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.

“I am the Door.” Sculpture by M.C. Richards; one of the “I Am” Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

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. 

A 1-minute sound bath tuned to balance the seven chakras. MeditativeMind

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.   

Falsehood for power: Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton faces media exposure for claiming fraudulent travel per diems based on a false claim of residency. Wikimedia Commons.

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!


Recommended Reading

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


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7 thoughts on “On Evil and Its Remedies, ii”

  1. Avatar

    Comment originally written for a different post –

    ‘Be the Resurrection’. The Spirit within is very, very still and silent at times and very, very animated at times as well. How can joy be contained and not be expressed? To express one’s own joy is to bear witness to the Spirit within, the love within, and paradoxically, to the stillness and peace within. The awe and wonder of everything new, of eager anticipation of possibility, is our birthright, and is the true nature of soul and Spirit. We may feel like ‘prisoners of war’ and held captive ‘in the world’ but we never give up the freedom and liberation of our love, our soul and our Spirit. Those are ours to claim and to hold onto forever lasting. So, if our love, our soul and our Spirit are suppressed or under attack, we must surrender all else that is necessary and claim them back, never to be suppressed by anyone, any institution or principality.

    As they say, ‘Live free or die’, and that is a choice we have to make daily, because ‘the world’ is full of illusion and pretends to offer full freedom, but at the cost of the joy and liberty that lives forever within each of us. ‘Let the dead bury their own dead’ and leave ‘the world’ to those that believe in ‘the world’ at the expense of our soul’s freedom. That is our daily commitment to ‘Be the Resurrection’. ‘The Way’ then is another way, and to follow ‘the Way’ is what truly sets us apart in ‘the world’. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    We are transmitters and receivers of energy–and are more frequency and vibration than solid matter…solid matter also being a soul spark. We are the dance of light and energy. When our energy system (of the 7 chakras) gets plugged up, we cannot stay in the present and are at the mercy of our shadow passions (capital sins), if we cannot find “pathways” or “gateways” to clear them. I am realizing that I am an “energy bubble” and am not solid. Everything is energy and I experience great joy when I can “Sing the Body Electric.” I greatly resonate with Carolyn Myss’ interpretation of the 7 capital sins, but Matthew, you are also giving me so much to very deeply think about and ponder. I am simply inhaling all of your books. And right now, I am wondering deeply about whether I am grounded at all–or just an energetic container whose lens needs to be kept clean to be able to better perceive and channel what I am blessed to receive as a part of and from the Buddha and Godhead within. I feel like we are all being energetically pulled into facing the 4th dimension. It is not a physical place but a “cosmic” presence or state of mind that not only encompasses the now, but also the past and the future…Thank you for letting me share…Light and love…

  3. Avatar

    We must always be open in our hearts, bodies, minds, souls, and spirits to the Sacred Presence of God’s Spirit of LOVE~LIGHT~LIFE within, through, among us in our Creator’s ongoing co-Creation~Incarnation~Evolution in the Divine Flow of Loving Diverse Oneness….
    ????

  4. Avatar
    Barbara de Souza

    Excuse me for adding my thoughts- Rev Barbara de Souza- health educator in Brazil – 1st Congregational Church River Falls WI. Matthew, I met you many years ago at a retreat in a Catholic Center. At 92 I can’t remember that far back to where and when .
    What I want to add is that we must change the image of a god “up there” all powerful male who rules the world to whom we pray and whose answers we have to accept as God’s will!
    To the image : God is love incarnated in all that exists and in our hearts. Thus we are responsible for what happens in the world. Love is God incarnate as it was in Jesus! God is incarnate in the love in the hearts of humanity!
    Thank you
    Rev. Barbara de Souza

    Barb de Souza
    ” I used to think that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things”.
    Mother Teresa/Madre Teresa

  5. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    Teilhard de Chardin, whom faced evil and death through the horrors of war, learnt much about remedying the energetic forces he encountered on the front lines… not only within himself, but also in others, as well as what nature too was suffering.

    In the midst of the ashes, rubble, blood and pain, he learnt to surrender unceasingly to the operation of the incarnation; that Divine essence that so thoroughly permeates all our creaturely energies. He learnt to adhere to the creative power of God, to coincide with this… to become not only the instrument of this, but rather to become a living extension of this divinity… seeded and sealed within not only his humanity, but the humanity of others as well as all of creation.

    He discovered the living incarnation of this Divine essence… present in all, with all. God is not far away from the evils within this world, which lead to destruction and death… nor is God far away from the beauty of love that leads to creation and life… dark and light, its all energy in motion to God… both apart of this world that we see, touch, hear, smell, taste and intuit that is round about us, and within us.

    What we choose to do with this energy in motion, is what God is most interested in divinizing… within the moments of our active responses to either the dark or the light. Teilhard calls this the divination of our activities and our passivities.

    1. Avatar

      Please help me to understand what you are saying. In a non-dual world, isn’t the energy already divinized? God is not far away? Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses…

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