I was talking with a friend the other day about how the mind works, and about suffering, and about what causes suffering, which has to do with how the mind works. In Buddhist thought, suffering is caused by desire, by getting what we don't want and not getting what we want. Pretty simply put, straightforward, and hard to deny. Who hasn't suffered due to getting what you don't want (that traffic jam that happens when I'm already running late), or not getting what I want (that delicious looking cheesecake that just sold out at the bakery.)
As we talked (my friend and I, not the cheesecake and I), the conversation turned to how desire is in a way a somewhat distorted form of love. I love driving down a road when I hit all the green lights and no cars are in my way and I arrive on time. I really do. I love it. And I really love a delicious slice of cheesecake. Not much question about that. Desire is a kind of love. And there is a kind of innocence in that love, a kind of sweetness in the expectation that we will get what we want and not get what we don't want.
So, what is innocence? How do we maintain contact with that innocence and sweetness while still minimizing our desire and our subsequent suffering? How do we de-distort our love? How do we love with innocence and sweetness?