I’v been reading "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra for the past week. I’ve noticed that many of my blog friends have been experiencing spiritual and mental breakdowns so to speak, and there has been an increased discussion of duality, nondualism, oneness, quantum physics, karma, and the like. Therefore, I thought I’d share a bit of my readings with you.
Today, II will be sharing Chopra’s writing on Evil. Just a little food for thought. . . Your comments are most welcomed!
"The most grievous failure of spirituality occurs in the face of evil. idealistic and loving people who never harm another person finds themselves drawn into the mailstrom of war. Faiths that preach the existence of one God mount campaigns to kill infidels. Religions of love devolve into partisan hatred of heretics and those who threaten the faith. Even if you think you hold the ultimate truth in your hands, there is no guarantee that you will escape from evil. More violence has occurred in the name of religion than for any other reason. Hence the bitter aphorism: God handed down the truth, and the Devil said, "Let me organize it."
There is also the more subtle failure of passivity–standing by and letting evil have its way. Perhaps this reflects a secret belief that evil is ultimately more powerful than good. One of the most spiritual figures in the twentieth century was asked how England should handle the threat of Nazism. He replied:
I want to fight Nazism without arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. you will invite Herr Hitler and Signore Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possesions. Let them take of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds.
The author of this passage was Mathama Gandhi, and needless to say, his "open letter" to the British was greeted with shock and outrage. Yet, Gandhi was being true to the principal of Ahimsa, or nonviolence. He successfuly used passive nonviolence to persuade the British to grant freedom to India, so by refusing to go to war against Hitler–a stand he took throughout World War II–Gandhi was consistent in his spiritual beliefs. Would Ahimasa really have worked to persuade Hitler, a man who declared that "war is the father of all things?" The Catholic Church marks as one of its darkest eras the years when it permitted millions of Jews to be killed under Nazism, to the extent that Italian Jews were rounded up within sight of the Vatican windows.
So lets acknowledge that spirituality has already failed on countless occasions to deal with evil. Turning away from teachings that have only allowed evil to propagate and spread, the one reality opens a new way, because if there is only one reality, evil has no special power and no separate existence. There is no cosmic Satan to rival God, and even the war between good and evil is only an illusion born of duality. Ultimately, both good an evil are forms that consciousness can choose to take. In that sense, evil is no different from good. There similarity goes back to to the source. Two babies born on the same day may grow up to commit evil on one hand and good on the other, but as babies it cannot be true that one was created evil. The potential for right and wrong exists in their consciousness, and as the babies grow up, their consciousness will be shaped by many forces. These forces are so complex that labeling someone as purely evil makes no sense. Let me list the forces that shape every newborn child:
- Parental guidance or the lack of it.
- The presense of love or its absense.
- The contex of the whole family.
- Peer pressrue at school and social pressure throughout life.
- Personal tendencies and reactions.
- Indoctrinated beliefs and religious teachings.
- The tid of history.
- Role models.
- Collective consciousness.
- The appeal of myths, heroes, and ideals.
Every force listed above is influencing your choices and invisibly pushing you into action. Because reality is tangled up in all these influences, so is evil. It takes all these forces for evil and good to emerge. If your childhood hero was Stalin, you won’t perceive the world as you would if your hero was Joan of Arc. If you are a Protestant, your life would not have been the same under the persecution of the Huguenots as it is in an American suburb today. Think of a person as a building with hundreds of electrical lines feeding countless messages into it, powering a host of different projects. Looking at the building, you see it as one thing, a single object standing there. But its inner life depends on hundreds of signals coming into it.
So does yours.
In and of itself, none of the forces feeding into us is evil. But under this menu of influences, each person makes choices. I believe that any evil inclination comes down to a choice made in consciousness. And those seemed to be good when they were made. This is the central paradox behind evil actions, because with rare exceptions, people who perform evil can trace their motives back to decisions that were the best they could make given the situation. Children who suffer abuse, for example, frequently wind up as adults abusing their own children. You would think that they’d be the last ones to resort to family violence, having been its victim. But in their minds, other, nonviolent, options aren’t available. The context of abuse, acting on their minds since childhod, is too powerful and overshadows freedom of choice.
People in different states of awareness won’t share the same difinition of good and bad. A prime example is the social enslavement of women around the world, which seems totally wrong in the modern world but is fed in may countries by tradition, releigious sanction, social value, and family practices going back for centuries. Until very recently, even the victims of those forces would see the role of the helpless, obedient, clildlike woman as "good."
Evil depends completely on one’s level of consciousness.
You can bring this message home by considering seven different definitions of evil. Which one do you instinctively agree with?
- The worst evil is to hurt someone physically or endanger their survival.
- The worst evil is to enslave people economically, depriving them of any chance to succeed and prosper.
- The worst evil is to destroy peace and bring about disorder.
- The worst evil is to entrap people’s minds.
- The worst evil is to destroy beauty, creativity, and the freedom to explore.
- The worst evil is often difficult to tell from good, since all of creations is relative.
- There is no evil, only shifting patterns in consciosness in an eternal dance. "