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Conscious Innocence/ The Unexpected

Zap Oracle Card #1 - © Jonathan Zap

Waiting in an unstructured attitude, alert to the unexpected.

This card relates to hexagram #25 of the I Ching: “Innocence.” Carol Anthony compares the state of “conscious innocence” (oxymoronic as that phrase might seem) to the game of tennis. If you are expecting the ball to come across the net in a certain way, then you are unprepared for the way it actually comes across. In the state of conscious innocence you wait with alertness for the unexpected, do not prestructure the future, and are ready for anything. As Casteneda/Don Juan says, “The warrior is always humble and alert.”

We fall from this sort of innocence when we prestructure the future, expecting our career, love life, finances, etc. to turn out in certain idealized ways. But man proposes, and the Tao disposes. Things almost never turn out as we expect, and that’s great, that’s part of the challenging, unpredictability of life. If we cling to our expectations, however, we are handicapped in dealing with the life that doesn’t meet our expectations coming at us right now.

In A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler I suggested that we have a “gerund filter” in our minds to tell us when we are losing our innocence. The Gerund Filter,

“…involves a list of categories of thought that are indicative of the ego nervously trying to control the Tao. The position of Taoism (based on the I Ching) is that the universe is unfolding as it should. But the ego, like a nervous backseat driver clutching an imaginary steering wheel in its sweaty, white-knuckled grip, never trusts the nonlinear path of the creative so completely out of its control. Categories (presented as a list of gerunds) that indicate the ego resisting the Tao and/or trying to assert imaginary control over it include: WANTING, WISHING, WORRYING, HOPING, FEARING, DREADING, DESIRING, ENVYING, COMPARING, SUPERVISING, LIFE-GUARDING, JUDGING, COMPLAINING, SELF-PITYING, STRIVING, ANTICIPATING, EXPECTING, PRESTRUCTURING, CONTRIVING, FORCING PROGRESS, HEDGING, RATIONALIZING, CLINGING AND DOUBTING.”

Yes, this is an intimidating list! It gives an idea of how often we fall out of the state of innocence.

There are so many ways that we lose our conscious innocence. We fall from innocence when we “look aside” and compare our rate of progress to others. We lose our innocence when we fall for our ego’s desire to see straight-line progress to our goals, disdaining the inscrutable zig-zag path of the creative. We fall from innocence when we find ourselves preparing for and/or dreading imagined future problems. The fallen mind views everything as a blessing or a curse, but the innocent mind accepts everything, expected or unexpected, as a challenge and a learning experience.

Conscious Innocence gives us the creative power of “beginner’s mind.”

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

See hexagram # 25, especially the commentary in Carol Anthony’s A Guide to the I Ching

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