but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45
These words cut to the chase, wouldn't you say?
Everywhere these days, from left and right and center, from top to bottom, we are finding just how true these words of Jesus are.
It is impossible now to watch the news, or open the newspaper, to surf the net or surf social media without discovering just how much negativity — and yes, in some cases, downright evil — reside in the human heart.
Even in a time when we thought we had progressed far enough beyond that as a society, as a nation, we might engage in civil discourse without allowing hatred and disdain for the other to spew all over the place, this is where we find ourselves.
I have watched and listened to public commentary over the last few years and felt a range of emotions. Anger, fear, disgust, frustration, fright.
Each day lends itself to these emotions and more.
And there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
I have written here before about those among us who could be described as highly sensitive or empathetic. Those who are affected deeply by words spoken and not spoken, actions, tone of voice, gestures. Those who could be called emotional sponges because they take on all the negativity around them and sometimes get sick from it themselves. While others are left guessing about a person's true character, empaths can feel it in their flesh and bones. They can't help that this happens to them, it is in their biological makeup.
We are not completely defenseless though, and for those of you sensitive souls who would like to find out more how you can continue to live in a world so ripe with hatred, I encourage you to read Dr. Judith Orloff's book "The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People."
I am currently on my second reading of it since it was released in April, and I'm pretty sure this book will grace my shelf for years to come.
Although things might seem pretty bleak right now, it is precisely because there are so many sensitive, empathetic souls out there that I have hope.
For, if the rest are any like me, when I see hatred on the internet or on the news (which is rare, because out of self-love, I avoid the news), but when I do, I turn to that which is most natural to people like us: prayer, meditation, holy silence.
I counter the loud, brash negativity with quiet, steady peace.
In this time we are in as a nation, we find ourselves in a holy war. A war between good and evil, the light and the dark.
While it may seem the darkness is winning, the Light has already won long ago.
If you are a sensitive soul, or even if you aren't, why not join in the movement to demonstrate that realized Peace, by being proactive rather than reactive?
In your thoughts, in your words and in your heart.
- SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines spirituality in The Times' readership area. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you engage your spirit in your life and community.