“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
– Matthew 5:38
If we recognize evil as this thing that needs to be dealt with and that violates the fundamental principles of the Father’s creation (see Root of Evil Part 1), then why in the heck would Jesus tell us not to resist it? Let’s look at what he said in Matthew chapter 5 verse 38: “Ye have heard it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”.
This quotation, going back to the laws of ancient Assyria, a very warlike nation, implies revenge and committing what is seen as justified violence. Much of what is seen as “justice” is actually little more than revenge through a third party. In this case, Jesus likens us going blow for blow with what we see as “evil”, attempting to get some sort of vengeance upon it for whatever wrongs it has done to us.
Jesus then goes on to say “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil..”.
To resist something implies a combative stance; to go against something head to head: force-to-force. This can create the conundrum of the unstoppable force against the immovable object, which results in nothing getting anywhere.
For years I attempted to do battle with what I saw as evil within me. I tried to outsmart it, I wrestled with it, I fought it, and in the end, I was just kicking the crap out of myself. This would just cause me to feel worse, which would in turn just feed my addiction, and the cycle would perpetuate itself. I realized it was an impossible thing to fight, because it was not a “thing” at all. By trying to battle and hurt “it”, I was really just battling and hurting myself.
I found peace when I would stop trying to fight it, and I would simply surrender to God, walk in another direction, and create another path. In my experience, I have found this process is not necessarily a “one-and-done” deal, and can require repeated bringing in and letting go. This required me to recognize the source of the hurt and self-loathing that came from being stuck in past events, some of which were very repressed and recessed.
When we attempt to forcefully do battle with ourselves, it inevitably creates more suffering. After we recognize what it is, we need to understand it. We need to understand what it wants and what it wants to express. These things within us that cause so much suffering are usually the psyche’s attempt to deal with past trauma. Once again, this principle can be applied to both the individual psyche, and the collective psyche of the human species. Trauma causes separation of the psyche.
At its very worse, intense or prolonged trauma can create such a detachment that it can give rise to a complete lack of empathy known as psychopathy. As recent studies have found, psychopaths seem to inherently rise to the top of government and corporations. This is because the power structure that governs this planet is psychopathic in its very nature, as it serves its own interests through manipulation and is completely detached from concern for the true well being of the human population and the planet as a whole. This attitude of selfish detachment has trickled down to the consciousness of the masses through the corporate/government controlled media and society as a whole, causing immense damage.
Humans have allowed themselves to become separated from the Earth and her children, from each other, and from their own inner being. We have held onto the individual and collective traumas of the past, while continuing to allow ourselves to be traumatized by the world around us. It is time to let all of this go. Trauma is an inevitable part of this three-dimensional existence, and it is our ability to recognize and move through that trauma and express it in a non-harmful way that pushes us through the next threshold of spiritual evolution. Once we have consciously done this, we will no longer feel compelled to re-create the situation of trauma within ourselves or project it onto others.
When we refuse to acknowledge the “ugly” parts of ourselves and cast them away in judgment, like any neglected or abused child, they will inevitably lash out at us in some way. That it is why it is crucial that we be compassionate with ourselves in this process. No actual part of us is “evil”. Evil is a state of being: a by-product of being out-of-balance as well as the description of this principle in action. When we do the work to clean out our belief systems and habits; when we show compassion to our underlying wounds; then we can effectively move out of the way and allow the healing to take place within us and through us. We can then take those same principles of compassion and loving-kindness and facilitate the healing work to our brothers and sisters in the “external” world.
There is so much emphasis on fighting evil in this world. Whether it’s the government-sponsored “war on terror” farce, or grassroots attempts to fight the evil corporations and/or the evil government: it’s all about fighting back against something. Mother Theresa once said that she refused to go to an anti-war rally, but if there were a rally for peace, she would be there. Rudolph Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy and the Waldorf Schools, once said that the best way to fight evil is to create something good. This is why nonviolent civil disobedience and non-compliance is so effective. It also could explain why violent revolutions almost always result in a worse power structure being put in place than the one that was revolted against.
If we want to do something about the evils in the world, all we need to do is “opt-out”. If you don’t want to support big corporate retailers, opt-out and shop at small businesses or just don’t buy their products. If you don’t want to support the big financial institutions, opt-out bank with a community bank, or take charge of your own money. If you don’t want to support the big pharma-healthcare system, opt-out and find a naturopath, or take charge of your own health in some way. If you don’t want to support the federal government using your income tax to primarily fund the war machine and international financial institutions, there are ways to opt out of that too. I, myself, am not quite brave enough to try that last one, but there are people that have done so successfully. The point is we don’t need to participate in aggressive combat to change things in ourselves and in the world, and it would be better off if we didn’t.
At the end of Matthew 5:39, Jesus states: “but whosoever smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
This much-misunderstood statement is not telling us to be complete pacifists and not defend ourselves against physical or psychic attack. In the case of use of aggressive force, there is the inherent “right” that exists in Nature for a being to defend themselves from aggression. However, it should be the apt amount of force to neutralize an attack. This is principle is reflected in martial arts where we seek only to use enough force to stop an attacker. We don’t seek to intentionally maim or brutalize or annihilate. When this intention arises in us, we are no longer “defending ourselves” and have become what we have sought to stop. This principle is another one that applies on multiple levels (individuals, communities, nations, etc.).
This reference to “turning the other cheek” has to do with not taking things personally and allowing resentment to poison our hearts. As stated in previous postings (see Universal Step 4), resentment is a toxic emotion that can lead us to being complicit in all kinds of immoralities and “evils” due to us feeling justified. Even when a person or group is attacking every element of our being (physically, mentally, emotionally spiritually) and saying they are doing so because they hate who we are and want to wipe us off the face of the Earth, in truth they are doing so because they are sick and suffering from their own inner “disease”. They too are suffering from the cancerous poison of resentment.
We do our best to feel empathy for those who hate and resent to such a degree and understand the type of internal decay that creates. We know that the attack on us isn’t really about us, it is about the disease that is acting through this person that wishes us harm. We know that when one seeks to maliciously harm others, they are doing infinitely more harm to themselves. We pray that the Light fills them and that they discover the fullness of life through being in this Light completely, rather than hiding from it and trying in vain to “snuff it out”.
Many wonder why the loving creator of the universe would allow the principle of evil to exist on any level. I think the Dalai Lama summed up the purpose of external evil wonderfully in this quote:
“ ..in order to practice patience and tolerance, we need an enemy.. Otherwise we’ll have no opportunity to practice (patience and tolerance). Whether the enemy has a good or a bad motivation, as far as we are concerned, the situation will be beneficial, for his harming us provides an opportunity for us to increase patience and inner strength… Nevertheless, when it comes to taking action, if someone is behaving unreasonably and harmfully towards other beings and he or she is doing so continually, then ultimately he or she will suffer. If you understand the situation clearly, then respectfully and without scorn you can take necessary counteraction. In such situations we should take action to stop other people behaving unreasonably, because unless we do so, things will just get worse. We are not only allowed to take such counteraction, but indeed we should, the difference being that we do so not out of anger but with an altruistic intention.”
We are physically manifested in the world of hyper-duality to experience and understand it and grow stronger from it. It’s the principle of using resistance to add strength. The heavier the weight used, the stronger the muscle becomes. The weight of the evils of the world met with the principles of compassion and loving-kindness results in spiritual strength. The purpose of evil is to foster spiritual growth and healing. A wise man once told me, “the greater the darkness, the greater the light”. If we take an objective look at the people and events of the world around us using this principle, it is plain to see that as the Light is growing more and more intense, the shadows become clearer and more magnified.
In the ultimate reality of the Creator, evil does not exist. Evil is a byproduct of duality and the manifestation of the One into denser and denser forms of reality. The denser the reality, the more “real” something appears to become. If reality is like a computer program, as many scientists are now speculating, then the principle of evil could be likened somewhat to a virus: a virus with a purpose- an agent of the Fire (see Into the Fire: the Alchemy of Purification and Transformation posting). Whether we realize it or not, we have access to the software that has the power to neutralize this virus at any time. That software is the healing Light of the Christos.
And while I am not going to claim that beings that perpetrate “evil” (human or otherwise) are aware that they are actually working towards the evolution of humanity and consciousness through their attempts to destroy it, in the end what is more important: the intentions and actions of those who would do us harm, or our reactions and responses to them? When we use lies and oppression as opportunity, countering with truth and compassion, we become active participants in our individual and collective spiritual (remember ALL is Spirit) growth and evolution. This is the true meaning of “perception creating reality”; not picking and choosing what we want to pretend is or isn’t “real”.
So while we bring ourselves further into a state of unity consciousness and continued healing, let us not forget that Jesus instructed us to love our neighbor as ourselves: if our fellow humanity suffers, then on some level, so do we. We should take to heart the words of the bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha:
“If I do not go to the hell to help the suffering beings there, who else will go? … if the hells are not empty I will not become a Buddha. Only when all living beings have been saved, will I attain Bodhi.”
So let us first truly see and recognize the evils objectively for what they are: suffering that is caused by attempting to separate parts of ourselves from the totality of our being and from the principles of Light, Life and Love. Let us then do the work needed to live in accordance with Self and the Laws of Creation, and allow that healing to take place. Then let us not be tricked into creating more strife and suffering, but rather let us forge a new path of truth, compassion and Light in whatever way Self calls us to do. It is at that point when we can reach our hand down to our brothers and sisters and help them to raise themselves up Jacob’s Ladder.
There is something happening now, and we are at a critical point in which it is up to each of us to do what we can as we are called, putting fear and apathy aside. Regardless of our past or whatever emotional scars we may have, it is imperative that we recognize and come to terms with them, so we can see the gifts that lie hidden beneath the pain and illusions of separation. Let us then take these gifts of spirit and give them up so that we may act as wounded healers in service for the liberation of our brothers and sisters, all the Earth’s children, and the Earth herself.