date: Mon May 24 2004 10:08 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: 6.5 expectations

I'm glad that I could do this mdule together with the group-reflections at Hydepark and that I had a spiritual accompanist during this module. it gave me the rich opportunity to combine theory and practise, experiencing how it feels to be accompanied and practising how it is to act as a spiritual accompanist. In the same time I've learned a lot about the own spiritual way, but I don't know if this is because of the module. I'm afraid "hydepark" and my own spiritual accompanist are more due to this.

This module gave me a new language and a way of looking to use in my work. It made me aware of pittfalls and gave me insight in the structure of transformation in God. In the same time it made me a little shivery, because I don't like scedules, certainly not to be put on the hidden way God is going with people. You shouldn't put that in a scheme to much. (having left one orthodoxy, I don't want to fall in the next one)

Subject: reflections on reply

It was quiet easy to formulate as i did in 6.5-expectations.

I felt that I would like to react a little more as if it was an evaluattion.

Even this second task is focussing on letting go expectations and how it feels to just lett it happen.

well I'm aware of that and it feels okay to not have an overall picture. For this moment I will leave it this way.


Dissapointed in the module and myself?

For me the module of mystagogy was to much like patchwork: the long periods in between the different units, together with all the other things one has to do in live (I know that is my problem) made it difficult to keep in touch with the continiuing line in the units.

The english language made that it took to much extra time and gave less deepening in dialogue, so time invested and output were not in balance!

I'm dissapointed about the level of discussion in the face to face meetings: to much rehersal of what was already said on blackboard.

The medium blackboard was new for me and I don't think it the most splendid medium for expressing such personal feelings, faith, prayers etc.

I've tried to step over this hesitation and to look at it as a challenge. Therefore it was twice as disappointed that the groupwork fell still because of lack of imput by the other groupmembers. It's three times dissappointing that this problem wasn't solved after I've discussed it with the staff. I'm angry about that.

dissapointed in my own level of the english language and that sometimes "the bucket was full": I couldn't take more experiences, literature etc to me. I would have liked to make more study of the autobiography. (the -.3 exercises)


doubts? I wrote this down in quiet a short time. Perhaps tomorrow I would add new or forgotten things. This is what came in mind now. So; not so much doubt,I'm afraid.

But is this all? I think there's a lot more to say about it. enough for this moment.


Date: Tue May 25 2004 5:03 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: 6.5a

I did not expect much in the beginning, being so unaware of the world of mystagogy. It was for me a travel through some kind of wonderland which inspired me to try new avenues of theology. At one point I began to regret the Reformation, which has formed the background of my upbringing. I still have a lot of questions but I learned a lot about the meaning of the word ‘mercy’. I do not have the idea that I have come much further on the road to becoming a good accompanist, but I have found new ways of thinking about my relation with God. It helped me to go further in learning to trust Gods wisdom in his dealings with me.

Re July

It is very interesting to listen to your story of God's mercy. You really believed that all the discoveries and learnings you got from this module are but manifestations of God's abundant graces as you are now experiencing in your ministry as an accompanist. Your attitudinal aspect counts I suppose more precisely of your openness and humility to search new ways...for me these words entail deeper longing for the manifold faces of God in the spiritual way.


Date: Wed May 26 2004 10:23 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: 6.5 reflection on expectations and coursematerial

I started this course not knowing much about Mystagogy. I did not have a concrete idea about it either. As a pastor I have been trained in pastoral-psychology. What I have learned, is that mystagogy is something different. Not problem-oriented, not person-oriented. but God-oriented: trusting Gods work in transforming myself and other people; listening, looking expectantly and critically where He shows up.

What comes into my mind is a sentence from a poem : en als je denkt dat je het weet ...is alles anders ( when you think you understand....all is different).

this is an expression of an attitude I am beginning to sense now, after the process of the course.

My biggest question now is: how do I tell what I am doing here? What does this huge investment in time and money bring about? How do I sell that most important to me is not to know and not minding that?

Re Wendela

Dear Everdien,perhaps spir acc.is more a way of life.....!
Greetings of Wendela .

Re Annette

Ik hoop dat de vragen,
- how do I tell what I am doing here?
-What does this huge investment in time and money bring about?,
je houding open houden en nieuwsgierig maken naar wat er verder in de opleiding gaat komen! Groet, Annette

Re Finbarr

Dear Everdean, I'm very appreciative of the honesty of your response. By that i am referring to your being a pastor, who has been trained in pastoral psychology, but not in mystagogy. I find the question with which you end the course significant. It is my question too - not just in connection with this course - but in connection with my call to share in the Mission of Jesus in society today. I do believe it is the question with which we need to journey into an answer. thank you, Sr. Finbarr


Date: Fri May 28 2004 11:40 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: Inconsistencies...

I honestly declare that in the beginning of this course, I seemed to long for more practical ways of learning or concrete application of what were described on the module such as simulation sessions and more frequent face to face sessions wherein processing of issues would be integrated in the sessions since there are dynamics happening while going through the assignments. It appeals to me most convincingly that reactions, feelings and insights experienced while working on the assignments are to be brought into the fore, thus others would learn also the different angles of dealing with personal dynamics that require integral approaches: psychological and spiritual integration processes. Eventually, the participant will also be helped in dealing with her/his personal dynamics.


However, as I went through the module,, I had gradually grasped the essentials of spiritual accompaniment more precisely on its goals. I do admit that there was resistance before in posting any reflection on the blackboard. It was really taking risk posting my life story on this digital way of learning. I grappled with these questions; "Why should I go for Spiritual accompaniment while I find my prayer life and relationship with God doing well and healthy?,""Why should I disclose my self to unknown people?

Though this digital kind of learning is seemed to me time consuming and demanded personal study/effort, I was able to understand/find the answers to my questions more so on clarifying my resistances. Gradually, I have opened up myself to the dynamics of this module and it implicated me to be more broad-minded, creative, resourceful and be more welcoming to this new ventures. Why not use the blackboard as a medium for evangelization wherein sharing of insights, reflections, interaction and intercultural communication happen? In a way, the module has contributed in my transformation processes and have given my self chance to peer through to the demands of all the assignments.


I could say that I have understood spiritual accompaniment as truly significant in treading the spiritual way though I humbly admit that I have to delve more deeply to my own inner dynamics, scrutinizing all over again my own spiritual journey for me to become more effective in journeying with others. How could I be an authentic bread sharer / co-journeyer to others? Finally, these inconsistencies led me to be more persevering in going deeper and deeper in understanding the goal of this module and I confirm,it helped. Finishing the requirements in this module would only mean for me...a good reason to start...to begin anew.



In the beginning I had not a certain, but a vague idea about s.a. This surely has grown these months. I see it now more as an attitude, and a growing in distinction: in experiences of my own and other people, and a growing awarenes of the human-divine reality. I feel it as difficult to give me in trustfull delivery to God or the human-divine reality. That was a reason too to start this study; I am confrontated again with my own need to have an image of God. All things in this study together asked for a new way of life in this. Maybe it gave in one sentence the question: how to live with the absurdity in life? Not to want a firm belief, but opening up to God with open hands. 'God, go your way with us/me'.


Another point is the way how this module was working. I felt often alone in the proces. Maybe it was a confrontation too with my need to communicate with others directly about things. It has to do with the style of learning. Often these things of s.a. needed more contact then the college only: I wasn't sure if I understood enough of the material. It gives afterwards the feeling that it was a good time, but I ask myself if I have learned enough in all posibilities there were. The combination of Mystical texts and Mystagogy in this semester was too much of the good I think.

Re Finbarr

I agree with the points you have made, learning requires human mediation. I realized this more fully in this course, because of the dearth of human response to the work I submitted. I do not believe this is a matter of needing human affirmation. I am referring to the possibly of thinking further about the subject, had there been a focussed, clear human thought-out response or even question. With good wishes, Sr. Finbarr

Re Jan

Hallo Teun,
veel heb ik van je gekregen door dat je het gebed 'ga Gij uw weg met mij 'aan ons hebt gezegd. Zowel voor mijzelf als ook voor mensen die ik begeleid heb ik er veel aan.
Soms verbaas ik mij dat het zo dicht aan ligt tegen de pietistische gezangen van mijn juegd ; Neem Heer mijn handen beide b.v. - en toch klinkt het anders , omdat ik niet meer vanuit het kind zo bid, maar als volwassene : dat is een ander soort toevertrouwen.
Een goede zomer gewenst, Jan


Date: Thu Jun 3 2004 1:02 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: Iconsistencies

First i was some how confused before i couldnot understand what the course was all about. As a student, i was expecting to be trained not as a spiritual accompanist but as a trainer of others who would like to take such a role in practice levels but not as a profession. However in the due course i came to understand and appreciate the materials given because they help me to know my spiritual position not any longer in the eyes of being a student but of being whom i am.

Having understood what is spiritual accompaniment, my greatest challenge is my personal expriences enough to train others in this field ? secondly, it is like the skills we as students acquire through the trainer (lecturer) and the trainee (students) has been immersed in the whole course. The very reason being we have worked alot with the computers and they cannot provoke us critically to learn how to pass ones knowledge to the others. Simply their is no human-to-human interactions rather it is human-to-machine interactions. Nevertheless, spiritual accompaniment is a basic nessecity of each and every human soul __may it be that of a trainer or a trainee.


Date: Thu Jun 3 2004 1:57 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

I would describe the strengths of this course in the following ways: it turns attention to religious - experience, an area dispised as illusionary by many in modernity. To engage with this course, required solitude from me and it required concentration. These are very valuable. It provided good approaches to the faith biography under study. I am specially grateful for these. It invited us to take the road to depth, and this is certainly one of the sources of hope for cultures today , and for religious renewal.But this emphasis on its own will not prove sufficient; indeed it can turn out to be a narcisstic turning inwards, a depth without contact with the calls of history and with the surprises of revelation is not an entire Christian response.

There is some gap also between what I had expected of the course and my experience of it:although the material in itself was good, it did not yield up new insights - new in the sense that I did not have them before - for me.Either it escaped me, or it is simply not there in the material, but I missed what I had expected to be a more systematic approach. Either I failed to make the broader connections which yields up clear ideas and a depth of insight on new levels, or the course does not include it.While it is beneficial to get to know belivers through the internet - on the level of faith - I found it difficult to sustain a meeting with them, with a particular topic as the focus. One can speculation about the many reasons for this, but at times I sensed that they seemed to flicker in and out of existence! This is not a reassuring experience and not a basis for the trust required for sharing faith and life. In the final place, I missed some discussion and indeed the need for a commitment to the boundaries of confidentiality, whichare required in order to protect persons who have left themselves vulnerable by their sharing. Sr.Finbarr

Author: [non-disclosed]

did not experience so much inconsistencies because I did not expect a full blown model and methods. That seemed me impossible. The disappointment I have is that there was very little confrontation with biblical insights or material.I learned a lot of john of the Cross - I really did ! -but I had hoped for a more biblical approach. In may parts of the material there was nt one word about Christ or his "Abba". For me it meant that I sometimes had the feeling that people were more left alone than necessary and were not confronted or brought in contact with the sory where Christians live of.
The essence of spir. acc. was enlighted to me by :
- the description of the process by John of the Cross : the blessings of the Spirit and the abandonment
- the change from 'I go my way with God 'to "God goed his way with me '
- the idea of transformation
- the concept of empathetic listening.
I was personally touched by the poetry of John of the Cross about the love of God.
The questions I started with ;
- what is the meaning of 'dark night '
- what is the essence of the mystic way ?
- what models exist of spiritual guidance/
On the first two I got my Answers . At 3 : I got the model of the TBI , the Carmelite approach, derived from John of the Cross and Theresa Of Avila.
New questions: how is this model of spiritual guidance related to the Psalms or biblewriters as John and Paul ? Are there other models, derived for example from Buber? what is the relation of this Carmelite spirit. guidance to protestant thought about this subject ? Did Martin Luther ( as a former Augutine monk, who chose another way ) have an own idea of spirit. guidance? And perhaps : what is the spirit. guidance that Calvin (as a theologian of the Spirit) gave in his pastoral letters ( not in his dogmatics)to the French refugies?
I felt a real disappointment, although I learned a lot of the mystical spirit. way. I do not think it has to do with the need to maintain grip. I can live without the overall picture: I am just curious again.
Disappointed in myself ? Not at all. I have worked very hard this season : I had to cope with the confrontation with John of the Cross and - mostly thanks to the discourse with my spir. accompanist, with the group of Hydepark and witj Kees Waaijman - I came through my intellectual objections and lkanded on the existential level, where I had to cope with my suspicion, that arose from a very painow see clearly the connection between the intellectual suspicion and my biografical experiences.The whole process brought me a new freedom, in the realtion to the mystics too. I had te rewrite my (spiritual)biografy again from a new viewpoint - and now I am exhausted and like to go on holiday.
Inner dialogue
I had a great resistance to work on the assignments. I did not like to work with Blackboard (although it is stimulating !)_: because every text or assignment touched me mostly personally until half mai I understood waht was goding on and found the word that gave insight. My resistance came forth from pain.
It was not that I did not trust God, but I did not know what was going on. Something was hauting me, but I did not know what it was and so I did not come to rest until the keyword was found.
I knew tyhat I was in His hands but I did not see what way He was showing me..
The concept of empathetic understanding helped me to understan better the things I do. In the eighties I already searched for the meaning of empathy but now I really found it, thanks to the clear description of Stein with the different other attitudes.
During the spirit. guidance I can experience that I act more conscious in the empathetic way.


6.5a (class 2) Inconsistencies as instrument of empathic understanding

Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 8:29 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

The course was clearly outlined, and given in broad brushstrokes in the week’s lectures. There was a lot of intellectually challenging material in each of sections 1 through to 6. Additionally, in each number, similar questions were posed but from a different perspective. Thus apart from acquiring knowledge, one was layering it from a personal hermeneutic and spiritual accompaniment perspective. I could apply the process of Spiritual Accompaniment in many practical ways to personal and life situations, from the theoretical and practical applications.

I started with the question: What is the theme of the topic under study, what is the material, what are the headings and what is my experience and knowledge in this field. I found the material could be dealt with superficially, or to its deepest level, the latter being quite taxing. I found particularly, I could not ‘rush’ any section as the material was quite dense and the application demanded solitude and reflection.

In terms of application in my own field of mission, the material posed many new insights and my whole attitude to accompaniment and accompanee was undergoing evaluation and change. The academic and case studies broadened my knowledge and I particularly enjoyed the introduction to the great thinkers in spiritual accompaniment. The intense and layered study of the ‘Seven Story mountain was a brilliant deepening experience.

My problem lay in having to finish the course as close to April as possible, and thus have to sacrifice group work. It is impossible for me to go back into sections I have finished a month ago and re-enter debate, whilst the next module is making its demands

Re Kathy

I am replying to my own entry after a month! today as always it is difficult to get my mind back in time: the good part of the extension in time is to look at the application of the material and moreover the deepening awareness that is happening in my life and my life offered to others. In other words this experience has deepened my stillness and listening to and seeing God through others.

Date: Mon May 17 2004 11:55 am

Author: [non-disclosed]


Mijn verwachtingen van gb. zijn wel aangescherpt, aanvankelijk dacht ik dat het alleen over ‘God’ zou gaan, naderhand heb ik begrepen (toegelaten) hoe je eigen levensverhaal mee-bepalend is voor je godsrelatie. Ik zie ook wel mijn weerstand en onvermogen om dat toe te laten. “Leren vanuit je eigen ervaring/je bent je eigen instrument” is voor mij vanzelfsprekend, daarom heb ik veel ‘geleerd’. Er waren meer dan eens verschuivingen in mijn verwachtingen van gb en van het vak mystagogiek. Op dit moment heb ik veel moeite met cases en interventies waarin het bijna alleen gaat om “God en ik”. Muurtje eromheen, ikkigheid, denk ik dan heel ongenuanceerd. En ik vraag me af of een mens ‘heel’ is zonder ander. We hebben de A/ander toch nodig om te leven? God toch niet los verkrijgbaar?

Ik vind het evenwicht nog wel eens tussen de diepte en de breedte in de gb. Daarbij zoek ik ook naar ruimte om op een andere manier te ‘spreken’ over God, (en de ander te verstaan), in beelden, in niet-religieuze taal, in handelen. Oude en nieuwe en blijvende vraag: hoe kan ik mijn intuitie, mijn beleving, ook mijn geloofsbeleving ’t best aanwenden in gb. Het belangrijkste en meest verrijkende is wel het steeds weer teruggebracht worden bij je eigen relatie met God. Dat is geen nieuwe vraag maar het verslonst wel eens.

Re Rinie

Geen 'officiele' reactie maar gewoon 'vers van de lever'
citaat:"veel moeite met cases en interventies waarin het bijna alleen gaat om “God en ik”. Muurtje eromheen, ikkigheid"
Dit herken ik zeker. Ik vond erg veel 'ik' in de cases. Alleen zag ik dat dan wel als een fase in geestelijk leven

Citaat:"Oude en nieuwe en blijvende vraag: hoe kan ik mijn intuïtie, mijn beleving, ook mijn geloofsbeleving ’t best aanwenden in gb.+ andere manier te ‘spreken’ over God, (en de ander te verstaan), in beelden, in niet-religieuze taal, in handelen"
Ook dit spreek mij aan. Je zou in je spreken over andere manieren van 'spreken' over God eens naar de reflectie van Ditta de beer moeten kijken of met haar 'spreken'.

Re Anja

hallo Rinie, het zijn geen opmerkingen 'vers van de lever', ik denk hier al heel lang over na. ik vind 'God-ik-de ander' een heel wezenlijk punt. (Levinas: je ontmoet God in de ogen van de ander, zo word je wie je bent. ik citeer heel vrij, uit mijn hoofd). hetzelfde: het Woord is vlees geworden. (hiermee zijn we weer op bekend terrein). wat bedoel jij met 'het is een fase? de ander komt bij de 'doorwerking'? ik leen een term uit de hermeneutiek van spir. teksten. of bedoel je met 'fase' zoiets als valkuil waar misschien iedereen wel in valt op de geestelijke weg? het tweede daar kan ik inkomen, het eerste vind ik fundamenteel fout. Of bedoel je nog its anders? ik probeer de ander (de werkelijkheid van alledag, 'het vlees')als 'plaats' van de godsontmoeting te ontdekken niet als gevolg. hoe? dat is gb. ik vind het lastig om dit alles zo op te schrijven. ten eerste is blackboard een heel 'grof' middel, zeker als het ook nog in het engels moet (lap ik dus nu aan mijn laars). maar ook omdat geloofsbeleving zo'n kwetsbaar iets is, zo intiem, dan is kritiek heel pijnlijk vooral als het er ongenuanceerd bij blijft. in een gesprek kan meer dan op blackboard ( dat lap ik nu dus ook aan mijn laars). de afgelopen maanden zag ik veel 'God en ik', dat wil ik niet kwijt, maar ik wil méér. mijn kritiek richt zich op vermeende eenzijdigheid. waar zijn mijn blinde vlekken? schiet maar.

Re Rinie

Leuk dat je reageert...
Met fase bedoel ik iets van een 'begintijd in de mystieke weg.. In mijn eigen woorden zou ik het de fase van verliefdheid willen noemen. Daarin is men erg vol van de eigen emoties en bestaat er niets anders dan...
Natuurlijk kun je de vraag stellen & en moet je die blijven stellen of de 'geestelijke weg' / de omvorming niet in geheel andere metaforen verteld kunnen worden. Voor elke poging ben ik daarbij in en het vervolgens kritisch evalueren & vergelijken van de verschillende modellen. Blijft natuurlijk de vraag of zo'n model de ervaringswerkelijkheid van de religieuze weg van mensen 'dekt'.

Re Minie

Anja, vreemd toch hoe we moeten en mogen leren dat het over onze dagelijkse ervaring gaat. Maar juist in dat vreemde, blijf ik mij verwonderen en ligt het Mysterie steeds weer op in alles. Soms kan ik daar over spreken, vaker alleen maar verwijzen; eindelijk breng ik alleen maar over wat ikzelf in praktijk breng.

Re Anja

God, hier en nu, misschien moesten we alleen maar gedichten schrijven of schilderen of koffie schenken in het inloophuis of amnesty-brieven schrijven. maar ja, daarvoor zitten we hier niet. ...het Mysterie dat oplicht in alles...,om je over te verwonderen. ja! het is prachtig als je dat kan herkennen ( het oplichten niet het Geheim zelf)en kan delen. ook als je dat anderen kan laten zien in hun leven. dan is God niet meer Iets, daar en dan, 'in de hemel', of 'aan het eind van de geestelijke weg'. (voor gevorderden).

Re Jacoline

beste Anja, Ik hoor en erken je ergeneris over zoveel íkkigheid': 'god en ik', is dat nu waar het over zou moeten gaan? wordt dat geen navelstaarderij, er is zoveel meer...
tegelijk vraag ik me af of een eerlijke kijk op wie je zelf denkt dat je bent, in relatie tot God, niet alleen onthullend, maar ook heel verrijkend kan zijn op je kijk op anderen, op al het geschapene en hoe God daarin werkt. Anja, God werkt ook via jou, althans zo heb ik het het laatste jaar ervaren. Hoe je woorden geeft aan deze woordeloze ervaring, ja, dat is weer heel wat anders.......

Date: Mon May 17 2004 5:21 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]


Let me first say that I enjoyed it very much. I was a great deal of work and I liked to do the assignment thoroughly.. I learned a lot about the structure of accompaniment and the process of transformation (active & passive).

But ‘on the road’ I got more and more unsecure about my own reading, reactions and intervention. The feedback wasn’t always there (my answers to long?) or to short to learn from. In the small group I had a very good and ‘confronting’ dialogue.

Yes I wanted more personal feedback. About my pitfalls & strengths. But I still have two years ahead so….

Re Ditta

and so long: be!
(and I hope also a little bit happy)

Re Minie

Rinie, more insecure about my own reading, reactions, .... helps me to be open for the o(O)ther.

Re Rinie

to be honest; I find that very difficult; but your right!

Re Ada

Rinie, what a pity you become more and more insecure about your reactions. I wonder: is feedback about your pitfalls and strengths so important for you?

Re Rinie

again to be honest.. yes! The reaction of Minie remebered me about the 'right place to be(desolation)' but that kind of trust & faith is the most difficult thing I have to learn? Just let God be...

Re Kathy

Hi Rinie, I agree - perhaps we only get clarification along the openings and experience called life! I also wondered what the track actually was - so divergent were all our responses. Perhaps I am used to school or teaching environment where the teacher tells and rates? This rating is our own responsibility?( and however con one be given a mark in this) Yes we have forever to learn and apply as we transform! I have enjoyed getting to know you a little!


Date: Tue May 18 2004 9:25 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

First of all I am happy with this course. My most important question was to receive a theoretical base (in Christianity) for my experiences on the process of the spiritual way and spiritual accompaniment. For me the combination in each learning unit of theory and practice; of cases and personal assignments, with all their questions to reflect were very helpful.

May be the most important ideas I acquired is that you can’t learn spiritual accompaniment from a book. It’s always a combination from theory / knowledge and practice, and a combination of accompany and accompanist and above all God. So my ‘basis’ of spiritual accompaniment is broadened. Questions about my own reading, reflection and interventions changed and stayed. The confusion in my own process has changed. I learned to discern between confusion and not-knowing. Knowing is not the essence, God is the essence.

Of course I missed personal feedback; please tell me: I’m right? But I even know that that is never the question. Most important is that I can only go the way with God; He is the real accompanist, for both accompany and accompanist. My own relation with God is the most important.

Re Coleen

Dear Minie, Your third sentence which begins, "For me the combination...." struck a chord within me. I also found the structure and balance of each section in the course most helpful and a real aid to learning the sbject matter. thank you Coleen

Re Ditta

Minie, you missed personal feedback, you want to know if you're right, when do we at last trust our intuitie, that we are interest in the other?

Re Minie

Ditta, I trust my intuitions and interisting in others, but sometimes there is also another voice in me. Most of the time I am able to be friends with that voice; than it helps me to discern and understand my blinkers

Re Ditta

Minie if you don't mind then I start a discussion with you about empathetic understanding, intuition and discernment. (By the way I grow up with horses, and I remember that often they get blinkers so that they reached the aim.)
In the book of Kees Waaijman I don't read about intuition. Sure I'm glad he talk about empathetic understanding and he talks a lot about discernment. But he don't mention intuition (immediate knowing) and that's what I'm missing. Maybe that's why I don't realize that I discern?

Re Minie

Ditta, I think we all need blinkers. For me the question is I am conscious of my blinkers?
My first spiritual accompanist and teacher learned me to acht and use my intuïtion; but afterwards to sit still and 'look' back. What was it that I had seen, heard, tast , felt. etc. And what made that I acted as I did. I learned that in intuition is a lot of subconsciuosness empathic understanding and discernment. May be my intuition is my best teacher in empathic understanding and discernment. But there is also intuition, knowing. For me trust in God (that he wil help me if it is needed) is more important than knowing if it is intuition or emapthic understanding

Re Ditta

this morning I realize, some people , and I also, love the feeling, love the embrase (bodily), just in time when it's difficult, when you feel very alone. I also missed that in the book of Kees Waaijman. Empathetic understanding is sometimes embrase the other, don't you think so? Maybe just that is the presence of God? Today (yesterday) we did that (intuitive)and I like that!

Re Kathy

Yes - I agree we have received a really broad theoretical base. And, yes, very deeply personal isn't it - we needed to go through and internalise, and in so doing, deepen our relationship with God. Agree! I also agree a bit of objective guidance or feedback could have been helpful but perhaps it was a personal journey as you said???


Date: Wed May 19 2004 2:27 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Ik vind het zeer positief dat we tijdens dit collegeblok zelf g.b.ing ontvangen: wat ik in de theorie lees kan ik aan de hand van mijn eigen ervaring beter plaatsen.

Door alle opdrachten en reflecties ben ik mij meer bewust geworden van mijn eigen relatie met God -en dat is pure winst, dat zou je iedereen toewensen!

Waar sta ik nu: ik merk dat ik aan vakantie toe ben. Er is zoveel op mij afgekomen dit jaar, dat ik behoefte heb eerst alles te laten bezinken en op een rijtje te zetten. Allereerst wat mijn eigen geestelijke weg betreft.

Ik heb oog gekregen voor de verschillen in ieders geestelijke weg - dat is verrijkend, zeker. Tegelijk geeft het mij (nu nog) ook het gevoel: hoe zal ik -zelf een beginneling op dit terrein- een ander begeleiden? Ik vind dat nogal wat!

Verder vind ik het nog lastig om g.b.ing te vertalen naar het 'gewone' leven. Ik bedoel: in de casussen kwamen heel specifieke vragen aan de orde. Zo zal dat lang niet altijd gaan: de meeste mensen denken niet in termen van geestelijke weg. Maar hoe zien die 'gewone' vragen er dan uit? Stof genoeg voor komend jaar!

Re Ditta

ada, dat vind ik nu de uitdaging. De verwondering in het gewone dagelijkse leven, in de kleine alle daagse dingen. Kinderen die mogelijkheden zien. Het komend jaar leren dat het gewoon voor het oprapen ligt...

Re Minie

Ada, de geestelijke weg gebeurt in het gewone leven; Kijk, zie en verwonder je hoe God aan het licht komt in alle dagelijkse activiteiten. Vakantie is daar uitstekend voor.


Date: Thu May 20 2004 10:23 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: to fall in love

Well, I tried to handle this module with my empathetic possibilities. My expectations, oh English o no, I haven’t empathy with this language. Theoretical cognitive reflection, oh no. Well I’m a little proud I have done all assignments (the quality, don't talk about that, sorry again) and I'm glad that empathetic understanding involves thoughts.

The essence of spiritual accompaniment was and is for me: presence or better Presence. Try to be and make space that others can be with their possibilities and impossibilities. I read the book of Martin Buber: Meetings. That was a gift. My life, my search to meetings. To love this life, sometimes with mismeeting and sometimes with meeting, but always the longing to be in touch with. And words, they open, they darken and they clear up, and I play by all of these a role.

I realized again, it isn’t a theory, but a conversation, an experience, the happening with God is going on. Longing for the meeting, be in touch with, listening and answering happens intentionally. The holy in between is and there is a holy insecurity between the word of God and the word of the human.(Buber)

So I search to be in touch with and I don’t understand the search to discern. I know I do, but I don’t like it, I want to meet. And so I loved the meetings with you!!!

My question was and is more provoked……how to fall in love...and I'm convinced the love has many colours, at least seven, interesting....

Re Minie

Ditta: How to fall in love? It happens I hope so.

Re Ditta

I believe

Re Coleen

Dear Ditta, You say you have no empathy with English and yet you wrote to beautiful statements which resonated deeply in me.:a) I loved the meetings with you all and b) try to make space that others can be with their possibilities and impossibilities. You must be really formidably eloquent in Hollands!!!!! Thank you Coleen

Re Kathy

Hello Ditta, I was intrigued by your heading - to fall in love - and it made me reaise that's what's ahppening - the deepening of LOVE. Us and within ourselves, with each other, with those we meet, those we accompany, those who accompany us, and the recorded spiritual autobiographers whose levels we have unpeeled and unpeeled and been made to investigate and in so doing personalise.
Yes, you made me realise I'm also proud - grateful to have mastered some of these expectations and kept up with the journey - not easy is it when we live the rest of life! Perhaps the best is that it was so lengthy - they say it takes a solid month for a habit to be put in place - we must thus have changed in these four months
I find your English wonderful - able to conceptualise and express! Brilliant. Kathy

Re Ditta

Kathy, thank you for the words.

Change a habit in a solid month, that's soon. Wow, we can change a lot, what a world of possibilities. I hope we take them.

Ulbe and I, we moved a lot, and we always say it takes us tree years to acclimatize...
...4x12=48 wow 48 aspects which changed?

I wish you LOVE bye, bye, ditta

Date: Thu May 20 2004 8:18 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

In my lifetime I seem to have learned the perils of expectations other than simple ones. My expectations, as I remember them were to learn and to enjoy my discovery, and in this module of Mystagogy I have done both in abundance. I did not seem to acquire clear ideas of the essence of spiritual accompaniment and neither would I want to, nor would I be able to. The essence is enmeshed with and in God and remains mystery. However from the study of the texts and the opportunity to explore in greater depth than before, my own experience, I discovered some sense of what spiritual accompaniment perhaps is, and might become. The one 'beginning question' I had was, "Would and academic study of spiritual accompaniment allow the inclusion of what I perceived as the crucial role of my own experience into the practice?" It was such a relief when it did. I have several new questions, among them, the perennial question, "Where to now?"


Date: Fri May 21 2004 9:39 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Yes I got some clear ideas about the subject, but I also got a lot of new questions and hesitations.

Especially the theory of 5.1 about John of the cross and his image of the statue and letting God paint us made me very carefull.

The question I started with: who am I as a spiritual acoompanist was deepened and will not be solved I am afraid.

I recieved many answers and insights. This course seemed as warming us up to learn more about God and ourselves in this intimate relationships. I liked the mix of theory and practice.

Making new prauers, formulating new deepest desires, reflecting on new transformation processes. To keep ourselves going on.

Re Jacoline

I also got some clear ideas but also more questions etc. Is that what you had expected before? for me it was, but the intensity of the questions and this way of studying was what was at the same time a treasure to me as a burden. Is this something you recognize?

Re Maas

Jacoline and Marjolein as well the treasure as the burden, I do recognize
and I hope I get some time, during the holiday, to let things come together- to give it a place so the questions and the answers can come together
greetings maas

Author: [non-disclosed]

In the theory of spiritual accompaniment it handles about very experienced spiritual accompanists (guru). In the ‘face to face’ has been said that it doesn’t go about how much experience you have, but how you are in contact with your own (limited) experience, how you reflect on it. In the assignments it is also looking for this connection that is important, the connection between theory and your own going of the spiritual way. I find that educative and enriching for me as a person. At the same time I recognize that my own going my spiritual way has consequences for whether I can understand and reflect from the theory at that moment. Since I am not in balance (going my own spiritual way, reflecting from the point of view of the person being accompanied (instead of the accompanist) as in the first year of the Hydepark-group is expected, having my own conversation with a spiritual accompanist who is not so experienced as the accompanist in the book) I didn’t have an ‘over-view’, a general model or what so ever on every moment of the course. So I found it hard to work on assignment 5, being blocked myself at that moment. Working like this asks for a very integrated way of working that I like, but that I cannot do at every time. The deadlines are sometimes a hindrance then, in the same way as life itself is so.

Re Ada

Jacoline, ik herken wat je zegt over het lastige van de combinatie van de theorie aan de ene kant en het gaan van je eigen geestelijke weg (oa. door de g.b.ing). Als je zelf op een bepaald punt bent is het moeilijk (onmogelijk?)voor jezelf enkele stappen vooruit te denken.Mij gaf dat weleens het gevoel: waar gáát het over. Ik ben zelf heel ergens anders.
Mijn hoop/troost is: misschien heb ik er later - alles nog eens teruglezend- meer aan.

Re Kathy

Hi Jacoline, I enjoyed your ideas and reflections. Yes, its been a time of accomodating life and the blocks that arise! It's been 4 months, and you reflect changes.......... perhaps most important, you show a period of personal growth. Reading and sharing your reflection makes me realise and measure my own! Thanks

Re Rinie

beside the practical experiences of the 'hard work' in your evaluation I also heard a lot of desorientation on the way. Maybe our proces of becoming an accopanist is on of growing not-seeing & not-knowing and still going in faith with ourselfs and the other person. With 'trust in God' as our guide? (Hebrew 11 & 12)

Author: [non-disclosed]

In the beginning of this course I had no specific questions. I was very curious about mystagogy in this form by blackboard, because I had already followed the theory by classical colleges (hoorcolleges). In this form you are forced to think about the theory, your own thinking and feeling about the cases and about your own relation with God. It is more clear to me what mystagogy really is and I have been more conscious that mystagogy is to spring in the depth. That implies uncertainty and is on one hand anxious: zoals ik mezelf voor de voeten loop in my spiritual process from time to time, I will do that also in the accompanying I think. I have to trust and to loose grip also in this matter.

On the other hand I have been more certain about my possibilities becoming an accompanist.

Always there was a tension between resistance and challenge in this course. Resistance because of the English language and inner resistance. The inner resistance comes from the fact that I could not do the things on blackboard in a rapid way: I needed much time and rest to go inside and think and formulate. The challenge gave me the opportunity to overcome the resistance and to go inside to see what is happening.

I have made steps and have gained victories on myself.

The face to face sessions made me each time more enthusiastic about the course: the wondering of how God is working in each of us and that we can communicate that.

Author: [non-disclosed]

Inconsistencies as instrument of empathetic understanding
When I started this course, I had not an exact idea of what I could expect. I hoped to achieve some tools and a bit insight to become more acquainted to ‘deal with the mystic’. That is what I think now is mystagogy.
And I have learned a lot about that. Not an exact method. But it is more a few principles which are very imported in the accompaniment of people and the way to deal with the spiritual journey of people and of my self. Some of that principles where new and others where well known from pastoral work.
It is not only this course ‘mystagogy’, but it is more the combination with the other elements. The reading of mystical texts and the practical exercises of Hydepark, and the receiving of accompaniment. Although we had to play different roles: in Hydepark we studied from the point of view of being accompanied; in Nijmegen we looked at cases from the other side, as the one who gives the accompaniment. I found this a good combination. Because in practise it will also go this way: as a teacher you also stay a pupil.
Two things where for me the most remarkable: That your own spiritual journey and experience is a good instrument for the accompaniment. So keep on looking after that. And with all the technics there are to learn, this is the most important. And furthermore: that the real spiritual accompaniment is coming from God. And this may give a kind of trust [ it can take away the fear that you are doing some things wrong] in the way that you are going with the person to whom you give accompaniment. For it is also God who is going along on this way.
And besides this there remain a lot of questions, but I also had expected that.
It took a lot of time to get used to this way of learning, by discussion on computer. And in English i can not always say well the things I mean.

Re Jacoline

hello Maas,
I found it amusing (grappig) that you look upon the combination of the different roles of studying in Hydepark from the point of view of being accompanied, and in Nijmegen looking at the cases from the other side, as the one who gives the accompaniment, as a good combination. I have annoyed myself many times the last weeks about that combination, and now I realize that has everything to do with my process: not wanting to be a spiritual accompanist already. I still think it is the best starting point to start looking from the point of view of the person being accompanied, where you can learn a lot of your own experiences there for the (later?) rol of accompanist. I also annoy myself to people who want to accompany al the time, but were never in the position of the accompanied. Accompaniment becomes a farce then. At the same time I see that you are right when you write: in practise it will also go this way: as a teacher you also stay a pupil. I hope one day I can become also such a teacher.

'the real accompaniment is coming from God' that is appealing to me, because I hear there both your faith and trust in God, and your faith and trust in yourself, going your very own spiritual way, leaded by God. I think that this is the most valuable insight/gift one can get from God: being yourself loved, created and accepted by God.

Re Rinie

The surprise about you own personal way as an instument i recognise & God being the accompanist. This makes our job a strange and paradoxal work.

Re Maas

Jacoline, to tell the truth
most of the time I feel more the pupil than the teacher, and that is certainly the case in this course. so one day I hope, I do also get some more of a teacher. greetings maas

Re Rinie

please stay pupil!!


Author: [non-disclosed]

The module haven’t brought me a training in s.a., but I got a good idea of some important issues it consists of:
1.        The essence of s.a. is to clarify the spiritual way, so the developing relation of the person with God.
2.        My own relationship with God, and my reflection on it, is essential in being a spiritual accompanist.
3.        I learned how different the spiritual ways can be; and that this demands a great respect for the other person as well as for Gods accompaniment of this person.
4.        It is important to try to understand and love the other person unconditionaly – without judgement or manipulation; so the other feels safe and free to explore his experiences.
5.        Although the accompanist tries to understand the other person, he also listens carefully to his own intuition and can ask questions, confront, suggest certain exercises.
6.        The accompanist has to be aware of his own desires and projections, and of his aim not to be in charge, but to let God do the accompaniment through him.
7.        The different ‘layers’ in the spiritual way, and the important ax of activity / passivity.

I started with the desire to know the succesive spiritual stages one has to follow. And with the question how to discern healthy developments. Not everything is clear yet, but I have surely gained more insight.

New questions:
A new question for me is whether there is really such a difference with pastoral care. In my experience of the clinical pastoral formation (KPV) and in my pastoral practice, it seems to be a lot the same. Another question: I would have liked to see a case of someone engaged in a spiritual journey in the direction of New Age or alternative therapy.

Of course I wanted to have an overall picture of spiritual accompaniment. But what is puzzling me more is to see how the different assignements (theory – cases – biography – own experiences) are influencing one another.
·        The groups were to large, even split.
·        It was to much work to do it on time and with the same involvement all the time.
·        I let my collegues in the small group down by not reacting (on time).
·        I went very deep in the prayer assignment, but couldn’t invest as much in the following. I missed the face-to-face experience, the small group in life.
My resistances:
·        In writing about my own experiences I had resistance in writing down something intimate and not have a living reaction – I felt somewhat on my own.
·        In reacting on others I had difficulties not seeing how my reaction was received. I don’t want to hurt anybody. This originates – as I see it now – in a fear for others being mad at me; originating from my childhoods fear to lose my parents love.

Re Maas

Emmanuel, I do agree with your remarks: what is the diffence with pastoral care - at this moment I do not see that much difference. The reason for that can be, that I do have a lot of pastoral practises and in spiritual accompanient it is the other way round: I am the one who is accompanied - may next year when we go to the practise of accompaning people, it will become more clear
I found it also difficult to communicate at the computer and not seeing any one in front of me [ ni face, no eyes, no hands and so on] greetings maas


6.5b (class 1) Reflection on empathetic understanding

Date: Wed Mar 24 2004 10:35 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

I am sure there is much in common since there are common human fears and experiences. I understand the hesitations of others and where they are coming from , and admire those that are totally open. At the same time I can’t help but feel a sense of trepidation for them as they open up- almost a fear for them as they become more vulnerable.

The concept of empathetic understanding cultivated within me, a sense of respect for the other person, of acknowledging their trust and openness- a reverence for their humility, for revealing their weaknesses and fears, failures and guilts. I recognize and realize how difficult it is and how unworthy I am of their trust. There is also a sense of respect for the personal path which the confidant is called to follow, for the role of accompanist as ‘midwife’- a facilitator of new life and the wisdom to recognize the right time for the birthing. I have a renewed respect for the suffering ‘with’ the other- only those who truly suffered themselves, have the right to talk about suffering. This is an obvious fruit of love. The accompanist is a channel through which God’s love streams to the person being accompanied. The accompanist is a living witness of Christ’s love and of His presence.

Re Teun

You wrote: 'the accompanist is a living witness of Christ's love'. You give me an eye-opener: Christ indeed could listen empathetic without judgement, and when necessary he gave a judgement. He looks with pity to people, not first with sympathy. Thanks, Teun

Author: [non-disclosed]

Compared with my previous reactions and reflections, I can say that what I have gained and understood on emphatic understanding changes a lot of my way of perception. Before, I found it difficult to digest what others wanted and or intend to say and articulate. At times, it is confusing, but now, I can start to have an open eye and an open heart to enter into the eyes of the others and see what they see and ask what they ask. it is an enlightening experience and encounter because in so doing, I learned to enter into the world of the others and own as well their questions and reflections as my own.

Author: [non-disclosed]

Empathetic understanding would mean penetrating to the soul of one's life story/ having immersed oneself to the deepest core of the experience and having commitment to partake of in the scenario.
Though it is easier said than done, empathetic understanding must be an indispensable element in accompaniment. Personally, I had the tendency to allow my cognitive map working right away on the disclosure of the directee. Prejudices are already formulated at the back of my mind. Constructing immediate reactions and comments would hamper the essence of accompaniment because holy listening to the whole episode of the story has not been appropriately executed. Moreover, I am also tempted to produce solutions with my goal to rescue the directee, as if wanting her/him to give a pain reliever immediately. This would curtail the dynamics of an authentic accompaniment. I realized that I had not been an accompanist but a "lecturer" at times doing most of the talking trying to explain many things. The process must be client-centered. The accompanist has only subsidiary role, a facilitator who is supposed to listen most intently, following every word and gesture that are carried out in the story told. I was also a "soul savior" having the tendency to uplift the broken-hearted offering encouraging words just to soothe the soul. I have not given myself the chance to participate in one's emotions.
However, the concept of empathetic understanding challenged me to be silent, to be attentive and to be reflective of my own style of accompanying people. Am I really a good listener? What does it entail to be a co-journeyer? How have I listened to their stories? Having a clear grasp of empathetic understanding will definitely move me to have a finger on the pie, on the life story of the accompanied. I, myself could identify with the flow of events in the scene because I have allowed myself to get into the bottom of the story. Indeed, understanding others is understanding first my personal inner dynamics for I cannot give what I don't have.


Date: Tue Jun 1 2004 2:13 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

the notion of Emphatic understanding indeed changed my way of reacting to people , when I got familiar with it a number of years ago. It makes listening both easier and more difficult: easier, as not always do I have to interfere and come up with something, the other person can be trusted to find out herself what is a good next step. More difficult: it is hard forn active person like me to be still and listen emphatically. But once I realised how welcome this would be for the other person, I could easily let go my preoccupations and let it be. it opened up time for me to look for the "GOd-part"in people's stories, and I've been rewarded for that, for so often I've seen how sometimes in spite of us God si there to lead us on. Very comforting for myself as a director too.


Date: Tue Jun 1 2004 6:01 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

 When I hear the word "empathatic understanding , I realise that I exercise sevaral years with something that looks a bit similar. In a communication-language it is called :"active listening." It's not so easy as it seems .It's a skill to be grown, maybe a way of life: before re-acting, listen to your partner/opponent in order to try to understand his/her wish or need. Look from the other perspective. The word "Active "means that I quit my point of view for a while and try to come into the skin of the other, that is an activity in your mind.

Well, the empathetic listenings looks like this but is more dedicated in my point of view .Because I have to listen to the silent whispers of the H Ghost as well.

Dedicated listening: sometimes we do already, sometimes we don't. It's a lifetime process, I think. Sorry,missing sentence :after thinking about the wish or need you try to express this in a soft question like: 'Am I right if...(klopt het dat u/je ...)


Sorry,I left for dinner!This soft questioning=trying to come to the underlaying, hidden question.
Important for empathetic(dedicated) listening is:
-to be real(no fake):be honest ,sometimes I have less room in my heart and mind. I am a human being ,not a robot
-To have time: time to focus on, not in a hurry
-To realize our dependence of God. It's not my achievement that I breathe, nor my partner/opponent that he does so.(Is dit nog engels?) Finally, we live and are on Holy ground and He is with us.


Date: Wed Jun 2 2004 11:58 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Empathisch verstaan is volgens mij een proces, een levenswijze waar je heel je leven mee bezig bent en in mag groeien. In de begeleiding, maar ook dikwijls in het leven, is het volgens mij luisteren naar de ander, luisteren naar jezelf, luisteren naar wat je gewaar wordt van de Eeuwige. Dat is niet simpel, want dikwijls strookt dit niet met elkaar.

En dan toch terug durven geven wat je gewaar wordt aan de ander.


Date: Wed Jun 2 2004 2:42 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

For me helped most the distinction between empathy and sympathy. I think I always have mixed that (as earlier this year I learned the difference between 'experience' and 'feeling'). So in s.a. you are asked to go in the skin of the other one, without the need of possitive feelings. It has more to do with being surprised in all possibilities God has given to us, human beings. This course deepened the loving way God goes with us, and the needing of discernement to share this way with other people.

Re Wendela

Hello Teun,I,m glad for you that you may experienced God as deep Love.Hartelijke groet van wendela


Date: Thu Jun 3 2004 1:44 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

When i read the about empathetic understanding,i discovered how important it is to keep a reasonable distance in order to understand who is happening inside and outside me. Before hand, i was making a mistake of immersing myself in the the problems of others in pretence of being sympthetic. Just to give a short story, during my days in the seminary, i was a signed as a catechist in one of our local churches. I was well prepared to do anything that would make people understand God and immerse themselves in the liturgical life of the church. Through Grace, I successfully managed to bring majority of the Church members to the reality of God-man relationship. Unknowingly some memebers become very close to me as their catechist and gradually i started entering into their own personally problems. The burdens became too haevy for me to bear because, i had not keep a distance in order to understand the sort of hardships they were encountering. Nevertheless, i reflecetd on how to get out and help these people to understand their problems. The greatest lesson i learnt was, a distance is the gate to understanding and understanding is the royal gate to solutions and solutions are the climax of our human joy here on earth.


Date: Thu Jun 3 2004 2:43 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Some of my reflections are as follows:

I found the concept of empathetic understanding, as described by Edith Stein an interesting component of the course material.The phenomenlogical approach clearly can make a significant contribution to the miracle of human communication. But how do we prevent empathetic understanding from collapsing into relativism in the Church's cultural history today - in a world of enlightened, rational, sceptical discourse, with a culture of pluralism which can lead to relativism? One needs to know the difference. Sr. Finbarr


6.5b (class 2) Reflection on empathetic understanding


Date: Thu May 27 2004 12:26 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

The concept of empathetic understanding made me more aware than before of the validity and sacredness of the other's experience and life-state. It also increased my sense of tolerance and reverence for the other's lived experience of God. The concept in some way, allowed me to experience a new adventure of discovery in my way of relating to someone else and their experience. This sense of discovery has, like all discovery does, opened me to new and expanded experience, in this instance, of others.

I sense that among the reasons for this expansion of experience, is that I had not previously been aware of an ability to project my experience into the experience of another, and the outcome of this with its accompanying vista and experience of realism and understanding. for the other.

I am most grateful for the exposure to this enriching concept.

Re Ditta

Coleen, thank you for your words (6.3 and 6.5a etc). I like this words about the discovery very much. Our life a discovery of wondering... I wish you peace and all the best bye, bye, ditta


Date: Sun May 30 2004 6:48 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: reflection on empathetic understanding

I still have a lot of questions about the concept and possibilities of empathetic understanding. In 6.5.a as in 6.2 and other assignments, I like the combination of looking for your own experiences and hindrances, and then looking for what is appealing to you or just the contrary in the reactions of others. But that is still something else than trying to discern what the Fremderfahrung from the other person is. I myself find it very difficult, if not impossible to do so, because in this course I am so absorbed by my own questions and reflections, that there is little room for other people’s own experiences by themselves. I do believe however that were you are in touch with your own experiences and hindrances, you can open up to people with somewhat likewise hindrances. But is it also possible to people thinking from rather different and very other experiences: experiences that you don't know primordial at all?

Re Rinie

I don't know if I understand you, but I think I feel very much the same. There is some kind of not-knowing & not-understanding & completely impossible empathy when we meet someone else. But that is the place where we start knowing.


Date: Mon May 31 2004 8:59 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: empathic understanding

The concept of empathetic understanding wasn’t new for me, but the explanation helped me to look for my own using of it. What confirmed me most is: ‘we view the mental processes of other’s on the basis of the perception of their outward manifestation in the organism’. That’s the basic of all my questions to daily life.

In reading this concept I realized how important some distance is; distance form the other and from my own process. When I am to busy I have no space to ‘see and go in the life off the other’ (verplaatsen). So the concept helps me to asks myself continually two questions:

- do I see the other, not in his/her form, but in who he/she really is?

- am I really interested in the other, or I am looking for myself?

Well and I try to see the other and discern between my own recognition and the other one, but I am sure I am not always able to do it really; in praying and asking God for help I create space for the other and myself.

Re Rinie

your reaction made things more clear for me..

Re Fien

I fully agree with you, when you talk of the distance which is necessary to see the other as other. The pitfall is for me quickly, when I am not alert or to busy with myself that I think (ervan uitga) that the other thinks and feels like me.
Thank you for your clearness.


Date: Mon May 31 2004 10:20 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: to soon or intuition?

This week, (last week) I realized again I think to soon that by empathetic way, I understood the other. Wasn't I really interest in what the other was saying? Anyhow I haven't ask further about some experiences. I think to soon I already know, or was this an intuitive knowing?

"In the case of the other, however, I am dealing with a self-interpreting reality (“it communicates with me”) and a reality which itself interprets the world (“it faces the world”). In both forms of interpretation (self-interpretation and world-interpretation) the other as “I” is immediately involved. It immediately makes itself felt as “I”: it wills, speaks, and looks. On account of the immediacy of a self-giving “I,” Edith Stein can say: “I not only know what is expressed in facial expressions and gestures, but also what is hidden behind them. Perhaps I see that someone makes a sad face but is not really sad.” That is to say: I not only see facial expressions which invite me to perform an act of interpretation (I spontaneously look for the meaning) but I also see what is expressed in those facial expressions: an alter ego that I cannot interpret, because it simply interprets itself and is therefore hidden from my interpretive vantage point"

Talks Edith Stein here about intuitive knowing?

And I learned something important about the distance: "In empathy, however, we are not primarily dealing with the alter ego’s relation to me but with his intentional relation to the world"


Date: Tue Jun 1 2004 9:39 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Subject: 6.5b (Class 2) Reflection on empathetic understanding

Empathic understanding; I think this is the most problematic issue of the course for me. This assignment was to hard for me I think (or I'm to tired to understand anything anymore...)

Still I think it is very hard for me to discern between projection and the empathic understanding of the other.

In the reactions of some of my fellow students I recognize the being captured by your own feelings...


Date: Tue Jun 1 2004 4:00 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

Attachment: (1)'_hence_the_alter_ego_does_not_primarily_deliniate_itself_as_a_'you'_over_against_me._in_empathy_theotherness_of_(being_'you')_forms_the_background_against_which_'selfhood::_(being_ (0 bytes)

My reation has changed, having been taken through the series of exercises and over a period of time, which allowed me to think of real life application of empathy. I have been more able to separate out empathy from sympathy and increasngly value the other's journey and uniqueness - the alter ego, which experiences itself as "I" just as I experience myself as "I". (1)(even in difficult personal relationships I can now be a little more 'watchful' of this. I tend to the 'subject focussed interpretation' mentioned by Waaijman (P 941), that is the EXPERIENCE (Erlebnis) reflected in the expression (Ausdruk). I appreciate the self interpretation of the other, the unfolding reality ... 'effectively, cognitively, volitionally, existentially.(P939) This makes the seemingly unknowably difficult case possible, in terms of empathetic. (as in the case studies) I am hugely grateful as it helps in counselling, business, church and work, and God's spontaneous opportunities.


Date: Wed Jun 2 2004 11:31 am

Author: [non-disclosed]

Een waardevolle afsluiting van dit college-blok! Mocht iemand al de gedachte hebben gekregen: g.b.ing dat doe ik wel even, dan sta je nu weer met beide benen op de grond en besef je dat het eigenlijk een geschenk is als je de ander 'echt' verstaat.

Ik ben mij bewust geworden hoe belangrijk het is - en tegelijk hoe moeilijk- om eerst je eigen levensverhaal te 'verstaan'. Anders kan dat jou bij voorbaat al blokkeren om de ander te verstaan. Dat geldt ook als je zelf midden in problemen of vragen zit. Voor je het weet ben je meer met jezelf bezig dan dat je echt luistert naar de ander.

Een bemoediging vind ik de bijna laatste zin uit het boek:'van doorslaggevend belang voor het verstaan van de ervaring is de interesse'. Vanuit interesse in de ander mag je op weg gaan en mag je ook fouten maken. Het hangt niet allemaal van jou af! Gelukkig niet!


Date: Wed Jun 2 2004 8:57 pm

Author: [non-disclosed]

ik heb niet zoveel gereageerd, ik merk dat ik aan het eind van de cursus helemaal áan het eind ben'. empathie, ik denk dat dat altijd al de/een basis is van mijn werk. ik zal wel heel vaak de plank misgeslagen hebben. soms moet ik de balans niet te ver door laten slaan naar de ander: ik ben er zelf ook nog met mijn eigenschappen, goed en slecht. dus ook voldoende tegengeluid laten horen. soms houd ik wel van een stevige confrontatie!.

Author: [non-disclosed]

it was not new for me. But I realize that i am always eager to make some mistakes. To soon I take the conclusion that I have listened carefully and know what the other has experienced - looking at my own experience.
Each time I have to remember my self that two persons that are involved in the same event can appeal to complete different feelings and emotions by them; and even the expression of that feelings and emotions, even when thet use the same words, can mean something different
that makes it so difficult to understand someone and to really help.
So it means that as a g.b. [ or s. a. ] you may have many trust in the proces that the other person is going through [ or: in which od is going with him or her] and you are just a spectator. maas