just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Thoughts on the Notion of ‘Evil’

Published on 20/09/11
by randy

We Didn't Call Certain Plants 'Weeds' Until the 16th Century

How Do You Define 'Weed'?

It seems we’ve gotten ourselves into quite a mess through our American tendency to objectify ‘evil’.  Can we move to a more helpful definition of this word?  When we try to describe it as something bad which exists outside of us we naturally set ourselves up for increased war.  Our great spiritual teachers have implored us to see ourselves in each other, no exception.  Yet, we continue to compare ourselves to others, judging others as better or worse than us.  How would things change if we recognized we all have the potential to harm?  Actually, isn’t this a better way to define evil…looking at the action of harm as opposed to some idea of ‘evil doer’?  Such a definition would have us rename our current War on Terror and Terrorists to a War Against Harming Each Other.  Rather than pitting us against one another based on difference, we’d recognize our common capacity to feed the seeds of greed, fear and ignorance.  This is what feeds the internal pain we all carry.  This is what causes us to accept collateral damage without question.  This is what wants us to avoid the earthquake of human morality that’s shaking the ground beneath us.

Something radical happens when we smash through the notion of our separateness.  When we move from the felt experience of inner vs. outer, one vs. two, freedom vs. bondage, peace vs. suffering, the heart leads us to the very seeds we need to water, even in the most difficult of times.  We’re basically examining where we find our solidity, our foundation, our spiritual security.  It won’t be through unlimited expenditure on militarism.  It won’t be through grasping to our material wealth.  It won’t be through any of our grasping to stop change.  It will come through the cultivation of our felt sense of being connected with everything and our consequent vow to not harm.  It will drive not from our complaint and restlessness, but from our sense of gratitude and desire to steward a better life for those here and those who follow.  It will come from recognizing the Divine within the present moment, taking great care that our thoughts, emotions and actions at the minimum cause no harm.

In this definition of evil, we all recognize the potential for evil that lies within each of us.  We recognize the harm that comes from judging ourselves better or worse than others, in demonizing others, in failing to meet each other’s suffering mind in compassion.  This view looks at the actions fed from greed, fear and ignorance as seeds to our continued fighting and failure to touch God in felt sense of inter-Being.  It steps from the reasoning mind to the feeling heart.  It moves from love, gratitude and forgiveness in humble confidence.  It moves with solidity in the midst of the earthquake.  It’s where we integrate with All, where integrity lives.  It’s beyond need to persuade.  It’s just showing up, full attention to this moment, accepting this as this and that as that.  It’s not mind hope, but Big Hope, in full gratitude to the support of the Universe.  It’s beyond despair, feelings of overwhelm, and dissatisfaction.  It’s real peace.  It’s the cultivated feeling of arrival, of Home.  Rather than judging us vs. other, of focusing on difference and separation, it’s the embrace of all as One, even the two.

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