I was a presenter at a seminar, and during the break, a group of us chatted the time away. One person had a glass with a beverage in it, and it unexpectedly fell on the pavement. He then shouted: “Well, evil has departed.”
When I inquired what the expression meant, I was told that it signified there was some evil factor that was present, and the fact of the glass falling and breaking meant that a path was open for anything evil to escape. Being interested in aspects of Caribbean culture, I was struck by the fact that Caribbean people had a way of explaining events that did not overpower them but instead gave them power and victory over the unseen and the unknown.
I was telling a friend about this episode, and he replied: “Evil has left the building.”
I thought this response further indicated the extent to which human beings have power over certain forces which we come into contact with, or which come into contact with us, and our power to defeat them swings into action when the occasion presents itself.
Take for example our places of work. They are buildings operated by people. And things happen in buildings. People, as well as certain forces, enter and leave these buildings, so that a process of interaction occurs, for good, or evil.
There was an episode where an individual was promoted to a high-level post. It appeared not to go down well in some circles. Soon after assuming the post, the new occupant began to experience severe headaches. He could not account for it but noticed the headaches only came when he was at his desk.
He noticed though, that parallel to his desk was a tall plant and got the idea to remove it from the office. When he returned to work the following day, he became aware that he no longer felt the headache. He looked outside on the corridor where the plant was placed, and it was all shriveled up. It seemed to happen suddenly. And he no longer felt the headache.
Was there something evil around? And once the plant was put out of the way, did evil leave the building?
Our minds are very powerful instruments. Through the mind, we can attract or harbor good or evil.
Like attracts like, and when we think of what is good and positive, good and positive things happen to us. When we entertain evil thoughts we attract evil behavior to ourselves and act accordingly. Evil takes up residence in our minds.
Evil then causes us to have feelings of hate, jealousy and revenge, and when we weaponize these they bring harm to others and ourselves. This causes rifts in families and our community at large. Whatever evil touches, it poisons; that is dangerous unless we find its antidote and expunge it from our minds and from the structures that it feeds on.
We have to overcome evil with positive thinking and good acts. It will then leave because it cannot compete with what is good.
When evil invades our minds, it affects our bodies in a negative way. Someone said that thoughts are things. In other words, our thoughts bring about concrete happenings to our bodies. This could cause anxiety, stress and mental and psychological illness.
It means we cannot function effectively at work, or condition ourselves to manage our activities effectively. If when evil invades our bodies, we cannot combat it, it means that if we think we are always ill, we will feel that way. If we feel we cannot measure up to what is required of us because of the state of our bodies and our faculties which tell us we cannot make it, then evil has won. Our physical, emotional and psychological structures will be severely challenged so that we lose the will to succeed. Evil then takes over our physical bodies and the building in which we work as well. So it finds a home.
But we can overcome evil by having uplifting thoughts that replace negative ones. We can exercise our will power to succeed, and combat any challenges evil poses to it, and so be victorious. We can use prayer as a positive force which guarantees our success by melting evil away. Or we can ignore the negatives evil throws at us, allowing our divine selves to take over.
Evil cannot compete with who we really are and has no counter-strategy. And when we believe this strongly, evil has no alternative but to leave the building whether it is our physical workplace, minds or bodies.
• Oliver Mills is a former lecturer in education at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus. He holds an M.Ed degree from Dalhousie University in Canada, an MA from the University of London and a post-graduate diploma in HRM and Training, University of Leicester. He is a past Permanent Secretary in Education with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.