I think I saw this in a movie—A Jesuit priest in 1800’s goes to the Canadian wilderness to straighten out the brown people, the unfortunate heathens, and the Jesuit tells them of the hell-fire fury they’ll suffer if they don’t get on board, and this one aborigine, trying to follow the faith, asks if he’ll be punished for his sins before the Jesuit shoveled his truth at him, and the Jesuit said with brimming compassion, no no no God does not punish you if you don’t know they are sins, and the native said, logically, then why did you tell me?

The idea of an external God is a strange one, and the idea that God judges and punishes is stranger still, and the strangest is the idea of sin. Sin is such a judgmental word, but in innocence it just means missing the mark. We, collectively and individually, miss the mark when we take ourselves to be an image in thought.

In Hindu traditions, the ancients point to maya, the powerful delusion which keeps us identified with the false sense of self we create in thought, and the Buddhists point to dukkha, misery, which is the inevitable outcome of the delusion, and Islamic Sufis speak of the Now as a portal out of the delusion, and Jesus said, as directly as can possibly be said, that heaven is within you and not in some external God’s lap, and in this way most religions and spiritual traditions, when the fluff is gone, fundamentally point to the madness that we find ourselves in our attachment to thought.

I am not my thoughts.

All it takes is the simple insight. The whole problem is the deep identification with the mind. By mind and thought I  mean thoughts, emotions, conditioning, beliefs, desires and aversions.

I am not my thoughts.

With this simple insight, we begin to return to innocence.

It’s a beautiful word—innocence–it even sounds musical, starting out hard, susurrating away in the end.

Love is something that is new, fresh, alive. It has no yesterday and  no tomorrow. It is beyond the turmoil of thought. It is only the innocent mind which knows what love is, and the innocent mind can live in the world which is not innocent. To find this extraordinary thing which man has sought endlessly through sacrifice, through worship, through relationship, through sex, through every form of pleasure and pain, is only possible when thought comes to understand itself and comes naturally to an end. Then love has no opposite, then love has no conflict. -Krishnamurti

Innocence, not curtained by thought or beliefs or the past, is always new, always alive, and experiences directly and clearly. It is innocence, so there is no debt to pay, no forgiveness to give or receive, and no sins to repent. It is not anchored in beliefs or time.

I am not my thoughts.

This is a simple insight. It’s not hard and it’s not easy—it’s little delicate because we try to have the insight by using the mind itself to to see it, but the mind is not innocent enough to see it. The resistance that comes up is if I am not my thoughts, what am I? What else is there? Find out. Start simply by noticing thoughts, without judging or analyzing them.

Once you have this simple insight, the rest you discover through awareness. It is effortless meditation, and it is simply being, abiding in this quiet, innocent, playful intelligence. If you learn to release, to let go, it goes a little smoother. If you don’t hold on to any fixed points of view and beliefs, it goes smoother still. But whether you do or not, once you’ve had a taste, there is no turning back.

And then, many of these spiritual concepts that we struggle to understand or implement in the mind, like acceptance and forgiveness and gratitude and non-attachment and love and joy and intuition—all of these become easy experience. There was never anything we had to learn. All of this is who we are, innocently, when we let go of the rubbish.

Notice. Let go.

And perspective expands. Healing begins. And life opens up!

I am not my thoughts.

Why is this simple insight so elusive?

Do you know?

41 thoughts on “Innocence…

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Paul,
      Yes, that’s the Truth that we miss, and that’s all sin is–it’s missing the mark. All we have to do is look inside, not at beliefs or opinions or other people’s words, but the quiet space between thoughts.



  1. Brenda

    I learned a new word today (had to look it up, correct spelling is ‘susurrate’). What a great concept — ending softly! And innocence, it almost sounds like ‘inner sense’, which it truly is. I love words. Great post, Kaushik. (noticing = no to sin)

  2. Walter

    It will never be simple for the cluttered mind of man. Unless we elevate beyond our mind, unless we don’t allow it to control our acts, we will never see that seemingly elusive innocence–for which we truly belong. 🙂
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..Self mastery: the feared path =-.

  3. Wilma Ham

    The heart is the intelligent one with original outlooks but does not speak so eloquently as the mind can. The heart is quiet and need to be listened to in peace and with patience.
    So the mind takes its chances and jumps in before the heart is heard.
    The mind has been made loud as it has been triumphed by a world that has preferred preprogrammed mind chatter over quiet perceiving that needed stillness and time to be heard. Too slow, sorry.
    Unfortunately the mind is programmed like a computer and can only think in ‘do I know this, yes or no?’ which is limiting beyond belief but very comforting and safe for teh sheperds of the herd.
    We are herd animals and the herd is a bit mislaid these days. But hopefully that is being corrected, slowly but surely.
    It took Moses 40 years in the desert to change the herds behavior and replace a certain type of mind chatter.
    To leave the herd is necessary if we want innocent perception and honest perceiving and that can be scary.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last blog ..Part 1. Hate making requests? You’d better get over it. They are key to having you fly. =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Wilma,

      You’ve said it very well. The mind is a very fast habit-computer and it reacts quickly. It comes up with thoughts and emotions and beliefs and desires and aversions and the sense of time and the concept of “I” and the intellect–all of this obscures true intelligence, which is unencumbered with thought. This is why Krishnamurti called awakening the awakening of intelligence.

      Why is this so difficult to see for most of us?


  4. Wilma Ham

    I think because we have lost trust in ourselves, we had priest think for us, we had magistrate make justice for us, we had teachers tell us nonsense and had us make us believe them even if internally we cried ‘not true’.
    We have made to believe anybody else but us, at least that is how I feel.
    I have been made deaf and dumb to my own inner knowing and now I have to reclaim it against the external truths. Oh my, that takes courage to believe my own stuff before all that external nonsense. To map out my own path, oh my.
    To say to authorities I do not trust you, oh my.
    We have been put on the stake for believing in ourselves, not THAT long ago.
    There are consequences of not belonging, to be made fun off, to be outcasted, to be asked to defend something you cannot defend with logic.
    My mind has a lot of reasons to be afraid of listening to my heart.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last blog ..Part 1. Hate making requests? You’d better get over it. They are key to having you fly. =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author


      Charles Eisenstein in his 600-page “Ascent of Humanity” said what you just said so succinctly: humanity is in this condition because it doesn’t trust itself. Ten thousand years ago–maybe before that–we created a conceptual self and a program of control and we’ve continued this through culture and religions and politics and division and technology and everything else.

      It’s really so simple. We’re mis-applying the mind. The mind is stupendous instrument. But it’s a terrible life-guide. All that we consider good, like love and joy and intelligence and intuition and peace are exactly who we are. We don’t have to do or get. We just have to look beyond thought and emotions.

      But when we’re identified with thought, it’s so hard to see this.

      Thanks for expanding the discussion so well!


  5. Lisa (mommymystic)

    I liked that you used the word ‘innocence’, you really don’t see that word much, which I hadn’t thought much about until you juxtaposed it with sin. I think the word ‘purity’ gets used a lot more, that we have a natural purity. And I like that too, but innocence opens ups so many more doorways – the idea that we are not guilty, for one, and I think we tend to absorb alot of guilt about falling short of standards we set for ourselves (or that others, including religion, set for us.) As for your final question, why is this so elusive, I don’t know! Perhaps that is just the lila, the play of the universe…
    .-= Lisa (mommymystic)´s last blog ..The Anti-Dogma Dogma, in Parenting and Spirituality =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      Yes, words get stale and loaded. I do like innocence, and as you say, purity. Imperturbability is another pointer, but it doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue!

      Thanks for an insightful comment.


    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Char,

      Fear–it always comes down to fear. When there is suffering and we release it we see at the bottom of it is fear. When there are limiting beliefs at bottom is fear. It’s always fear, and fear is easier to release than we think. The only power fear is our own belief that it is difficult to let go of. Thanks for a wonderful insight!


  6. Evan

    Thanks for this, I’m quite a fan of Krishnamurti – though I guess he wouldn’t have been pleased to hear me say it!

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Good to see you here, Evan. Yes, Krishnamurti often said that we shouldn’t rely on external authorities. He said he doesn’t quite know why people buy his books.


  7. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    Wow, I loved your article (do I always start my comments that way?!) and loved the back and forth with Wilma. Holy cats! You two covered in four comments what it would take colleges an entire semester to hit. Way to be!

    I was having a discussion with my boyfriend a couple weeks ago about something similar. He believes we are the result of our memories, expectations, and identities, formed from a lifetime of thoughts and perceptions. I said we are not. He had some GREAT and very intelligent points to back up his point of view (he’s a super smart guy), but I boiled it down to this: what if you had amnesia and all of your memories were wiped out? What if, on top of that, you had absolutely no sensory abilities whatsoever? Would you cease to exist?
    I stumped him! I also sort of stumped myself… But it made sense at the time. He was trying to say that we are our thoughts, and a step further, we live and know by expectation (such as, the sun comes up each day). I can’t get into the whole conversation here, but it was really interesting to hear his awesome points, and have a few of my own in counter argument.
    We were able to boil it all down to, “We’ll never know, because we simply cannot know what we don’t know.”
    Not sure if that made any sense, but your post was right in line with the discussion we had!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Part II of the Series “Blogs I Love” =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Megan,

      That’s an interesting discussion you had with your boyfriend and you guys are in good company. Ramana Maharshi and Nisgardatta and other non-dualists suggest meditating on the sense of “I AM” to see Truth. This is of course a very powerful meditation.

      I suggest Awareness to help us abide in this innocent, gentle, unoccupied space. It’s peaceful, joyful and calming. I suggest Release because it helps let go of the past and hurt and negativity and helps us feel better right away. It helps if we can be comfortable with not knowing, as you say, “We’ll never know…”

      Great comment, thanks for expanding the discussion!


  8. Chris Edgar

    Hi Kaushik — “I am not my thoughts” is such an interesting phrase to explore on the subtler levels — when I look at it, for example, my image of my body is just a thought, as are my perceptions of the world. If I really didn’t rely on any of this mind-stuff, I would probably find that “I” don’t exist. I imagine that would be a liberating realization. 🙂

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Chris,

      This is what Ramana Maharshi and other non-dualists suggest–to meditate on the sense of “I Am.” It is a focused meditation.

      I go about by observing thought. This helps us see “I am not thought.” At some point, as you say, we realize we are the quiet awareness that can be aware of thought. And then we can see that all our perceptions are thoughts–that is it’s all mental activity. We may see that beliefs are very limiting and it is our concept of time which holds up many of our beliefs. As we observe, awareness and releasing becomes one. Many spiritual concepts that we might not have understood as thoughts, such as acceptance and non-attachment, become easy experience. We can abide in this gentle, unoccupied awareness.


  9. Wilma Ham

    Hi Megan and Kaushik.
    I too love this type of teasing out, so I continue if I may.
    We are a result of our memory and memory is not just in our mind but in our heart and our cells. Hence we know things we cannot conscioulsy know through our mind and hence we have built up unreasonable fear that seems coming out of nowhere!
    If you look at Helen Keller, she was deaf and blind and thus for a reaonable time spared the noise we are brought up in and spared the memories of ridicule and abuse by others that we are subjected to when are growing up. This ridicule and abuse is not often done with malice but is destructive all the same.
    However, look at how Helen got taught by a very astute teacher who taught her in her own personal context. Her teacher was guided by Helen Keller’s own interests and her teacher did not follow a rigid out of context silly curriculum that Helen had no connection with.
    As a result Helen became an unstoppable woman.
    The book about her life is worth a read from the view of education and the memories it leaves and it shows how done well education contributes but when not done well it destroys by creating manufactured identities that are no longer us and can give us fearful memories about learning and exploring and speaking up.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last blog ..Part 1. Hate making requests? You’d better get over it. They are key to having you fly. =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Wilma,

      Yes, exactly. Our past, as in beliefs, which are always limiting, and pain, and fear, are stored as embodied patterns. Tolle calls this the “pain-body.” This conditioning brings up undifferentiated fear as you point out, and also I think most of our desires and aversions. This is why releasing is so very effective for awakening. With releasing we cease to accumulate any new negativity, and we can let go of stored pain, and we see that as we release, old stuff comes up, and this too can be easily let go of. This is very lightening and healing, and this in fact is next week’s article.

      And this is why I often point out why the “positive” we run after like positive thinking and hope and the LOA and so on is actually very limiting. It’s so much easier to get into the flow of resonant living if we learn to simply let go.

      That’s interesting about Helen Keller. You’re right about manufactured identities. At our base nature, despite the way this sounds, we are joyful, creative, and compassionate. It is the conceptual “I” which we create in childhood which separates us, and then of course, this separation gives rise to fear.

      Thanks Wilma. This is an excellent discussion of an important subject. The good news here is that this conditioning and fear is so very easy to release. We’ve just forgotten how to.


  10. Lance

    Much like Lisa (mommymystic), I too like that you’ve used the word “innocence” here. Just hearing that word makes me think more deeply about what this means. And I’m playing with this “I am not my thoughts”, and to step back and just observe. It’s an interesting look into who I am, really. Anyway, thank you…
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..A World Filled With Wonder =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Lance, that’s great. Observing thoughts is a wonderful technique. Observe thoughts, and the voice of thought will get quieter and the gap between thoughts will expand. The stillness between thoughts is the quieter intuitive innocent intelligence which is free of time and delusion.


  11. Janice

    Dear K,
    I have a question and I am not sure where to post. First, I love this writing and all the blog support from visitors. I purchase your book on Release and Awareness, I have made myself stop and practice the release technique and I have had amazing results. We went on vacation to the beach and I was able to enjoy the wind, the sun and the beautiful water and sand. I was completely in the moment, it was lovely. Now, however, I find that I am kind of numb, not empty, and not without feeling, but still numb. I hestitate to learn about awareness because I am a big one on moving through principals/excerises too quickly and not really learning step one. Should I start learning awareness and continue release? I do the release technique many many times a day, even on thoughts, beliefs and old messaging in my mind. It is amazing when you allow yourself to feel and not run from the memory because you know that you can immediately exhale and agree to release. I am not praying as much, but it feels okay not to. Any support would be appreciated. Thank you. Janice

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      Thank you for your openness and I’m so pleased that the release technique is working for you.

      I have had the same experience with numbness. It will pass. Perhaps we feel it because we are letting go of stuff and this lightness is unfamiliar, and the mind rebels by showing numbness or confusion.

      These periods of confusion happen quite often during awakening. We are after all going through a fundamental transformation. I had experienced numbness, isolation, detachment, apathy, recidivism, confusion, upheaval in life and friends and relationships and so on. I had also experienced flow, lightness, synchronicity, unity, high energy…It ebbs and flows and the overall movement is toward abiding in Awareness.

      Awareness is really the main practice. It is all about awareness, and everything else including the releasing, and all practices, show up as simply points of view in Awareness.

      So the practice that worked for me was:

      1. An Awareness practice. I think “observing thoughts” is a good awareness practice which is easy to integrate in daily life.
      2. A Release practice, which can help us loosen our attachment to painful emotions and stuck patterns.
      3. A Gentle honesty, where we can be inquisitive and gentle about what’s going on inside us. A releasing of hard beliefs and opinions. “Do not seek Truth; only cease to cherish beliefs.”

      I hope this helps Janice, and please feel free to continue the discussion.


  12. Janice

    Dear K,
    You said it! Detachment, that’s the word. Thank you for helping me verbalize the feeling. the reason I know some of this is working for me is that I am not afraid of this feeling of detachment. I don’t feel like I have to “fix it” or make it something else. I have spent so much of my life trying to change my current feeling.
    I thought awareness was like, moments of non-inner-conflict or contentment. But, when you say awareness can be me noticing intrusive thoughts or painful memories, I need a moment to ingest that thought.
    I have a question also, how is our ego good for us? Or, in your opinion is the ego only hurtful? I don’t know why I have an ego, right this moment I can only see that it is a block to the real me, something I always have to watch because like an uninvited guest that is always lurking in my doorway.
    I know I am jumping around alot with these questions but my mind free associates alot of the time. Thank you for your patience. Janice

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,

      That’s exactly it–whatever is happening in your inner world, allow it, notice it.

      The reason the release technique works is because it’s not really a technique at all. What we really do is simply allow whatever is happening in our inner world, and we notice it, and we realize we can let it go.

      A lot has been said about the ego in contemporary literature. It almost gives us the idea that the ego is a separate entity which lives in us. This is a useful way to explain the workings of the ego, but it isn’t actually true. What’s the ego? Can you feel it? Can you see it? Can you point to it? It’s simply the attachment we have to thoughts and emotions. It is a concept we create and label the concept “I.” It isn’t real. The ego is not hurtful–how can it be? It’s just a concept. But when we are attached to the ego, suffering happens.

      I hope this helps.


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