Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Nature of Evil?

Is evil just part of human nature? Obviously we all have the opportunity to do evil acts. But are we, by nature, evil beings? What is evil?

An evil act does not mean the person doing it is absolutely evil. They may very will feel they have no choice. Or they may chose that behavior believing it it is for the common good.

When a police officer abuses his power by using unnecessary force on an offender, for instance., it is an evil act. Yet the officer himself is not evil. The situation created his actions. You can imagine what may have been going through his mind at the time. And his habitual use of violence against perceived threat is trained into him, into most of us in our culture..

Our culture of separation supports the us-against-them perspective. And we are programmed to meet violence with violence. And because we live this culture, that "Story of Separation" as Eisenstein calls it, are we evil? Do we act with evil intent? Or do we respond to the situation as we have been programmed?

In this separation culture, hate and the concept of absolute evil are employed to cover our wounds of separation, that pain and fear of feeling alone in the world, Our lack of connection to others, to nature, make us greedy because we believe in scarcity rather than abundance. When everyone has plenty and we live in a sharing economy that rewards generosity, greed is senseless, fear and hate unnecessary.

How different life would be if we used connectivity for conflict resolution. Instead of struggling to overpower the other, we could recognize the goodness in each other and create an attitude of sharing and compassion.  What better resolutions we could find!

So often the fear and anger from past experiences result in a person acting with aggression and greed or violence . These old wounds must be healed before their actions can change. They may not trust you because their trust has been so broken tn the past that it is too difficult for them to trust again.

If you can manage to meet their hostility with respect and acceptance, your trust may then beget trust in them. Meet fear with compassion. Try to step into their situation, their point of view.

This doesn't mean you take a victim stance. You must remain assertive. You can only do this when you are in the position of  the strength off your connectivity, knowing you have what you need, your awareness of abundance. You are strongly connected to your "human-ness", to your inner being.

I know that sometimes it may feel good to have someone "inhuman" to hate without qualification: "They are just evil." The world appears to be simpler if you just get rid of them. However, this only widens the gap of separation and perpetrates the culture of separation, violence, hate, and war."The purpose of responding non-violently isn't to show what a good person you are. It isn't even to be a good person. It comes, rather , from a simple understanding of the truth"(1)

 The truth is that while we each experience a unique place in this life, we are also all connected to all that is. Like the blind men and the elephant, we each have a different perspective through which we experience a situation. And this influences our reaction to it. (However, the elephant is still an elephant.) But this doesn't mean we can't share our perspectives and perhaps change the situation, then change our behaviors. Perhaps our shared perspectives can help the us learn that the situation isn't threatening at all.

This hasn't been an easy post to write. It challenges so much of my own experience and old habits. Yet I want to be more compassionate more of the time. This kind of compassion is the only influence I have in creating a more beautiful world for myself and for others.

I understand I may be only one drop of water on the stone. But I don't want to waste my chance to wear it way. Won't you join me? Together we could create a waterfall.

(1) The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know  Is Possible by Charles Eisenstein

Today's daily dozen to-do list:

  • Take a double batch of cookies or a couple dozen doughnuts with a Thank You card to a fire station for the men and women who respond to emergencies.
  •  Give a Starbucks "Thank You" gift card to a police officer.
  • Verbally thank a military personnel or veteran for his or her service.
  • Do something nice for someone who really bugs you. Imagine where their irritating behavior might come from and consider how they may be like you.
  • Be extra nice to the next person that you see being rude. Maybe their rudeness reflects their woundedness.
  • Select someone you feel needs a special lift, and send them an uplifting card or give them flowers or a potted plant from your garden
  • Forgive a debt. You have what you need without it.
  • Return anything you may have borrowed with a "Thank You!"
  • Donate non-violent books or magazines to the jail for the prisoners to fill their time.
  • Support a prison ministry through a church or civic organization.
  • Volunteer to mentor or tutor teens through the YWCA/YMCA or other organization for youth.
  • Collaborate with friends to bake cookies and brownies to deliver to the night shift hospital emergency room staff.

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