Jul 22, 2013

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MEDITATION: People are not necessarily bad or evil

MEDITATION: People are not necessarily bad or evil

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)

A good friend of mine, who practices as a psychologist, once shared with me a very interesting observation he made during his work.

My friend specializes in hypnosis as a remedial tool. This was also the method he used when a man, known for his violent, impulsive and abusive actions, once came to him for treatment. Trusting his method of hypnosis my friend rightfully expected that, in this way, he will gain more insight into the hidden motives and reasons for this man’s awkward behaviour.
Which then also happened.

Characteristic of so many of these cases, what came out and was revealed during the hypnosis session proved to be a sorry and dark tale – a tale of personal abuse, loss and feelings of intense rejection and bitterness. This to a large extent explained the man’s history of reckless and abusive behaviour.

During this period of hypnosis my friend however also discovered something else – something which not only surprised him, but also made him reflect more deeply on what he until then believed to be the true nature of human beings

Apart from the expected history of violence and abuse, he also discovered in this man’s spirit a more pure and serene world – a world of innocent dreams and childlike aspirations. In fact, among the many shreds of disorder and confusion he also caught a glimpse of a deeper desire, a longing to change, to be a more whole, pure and honest human being.

“After this”, so he shared with me later, ”I told myself that that there is something good and beautiful in each person. That even the most crude and seemingly reckless person carries deep within him- or herself a child who is vulnerable and innocent, one who also dreams of and hopes for a life surrounded and filled by love, acceptance and trust.”

As someone who grew up in a tradition where a strong focus was placed on human sin and guilt, my friend’s remark also made me look again at my own perception of people and the way I often treat them.

Because people are not necessarily bad or evil. They are, as Paul wrote in Romans 15:14, also full of goodness.

Carel Anthonissen

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