The Spirit of Counsel

Spiritual Perspectives in the Counselling Process




Then a shoot shall grow from the stock of Jesse,
    and a branch shall spring from his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    a spirit of counsel and power,
    a spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2

For how can any man learn what is God's plan? How can he apprehend what the Lord's will is? The reasoning of men is feeble, and our plans are fallible; because a perishable body weighs down the soul, and its frame of clay burdens the mind so full of thoughts. With difficulty we guess even at things on earth, and laboriously find out what lies before our feet; and who has ever traced out what is in heaven? Who ever learnt to know thy purposes, unless thou hadst given him wisdom and sent thy holy spirit down from heaven on high?
     Wisdom of Solomon 9:13-17


Counselling assumes an increasing importance in the crowded, impersonal world in which we live. In the noise and bustle of the present moment, when everybody seems to be engaged in frantic activity that often bears disturbingly meagre fruits, there is more than the occasional person who seeks desperately for someone simply to listen to him. A relationship of silent attention can in itself release emotional tension, and if it is enriched by understanding words, a new perspective may be given to the distraught person so that he can proceed on his way enlightened and at peace with himself and the world.

There is a difference between the knowledge that comes from scientific research into the various fields of human activity and the wisdom that is the fruit of deep human experience over the ages. Expert knowledge is invaluable in bringing us to a more complete understanding of the various problems that confront humanity, so that their causes may be dealt with as early as possible. But wisdom teaches us how to cope with the problem as it appears in our life. It focuses our thoughts on to less tangible realms of meaning and purpose; it sees life not only as an event to be experienced and enjoyed but also as an essential way towards growth into a full person. The counsellor therefore needs a comprehensive vision of life in which the various discordant aspects of existence can be assembled in a wider context, so that none need be dismissed as irrelevant or useless. The wise counsellor is always grateful for the understanding that the specialist can bring, but at the same time he remains mindful of the insights of the perennial wisdom that is the glory of the world's treasury of spirituality throughout all ages. To bring together the old and the new in creative tension is the work of wisdom at its highest.

To be an effective counsellor is to be open to the Holy Spirit. All who would know the counsel of the Holy Spirit must first submit in silent fortitude as they hear the truth about themselves as revealed by that Spirit. Then they can be silent in humility before the mystery of another person's life story. When ignorance is adorned with humility and given to God in devotion, the Holy Spirit penetrates the cloud of incomprehension and illuminates the dark places of the human personality with His radiance.

This book indicates how silent trust and openness to the wisdom of God can bring the counsellor close to his client, so that an understanding far greater than that deriving from human knowledge can lead all who are attentive on the path from fear and perplexity to truth, renewal and transformation. In the counsel that proceeds from the Holy Spirit the wisdom of God is aligned to His love, which we in turn give to those around us. A day's experience in the mighty roar of creation's thrust is more valuable to the counsellor than many years' reading of specialised texts. Our life story is our own precious book, and each new experience adds to its contents.

  • Chapter 1
  • The Way of the Spirit
  • Chapter 2
  • Illuminated Self-Love
  • Chapter 3
  • Self-Discovery and Illumination
  • Chapter 4
  • The Path of Counsel
  • Chapter 5
  • Bearing One Another's Burdens
  • Chapter 6
  • The Way of Unknowing
  • Chapter 7
  • Psychic Communion and Counselling
  • Chapter 8
  • The Discernment of Spirits
  • Chapter 9
  • Counselling Towards Liberation
  • Chapter 10
  • Discipline in the Service of Freedom
  • Chapter 11
  • The Counsel of Perfection
  • Chapter 12
  • The Need to be Wanted
  • Chapter 13
  • The Identity Crisis
  • Chapter 14
  • Matters of Life and Death
  • Chapter 15
  • Counselling for Death
  • Chapter 16
  • Intimations of Joy
  • The End of Counsel
  • Spirit of Counsel Zip
  • Book as WinZip file

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    copyright©1983 by Martin Israel.