Claiming Innocence

Before we dive into this article, some clarification is in order: I am not now proclaiming–nor have I ever claimed–to be innocent. I’m here, apparently, and such makes me just as vulnerable to the human condition as each and every other person. My body-mind is guilty as charged; of making mistakes learning lessons, of occasional self-centeredness, of letting emotions lead to less-than-perfect behaviour. “Art” has made his fair share of mistakes; but in fairness to the “guy,” he did get some things right.

The innocence of which I’m referring to in this article is the innocence of Spirit, which is our True Self. It is untainted by any of the human drama which may have played upon the stage called “our” life. To understand this deeply, we must know–directly–that we are actually spirit, apparently incarnate; not actually flesh and bones awaiting transformation to spirit. The process of knowing cannot be understood conceptually; for our True Self is beyond the mind; therefore, incapable of being approached and comprehended by it. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj stated this so eloquently in his spiritual classic I Am That:

Before the mind–I Am. ‘I Am’ is not a thought in the mind.

The mind happens to me, I do not happen to the mind.”

Let’s move a little closer to reclaiming our innocence by looking at his quote more closely. He was basically telling us that Consciousness (Spirit) is the foundation of our Being; not an epiphenomenon of biological processes. In short, our True “I” is not dependent on the body and the mind. They, in fact, are dependent on “I.” The predominant culture of the world has informed us otherwise; yet strangely enough, the best of science cannot tell us how a personal sense of “me” arises. David Chalmers, a noted professor of philosophy and neural science (according to Wikipedia), coined such the hard problem of consciousness.

To claim innocence is to rediscover our deeper dimension–Self–that is separate and distinct from our body-mind and its story. It is to recognize our essential nature–Spirit. A good way to begin the search for recognition of this dimension is to turn our attention from the senses and go within; to the domain of the silent witness to which every sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell; and all thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories must report. The process is a stripping–bare; a shrugging off of all definitions and concepts related to identity. To stop at naked is still to leave It clothed too much; for not until we are resplendent nothingness have we arrived at Self. Now pray tell…of what could That be guilty?

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

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