Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Found in Innocence

This article appeared here previously on July 2, 2009

"Innocence is a mystery greater than evil." James Hillman

Innocence in the soul suggests a state in which one exists unwounded by the every day challenges and trials of the world. Recovering innocence is to refrain from self cruelty or the equally prevalent cruelty inflicted upon others, to work and live in such a way as to gain in the strength needed to live a creative life. Spirit moves in innocence.

Innocence in adult life amounts to a renewal, a return to the essential elements necessary to the life of a Creator. It is more than unknowing; in this sense, innocence is not the least opposed to sophistication, or to its opposite, a childlike state of openness that finds itself needed in a maturity which is agile, and graceful continuity. If this is not in evidence, then the perceived maturity is not. Rather, it is simply a form of avoidance of without inherent value. Innocence is the vital element of all forms of play. Experience is key as the buddha taught. Children learn largely by experience.

Innocence is an often overlooked element of deep forgiveness as part of the restorative quality in the soul. Life's injuries are nearly unavoidable. However in deep forgiveness, over time, the wounds may be exchanged for the delights and joys of innocence discovered in shared experiences. Maturity need not mark or weigh us down with its cares or disappointments.

Another fertile area of life in which innocence makes its appearance is in love. In mythic terms, love and marriage are markedly different experiences for men and women. The god Eros gains in stature, in strength upon his marriage; yet in doing so writes Robert Johnson in his book She, "each woman in marriage must terminate her innocence and childlike naivety," a difficult, but essential experience for the mature feminine psyche. In the evolving process of maturity, a woman while not directly corresponding to her mate, influences and spurs his own development.

At different points in their parallel lives together, woman who most often bears the light in a man's life, finds that she has nothing to give to him--he simply just isn't looking, or able to look into the light she presents to him. While tangled with him, she may fear as a consequence, what she has then to lose. "There is something in the unconscious of a man that wishes to make an agreement" that she will not look too closely or too carefully at him; yet in maturity she does, and she must. Like the biblical garden of Eden, the pair in love find one another in innocence; their love experience is powerful. And it must be so to propel them into the experiences that comprise their shared lives. Yet as time unfolds, disappointment and disillusionment inevitably arise.

Ultimately it is only in forgiveness, in innocence, that the otherwise harsh judgements of one towards the other may be set aside for a return to the Beloved, to the innocence of the earlier garden of Eden, a paradise she may have feared lost.