Martin Buber teaches that we cannot wipe out evil–but we can work to turn it into good. There are lessons to be learned from the light we find in the darkness, lessons of wisdom and compassion learned from grief and suffering and loss and betrayal.
The good is a door (“I am the way,” “I am a door”) to the Sacred. The Via Positiva in its many forms and experiences and expressions opens the way to an experience of the Sacred.
But also sin can be a door to evil—it is not evil itself but a door to it. As the Lakota teacher Buck Ghosthorse put it, “Fear is the door in the heart that lets evil spirits in.”
It matters that we ask three important questions:
1) Where is the good all around us? Answer: In the blessing that the universe, the earth, and our lives are.
2) Where is the good within us? Answer: The seven chakras. They are all love points, places of positive energy and strength we carry within us.
3) Where are the doors to evil in us? Answer: The seven chakras when they are unbalanced, or “misdirected love,” as Thomas Aquinas defines sin.
The seven capital sins or sins of the spirit are doors that allow evil to enter us. We consider them succinctly here. The seventh door is one of envy which is almost endemic in our culture since much advertising is built on it. What role did envy play in the expulsion of two young black men from the Tennessee legislature? What role does envy play in adultism?
The sixth chakra names rationalism and intuition when healthy but, as Einstein pointed out, often fails to honor intuition and then rationalism reigns. The fifth chakra is the throat which is so often gagged or misused. When healthy, we speak truth.
The fourth chakra is the heart where fear and hatred can stew instead of love and compassion. The third chakra is where healthy moral outrage can be awakened and put to good, non-violent, use. It lies in the guts where violence can cook. The second chakra, our sexuality, can be truly acts of love but can also turn abusive.
The first chakra is our link to the cosmos and the earth by way of vibration and dance. Its shadow expression is arrogance and tribalism of various kinds including racism, sexism, homophobia.
Evil is not stupid. It allies itself not to mediocre movements or people but to power places and power people whenever it can. In my lifetime I have seen evil at work not only in education and in politics and vast corporations, but also in religion and in church that claim to speak in the name of the sacred.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xxxviif.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Torii gate demarcating the boundary between the sacred space of a shrine and ordinary space. Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Syuhei Inoue on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that Evil is not stupid? What follows from that awareness?
Be with this naming of the chakras and meditate on how marvelous your body is!
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science. A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics