We are all born as innocence - open, fresh, uncomplicated, full of wonder as we directly experience everything as new. Before the mind begins to define experience there is newness, unknowing, and vulnerability to all sensory perception. In Zen this is referred to as beginner’s mind, but I prefer the word innocence since I find it can directly evoke our individual sense of original innocence. Spiritual pathways are intended to assist us as we journey back to innocence, but this time with a self-awareness that was absent in infancy.
This return to innocence is expressed in various ways in our culture. Jesus taught that unless we become as little children we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” In her song Sinead O’Connor sings “All babies are born knowing God’s name . . .” and the poet Hafiz penned “Every child has known God, Not the God of names, Not the God of don’ts, Not the God who ever does anything weird, but the God who knows only 4 words and keeps repeating them, saying: “Come Dance with Me, come dance.” Walt Whitman wrote of innocence: “A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it is any more than he.”
In our ordinary lives, we find delight in seeing the innocence in children’s uninhibited play, often wishing we could be so carefree and spontaneous in our own lives, free from the concerns of everyday living.
During satsang we explore teachings that encourage and assist us in remembering that before to the stories and narratives about our lives we are simply innocence itself. Recalling our original innocence, as well as recognizing the innocence of others, is a precious gift.
We were born with silence, and as we grew up we lost the silence and we were filled with words. We lived in our hearts, and as time passed we moved into our heads. Now the reverse of this journey is enlightenment. It is the journey from the head back to the heart, from words back to silence; getting back to our innocence in spite of our intelligence.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Let everything die here. Let everything be washed away here. Let yourself be made so new, bathed in your own Innocent being. Giving over everything else to the Ocean and letting it dissolve like salt.
~ Jeannie Zandi
We carry about us the burden of what thousands of people have said and the memories of all our misfortunes. To abandon all that is to be alone, and the mind that is alone is not only innocent but young — not in time or age, but young, innocent, alive at whatever age — and only such a mind can see that which is truth and that which is not measurable by words.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
There is a place in all of us that has remained innocent, uncorrupted and untouched by the world. We have to locate that most delicate place. It is a very sensitive place, it's where we feel love - where tenderness and compassion arise, free from self-interest. This place is the hole we have to fall into - and disappear in forever.
~ Andrew Cohen
Innocence is the natural condition of the soul and the lack
of innocence is a foreign element which the soul acquires after coming on earth.
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan
Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Truth happens in a state of not knowing, truth happens in innocence. Truth happens where there are no clouds of thoughts moving in your consciousness, when sky is absolutely clear, when there is no abstraction, when you have no idea and God is or God is not. When you don't believe in no-God, when you are simply in a state of not knowing. You don't claim any knowledge, that non-claiming consciousness begins to open up. All knowledge burdens and closes you.
The point is for all of us to come back to that primordial state of being, innocence, intelligence, and love. We can know it by being it, but we can’t know it by thinking about it.
There is an innocence in you
that all the Saints and Prophets
of all times and all religions
are tirelessly pointing to.
It is perfect and can never be lost.
Though for many it appears to be hidden,
it can never be altered or destroyed,
for there is nothing apart from itself.
It can only appear to be masked
by the belief in personal identity and conditioning.
Through the urge for real understanding,
the false is now being exposed,
undone and replaced by the truth.
Come to this altar
with a heart of full devotion and openness.
Offer up yourself in service to the imperishable
and keep quiet.
Our true nature is not original sin...it is original innocence.
~ Francis Bennett
We came not into this life by exile, but we came as innocent creatures of God, to learn how to worship the holy and eternal spirit and seek the hidden secrets within ourselves from the beauty of life. This is the truth which I have learned from the teachings of the Nazarene.
~ Khalil Gibran
There's no time you can ask the heart that it won't give you that innocent purity—full-blown right in your face.
~ Byron Katie
You might remember that when you were a very young child things seemed to be new. Things were fresh, they had some kind of openness and excitement about them. As a child, every time you go somewhere that you have never seen before—oh, new!—it is exciting. So maybe there is a wisp of a memory of what freshness is, of what innocence is. You have to be naive, unknowing, completely helpless, utterly defenseless. You have to be absolutely vulnerable. There is a sense of innocence and virginity, with the sense that everything is new and nothing has yet happened. So who you are is a very original reality—it hasn’t been broken. You become a window through which the day breaks. It is like the first moment of knowing there is anything. It is the dawn of consciousness, the daybreak of consciousness. There is just the slightest glimmer of perception, before you know that there is perception, before the mind creeps in with a layer of deadness. This is original reality, our original face. Clearly, there is no way that we can penetrate or open our eyes to that totally fresh, totally virginal, absolutely innocent reality unless we let ourselves be completely defenseless and vulnerable, with no ideas or preconceptions, without even a movement of mind or consciousness. Whatever we are, whatever we see, is spontaneous, the completely uncontrollable wild explosiveness of reality. Every second is a big bang, before anything got formulated yet. That’s what it means not to look through the mind. That’s what it means to be fresh; that’s what it means to regain our original innocence.
~ A.H. Almaas
That's what's nice about satsang: there's no doing required. The innocence just gets uncovered by Grace. She peels us like ripe fruit.
~ Pamela Wilson
There are two sorts of persons who show child-like simplicity in their lives: the foolish one, who shows childish traits, and the wise one, who shows the innocence of a child.
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan
We are sneaking psychedelics back into our society through research like the MDMA research that's going on, through the research for the use of marijuana for pain, through research with the dying [with psilocybin], and ultimately we will do the same kind of stuff about alcoholism, about prison rehabilitation, so on. I mean, it's obvious that psychedelics, properly used, have a behavior-change psychotherapeutic value. But from my point of view, that is all underusing the vehicle. The potential of the vehicle is sacramentally to take you out of the cultural constructs which you are part of a conspiracy in maintaining. And giving you a chance to experience once again your innocence.
~ Ram Dass
Children, the wonder and the love that you felt as a child will never return unless you can again play like a child. Innocence is within you, hidden deep inside. You have to rediscover it. And for this to happen, you must go deeper and deeper into your spiritual practices. When you can dive deep into your own consciousness, you will realise this innocence one day. At that moment you will discover the child within you. You will experience the innocence, the joy and the wonder that were hidden inside of you, and you will realise they were always there. You merely forgot your innocence for some time. It is as if you suddenly remember something after having forgotten about it for a very long time. That childlike innocence deep within you is God.
~ Amma (Sri Mata Amritanandamayi)
The foolishness of innocent people has no value. Similarly, the crookedness of intelligent people has no value. The right combination is intelligence and innocence. And this is, of course, rare to find. But I am telling you that you are qualified to have it. Just grab it.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Meditation makes you innocent, it makes you childlike. In that state, miracles are possible. That state is pure magic. A great transformation happens - in innocence you transcend the mind, and to transcend the mind is to become the Awakened One, the Enlightened One.
Return to the purity of your innocence where you are enchanted with life. Give love for no reason. Surround yourself with others doing the same.
~ Don Miguel Ruiz
This ability to look at things or listen to things
with other senses - smell, taste, touch -
as the awareness rather than the interpreting mind.
Practice that in your daily life;
It's a primordial spiritual practice.
If that’s your only spiritual practice, it would be quite enough.
So innocent perception, which requires awareness
which requires an alertness in the background of your perception.
Without the alertness, thinking will always overpower you.
The alertness keeps thinking at bay.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
It is the purity of man’s heart and mind, and his innocent and faithful approach to action with the purpose of all good to everyone, which really succeeds in yielding maximum results with minimum effort.
~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Do not mistake ignorance for innocence. Innocence means you know the complexities of the world, but you have no compulsions to become part of it
The fact is that true knowledge just opens up more questions. It just shows you more and more that you do not know. When you have the next insight, you have just found out something, but at that same instant you realize how much more you do not know. And it should continue that way – seeing how much more you do not know, until finally, you realize you do not know anything. When you finally see that that you know absolutely nothing then maybe it is possible to be innocent.
~ A.H. Almaas
Just wake up and see that you are beautiful. The innocence in you is so beautiful. The dance in you is so beautiful.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar