Lately, a few awesome non-Catholics have helped me realize that–at times– I struggle with Spiritual Imperialism. What is Spiritual Imperialism you might ask?
If our lives have been enhanced after we enjoy an experience, learn a lesson, or hear a call, it is only natural for us to believe that our experience, lesson, or call, is the way, right? After laying for too long in the darkness, our candle ignites, and we want to share our light with others.
I’ve been fortunate enough to struggle in my life, and through my struggle, I’ve grown as a person. Out of a genuine sense of altruism, I’ve sought to share what I’ve learned with others. But, as is usually the case with these sorts of things, I had (and still have) more to learn.
The seeds that took root and brought forth fruit in my life may never flourish in someone else’s garden. What works for some doesn’t always work for others. Is there ever really one way? Or are we all questing in a direction, striving to grow ever closer to the true source of light?
Rather than deploying subconscious Spiritual Imperialism–an approach whereby one person desires for another to accept and employ the person’s ideals and beliefs–I am now striving to meet people where they are, respecting their individuality, and being open to learn from their perspective.
This approach requires humility, trust me. But I find it much easier to act humbly after asking myself this question: “Are You Sure?”
Do any of us contain all truth within our tiny brains? Do any of us really know the whole story? I don’t . . . so rather than expecting people to be like me, I am going to try to love everyone always and accept the notion that they might have something to teach me.
As long as we’re questing in the right direction, that’s what matters most of all.