Where Evil Dwells

Good is the destiny toward which our planetary life is oriented or evolving. It is evolving toward a greater Good.

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Our theme for today is, where evil dwells. I remember when I first became interested in the works of Alice Bailey; I enjoyed the Great Invocation and thought it was such a wonderful goodwill thought for humanity. But one phrase perplexed me, and that was the part of the Invocation that says: “May it seal the door where evil dwells.” So, I’m going to ask you, where does evil dwell and what is the door that seals it? 

Sarah: Evil is one of those terms that really elicits a lot of opinions from people, and although a lot of the lines in the Great Invocation are controversial—because they make people think, and think deeply, which is good—I think the line about “sealing the door where evil dwells” is one of the most questionable to people. We hear from a lot of people with their opinions on this. They like the Great Invocation, but they think we have it wrong because there is no such thing as evil, they tell us. I guess their point of view is that there’s ignorance, there’s weakness, there’s stubbornness, and so on and so forth, but not, really, evil in the world. That’s probably a reaction against the very powerful forces of organized religion over the millennia that have taught us that evil is real and a vital force, and that it exists within human beings. And they’re probably reacting against the indoctrination that taught so many of us when we were small children that we are evil. But “the door where evil dwells,” you could say speaking generally, is that which seals the real, true—as Alice Bailey would call it—cosmic evil away from our world. And there is supposedly that level or that state of evil that exists in the universe, about which human beings apparently can do nothing, and which we are protected from by spiritual Beings greater than ourselves. But then there’s the kind of garden variety evil that we see in the world today. Anybody who listens to the news and watches their fellowmen knows that there are many expressions of evil in the world, and they generally are committed by human beings through the force of selfishness, hatred, a sense of being disconnected from other people, ambition, the desire for power, and cruelty. It’s those that the Great Invocation is referring to. 

Dale: Yes, in fact, it is those very attitudes and tendencies that still exist in human beings, that actually keep the door open to evil, because it’s these tendencies that open us up for this lower negative energy to enter in. And the only way to seal that door is to cultivate the opposite: spiritual values like goodness and goodwill, sharing, cooperation, and inclusiveness. You mentioned one of the evils, that of separateness, and this is perhaps one of the greatest evils that we can perpetrate upon our fellow human beings. It is said in the Bailey writings that separateness is the greatest sin against the objectives of God. And if you think why that is, then you gain some understanding of why evil is this huge force. 

Sarah: Maybe we should define a little bit more what we mean by separateness. I think, as I understand it, it’s that sense of oneself that makes one believe mistakenly that one is separate from and sealed off from other people. Now, there are ranges of separateness; a lot of people have a sense of affiliation and affinity with their family, with what they call their group, their kind, their people. But they don’t have that same sense of affinity and affiliation and connection with all of humanity, and certainly not with those who are different than themselves—different in race, religion, language, or whatever. There’s so many different outer characteristics that do designate and distinguish people from one another, but those shouldn’t be real barriers or real walls of separation—but they are. 

Dale: This is a very ancient tendency that we’ve carried with us for thousands or millions of years, perhaps, in the whole long evolutionary trend of humanity. And I think it even goes back—just to kind of broaden the question out a little bit—it goes back to the very time when humanity first began to appear and we worked our way out of the animal kingdom. At that time separation was a legitimate objective. 

Sarah: And you’re speaking about separation not in terms of living in a different hut, but the sense of separation as being a distinct person. 

Dale: Right. It was at that stage in our evolutionary history when, to become separate from the animal species, to become an individual, it meant becoming more separative in your outlook. And so, this is a tendency that we have had for millions of years and we’re still carrying that tendency along with us and it comes up and it’s there, buried deep within us and it comes out at times. But it’s not a pleasant thing anymore; it’s one of those tendencies that has to be left behind. 

Sarah: But I don’t think it is, because when we look at the world we can define or give examples of separateness. One is nationalism, the sense that one’s own nation and so-called people are more important than the rest of the world. I don’t know if there’s any nation that’s completely free of that sin, that wrong, to think of humanity in that way: that your own nation matters more. Another one is racism. That’s a terrible evil in the world, the sense that certain races are not of an equal level, not of a value spiritually that is equal to your own race. The sense of superiority and inferiority by which we rank each other and ourselves—all of those are examples of separateness. 

Dale: Absolutely, but I think we’ve reached a stage in our evolutionary development where we have to move on and leave this behind. As the human soul begins to make more of an impact on our consciousness, this is gradually changing our values into spiritual values and we see that there is a different way of behaving, a more positive way of behaving, and that’s the direction we should be going. 

Robert: It’s also very interesting that so many of mankind’s spiritual leaders have seen themselves in other people, and perhaps they were enlightened along that particular idea. It’s almost become a cliche that money is the root of all evil. Is materialism evil? 

Sarah: Actually, the complete quote is: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Money as an object can do great good, but the love of money—meaning the craving of it and the desire to hold on to it and amass more of it for oneself—that’s a great evil, which I think we don’t need convincing to believe. But is materialism evil? Well, yes and no. It’s evil in the sense that if one believes that the material world, and all that comes with it, is all that matters and all that is real, then yes, that’s an expression of evil. But as we’ve talked before, there are two polarities to the world as we know it: that of matter and that of spirit. And the perfection of the world depends upon the spiritualizing of the matter aspect. In other words, bringing the impulse of divinity into the material realm and thereby redeeming the outer visible world. So, materialism, in the sense of the belief that the material realm is all that there is—yes, that’s evil. 

Dale: Yes. And in fact, in one of the Bailey writings, she says, “All is evil which drives a man or a woman deeper into materialism and which omits the higher values of living.” So, materialism by itself is not necessarily evil, but it’s the impulse that is inherent in materialism that holds the person in the material world. That’s where the evil part enters in because it closes the door of the soul and it closes the way towards those higher spiritual values and keeps one imprisoned in this material realm. 

Robert: Why is there a tendency to personify evil? 

Sarah: I think it might have to do with the desire to put it away from oneself. If you can personify it by saying that it exists within someone else, it keeps you from seeing it within yourself or within your own loved ones or within the people that you identify with. And we see this on the world scene now in such horrible ways. When you look at, for example, the terrible war that’s been going on in the former Yugoslavia between the Serbian people and the Bosnian people, and between the Serbs and the Kosovars and so on. You see it in Indonesia between the Christian minority and the Muslim majority. You see it in the Sudan between the Moslems and the Christians. You see it in Palestine, and now you see it coming up again in Ireland; this tendency to say that evil exists within the other, and by doing that to not see that you also are a part of whatever war or conflict is going on, that evil has an inlet whenever you separate yourself from someone else, and when you deny their humanity. You don’t have to agree with them! You don’t even have to particularly like them! But if you cannot see their humanity, then you’re personifying them as the repository of evil, and that’s part of the cause of so much suffering and so much hatred in the world today. 

Dale: Yes, I think it’s also easier to understand a force like evil if you can personify it. That’s just what they’ve done with the devil and with Satan; they put it in terms of a person, and they do this with God— they personify God. It’s a way of bringing down these very potent forces in a way that makes it easier to understand. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s just the human tendency to try to come to grips with a very powerful force. 

Sarah: I think the psychologist Jung spoke to that in his theory of the shadow side, which is, as I understand it, the projection of whatever one refuses to claim or to recognize within oneself. Whatever unredeemed qualities there are, tend to be projected onto someone else and it’s a shadow of what is actually, in fact, within yourself. 

Robert: So let me understand you correctly. You’re talking about the shadow that Jung writes about as being perhaps a negative, or a shadow within us, perhaps things that we don’t want to face within ourselves, and instead of dealing with them, we project them onto other people or other situations. 

Sarah: Yes, individuals do it. Whole groups of people, races, and nations do it. They see someone else as the problem and the source of evil, and that way they cast it away from themselves. 

Robert: Well, logic would dictate then that the way to interact with the shadow and to heal oneself perhaps is to face what is within and recognize it rather than to repress it and then project it onto other groups or other people. Another thought that I like from the works of Alice Bailey is: “Today, good and evil stand out in clearer focus. Light and dark are in a more brilliant juxtaposition. Issues of right and wrong are appearing with clear definition and humanity is seeing the problem of sin and separateness upon a world scale.” In relation to that, why do good and evil stand out today in clearer focus? Why would that be so? 

Sarah: I think that we’re reaching a point in human history where things are becoming highlighted. There’s that quotation from Scripture that says, “all things shall be shouted from the housetops,” and that certainly is true today. Everything is coming to the surface, which probably before had been present, but hidden. There are a lot of human tendencies that were probably buried away, that are now being talked about, brought out into the open, and it can give the appearance that there’s more evil, more sin in the world than before. In my opinion, that’s probably not the case. It’s just that we’re more aware of it. We have a society that’s more and more educated. We have the tremendous growth of the Internet that brings information at lightning speed to people around the world. Media, television, and radio keep people informed, so things are coming to the surface. That’s one reason. 

Dale: Yes, there’s a nice quote in one of the books on healing, where Alice Bailey writes: “Perfection calls imperfection to the surface. Good drives evil from the form of man in time and space.” Now what that means is that—in fact, it’s happening today—if there is more awareness of evil, it is because there is more good that is actually coming out as well. The two balance each other, but it is the good that is lifting us up, and we are drawing forth this evil that’s still within us. The striving for perfection draws the imperfection in us to the surface. 

Sarah: I think some people, when they hear that, might think they don’t agree that there’s more good today. But when you look at the growth of group effort, group service, the various coalitions of human beings that are coming together to solve problems on a local level, all the way up to a world level, the response to groups of people when there’s a disaster, how people come together and do everything they can to help them: Those are signs of the great good that is becoming more and more organized. I think it’s always been present in human beings, but it seems to be a more organized, concerted cooperation now. 

Dale: The good that we do in the millions and millions of our daily lives doesn’t make the headlines. We hear the evil part that tends to make the headlines, but all the good is there too. Perhaps we are just not aware of it as much. 

Robert: I think you’re absolutely right. I remember many years ago when there was an earthquake in some far-off place like China or India, it seemed so remote. But right now, when any disaster happens there is a massive effort to collect and send money over and people go around collecting clothing to send over. I agree with you. I can see the change. Why did Jesus say, “resist not evil?” 

Sarah: That’s one of those controversial passages that some people say maybe wasn’t taken down quite correctly, or translated from the Aramaic quite correctly, but I have a feeling it was. I don’t know. “Resist not evil.” In my opinion, what he was trying to say was that when you align your energies, you are giving power to something and if you try to resist and fight evil, you are, in a sense, strengthening it because it develops an opposing reaction. Whereas if you take your energy, the power that’s within you, and you put it into what you believe is good, then you can say that you are working to strengthen the good in the world. And because of the nature of the structure of our known world, according to the Ageless Wisdom, good is the destiny toward which our planetary life is oriented or evolving. It is evolving toward a greater good, we’re told, and that’s one of those statements that you either believe or don’t believe. I happen to believe it. So, when you align yourself with the good, with the greater good of the larger group, you’re working to combat evil without pitting yourself directly against it. 

Dale: There are other ways of handling evil, I think, and sometimes the best way is to work from the plane above where that evil is. If you try to meet it at its own level, you’ll only add power and add strength to it; you give it your energy. But, if you work from a plane above, then you’re acting on evil in a more powerful way, in a way that doesn’t harm. 

Robert: Why does good sometimes seem to come out of evil? 

Sarah: Well, there was that quotation from Alice Bailey that Dale mentioned a moment ago, “Perfection calls imperfection to the surface. Good drives evil away.” There’s also, I think, the fact that good and evil form a kind of polarity, and therefore a kind of wholeness or completeness in the two sides. If I understand that, it means that evil can contain within it the seed or the potential of something good when it is redeemed. That’s the best I can do with that idea at the moment. 

Dale: The material and the spiritual are actually one and the same. They’re two opposite poles. We have the spiritual pole, in the form of spirit, and the material pole in the form of the materialism, and they need each other, actually. And if the spirit wants to manifest, it must work through material substance and that’s where the evil tendencies come in. But there is good there also, because there is spirit and light and love already in the substance, and that’s what’s working out too. 

Sarah: There’s another passage from the Bible that might evoke some understanding. Paul, I think it was in Corinthians, said: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” And again, it’s a matter of where you choose to align your forces. Alice Bailey told us to remember that we are part of a greater whole, and that by cultivating within us a sense of synthesis and wholeness and refusing all thoughts of separateness, we can work against evil in a way that’s truly effective. 

Robert: I think that’s important for everyone to hear, and in closing we invite you to ponder on this thought. Goodwill is the touchstone that will transform the world. Goodwill is love in action. It is the energy that draws us together in right relationship. There is a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program with the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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