Question: Acharya Ji, what is the difference between ‘conscious innocence’ and ‘innocent consciousness’?
Acharya Prashant: If you are consciously innocent, or if you are consciously loving, or if you are consciously truthful, or if you are consciously simple, or if you are consciously religious, then all your religion, love, truth, simplicity, innocence is just thought. Because you are conscious about it because you are doing it consciously.
To do something consciously is to act from the center of the little self the ego. So, conscious innocence is no innocence at all. Conscious truth is no truth at all. Conscious living is no living at all. Conscious spirituality is no spirituality at all. Then, it is not the real thing. Because consciousness does not live in reality.
Consciousness lives in duality. Consciousness lives in images. If you are consciously innocent, then you’ll have an image of innocence and you’ll try to comply with that image. Then the image of innocence will predate innocence itself. Not only predate but also dominate. Then your innocence will not be rooted in Truth, then your innocence will be an idea of behavior, of action, of personality, and you will just try to abide by that idea.
Not only will you try to abide by that idea, you’ll also assure yourself, console yourself, that in behaving as per the idea of innocence you have actually become innocent. Consciousness equates reality with the image of reality. And, because reality, the non-dual reality is beyond dualistic consciousness, hence consciousness always makes do which images themselves.
Consciousness has a great stake in avoiding the real. Because, where the real is there dualistic consciousness itself will evaporate. So, how can consciousness be fond of the real? When the real arrives then consciousness with all its dualistic insistence, sings, settles into silence, into just pure awareness. An awareness that has no object, an awareness that does not want to do anything, an awareness that does not know anything. So, it cannot be called awareness in the usual way we use it in language.
Now it’s an opportunity for all of us to figure out whatever we are is it consciously that. You say, for example, that you love someone, all that someone loves you, hmm. Is not our love a very conscious attempt at loving? And when we want to ascertain whether or not we are being loved. Don’t we do that with consciousness? Consciousness is mind, with all its impressions.
Do you love from the heart? And if you love from the heart then you’ll not really come to know that you love. Man is strange, his take is more in knowing, knowing as in ascertaining, validating, certifying. Man’s take is more in certifying than in getting. It is as if a hungry man wants to be certified that he is full. He does not want food, he wants the certificate that he is…
AP: Full. If a hungry man does that you’ll call him just mad. But that is what the entire mankind has been constantly doing. When you are hungry, we do not look for the real thing- the food. We look for certification, the thought, the inner validation that we are full. You do not look for love, you look for impressions of love, you look for behavior that confirms one’s images of love.
Do we seriously want love? No. Do we seriously want innocence? No. We want behavior that looks like love. We want behavior that looks like innocence. And if from a loving heart, behavior comes to us that does not comply with our images and expectations of love, we go as far as to say that this is not love and love at all. We say, “This fellow, is not love,” because he loves only when he comes to me with such and such behavioral patterns. Only when he smiles at me would I agree that he loves. Only when he gifts me, Only when he says sweet things to me, would I say that he loves.”
We don’t have love. We have stuff that looks like love. If we don’t get that stuff we feel severely disappointed. We don’t know innocence. We have images of innocence. The proof is, if I say innocence, and if I say kindly say something about innocence, all of us will have something to say. If I say, draw innocence, you’ll be able to draw innocence. If I say, give me an image of Truth, you’ll be able to give an image.
If 10 paintings are put up here, and you are asked to say which of these differs to The Truth, there would be nobody who would say how can image differ to the Truth. You’ll be able to point your finger at something. You would not be pointing your finger at the Truth. You would be pointing your finger at your version of the Truth, at an image of the Truth. To you, Truth looks like that.
And that is what we’ll be happy with. Getting what we feel is our version of Truth. And, that is why most of us live totally truthless and loveless lives. Because love is something we anyway in our want. What do we want? We want stuff that…
Listeners: Looks like love.
AP: Looks like love. We want happenings that we have been told are love. Somebody comes to you with a bouquet of red roses, it is…
AP: Somebody is chivalrous enough to open the car gate for you, that is…
AP: Somebody doesn’t say bitter stuff to you that is…
AP: Somebody notes your mistakes that is..?
And if the opposite of this starts happening, you’ll waste no time in saying that the fellow is loveless and the relationship os loveless. Is that not so? Because for us everything is conscious. Conscious means thought out. Conscious means living in images. Conscious means mental creation.
Then, the second phrase used was ‘innocent consciousness’. His question was, “What is the difference between ‘conscious innocence’ and ‘innocent consciousness’?” What is, ‘innocent consciousness’?
Innocent consciousness is a consciousness innocent of the ego. Innocent means free. Innocent means not guilty. Innocent means not corrupted. Innocent consciousness means a consciousness that is not been corrupted by the ‘I’ center. So, thought is still there but the thought is not to worry about the self.
One might be thinking, but one is not necessarily thinking with the objective of self-preservation. One’s thoughts are now not in the narrow direction of furthering one’s self-interest. And, if and if they are then one’s self-interest have now not been narrowly defined to mean the personal self. That is innocent consciousness.
A consciousness that is not full of fear, insecurity, ambition, violence, that is an innocent consciousness. That is an innocent mind. That innocent consciousness will show up not in the quality of thoughts, but obviously in the quality of entire being. An innocent consciousness radiates as innocence in the whole personality. Your eyes, your walk, your living your talking, your holding, your touching, your eating, your breath, your touch. All have a very special quality about them that cannot be captured in images.
You cannot put your finger on it and say, “This is innocence,” yet it is there. It is not something that can be perceived with senses, it is not something that can be named with the worlds yet it is there. You will never be able to categorically defined it yet it is there. How do you come to know of it? Well… you cannot tell that. But you do know of it. That is innocent consciousness. Yes?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: We don’t want love, we want behavior that looks like love.
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