Breaking Down Evil

The process of bringing evil down to scale wonít be convincing until you apply it to yourself. So letís do that. Take a volatile issue at this moment: terrorism. By any measure, to inflict terror on innocent people is an act of cowardly, despicable evil.

Now pull closer. Imagine yourself so inflamed by intolerance and religious hatred that youíd be willing to kill. (If you find that terrorism isnít charged enough for you personally, examine instead a feeling you might have based on racism, vengeance, or domestic abuse Ė any issue that creates a murderous impulse in you.)

No matter how evil your impulse is, it can be broken down into steps to resolve it:

Darkness: Ask yourself if itís really you having this impulse, the you whom you see in the mirror every morning. Awareness needs to go into the place where it has been shut out.

Secrecy: Confide your evil impulse to someone you trust.

Danger: Release your anger out loud, staying with it as it decreases. Anger is the primal drive of evil impulses.

Myth: Name a hero who would deal with your feelings in a different way and still remain heroic. Myth is nothing but metamorphosis; therefore, this level gives us a powerful way to turn demons into helpers of the gods, or defeated enemies of the angels.

Irrationality: Come up with the best argument for not acting on your rage.

Primitiveness: Without excuses or rationalizations, express your rage like a beast on a rampage. Let whatís primitive be primitive, within safe bounds.

The shadow has grown used to being repressed; therefore, to access this region of the mind doesnít happen easily. The fleeting gap between sensation and interpretation is the birthplace of the shadow. When you go into the gap and see how intangible everything is, the ghosts begin to disperse.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).


Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


Jane H.
Jane H6 years ago

great post!! In some play I saw a long time ago, a line was" Man's inhumanity to man starts with parents to child".. I've always remembered it.

Ronald N.
Ronald N6 years ago

I suppose there is evil in everyone. Exorcism is bringing the demons out and a form of that would be to let out your expressions of primal impulses. It could be pretty intense for some people.

suzanne o.
suzanne o6 years ago

i am being hurt by other people who do psycho-evil acts of harm & damage caused by this - i do not get that way myself , but several people do this to me & my pets.

heather g.
heather g6 years ago

Deepak - I think we need avenues like Care2 to express our intense displeasure at evil (eg, war, cruelty, violation of human rights, rape, torture, etc). In writing one is telling others how one feels.
I very seldom raise my voice, so I wouldn't be able to go on the rampage. Meditation helps to clear one's mind and brings calmness and clarity.

People regard terrorists as evil. As an example, I wouldn't ever consider the people locked up in Gaza as terrorists. We need to compare Nelson Mandela and his previous terrorist acts - but it was his only way to fight the political system at that time. Once he was released and moved into his position of leadership - he turned out to be the most revered politician in the world. He is still truly loved and respected by everyone who knows about him and his life... No rampage there !

Gaby D.
Gaby D6 years ago

Goodmorning Deepak...thank you for this very practical step by step approach to deal with the 'evil' inside of us. It's so true.....many feelings we bury because we have been taught to do so - we were told they are 'not nice' feelings. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a we have to hide a lot of our feelings, sadness, our anger, our feelings of that place is pretty crowded with 'squashed feelings'. It is not surprising that eventually some people just explode......and it all comes rolling /bursting out, uncontrolled! A big mess of buried feelings... and the person this happens to ...doesn't even know where to begin to 'clean up' the mess. So this exercise is brilliant! The first steps are not so new....although the sequence is surprising! The myth is a step I really like.
The surprising one how to go on a rampage....expressing the 'evil' (anger?) inside? I can see going into the forest and screaming on top of your get it out.....or at least slamming a door ....or going for a run.....shaking your head in disbelief ...or whatever it takes. But going on a rampage?? I must say I am a little confused - I know releasing the 'shadow feelings' ,the repressed feelings is good......acknowledging & sharing them, voicing them..but that primitive rampage?? A confused student! Namaste.

Ralph F.
Ralph F6 years ago

Very interesting discussion here giving me many things to think about. Thanks, everyone, for posting.

Robert B.
Robert B6 years ago

Evil is self defeating.

myra d.
myra d6 years ago

As usual Dr. Chopra gives us something to think about.

Dianne D.
Dianne D6 years ago

My rage is when I see video or read an article of an animal being abused. I don't know what I would actually do if I saw this in person, but I bet it wouldn't be pretty. I don't carry weapons so my rage would be vocal.