If people don’t walk in, don’t slam the door on their face
When we start practicing spiritual life, our life becomes enriched with deep meaning and sublime joy. Naturally, we desire that others become similarly enriched. So, we may invite them for some programs, thus opening the door to spiritual life.
However, many, even most, people are spiritually unenthusiastic. Seeing their reluctance, we may think that we just need to persuade them more forcefully. When they stay apathetic, or even become antipathetic, because of our forcefulness, we may become frustrated and bang the door shut in their face. That is, we may label them negatively, blaming or shaming them for their listlessness. The Bhagavad-gita (03.26) cautions that rather than disturbing unreceptive people, we can encourage them to progress gradually.
Such encouragement requires that we don’t take their coldness personally; we needn’t see their unwillingness as our personal failure or as evidence that they are bad. Everyone has been endowed with free will. Even God doesn’t force them against their free will – how can we? People use their free will according to their understanding of life’s purpose. That understanding is shaped by where they are in their multi-life spiritual evolution. As they all are at different stages in that evolution, their spiritual receptivity differs.
All we can do for others is open the door to spiritual life, describe the treasures therein and invite them. If they refuse, we can end the interaction cordially and offer our prayers for their well-being. By thus concluding the interaction positively, we keep the spiritual door open for them.
In due time, they may seek something beyond material things, being prompted by life’s ups and downs – and by Krishna from within their hearts. Based on their past positive recollections, they will then enter the door we had opened long ago and, over time, become spiritually enriched.
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