Ignorance or innocence?For growing up, just watch a tree. As the tree grows up its roots are growing down, deeper. There is a balance—the higher the tree goes the deeper the roots will go. You cannot have a tree one hundred and fifty feet high with small roots; they could not support such a huge tree. Maturity means the same as innocence, only with one difference: it is innocence reclaimed, it is innocence recaptured.
In life, growing up means growing deep within yourself—that’s where your roots are.
To me, the first principle of life is meditation. Everything else comes second. And childhood is the best time. As you grow older it means you are coming closer to death, and it becomes more and more difficult to go into meditation.
Meditation means going into your immortality, going into your eternity, going into your godliness. And the child is the most qualified person because he is still unburdened by knowledge, unburdened by religion, unburdened by education, unburdened by all kinds of rubbish. He is innocent.
But unfortunately his innocence is condemned as ignorance. Ignorance and innocence have a similarity, but they are not the same. Ignorance is also a state of not knowing, just as innocence is—but there is a great difference too, which has been overlooked by the whole of humanity up to now. Innocence is not knowledgeable, but it is not desirous of being knowledgeable either. It is utterly content, fulfilled.
A small child has no ambitions, he has no desires. He is so absorbed in the moment—a bird on the wing catches his eye so totally; a butterfly, its beautiful colors, and he is enchanted; the rainbow in the sky … and he cannot conceive that there can be anything more significant, richer than this rainbow. And the night full of stars, stars beyond stars …
Innocence is rich, it is full, it is pure. Ignorance is poor, it is a beggar—it wants this, it wants that, it wants to be knowledgeable, it wants to be respectable, it wants to be wealthy, it wants to be powerful. Ignorance moves on the path of desire. Innocence is a state of desirelessness. But because both are without knowledge, we have remained confused about their natures. We have taken it for granted that they are the same.
Osho. Maturity: The Responsibility of Being Oneself (Osho Insights for a New Way of Living) . St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.
Osho makes the distinction between ignorance and innocence. Osho says that ignorance is not knowing but wanting to acquire knowledge. Ignorance is grasping, seeking, wanting to acquire the external. Innocence is being content with what is within and resting in wonderment, peace, curiosity, and awe.
Osho says that “Maturity means the same as innocence, only with one difference: it is innocence reclaimed, it is innocence recaptured.”
Unitarian Universalists recapture their innocence when they covenant together to affirm and promote the fourth principle which is the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This free and responsible search takes one within not without and requires a surrender of one’s will to the will of the Tao, their Higher Power however they understand It.
This is a second article in a series on Maturity: The Responsibility of Being Oneself by Osho.