OPENED BY INNOCENCE
Recently I was arrested by a photograph that a friend shared on Facebook. The photo was of two small children sitting on a park bench together and I don’t know what it was but something grabbed my attention and I feel my heart being pulled open.
I sat looking at the picture. I gazed at it. I asked it, ‘What have you got to tell me?”
The answer came surprisingly easy. It turned out that that simple picture had a message for me about innocence. The picture was an icon into a forgotten world. A world that was calling to me,
“Come back! Come back! Return!”
When you gaze at the image of innocent children what does it evoke in you? A sense of wonder? Of joy? Of pure delight? Perhaps a longing for a simpler time? Or an inner urge to protect their vulnerability? Perhaps a tenderness arises in you that softens your heart a little or has you reaching out for the hankies as you grieve for the lost times of your own childhood?
None of this is surprising for it is the consequence of our own innocence calling out to us. Our own innocence is the ‘inner- sense’ of who we are, the ‘inner-sense’ of our own presence. It is the ‘inner-sense’ that the world is a good, wonderful, joyful and delightful place to live in. All this has been long hidden in the folds of our adult living. It has been tucked away, consigned to the archives of time and covered over with the responsibilities of being a grown up.
But does living as a grown up mean we have to lose our ‘inner-sense’ of who we are as pure innocent beings filled with beauty, joy and delight? Do we have to grow up and away from the truth we knew as children? Does that truth simply disappear as we grow older or does it just get hidden from view, covered up, masked in some way? If this is so then, if we are willing, can we can embark on a journey of unmasking the truth and letting it shine in our hearts again?
Surely to do this is to fulfil our purpose here on earth?
'Where can you go with your sadness except to the joy that holds it?'
This is the question that I pose in one of my poems, 'Sadness'.
It seems to me that the world is like a hurting or a frightened child. The world is in pain and most of us are worried about that pain, or at least a little bit concerned about it and most of us would like to know what we can do to ease things a little, for ourselves and for others. The problem though, as I see it, is that we aim to ease the problems of the world with the same mindset that created them. That is a mindset that is weary and heavy burdened with fear, confusion, grief, pain, guilt, shame, worry, anxiety and an inherited 'tribal mentality'' of 'us' versus 'them'.
As humans we attempt to solve pain and distress by meeting it with more pain and distress. We are like the proverbial hamster on the wheel always trying hard to solve problems, putting a lot of effort into things and yet ending up going round and round and never getting anywhere. Even if we do manage to get to grips with one problem it is just as likely that another problem will erupt somewhere else sending us off again on another wild goose chase trying to come up with more solutions that in the end will never fully alleviate the difficulties we face. It's as if no matter how many battles we win the war never ends.
I have always loved the words of Jesus, 'Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.' These words have resonated deep within me and have offered me great sustenance over the years but I am only just beginning to see what they truly mean.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.