Tuesday, May 31, 2022

25. Innocence

The Lines

Bottom. [9] There is a certain charm in unstudied innocence that is found in children and even in older persons who are sincerely enthusiastic about a new undertaking. At the very beginning, their approach is unspoiled by duplicity, deceit and disingenuousness. They have not yet become victims of evil men and fallen into cynicism and mistrust. Such an attitude of refreshing honesty always bodes well for the beginner. He acts from the purity of a pristine nature and a good heart.

2. [6] The innocent mind embraces each moment for itself. It enjoys the task before it, without looking always to the attainment of some future goal or the accomplishment of some eagerly sought milestone. The man of pure nature does the best he can in the present moment, and leaves future outcomes in the hands of the universal powers that determine such things. For him, it is enough to be intensely engaged with this moment's task. By thus doing his part and trusting the universal powers to do theirs, the man finds success and fulfillment.

3. [6] Not even the innocent man remains free of adversity. Evil men may happen upon his path who gladly seize an opportunity to do harm to the innocent and unsuspecting. Nothing about the innocent man deserves this misfortune, but it chances upon him nonetheless. The evil person appears to gain at the expense of the good and innocent. Such gains do not carry with them the blessings of Heaven, though this is no comfort to the innocent. The innocent man must realize that evil people appear and gladly take advantage of what they perceive to be prey. He must take steps to safeguard himself and be sure that he avoids leaving himself open to the machinations of evildoers. He should protect himself, without abandoning his innocent approach to action.

4. [9] A man heeds his inner voice, rather than the voices of those around him. Only that inner voice truly understands the man, and can determine what is best for him. He seeks advice and information, of course, and never obstinately shuts himself off from the wise counsel of others. But it is he who must make the final decision, and he would be foolish indeed to act on advice or criticism from another that he did not agree with in his heart. Even in the most distressing of times, when all is chaos and confusion, and the right path seems entirely lost, yet that most reliable inner voice never really departs from us. And a man should never despair and abdicate the direction of himself and turn instead to the advice of another, no matter who it is, no matter how difficult and confusing the circumstances.

5. [9] An evil situation may arise, which is not of one's own making. But if one does not become a part of it, if one does not lend it support nor embrace it, one need not take active steps to eliminate it. Without support, it will shrivel and die on its own. The man only needs to see that it receives no sustenance from him. Evil exists always in the world, but no man can take upon himself the work of eradicating it all. He only needs to be certain that he does not support it in any way.

Top. [9] Even the innocent man must choose his times wisely. If the times are not conducive to forward movement, if nothing falls into place, if every tentative step forward comes up against a stone wall, then not even the purest of disinterested actions are called for. The man holds back and waits for a more favorable time, without developing hidden schemes to win by force what the natural course of events refuses to allow. If one goes up against such natural opposition, how could success be achieved?

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