Guidance from the I Ching: #25 - Innocence

See the world through the eyes of a child

September 28, 2020

“Innocence brings exceptional progress. There is an advantage in correct persistence. If someone does not act appropriately, it would be a mistake. There is no advantage in moving towards a goal. The arousing rolls under the creative aligning all of matter with its natural state of Innocence. The ancient rulers, therefore, made a strong and proper alignment with the times, thus nourishing the outside world.”

I consult the I Ching (Book Of Changes) for inspiration at the start of every week. This week’s message is all about being childlike.

All of the world’s great wisdom traditions value the dichotomy of wisdom and wonder. Wisdom is gained through experience and is often considered to be the product of maturity. Innocence, on the other hand, is most often seen as being the domain of children. That wide-eyed sense of wonder, imagination, and infinite possibility that exists before the weight of “the real world” pushes it down. This week’s hexagram is the reminder that sometimes a return to Innocence is the only way to realign ourselves with the laws of nature.

According to the I Ching, this time demands alignment with the flow of the cosmos. If we are to harmonize with the ways of nature, we must adopt an attitude of Innocence. Innocence advises us that our best interests are served when we adopt a sincere and straightforward approach. In times of Innocence, it is not about what you know, it’s about your ability to go with the flow. The I Ching reminds us that the universe’s laws are beyond our abilities to understand or control completely. We follow them; they do not follow us. Innocence urges us to let go of our current view of reality, thereby allowing the future to become what it can be.

“Being childlike means that you are curious and you are receptive to new experiences and information. When you are childlike, you will see unlimited possibilities. 

Jose Johnson

Innocence calls us to be more childlike in our actions. There is a Bible verse that I would often hear in my youth, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This verse expresses the power of Innocence to disconnect ourselves from the preconceived notions that have created complications for us and reconnect with a purer and more straightforward approach to life. But there is a big difference between being childlike and childish.
Being childlike means that you are curious and you are receptive to new experiences and information. When you are childlike, you will see unlimited possibilities. You will be full of curiosity. Every moment offers a new adventure, a new opportunity. You will find joy in the simplest of things and have faith and love that has not yet been tainted. Being childish is a completely different story. Childishness is ego-driven. When someone is acting childishly, they are self-absorbed and immature. Childish people have little to no emotional intelligence or emotional control. They can’t function rationally.

Innocence represents the time to act with complete integrity and without ulterior motives. If things are not working out, start by examining your motives, they are most likely the cause of your problems. The I Ching warns that “well thought out and cunning plans will end in dificulty and confusion.” So instead of adopting elaborate plans and strategies, learn to act innocently and react spontaneously. Now is not the time to chase after rewards or use your actions in a manipulative play towards personal advancement. Instead, base your activities on your principles and inner virtue rather than crafty strategy. This time is not about the endgame; it’s about enjoying the game itself.

Innocence indicates that the path to your goal may require taking an indirect route. To thrive in times of Innocence, you will need to incorporate spontaneity and creativity to move you towards ultimate success. Leaders and teachers should use Innocence’s inspirations and insights to help those who rely upon them to fulfill their needs. But don’t do it for fame and fortune. By acting with Innocence and sincerity, you will automatically appear brilliant and inspired, and your influence will grow. You will ultimately get what you want without having to chase after it. But make your mental adjustments now if you want to avoid making mistakes.

When acting with Innocence you will experience the unexpected, the exceptional, and the unpredictable. During times of Innocence, you must be prepared for surprising turns of events. Don’t lose sight of the fact that things that at first seem alarming or confusing will offer new ideas. Shrewdness and a direct approach to problems are now your enemies. If you have been puzzled by a situation, being more spontaneous could reveal a highly creative and original solution. By keeping your mind open and free, you will be able to meet unexpected events with your instincts’ help, which always points out the correct and most appropriate response.

So, as you face your day, look at your life through the eyes of a child.

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