When yoga teacher Elena Brower was asked to give an example of an experience that represented tuning in to something she calls her “home frequency,” the example she spontaneously came up with was being handed her newborn baby in the hospital for the very first time.
Upon hearing Elena’s account of that experience, it immediately called up my very own home frequency experience – standing in scrubs and a face mask and being handed a pair of surgical scissors to cut my newborn daughter, Amanda’s umbilical cord. Suddenly, my whole brain and body was flooded with energy, joy and light unlike anything I had ever experienced before, something the poet Wordsworth had obviously experienced himself when he described newborns as “trailing clouds of glory.” The moment Elena identified and named it, I new instantly what she was talking about: Deep Innocence.
Heeding the Call
In the three decades since my daughter’s birth my own home frequency has managed to dispatch me to venue after venue where Deep Innocence might have an increasing probability of re-emerging. I have visited beautiful contemplative retreat centers and communities all over North America – those visits formed the core of my doctoral dissertation research. I have built homes for the homeless, grown food for the poor, and given away one personal possession per day so far this year as a practice for strengthening my altruism circuitry. Altruism brain circuitry and Deep Innocence brain circuitry seem to run on interconnected resonance frequencies. As spiritual teacher Stephen Levine used to frequently remind us: “An open heart withholds nothing.”
Along similar lines, I have taught classes to help people grapple with obesity and addiction, learn to use listening as medicine, and I have sat for long periods with adults in the throes of deep grief; I also felt called to help organize and implement grieving programs for their children. When I was invited, I was more than happy to help co-design and deliver death and dying curriculum – being in the presence of the dying frequently affords us Glimpse After Glimpse of something akin to the home frequency. And without fully realizing it, I have written 13 books for various audiences all intended in one way or another to help reconnect with … Deep Innocence.
Growing My Innocence Edge
My initial interest in Transpersonal Psychology and my current interest in neurobiology have at their root, this deliberate desire expressed in Matthew 18:3 – “Unless you change and become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you this desire is a difficult one to realize, and we don’t have many good guides or guidelines for getting us there. Telling me to become as a child might have had considerable gravitas coming directly from Jesus’s lips, but to me, in this day and age, it mostly sounds good in theory. Being able to put it consistently into practice feels like another baby animal altogether.
But the fact that something is difficult does not mean that it’s impossible. There are exemplars and precedents in the world for us to draw upon. The Happiest Man in the World, depicted to the right, is one we might consider. He’s a molecular biologist who found a way to change his own brain. In the process he wrote books, like Caring Economics and discovered his own capacity for Deep Innocence. Follow the link above to find out how he did it.
Hugh Romney (clearly no relation to Mitt) is another exemplar of Deep Innocence. How did he manage to cultivate his own ability to bring it into full flower? Simple, but not easy. He started hanging out on burn units and the cancer ward at a local children’s hospital. Day after day he would immerse himself in the world of children for whom the circumstances of life were trying to bury their own natural Deep Innocence.
Instead, his growing ability to be present and fully witness their struggles not only helped their Deep Innocence remain in full flower, but it fertilized his own as well, as this story (“You ugly!”) powerfully illustrates.
So, here’s my invitation: consider that Deep Innocence is something yearning to poke through into full flower in your own life and the lives of the people you daily encounter. How might that frame – that perspective – change the way you present and express yourself in the world tomorrow?