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Innocence — door to true meaning and happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A bunny is sitting peacefully outside my study window as I write these words.

He (or she) is absolutely gorgeous. He lives beneath the large blue spruce tree that grows outside our front door and provides him with security and shelter. I hope he has a long and happy life with the help of this tree and his own highly honed survival skills.

I didn't think I would be writing a post about this bunny this morning. For one thing, I hadn't seen him for a week, perhaps longer. No, I had it all planned out to write a post about various books that have been helpful to me in my life, and have blessed my life. But when I looked outside a few moments ago and saw this bunny, I started to think about innocence.

Key to happiness and fulfillment

The bunny -- he is still there, resting peacefully in the grass at the very edge of the tree that is his friend and protector -- is surely the very personification of innocence.

He has a good turn of speed, I give you that, but what options does he have to defend himself against the coyotes, for example, which roam this neighborhood?

The only thing that has kept him alive so far in this townhome complex in which JoAnn and I live is that he is a very alert little bunny-- and as I say, can cover a lot of ground very quickly indeed.

The paradox of truth

It's true that innocence, in the sense I'm speaking of it here, does not necessarily guarantee a long life to any particular physical form, our own included. But there's a beautiful paradox in life:

When we are truly innocent -- that is to say, open to the call of our own eternal Self -- we find ourselves connected with the truth at the core of our being that is the very source of all true meaning and happiness.

7 benefits of innocence

Here are 7 reasons why I think it behooves each of us to inquire deeply into this matter of innocence:

1. Reconnect with our own being 

Innocence makes it possible for us to reconnect with our own divine character -- which is itself innocent, untainted and untroubled by any of the disturbances and troubles of human existence

2. Hear the voice of truth

Innocence makes it possible to hear the clear, strong voice of our own eternal spirit speaking to us amidst the noise and confusion of this world

3. Live a daring life

Innocence makes it possible to live a daring life -- because we trust the impulse of our own inner wisdom, and are willing to follow it whether others agree with us or not

4. Meet the challenges of life

Innocence makes it easier to accept and meet the challenges that life brings to us or to our loved ones or others

5. Helps us change easily 

Innocence makes it possible for us to change as readily and easily as possible. Since change is an absolute necessity, this is an attractive aspect of innocence.

6. Experience the beauty of life 

Innocence makes it possible for us to see and taste the authentic beauty and magic at the core of our existence

7. Makes it possible to forgive

An unforgiving attitude or spirit is a hard burden to bear. Innocence makes it possible to forgive -- and easy to forgive.

The bunny is still there as I finish this post. I thought for a moment as I looked out the window that he was asleep. But as I stood up to leave and get a snack, he opened his eyes wide and looked straight at me.

Hmm. Another reason why innocence should be high on our priority list. It opens our eyes to the connection that we share with all other living things on this planet.

What is innocence?

What is true innocence? It's not naivete, that's for sure. I like the words attributed to Jesus: "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, harmless as doves" (Matt 10:16). 

I also like some words of the Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi: "The ultimate truth is so simple; it is nothing more than being in one's natural, original state."

Please write if you have any thoughts you'd like to share on this theme of innocence.

Please check out my guest post at Good Life Zen entitled ""The 10 timeless joys of aging."

Have a wonderful holiday season. Be well.

Picture credit:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1221/4723574011_9bd4852732_m.jpg

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

The Vizier December 14, 2010 at 12:41 am

Hi Christopher,

I love your post on innocence! I also enjoy reading how you gained the inspiration for this post from the bunny outside your window. We can learn a lot from animals and their naturalness. I too hope that bunny has a long and happy life, safe from the coyote.

By being innocent, we are better able to face the challenges of life in a way that is most natural. We become like water which flows naturally to the oceans, overcoming all obstacles in a gentle and natural manner to do so. By being innocent, we see things for what they truly are, free of whatever perceptions we have, thus we are able to manage changes.

In reading your post, I was reminded of Hexagram 25 from the I-Ching or the Book of Changes. One translation of Hex 25 is innocence and I believe it will fit in nicely with what you are trying to say. Here is Hex 25:

“INNOCENCE. Supreme success.
Perseverance furthers.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.

Man has received from heaven a nature innately good, to guide him in all his movements. By devotion to this divine spirit within himself, he attains an unsullied innocence that leads him to do right with instinctive sureness and without any ulterior thought of reward and personal advantage. This instinctive certainty brings about supreme success and ‘furthers through perseverance”.

However, not everything instinctive is nature in this higher sense of the word, but only that which is right and in accord with the will of heaven. Without this quality of rightness, an unreflecting, instinctive way of acting brings only misfortune. Confucius says about this: “He who departs from innocence, what does he come to? Heaven’s will and blessing do not go with his deeds.””

Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

Irving aka the Vizier
The Vizier recently posted..Staying Calm to Manage Shocks of Fate

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Christopher Foster December 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

When you write a comment, Irving, you really write a comment. This is gorgeous. Thankyou so much for taking the time and trouble to write me this beautiful comment. It’s a post in itself.

I think it boils down to the simple recognition that who we truly are is indeed innocent, eternally true, and good, unsullied in any way, and if we follow this divine spirit that in us, and express it in our lives — as Confucius said, and as you say, we will know success in the truest sense of that term. Thankyou so much. Be well.

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Uzma December 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Hello Christopher. What a beautiful post. The innocence is often forgotten, yet its here. If the mind stops complaining, if we see the gift in everything, if we , like children, live in the moment, then we can live from the place of innocence inside, not letting the outside trouble us so. Thank u for this lovely reminder of innocence.

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Christopher Foster December 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hi Uzma. Thankyou so much for your comment. It’s always a real joy to hear from you, you have such a warm, wise, happy attitude to life. It’s a pleasure to share this experience of true innocence with you. Be well.

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Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) December 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I love this post, Chris! Innocence is openness. It is fresh and alive to be innocent. To not know is a joy because we get to experience life!
Gail Brenner (AFlourishingLife) recently posted..There Is Great Freedom in Simply Being Aware

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Christopher Foster December 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Thanks Gail. Wonderful to hear from you. You are a true friend — to me, and to all your readers. You put it so beautifully, ‘to be innocent is to be fresh and alive.’ Like a ripe mango. Like a walk by the seashore.

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Sibyl - alternaview December 16, 2010 at 7:29 am

Really great post Chris. I really loved hearing about your observation of the bunny and the connection to the theme of innocence. It is so true what you said that being innocent is not the equivalent of being naive. It really is so much more than that and is about being able to be your true self and present with a deep sense of knowing. Thank you for this post and the message of innocence. I really liked this one.

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Christopher Foster December 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

Thank you so much Sibyl. You sum things up so well. I think there will always be something new to discover when it comes to the experience of our own true innocence. Heck. We’re not “guilty” at all. So many “fig leaves” we have pasted on to cover up the true strength and joy of our own genuine self.

Delighted to reconnect with you Sibyl. Blessings.

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Big Zen December 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

A very nice post. I think innocence is closely tied to living authentically from our own values. I liked the metaphor of the bunny – I was also writing about rabbits today.

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Christopher Foster December 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Thanks for stopping by. And thank you for your blog. You’re certainly not alone in your musings. Thankyou also for your input re a rabbit’s field of vision, amazing. Every good wish.

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Tess The Bold Life December 20, 2010 at 9:22 am

Hi Christopher,
I think of innocence when I’m reminded to follow the beat of my own drum or take the path less traveled. I like your point about forgiveness and this morning I’m wallowing in my anger, justifying it all. You just gave me the “kick in the pants” needed to let it go and move on. The value of this article? Heaven on earth;)
Tess The Bold Life recently posted..A Gift In Goodbye- A Legacy of Love

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Christopher Foster December 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Thankyou Tess and bless you.I love your clear, beautiful spirit so much. Keep on keeping on, eh?

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Kashif Ansari March 12, 2013 at 4:26 am

innocence is in no sense innocent. children who are very small lash out when you try to play with them. this too is a sign of their naive nature since a person who is innocent is amoral. notice i said amoral like nature and not immoral or moral. the battle between morality and immorality is merely the shadow war of tired nihilistic adults who love to have a dull time. children who are chilled and love to run around in frolicsome play are ready to climb hills and drink up – literally soak up – the energy like a sponge. they are little deconstructors that act and do rather than moralize or ponificate. therein lies their secret. the child has no use of psychology since he or she is still in the pre-oedipal stage. even if he or she acts slightly aggressively or eccentrically thankfully he or she is unaware of it.

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