“The time must come when we shall have left the apparent evil behind; when it shall be rolled up like a scroll and numbered with the things which were once thought to be.” — Ernest Holmes.
I did not want to treat Phillip. Indeed, I did not want anything to do with him. But I was a Ph.D. candidate interning at a psychiatric facility, and interns don’t get a choice. I would be treating a pedophile.
When I walked into his room for our session, I felt he was evil and wrote in my notes in invisible ink, “No hope.”
While we spoke, techniques from school came tumbling into my head but nothing seemed appropriate in this case. The only way to move forward was to see what it was like to live in his brain. Little did I know the impact this idea would have on my ability to heal mental illness in Phillip and future patients.
To my surprise, Phillip asked me a question: “Can you feel the presence of someone else in the room?” I felt a chill run down my spine as I followed his eyes to an empty chair across the room. I dared to take a leap into his darkness. “Phillip, move to that chair and let me talk to the darkest part of you,” I responded. I decided I had to talk to what he felt was the evil part of him.
Once he sat down in the other chair, I said, “Phillip, go inside and get in touch with that part of you that is the sexual addict. May I talk to him directly?” I was moving on instinct, and it felt right.
Phillip closed his eyes for what seemed like a long time. When he slowly opened them, it was like another person was with me. This man looked sinister, dark, and, yes, evil. So startling a change made it hard for me to keep from gasping in horror at the monster sitting in front of me.
“Tell me a little bit about yourself.” I was building the script as I went along.
“Are you sure you want to talk to me?” he asked very solemnly. “I enjoy looking at pornography, going to prostitutes, and I get high thinking of touching little girls.” He revealed the worst things about himself for me.
“What is your reason to do this to Phillip, when it ends up causing him and others so much pain?” I verbally separated this part of him from the Phillip who had been sitting in the other chair when I had arrived.
His cold walls of defense seemed to fall away as he said, “I am trying to help him and protect him! He gets very sad when he thinks about growing up without a father. His mother brought men home all the time who beat him up and molested him sexually. I know how to protect him from hurting so much.”
Sexual addictions did just that — took away pain, if only for a few minutes. I could see the purpose of this survival part of his brain.
“I think the ways you are protecting Phillip are no longer needed. I am going to teach him new ways to take care of himself. So watch out, as I will eventually help him uncover his true self that will be so strong that it will be in charge instead of you. In the long run, he will be better off without the sexual addiction you are using to numb him from his pain.” I had a hunch that convincing him that his efforts were inferior would dissolve his evil side to reveal his true self. “When were you created?” I asked.
“When he was a little boy, he would have to endure that terrible abuse by his mother’s boyfriends. He never knew if she was coming home at night so he had to do something. I taught him all about how to keep the pain away and now any kind of sex works pretty good for him.”
I asked Phillip to move back to his original seat in the room. When he looked up, the eyes of a sexual predator became the eyes of a little boy, hopeful and almost relieved that I had seen the ugliest part of him.
Then I experienced something I will never forget. I saw a grown man cry, not just tears but wracking sobs of pain heave out of his chest as if they would tear him apart. When he finally looked up, I saw a man. Just a man, nothing more. I no longer saw the pedophile. He was gone.
At that moment, I felt my own judgment and criticism disappear. I gave him permission to see what I saw — that a part of him had been created by a child’s brain to cope with abuse, and that this part of him was false and not the real Phillip. He was not evil.
“Phillip, that part of you that I just met is not you,” I assured him. “There is a kind, loving man inside of you that has been covered up. It is our job to uncover that real you and put it back in charge.”
“I always thought that part of me was the real me,” he said. “You mean that evil part is not the real me?”
There it was — the key I would eventually use in helping every client I would meet in the next 30 years of my career. Phillip’s attitude toward himself transformed after realizing he was not evil. I watched him take off layer after layer of false coverings, finally breaking through the veil into the pure untouched part of his brain neuroscientists call ipseity.
I finally realized evil is only a thought covering up our divine nature. I began to wonder if this is how Christ had healed the sick and brought the dead back to life. Didn’t he always see the good in people?
I knew the mind of God had been at work pouring through me in my intuitive knowing to go within Phillip to see his higher self.
For the first time in my life, I felt the power of the God within me. In the last thirty years of helping people get back to themselves, I always remember that day I let go of my judgement of Phillip and found the divine within me.
“We are never left without a witness of the Eternal, and in our greatest moments—in those flash-like visions of mystic grandeur—we know that we are made of eternal stuff, fashioned after a Divine Pattern.” Ernest Holmes