Evil?

 

Some people like to use the word evil.

It’s easy to understand why.

It’s part of our culture. Christianity likes to do the same. (Even if it initially was to discredit competing religions.)

It makes it simple.

We don’t have to look for complex answers to why people behave the way they do.

We can use simplistic solutions. We can tell ourselves that everything will be good if we just get rid of the evil people.

We can put it on others and keep ourselves safely on the good side.

And yet, it is an overly simplistic term. It robs us of the opportunity to a more real understanding which can help us deal with it in a more constructive way.

And that too seems very obvious, but it apparently isn’t to everyone yet.

So what’s behind what looks like evil?

One answer is trauma. When we are traumatized – whether it’s from social conditions or personal interactions – one way to deal with it is to react to it through dehumanizing others and using verbal or physical violence. And that can certainly appear as “evil”.

So what’s the solution? In some ways, the solution is also simple. It is to create a society where people’s basic needs are taken care of. Where food, shelter, education, and health is taken care of. Where there is less inequality globally and within regions. Where people who suffer receive help to heal and get back on their feet.

This is already in place in some countries, mainly in Northern Europe, although there is always room for improvement. To have this happen globally is a taller order, partly because many are opposed to it.

Some are opposed to it since it benefits some to have a great deal of inequality. The current neoliberal ideology, adopted by many in industrialized countries, ensures continued and perhaps widening inequality.

And ironically, some who are traumatized adopt a strong us vs. them ideology which prevents them from supporting policies benefiting everyone – including themselves. (We see this in the US, including among many current Trump supporters.)

Note: I am not blind to the irony in calling “evil” an overly simple label and then proceed to give a relatively simple answer and solution…

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Evil, pain, confused love

 

When we see actions that seem less than loving in ourselves and others, we interpret it in different ways. And these interpretations are based on our experience, understanding, and assumptions about people and life.

Behavior: Theft, lying, killing etc.

Surface psychology: Greed, anger, jealousy.

Moralistic, metaphysical: Evil.

Evolutionary: Behavior that, in some situations, helps us survive and bring up children.

Cultural and social perspective: Learned patterns. Learned ways of dealing with pain, fear, being a human in the world.

Family dynamics: A natural and understandable reaction to certain family dynamics.

Ordinary psychology: Coming from pain, wounds, trauma, reactivity.

Fear perspective: Reaction to unloved and unquestioned fear. Or, more precisely, unloved fear and reaction to the fear, and unquestioned assumptions behind the fear and the reaction to the fear.

Love and inquiry perspective: How we sometimes live when parts of us and our experience are unloved and unquestioned.

Living Inquiries: Deficient self, trying to protect an identity and/or fill a perceived hole.

The Work: The natural consequences of beliefs and identifications.

Satsang inquiry: Worried love, confused love, misguided love. An expression of love for the imagined self, trying to protect the imagined self.

Self-inquiry: Unquestioned assumption of being a separate self. Unexamined experience of (a) this seamless field of experience (b) being split, and (c) identifying with one part (me, I), and seeing the rest as “other” (others, the wider world).

Awareness: The play of awareness/awakeness.

Spirit: Divine play, lila.

Evil, confusion, love

 

We can say that something is evil, or appears evil to us, or we chose to label it evil. (Which is learned from our culture.)

We can also say that what appears evil is really from confusion, it’s misguided, it’s from unloved and unquestioned fear, wounds, trauma, beliefs and identifications.

We can say that this, in turn, comes from an attempt to protect the imagined self, and so can be seen as love.

And we can say that it’s all awareness, it’s all happening within and as awareness and love.

Either of these are valid in their own way. And it can be a relief to find the three last ones in own experience, through specific examples.

Practically…..

If I talk with someone who seem to see the first of these, I wouldn’t jump to the third or fourth. I would perhaps suggest that it comes from fear, wounds and trauma, and that it’s an attempt to protect the self.

And for myself, I explore what’s here. I can hold satsang with what’s here in myself, and see what’s there. You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really? (Each of these are gentle questions. Is it here to protect me? In what way is it protecting me? What is it protecting?)

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Evil

 

Evil – what is it?

To me, filtered through my way of perceiving right now, it looks like this:

It comes from beliefs, identifications, unexamined fear, a desire to protect the imagined self.

It takes the form of hatred, numbness, strong projections, lack of empathy, and more.

It’s tempting because it may seem like a quick fix, it may seem to get us something.

And in this way, what can be labeled evil is not so different from what happens when any thought is believed. It’s just more extreme, and more harmful in a conventional sense. It also comes from a deep wound, which is unmet by love, and the response to this takes an especially destructive form.

We all have it in us. If we see it “out there” in others or the world, it’s because we know it from ourselves. And the invitation is to meet this too with love, with understanding, and through inquiry into the stories creating it – the fears, wounds, and pain.

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Satsang with the devil

 

I am exploring holding satsang with the devil in my dream, his representative, and the witch from my recurrent childhood dream.

You are welcome here.

Thank you for protecting me.

How would you like me to be with you?

What would satisfy you forever?

What are you really?

It’s very interesting to explore these questions in relation to the devil or the witch from my childhood dream.

You are welcome here. I notice hesitation, some fear. It’s an unfamiliar orientation. What will happen if I welcome the devil or the witch? I am taught to not welcome (apparent) evil, to push it away. Something terrible may happen. I am doing something wrong.

Thank you for protecting me. In what way are my images of the devil or the witch protecting me? How do I use these images to protect myself? I see I do. I create images of evil to protect myself, to keep it at bay, to push it away. It’s all innocent. It’s all my images. (And recognizing that doesn’t mean I leave my common sense.)

How would you like me to be with you? Both wants me to treat them with respect, and also with firmness. Not allowing them to take over, to have their way.

What would satisfy you forever? Respect. Love. Rest. Recognized as innocent. As love.

What are you really? Images. Awareness. Spirit. Christ.

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Dream: The devil

 

I am in a quite large old American car, and a man in a blue suit is in the back seat. He has some sort of connection with the devil, and I know the devil will arrive shortly. Somehow, I am able to do something that prevents him from coming there and then.

This dream helps me see that I still see certain things as inherently bad and evil, and I wish to meet that too with love. It feels much more peaceful, more aligned with reality. What do I see as bad, wrong or evil? What in the world do I see as wrong, bad, evil? What in myself do I see as bad, wrong, evil? How is it to meet it in satsang, in inquiry, with ho’oponopono, with love? What fears come up? How is it to meet these fears in satsang, in inquiry, with ho’o, with love?