Innocence

Saturday, November 28, 2020

On my walk today in the Peace Sanctuary, I came upon these scenes,

and they started me thinking about innocence – actually, the innocence of the entire universe. With so much obvious disorder in the world today, it may seem silly to speak of our universe as being ‘innocent’, and yet, when I manage to step far enough back to get a bigger picture, it truly seems like the universe does no harm, ever. Yes, there are storms and wars and heartrending losses and disasters of astonishing size, and yet the universe seems always able to stay on its steady, 15-billion-year-old course. There are tragedies, but these tragedies, again and again, seem perfectly balanced by triumphs. There’s loss after loss, but the losses are always, in due course, succeeded by offsetting gains. Leaves die in autumn, but fresh life always flourishes in the spring. The universe seems to be a purely innocent and smoothly flowing river of compensation, where every wave and swell has its necessary place, and where concepts like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ disappear in an immense and endless harmony.

When I paused on my walk and looked carefully at these scenes, all seemed innocent – the inoffensive river and sky, the stones and leaves lying harmlessly where they settled, the elderly tree trusting itself to the movement of the passing moments. I felt a strange and immense kind of safety, as though all of life was somehow shielded and sheltered. Despite the recently sorrowful flow of things in the world, especially the pandemic, I felt like well-being was definitely, without question, more powerful than any peril. I walked down the trail to the car with a soft smile inside.

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