Meeting people where they are

At the core of most spiritual journeys is the fundamental understanding that we are here on Earth as souls having the human experience. It is generally understood that we are here to learn about our true nature, live a life in alignment with our higher Self and merge back with Creator, Source and/or have eternal life after death.

However, not everyone resonates with these teachings from the get go, nor do I feel it is necessary that someone commit to such ideologies to benefit from spirituality. Sometimes, people only want to start mindfulness to clear out their minds or cope with daily life stresses better. Sure, more benefits will come the more we surrender ourselves to the spiritual journey, but isn’t that true for everyone on the path?

Rather than be divisive, let us focus on whatever qualities we share and multiply that. Leave the differences behind. This is true for spiritual friendships but also within the client therapist relationship. As a therapist, we will often have a deeper or a different spiritual practice than our clients, so it is necessary we learn to become fluid in our interactions.

A few quick tips I have when incorporating spirituality into therapy or discourse:

  • Find common ground and use that as the basis of spiritual intervention e.g. nature, mindfulness, joyful activity
  • Do talk about common spiritual practices and beliefs in an open-minded manner
  • Help the other make empowered decisions for themselves towards their spiritual journey
  • Do not introduce new concepts or personal practices unless the other has clearly expressed interest
  • Do not force personal beliefs on the other
  • Be mindful when sharing personal spiritual experiences
  • ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to the other with a clear mind to understand what is it THEY want from your therapy or the discourse! Do they have specific questions they need answered?

I use these strategies whenever I am having spiritual talk – clients and non-clients. This is because whenever we are discussing spirituality, it is for our mutual benefit. The purpose of spiritual discourse is not to force our opinions on others. Rather, it is a safe and open-minded space of growth, a time to bring new seeds of ideas into our practice. It is us, as individuals to choose whether we accept and want to take onboard the new information we have learnt, or let is pass. It is the individuals choice to consider whether the new wisdom will be of benefit or will bring harm to themselves.

So let us be mindful of how we present our teachings to others when we are speaking 1:1. Let’s consciously make effort to meet people where they are, rather than where we are. Since practising this, I have been able to build deeper relationships with those around me by really understanding what they are going through, rather than forcing my ideas on them.

Bonus Pro Tip

Help others clarify their own questions before giving an answer.

I have noticed many people start off with a very deep question, but after a little probing, it becomes quite different and much more simpler. I’ve realised I had spent a lot of energy giving the wrong answers to people because they were confused by their own questions. A lot of people have very simple questions that need very simple answers. When we are able to clarify the initial questions, then we are not only more helpful to others, but we can also use our energy more wisely.