Caroline Myss: The Courage to Confront Evil

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You’re listening to Insights at the Edge, and today my guest is Caroline Myss. Caroline Myss is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including Anatomy of the Spirit, Sacred Contracts, Invisible Acts of Power, and Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can. She is a leading voice in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness, and she holds degrees in journalism, theology, intuition, and energy medicine. With Sounds True, Caroline has created more than 20 audio learning series, including a new program called The Courage to Confront Evil: The Most Important Challenge of our Time. Caroline has a way of talking about evil that brings it out of the realm of superstition, theology, and makes it extremely real, right now, in our personal self-reflection. Here’s my conversation with Caroline Myss:

Caroline, it’s always great to have a chance to talk to you, one of the great delights of my work at Sounds True. Today I want to talk with you about something that seems to trigger a lot of people just by the mention of the word, and that is evil—the word evil, what it means. Let’s just begin. What do you mean by evil?

Caroline Myss: I think there’s several ways I will speak about evil. First of all, let me just compliment you on the courage to speak about this subject, Tami. Evil is many things. One, it’s the absence of good, and it’s the absence of grace. But at a more practical level, it’s a disconnect from your conscience—at the working level, say the blue-collar definition. It’s when you consciously disconnect from your conscience and from the intuitive gut instinct, and you choose to disconnect from that. First of all, let’s be very clear that evil’s real. There is a real, conscious force, just like there’s a conscious force of good. So there’s the polarity. There is a balance. There’s light, and there’s darkness.

Of course, if I was in a classroom right now, somebody would throw their hand up and say, “Well, are there angels and demons?” People are very comfortable with angels. They love to talk about their angels, and angels help them find parking space, which is nonsense. Angels are messengers of the divine. They’re not in the business of that nonsense. They’re messengers of the divine. They’re holy beings of light. There are demonic forces, and these are as real, and these are messengers of darkness.

Somehow, in these last 50, 60 years, we’ve gotten too big for our intellectual britches. We think we can redesign the cosmos according to our design, that we think we can somehow decide we are in charge of the design of this universe, and we’ve declared that evil—we’ve banished evil from the planet, and that’s part of evil’s nature, that we get too big for our britches.

So evil is this force, and it influences us, and it feeds off of our arrogance, and it feeds off of our weaknesses. It enhances our weaknesses. It builds our bravado, and it enhances our appetites to control other people, because all of that is based on our fear of survival. So the way evil gets into the threads, our blood and our bones, is that it awakens what Buddha would call our craving for illusions.

TS: Caroline, there’s a lot here that I want to try to tease apart a little bit. Let’s get into this idea of angels and demons, because I know a lot of people who believe that they’re in touch with guardian angels, archangels, et cetera. They’re connecting with archangels for healing, on and on. If I said to them, “Well, have you ever made contact or have any awareness of a demonic force?” they would go, “No, no, I have no experience of that, never happened to me, don’t know anything about it.” So what’s it like to come into contact with a demonic force?

CM: OK. Now, ask them if they believe in negativity. Look at what they wear. Are they draped in stones for, quote, “protection?” They simply have redistributed their vocabulary for words that they’re more comfortable with because they’re so afraid of evil, so they’ve chosen more neutral words. They use “negativity.” They avoid the negative because they’re so afraid of evil. They’ve gone the other way, and they’ve juvenilized their approach to evil because they’re so afraid of it. This is part of turning down your connection to your conscience. This is juvenilizing your spirituality.

What’s it like to be in touch with evil? Well, for me, I have a high sense of when I’m around darkness. There’s no part of me that juvenilizes it. There’s absolutely no part of me that turns down that radar. So I sense … what’s it feel like? Well, I’ve never had an encounter, a direct encounter, with what I would call a demon in the actual sense of seeing anything, hearing anything, watching something fly across the room, though I know that happens. But I haven’t seen that. I haven’t witnessed it, and I don’t want to, but that’s real. What I have been around is a sense that this person has so much darkness in them that I need to get away from this person. I’ve been around people whose only intent is to corrupt the people around them, to diminish their self-worth, to take possession of them in some way. That is a form of evil. That is a form of evil.

TS: OK, but, Caroline, let me ask you about that, because I think most of us have been around people that we maybe have some similar sense about. But we would not necessarily use a word like “evil.” We would say they have some psychological disorder, a mental illness of some kind. We would explain it in psychological language. They were damaged from an early age …

CM: Right—to our detriment, to our detriment, Tami. We have provided ourselves with a vocabulary that covers up evil, and that is not to our—that is harmful. Sure, we can sophisticate the behavior of evil, and we can say, “Look at that, it’s a psychological condition.” But behind that—and let me say it this way. We also do that with goodness and the work of angels. We say “That person has such a generous personality. That person has so much love in them.” But behind that is also the work of angels that uses those channels in that person and enhances that love, which is why that person’s inclination to be so loving is used as a channel for that love. People want to be around that light, and that light—it goes from being cologne to perfume because it’s inspired by greater light. This is how it’s used.

We can academize that as much as we want. We can call it that person’s inclined psychologically to be loving and blah, blah, blah, blah. We can call it whatever we want, because that’s what we do. But the same thing with darkness. We can say this person’s got this kind of damage in the brain and is missing a pineal gland and blah, blah, blah, blah. We can call it whatever we want, but darkness takes advantage of brain damage or takes advantage of those personality traits and uses them.

One of the reasons it’s so important to raise children with consciousness and love is because, when—one of the many reasons, but when little human beings are abused, when their perception of the world becomes skewed and their sense of how to respond to the world gets wired in, and their response … for example, when you ask a little child early on, when they’re learning about the mechanism of telling the truth or lying and what’s the response to that, and when you say to a child, “Did you do this?” and the child says, “Yes,” and tells you the truth, and you punish them for that, you punish them for telling the truth, they’re going to mistrust truth and then trust darkness. Because if they lie and get away with it, they’ll feel that darkness is safety and truth is risky.

Right there, you have what, in Catholicism, is called original sin, but it should always have been called, perhaps, the origin of sin—the sense that the light, telling the truth, is where I’m punished. But if I go to the darkness and hide with lies, that’s where I’m safe. Little by little, the psyche begins to morph and negotiate its way with darkness. If I just not tell the truth here and not tell the truth there, morph a little bit here, morph a little bit there, what that begins to do is it breaks down the mechanism of one’s integrity and one’s conscience. So little by little, that mechanism in us that’s inherent, that’s born to work and guide us that just, this isn’t right. It’s like a metronome we’re born with. This is right; this is wrong. This is truth; this is a lie.

But we have to start morphing that early on, because from the time we get punished for telling the truth, then we can’t allow it to lean toward truth, because, in fact, that leans toward pain. So we start morphing ourselves, and the more we morph, the more we start listening to the shadow, and that allows us to start negotiating our conscience. The more we do that, there comes the point where we might seek the darkness. We might seek it out, and that’s the moment we go from ordinary bad behavior to negotiating with the dark.

TS: So, Caroline, I get what you’re saying about the power of having a conscience intact—that works, that goes towards integrity. But what I’m not clear about is why you feel so impassioned about articulating these forces of good and evil instead of accepting a psychological explanation for what you’re describing.

CM: Because accepting a psychological explanation alone, alone—let’s be clear here. It’s not an either/or. Accepting a psychological one alone stops the therapist, shall we say, at the door of the psyche. It does not encourage someone to look at the involvement of the soul, to look at the involvement of the spiritual world in somebody’s suffering or in, just like—from a different point of view, and it helps to bring this one in because it may make sense to include what it looks like in another position. How often I have seen that what somebody mistakes as clinical depression is in fact a spiritual crisis. If someone did not involve the language of the soul, they would just medicate themselves and not recognize they’re in a spiritual crisis. They require the language of the spirit. They require the language of the soul. They need to recognize that what they are going through is in fact a crisis of the soul, a dark night of the soul, and that the language of the psyche is simply inadequate.

In that same way, when you’re going into just, “Well, this is a therapeutic thing, and this person’s obviously just schizophrenic or just …” That’s inadequate. They may well exhibit schizophrenic behavior, and that may well be true. But the schizophrenia could be the caboose on this train, and the engine could be possession. One of the ways that shows up is schizophrenic behavior. They may well be hearing voices, and those voices could be demonic. It is not just a hallucination. But because you won’t go there, you will not contact an exorcist, and you have it in your mind that it’s just too sophisticated for this world. Well, it’s not. Those things happen. Those things happen.

Any time I’m with somebody who has it in their mind that something happened that did not happen, that’s a possession of a memory. That’s absolutely—they’re possessed by a narrative, and they can’t get their facts straight. They’re absolutely convinced something happened that did not happen. That’s a form of a possession. Addiction is a form of a possession. Everybody’s possessed by something, absolutely everybody is. People are possessed by ideas, traumas that happened to them years ago, and they can’t let it out of them, and that’s a form of possession. That’s how our psyche works. It’s like a magnet, and forces—and heaven works like that. It inspires you with a vision. What do you think Francis of Assisi got? He was possessed by God, when God said to him, “Francis, rebuild my church.” Out of that possession came the whole Franciscan community.

Teresa of Ávila was possessed by Jesus. Nelson Mandela had a possession in him that said, hold tight to this vision that apartheid was bad. These people are—Mother Teresa of India, she was totally possessed by her belief of feeding the poor. Those are possessions, but they’re possessions of light, and they are totally possessed by God. You can be totally possessed by darkness.

Don’t kid yourself. It is the exact same thing. You can’t have the sun without the moon. And I am talking impersonally: this is the mechanism. These are the way the laws work. This is mechanistic. I am a mechanistic creature, I am a creature of law. God is law, and maybe that’s something people need to understand. This is an impersonal universe. It operates by law and order, and it’s as simple as that.

TS: So, Caroline, I want to see through your eyes when you say we need to see things impersonally to see the law of good and evil. In the new series, The Courage to Confront Evil, you talk about how there’s a structure to the celestial world that includes good and evil. So help me see that structure the way you see it.

CM: This universe is completely, completely impersonal. It operates on laws, and it operates on levels, and it operates on systems. It’s as simple as that. It’s not a personal universe. It doesn’t belong to anybody. There is no such thing as a God that has a religion. This is an impersonal universe. The nature of God is law, so just like your body. Your body runs on law and mathematics. Birth is a nine-month procedure, gestation, and somewhere around 12, 13, we kick into puberty and et cetera. A heart beat has so many beats that’s normal, and blood pressure has this number attached to it, and we have this number of cells. Everything is numbers and mathematics.

Then there’s the laws, law of gravity. We fall. Everybody falls when we jump. I mean, everything is law. Then there’s numbers. It’s this many rotations to the sun, then this many. The tides are timed. Spring and summer and fall and winter, everything is organized. This is an organized and law universe. That’s the nature of God. Then we have the mystical laws and the scientific laws, cause and effect, action and reaction, the law of sensitivity, the law of integration, the law of interconnection, the law of energy before matter. This is the nature of God. God is law.

And those laws apply to creation, and negativity is also subject to creation. Darkness follows the laws of creation. There’s a reason why all the great spiritual masters came and taught the law. Buddha taught the law. Stay in the middle. Watch your balance. Don’t get attached to illusions. Why? Because you will lose your power. Why is it so important to understand that? If you lose your power, something else might take charge of you. The same thing with Jesus. Stop being hateful, because, if you’re hateful, something will come. He did exorcisms. Something will possess you. We talk about people when they get so insanely full of hatred, it’s like a possession.

Everything in this universe is law, and the thing that makes this impersonal universe intimate, which is to say personal, is prayer, meditation, the nature of the soul. That is what connects you to the divine. So all the mechanisms, whatever choice we make has consequence. Whatever action we make creates a reaction. That is impersonal, and that is as true for one person as it is for another. No matter who you are, where you are, how much money you have, how poor you are, you jump, you’re going to fall. You make a choice, it has a reaction.

But when we choose a conscious path, that is when we are asking, “Guide me, because this power I have is so great that I do not want to make negative choices, because I will attract to myself negative allies, and I don’t want them.” It’s as simple as that, because the law of magnetic attraction is what it is. If I am making negative choices, I will drain my energy, and I will attract negative companions. I will be inspired to make negative choices. I will create a negative universe around me. That’s how it goes.

TS: So in your view, is there always a force of evil, just like there’s always a force of good, and it’s never going to change, it’s never going to go away, that is—

CM: No, it’s never going to go away.

TS: Even if we work hard and we do all these things—

CM: No!

TS: —and blah, blah, blah—

CM: It’s never going to go away.

TS: … we reach a tipping point—

CM: No.

TS: … of spiritual awakening, all of these things?

CM: It’s never going to go away. But what does change, what I think changes, is what we’re prepared to do with darkness, or for darkness. I mean, if you examine yourself, for example—I think there are people who will use their anger. What are they prepared to do with their anger? Some people take it out on other people. They’re prepared to do that. They’re prepared to slap another person. They’re prepared to scream at another person. Some people grab a weapon. Look at the number of domestic violence situations. They beat their children. Some people take guns and shoot their spouses.

Some people are prepared to take that rage—and we’ll always have negativity. We’ll always have our shadow to deal with, but they are prepared to do something else with it other than abuse other human beings. So they find other ways, a more refined and a higher choice. They work on themselves. They say, “This is my rage, and I’m not going to do something to someone else because of it.” So they make a higher choice, and they decide, “What am I going to do with this rage? What is it in me that makes me so angry?” So they start to refine it differently, but they have to do something with it. So they recycle it, and instead of beating someone up, they take that darkness, and they make a higher choice with it.

We’ll always have to choose how to deal with our shadow. But, hopefully, hopefully, as we evolve, we make higher choices on how to deal with that shadow, and we each evolve beyond the point of blaming another human being for why we have a shadow. That’s one person at a time.

TS: At the beginning of this conversation, Caroline, you said, “Thank you, Tami, for having the courage to talk about the topic of evil,” and that’s the title of the new series, The Courage to Confront Evil. What do you think it is? What’s courageous? To be honest with you, I feel very open. I want to learn from you. I don’t feel particularly courageous at this moment; I’m interested in what you have to say. But what do you think is required in terms of confronting evil? Why do you use the word “courage?”

CM: Well, because it takes a lot of courage, I think, to look at your relationship with darkness, because it means that you’re looking at why you make negative choices. At first, when you begin that course of self-examination—emphasis on self-examination—we all start, as kids, blaming someone else. He hit me. He did that. She did that. That’s why I did that. I remember the way my parents dealt with it, and I remember my father saying—when we were each old enough, my father would say, “This is the last time you can use another person’s name in explaining your behavior. Now I’m going to ask you again. Why did you do this? Why are you screaming?” until it got through our heads that I’m screaming because I want to scream. I’m screaming because I want him to hear me. He didn’t make me scream. I’m screaming because I’m convinced that, if I speak louder than him, I win.

Once we start the course of self-examination, we have to deal with why we are angry, why we are enraged, why we’re controlling. Eventually, that takes us to that incredible place of what are we willing to do to win? What are we willing to do? What does anger push us to do? That’s that crossroads. That’s that real hot seat where the examination—we can stay there, or we can actually cross the Rubicon and go deeper and say, has our anger ever caused us to lie about somebody? Has it ever caused us to disparage another person’s character so we can win? Has it ever caused us to sin against someone?

Now comes holy language. Now we pull out a vocabulary that we have essentially banned from general parlance. We don’t use these words anymore. That’s to our detriment, I might add. We don’t use that word anymore. Most people don’t even know what a sin is. They think it’s a Catholic word, and they don’t get it. This is why people can’t forgive, because this one word is no longer used.

But this—on the journey into evil and self-examination, is right there, where a sin is the conscious choice to harm another person. That’s what a sin is, because everything about being a human being is that we are conscious and that we have choice. That’s what makes you different from a tree and a bird is the level of our consciousness. We’re not bound by the minimal of our instinct. We can reason differently, so far as we know, at least, where we can look at a person and say, “Am I going to make this choice to start a rumor? Am I going to lie? Am I going to do this? What are the consequences to this person’s life? If I do this, if I take all the money out of Tami’s bank account, what are the consequences to her life if I do that? And will it bother me?”

Then if she asks me, what am I going to say? Should I tell her, yes, no, or blame someone else, if I decide to do this? What if I decide to do it, and if we’re caught, how about if I say to her, “I never meant to hurt you,” and lie completely about the fact that I planned it and I didn’t care about hurting her? Because that’s what most people do; they will cover up their intent by saying, “You know, I never meant to hurt you.” They’ll lie on top of it.

That’s where the sin comes in. That’s why people stay in therapy for 400 years, because they know—because they know the intent was conscious, and they can’t release the pain of a lie, the pain of the lie. They can actually get over the event, but they cannot get over that the intention was conscious, and they know it. That’s the sin.

And when a person gets to the point in their life where they are conscious of doing evil, where they are conscious, they’re consciously compromising, then what they’re actually doing is they’re actually morphing their relationship with their intuition, with their own guidance. Because your guide will tell you, “Don’t you dare do this,” but, in fact, what they’re listening to at that point is their demon that’s saying, “You deserve to do this. What are you talking about? This person hurt you. Go ahead, screw them. Go ahead.” That’s what dark guidance sounds like. That’s the demon.

TS: So let’s say someone’s listening right now, Caroline, and they are going through a self-examination. They’re thinking back in their life of, “Oh, you know, I remember when I acted—it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t like a big sin, but I gossiped about that person in a negative way because they hurt me, or I lied in that situation to make myself look better and seem more accomplished than I really was. I said I had these credentials.” What do they do now?

CM: Well, I think, I have to say it all depends. I mean, this is like—it all depends, Tami, because it depends what they did, really. It depends what they said. If they really harmed a person’s life—I mean, it’s one thing to gossip about someone in a minor way. But if you’ve really damaged somebody’s life, then I would say you have to go and do what you can to repair it. That’s one thing.

But, also, I would say to them, what would they have to say to you in order to own it? It’s not enough to say to someone, “I’m sorry.” That’s not enough. When you’ve sinned against somebody, an apology will never heal it, never. It’s like a surface Band-Aid. What’s required is a confession—another holy word. You have to say to them, “You know what, I was conscious. I knew exactly what I was doing. I had guidance, and it told me not to do it, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care. I chose, and I knew I would hurt you. I knew I would damage your life. I knew I would break up your marriage. I knew, I knew, I knew. And you know what? I chose me over you. I chose what I wanted to do, and I sinned against you. That’s a sin, because it was conscious, and I know that you know it was conscious. I need your forgiveness, and that may never come, but I am owning that it was a sin, a wound from my soul to yours. It may take lifetimes, because soul wounds often do, but I’m owning it in this moment.” That’s what you do.

Sometimes that person’s long gone—because that will be your next question, what if they’re not here? That’s when you have to say a prayer and say, “I don’t know where you are, but I am releasing this prayer into the cosmos in hope that it finds you, and I am owning this.” Heaven hears that. Heaven hears that. Heaven does hear that, that you say a confession, that you say, “I own this, I did this. God help me repair this in some way. Do not let me sin this way again.” But it’s up to you. “Help me never to sin this way again. Give me the courage to never, ever do this. Alert me, and give me the grace, the fortitude to become someone who cannot do that to another human being.”

TS: Now, Caroline, in talking about the courage to confront evil, your describing this in terms of our own self-examination about choices we’ve made and when we’ve consciously chosen to knowingly hurt another person. But I think, a lot of times, if somebody hears something like a title, The Courage to Confront Evil, they are thinking, “Oh, I’m going to get out on the street. I’m going to be protesting. There’s evil going on in the White House. There’s evil going on there—”

CM: That’s why I was wondering about the title, my dear, but go ahead.

TS: So I’m curious about that, because it sounds like you think the place of power is really more in self-examination, not in pointing out the evil in others and in the world.

CM: Well, I would never tell somebody to go point a finger in somebody’s face and say, “You’re evil.” I mean, that’s not how I work in the world. But if you do not develop an evil detector in yourself, where you are—you first have to develop yourself into an instrument of courage. You have to. You have to develop yourself into someone. I’ll say it this way, Tami. One of the great challenges in people today is that they don’t trust themselves. They don’t trust themselves, and they don’t have faith. They don’t have faith. It’s more the case that people have—they can tell me with greater conviction what they do not believe in than what they do believe in. They absolutely know what they don’t believe in. They have no idea what they do believe in.

Secondly, because they don’t believe in anything for sure, they really don’t get that it makes it nearly impossible for them to trust, because faith and trust go together. So they can go to therapy all they want, but they don’t get, at a primal soul level, that the reason they can’t trust is that they don’t have faith, including in themselves. So they don’t trust themselves.

This is one of the reasons they can’t lose weight, people can’t lose weight. They don’t trust themselves at all. They don’t have faith in themselves, and they think they’re going to have faith in a program, a weight loss program. This is one of the reasons relationships don’t work, because they don’t have faith in themselves. How could they ever have faith in a partner? You have to first have faith and trust in yourself.

So when it comes to evil, in order to have any sense that you would have courage to do anything about what’s happening in our world, you have to actually know that you could trust yourself and your own integrity to know, “I don’t compromise myself. I don’t compromise my integrity.” If someone says, “Will you keep this private? Will you carry my secret in your heart because my heart’s breaking and I can’t hold it anymore? Can I put it in your heart?” If you said, “Yes, I’ll hold it for you,” that you know you can trust yourself enough to give your word, to give your word to someone like a lock on their heart, and say, “Yes, I will hold in the vault of my heart,” that you can trust yourself enough. If you can’t trust yourself enough to do that, then you know you are totally susceptible to darkness. Because if darkness comes in and says, “Wait till you say that to someone else, and they’ll think you’re so special, and you’ll bond even closer because now you have a secret. A secret bonds you to someone else. Hurry up. Call them, and tell them. You better keep this to yourself, because you can’t even keep it to yourself.”

Evil relies on that weakness. You’ll never be able to look at someone on the street who says, “Help me, help me.” You’ll run away. But you’ll say this: “Someone should do something. Someone should do something.” But it’s never going to be you. It’s never going to be you. But what you will do is send out one of those useless emails that says look at this, look at what’s happening in the world, because emails will feel courageous to you, because it’ll never make you stand up to anybody, because you don’t have the guts. You don’t have the backbone.

It’s not until you hold yourself accountable and decide, “You know what, today I’m going to start a new book of rules. When I give my word, I’m going to keep it. If I say to someone I’m going to keep a confidence—” you will be challenged, and the voice that challenges you is the demon. That’s your companion demon who says, “Go ahead, tell them. Tell them. Break your word, break your word, break your word.” That’s not a psychological malfunction. That’s not a psychological condition. That’s the way darkness talks to you. It tempts you. Lead me not into temptation. That’s the way darkness talks. “Come on, they’ll like you better. Come on, you’ve got a juicy piece of gossip.” That’s not a bipolar condition. That’s not because of an abusive childhood. That’s a personality—that’s what you’ll do to get affection from someone or attention.

That’s when you stand up to your own character defect, and you decide, “No way, this time I’m going to see what trust is like.” That’s when you bow your head, and you say to God, “Grant me the grace of trust. I have to up it a notch here. Help me. help me strengthen my soul. help me. I need the grace. I gave my word, and I’ve got to keep it.” That’s when you go into self-examination and say, “What’s the matter with me, that I can’t even trust myself to keep my word?” Then you have to work to become steel. You have to become titanium so that when you give your word, there’s nothing that will cause you to break it.

Then you start trusting yourself, little by little. You think, “I’m pretty good at this. If I give my word, I keep it. I trust myself.” That’s when you develop the instinct of how to trust another person. You develop it. You develop a magnet, because you become trustworthy. That’s when you start developing a sense of faith, little by little, because now you’ve developed faith in yourself. Now you know what faith feels like. You develop a respect for it, because you realize, “You know what, it’s real. You know how I know it’s real? Because I have faith in myself.” That’s how you know faith is real.

You don’t know faith is real because you read a book on it or you imagine it. You know it because you scaffold it in yourself. You don’t develop faith and trust in other people by constantly calling them, “Do you still love me, do you still love me, do you still love me?” You’ll never—if you don’t have faith and trust in yourself, you’ll never have a relationship that words, because you’re empty. There isn’t enough phone calls and Hallmark cards in the world to fill that space. This is how you fill it: Little by little, you test yourself, and you scaffold it in yourself until you develop faith and trust in yourself.

Then when darkness comes to call, you’re able to say, “Get behind me, Satan. There’s no way that I break my word. There’s no way. This person has faith in me. This person has faith in me. I gave them my word, and I will not break it.” Then you feel better and better about yourself. Then you know, when you bow your head and you pray, “God, help me,” you have faith that help’s going to come, and it does.

TS: Now, Caroline, I want to ask you what’s maybe a slightly odd question. But when I think of being surrounded by these angelic forces, it’s almost like—and I’ll just speak from my own personal experience. It’s almost like I can sense a feeling of angelic guidance and support. I don’t know if I sense a demonic form, but I want to understand from you. Are these always sort of swirling around? Are they just out there? Are they 20 feet away? Are they in a different dimension? How do you understand that?

CM: [Laughs] You know what? I don’t have a visual at all. I never have. I have heard them—them, mine, I don’t know what to say, Tami. I’ll never forget, and I have thought about this and told this story so many times. But I was coming home—when I was in college, I worked at a candy factory, Mars, where they make Snickers and M&M’s, and that’s how I worked my way through college. I worked from 3:30 to midnight. So I was driving home after the midnight shift down Oak Park Avenue, and I live near there now, as a matter of fact. Oak Park’s kind of a mini Main Street, and so there’s side streets coming in, and there’s stop signs on those side streets as they feed into Oak Park.

It’s about a quarter after midnight, and so, obviously, most people are off the streets by that time. I’m driving down Oak Park, and my angel said to me, “Slow down. A red truck is going to run the stop sign.” I just slowed down, and this red truck ran, just barreled through the stop sign. That’s when I realized, “Oh, my God! I heard a voice, and it told me to slow down. I heard a voice! I heard a voice! It said a red truck, and that’s the red—” I couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t get over it. I have still thought about it.

In times when I’m sad or uncertain, I think about that experience, because the guidance was so specific, so clear, so clear, so specific. It was so remarkable, and it wasn’t a feeling. It was actually—and I remember when I was living in New Hampshire, where I lived for ten years, on the farm, and was in publishing. That’s when my life as a medical intuitive began. I also started teaching and doing readings and traveling. From 1986, ‘7, ‘8, I started to commute to Europe a lot and teach a lot over there, but especially in ’88, ’90, those years, I was always teaching over in England and Scotland and Holland. I was there all the time.

One day, this one day when I was returning, I flew out of Boston all the time. And the flight’s coming in, and this was in 1992, in February. The flight’s landing, and I look out the window, and the stewardess said, “Welcome to the United States. All Americans, welcome home.” As the flight was landing, I looked out at Boston, and I love Boston. But I looked down. I said, “This isn’t my home.” It felt so foreign to me, like this isn’t the city I love. I felt so disconnected.

So I’m driving back to the farm, and it’s a two-hour drive to the farm where I lived in New Hampshire. I drive, and I walk in, and I’ve got my coat on. It’s February. I have my suitcase. I open the farm door. As soon as I walk in, I didn’t even put my suitcase down, I heard my guide say, “Go home now.” Tami, I put the suitcase down. I did not take my coat off. I didn’t take my coat off. I went to the phone, and I called my mom. I said, “Mom, can I move home with you for a while? I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I’m going to move to England. I don’t know where I’m going to go. I just have got to leave, and I have to leave now.” My father had passed on. The house was big enough, and she said, “Sure.”

Then I hung the phone up. Then I called the woman who took care of my farmhouse while I was on the road all the time. I said, “Can you and your husband come here and help me pack up the place starting tomorrow?” She said, “Yes.” Then I called a U-Haul, and I rented a U-Haul truck for the next day. Then I called my brother, and I said, “I’m going to fly you out here, and we’re going to drive home the day after.” Then I went to my neighbor, because I was renting this house, and I said, “I will be gone on Friday.” Then I took my coat off.

TS: I’m with you, and I think, Caroline, we could have angel stories on and on and on. But what I’m also curious about is are these—it’s almost like, as we’re talking, I’m imagining them as dark swirls. Are they also—

CM: What difference does that make?

TS: —around me as well?

CM: What difference does that make?

TS: I’m curious about it.

CM: I have a very dear friend who’s Muslim, and he told me about how Mecca started, with Angel Gabriel. Muhammad asked Gabriel, “What do you look like?” Gabriel said, “Look upon the horizon.” He said, “If you saw me, I would look like I was standing and I reached all the way to the Sun, my wings are so big.” That’s how Gabriel described himself to Muhammad. I think we have this idea that angels have wings. However we got that idea, that angels are huge—there are many levels of angels.

Teresa of Ávila wrote, “An angel visited me today, but I’m not sure from what realm, because he didn’t stay long enough.” Then she described cherubs, little angels that look like little babies with little wings that floated through her office sometimes. They often will manifest looking like us. Do they look like us? They’re beings of light. There are many stories in which angels appear to us in physical form, but they’re always dressed like beggars, always. They’re always dressed like homeless people. We have to be exceedingly kind to homeless people, because you could be dealing with an angel. They’re always dressed like that.

TS: But, Caroline, what I’m asking about is, we have these images of the devil that we see in cartoons and things like that, and different kind of characterizations of demons and things. That’s what I’m curious to understand more, about their presence.

CM: Well, I would have to say they’re—I don’t know. They’re in the business of terror, so I think that they’re in the business of terrifying us. Probably, the images are based on—let me put it this way. I think that they will manifest according to what scares you the most. They’ll fulfill your darkest fear. Let me put it that way. So they’ll dress according to your projection. I think it works like that.

TS: Just a couple of more questions about evil before we close this conversation. Do you believe that evil is manifesting more powerfully now in our culture than at other times? If so, why?

CM: Yes, yes.

TS: Why?

CM: Because we’ve decided that it doesn’t exist, and that gives it free rein. I think because we do not protect ourselves—because evil’s greatest authority over us is arrogance. We’re too big for our intellectual britches. We think we know so much, and it’s hilarious. We make up theories about how we think this universe started. “Oh, it exploded itself into existence.” We are still such primates. We spend most of our creative energy trying to figure out how to destroy each other; that’s how primitive we are. That’s how primitive we are.

We’re such a primitive group of creatures that we can’t even figure out how to feed each other, and we still are destroying the only home we have. That’s how primitive we are. We think—and this isn’t evil, that we spend 90 percent of our effort trying to kill each other, trying to kill each other? And we feel good about it. We celebrate the fact that we’ve even created bigger weapons. Then we convince ourselves that, if we use them, we’ll still figure—and then the wealthy people think, “Oh, I know what I’ll do with my money. I’m going to go burrow a place underground so I can live through a nuclear devastation,” those idiots, those stupid idiots.

Evil’s gone nuclear, and what’s worse, what’s worse is that we now have a society in which all the politicians are pathological liars, and that’s OK. That’s OK with us. That doesn’t even have people screaming in the streets. They should be screaming their heads off. I stand at an audience, and I think, “Why are you not screaming your heads off? You’ve grown numb to the fact that you’re being led by pathological liars, and it’s OK with you. It’s OK with you. You’ve compromised your integrity so much that you hear lies 24/7, and you’ve figured out a way that that’s OK with you.”

So do I think there’s more evil now? Are you kidding me? It’s blasting 24/7. We are in so much darkness and in so much trouble, so much darkness and so much trouble, that we’re putting kids in cages, grabbing them and kidnapping them from their parents, and believing the garbage they tell us, oh, my god, is it unsafe if they come in here? We sit back, while eating dinner, saying, “I think that’s probably true. Let’s go out.” There’s no truth to that at all. That’s the devil. That is evil, especially if you sat back and said, “My God almighty, what are we believing?” This is so evil.

When you sit back and compromise your soul—if you think, for the last 70 years, you’ve been on a progressive path of spirituality and consciousness, becoming a conscious person—and this is the state of our country? This is what the handiwork of consciousness has led to us? We are so regressed it’s unbelievable. So do I think evil’s got the upper hand? Oh, yes, I do.

TS: Do you see that evil might be playing some role in our evolution that is actually, ultimately, a positive evolutionary role, even through we’re going through this dark time?

CM: Tami, I am not an optimist, and I’m not a pessimist. I’m a diehard realist. You’ve known me 25, 30 years. How long have we known each other?

TS: [Yes.] You’re a diehard realist.

CM: I don’t know how long we’ve known each other. To me, everything about the human experience is about choice and consequence. Everything, everything. Everything’s in our hands. The older I get, the more I realize that. We are the engines of what we experience. We’re not children. There is no off-planet god that’s a parent, that says, “OK, you’re behaving better now, so I will take the heat off.” That’s not how creation works. Either we wake up, or we don’t.

We are not a special species at all. We are not any better than the birds or the dolphins or the ants and the bees. We are not. We’re simply another species occupying this planet, but we’re stupid. We’re the stupid species, because we’re the ones destroying it and taking down all the other creatures with us. We don’t get that all life breeds together. We don’t get it, and we don’t want to. We just keep deluding ourselves with this garbage that we were born for something special, that we’re special.

We’re deluding ourselves with specialness, and, because of that … And we tell ourselves we’re extraordinary, and, because of that Kool-Aid that we drink and we raise our kids on, “You’re so special,” that we believe we can live above and outside the law. When you believe that, that you are somehow an exception to the law … And that’s how you measure your specialness. “Oh, I don’t have to follow the laws. No, no, the laws are for ordinary mortals.” Then you live outside the laws of nature. That’s when you’re quote, “out of touch,” not just with nature, but with your own nature, with your own nature.

That’s when you become a criminal. That’s when you think like, and that’s when you become a puppet of darkness, because you pride yourself on not following laws. Oh, you’re the exception to the rule. Rules don’t apply to you. Laws don’t apply to you. That’s when you become a lawbreaker, and that’s when you’re a real danger to society, in small and in big ways, because you don’t have to be moral. You don’t have to be ethical, because now that’s how you measure your greatness: when laws don’t apply to you, not when they do, including the laws of nature.

TS: All right, Caroline, I just have one final question for you.

CM: Yes, my dear.

TS: You emphasized how important our choices are, and I think a lot of people know that choice point where I could do this thing, and it would hurt someone else. I think a lot of us who have a conscience and are somewhat self-reflective, we know that particular choice point. If I go forward, this is a sin. I’m not going to do that, or I am going to do that, depending. Outside of that situation, what are the most important choices that matter in our life?

CM: The choice to get your conscience up and running as clear as you can. The choice to evaluate your own actions every single evening. The choice to give up the word “blame” and the word “deserve.” The choice to do something to serve someone else every single day, to break out of narcissism. And the choice to pray.

TS: Very good. Caroline Myss, I always learn talking to you, and I love it. We’re working on a new series together that relates to your new book on prayer, called The Power of Holy Language to Change Your Life. You always have something new, always something new coming. I love that.

CM: Thank you, sweetie. It has been, honestly, one of the pleasures of my life to know you.

TS: Likewise. I’m talking to Caroline Myss. She’s created more than 20 audio learning series with Sounds True, and today we’ve been talking about her latest new release. It’s called The Courage to Confront Evil: The Most Important Challenge of our Time. Thank you for listening to Insights at the Edge. You can read a full transcript of today’s interview at If you’re interested, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app. Also, if you feel inspired, head to iTunes, and leave Insights at the Edge a review. I love getting your feedback, being in connection with you, and learning how we can continue to evolve and improve our program. Working together, I believe, we can create a kinder and wiser world. waking up the world.

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