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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Evil?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Evil

All Spiritual Work Would be Pointless if There Were Such a Thing as Ultimate Evil

As we have seen, each Holy Idea is a characteristic of reality at all locations, at all times, and at all levels. Holy Truth explicates this understanding. Here, we are saying that not only is reality just one presence that is boundless and real, but that it is also positive, blissful, and wonderful. So not only is God one, but God is also wonderful and made of love. The truth, then, is loving and lovable, which is why we say in the Diamond Approach that you must love truth for its own sake. If your orientation is that you love truth so that it will change you and make you a happier person, your orientation is out of sync with how things objectively are; if you see reality as it is, you can’t help but love it. It follows, then, that objectively there is no evil. We see evil only when we perceive reality through a filter. A person who behaves in what we consider evil ways is a person acting through a distortion. In spiritual work, concepts of a devil, of dark forces, of some evil that exists on its own outside of the goodness of reality are considered manifestations of ignorance, both in terms of believing in such concepts and in terms of the manifestations attributed to such forces. All spiritual work would be pointless if there were such a thing as ultimate evil.

Facets of Unity, pg. 215

The Dichotomy of Good and Evil

The most frequently noted dichotomy on the way toward nonconceptual freedom is that of good and evil, or more exactly, good and bad. Without concepts there is no sense that one thing is good and another is bad. First, there is no separation between forms, because separation happens only through the reification of concepts, and there are no concepts here to reify. Because of this there cannot be a comparison between them, all forms are equal in being pure awareness. Second, since there is perception of difference between forms but no recognition of what the difference is, it is not possible to value one form and not another. All appear equal. The moment we recognize something as good in contrast to something else as bad, we are definitely existing in the conceptual realm. Recognizing that the distinction between good and bad is ultimately conceptual, pure awareness emerges and equalizes all forms and experiences as manifestations of true nature. Experientially, the notions of good and bad are connected mostly to pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering, gain and loss, expansion and contraction, and so on. In the unutterable bliss of nonconceptuality, these dichotomies disappear.

The Distortion that Accounts for Most Human Excesses

Animals do not have this extremely malleable and impressionable potential, so they cannot lose their nature in the way we can. Their impressionability is much more limited, so their consciousness cannot be easily structured in ways that are so alien to them. The human soul, however, can end up with only part of her potential in her conscious experience of herself, by developing a structure that excludes the rest. As we will see in chapter 12, ego development happens mostly by structuring the soul in such a way that leaves her animal potential partially accessible, and her essential potential missing. In fact, her animal soul is the dominant element that becomes structured into the ego-self, at the expense of the essential potential. The result is a humanized animal soul who is constantly suffering the deprivations of her essential nature. The conditioned human soul is, then, to put it bluntly, a twisted and distorted soul, and not just an animal soul. This distortion is what accounts for most human excesses, a distortion that twists power into hatred, strength into destructiveness, love into possessiveness, desire into greed, and so on. This is why human beings can become embodiments of evil and destructiveness, even as they have the potential to be saintly, pure, and totally spiritual and selfless. To borrow the traditional terminology, the human soul has the potential of being either an angel or a devil. Most of us are somewhere between these extremes, with occasional excursions to one or the other. The struggle to balance the angelic side of our souls with the animal side lies at the heart of human nature.

There is No Evil Person

Seeing things from this perspective, we see that there is no one who is really bad. No one is evil in an absolute way. Everyone does what he thinks is good. There is no bad person, there is no evil person; there is only the ignorant person.

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