Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Butterfly or Apocalypse

please excuse me as I indulge further my carol lynn pearson fandom. This sweet holiday message was in my inbox this week.
The other night I caught a few minutes on the History Channel about “The Apocalypse,” the famines, wars, plagues that are promised in the book of “Revelations.” Terrible promises of the end of the world, seemingly upon us.

The night before, I had listened to Deepak Chopra speak in San Francisco at the Green Festival. Love Deepak. He told of the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, a process I’ve known about but love to hear again, especially when I accidentally fall into the famines and the plagues of the Apocalypse.

When the caterpillar is approaching transformation, it goes into a stage of over-consumption, eating everything in sight. It then enters the chrysalis and begins to break down in a sort of cellular apocalypse, liquefying into a kind of “ooze.” Then an amazing process begins. Special cells–brand new cells, not old caterpillar cells–manifest. Scientists call them “imaginal cells.” The old cells see these new ones as enemies and try to kill them. Still, more and more of these cells manifest, then begin to communicate with one another. When there are enough of them, when there’s a “tipping point,” the imaginal cells, who together hold the pattern of the butterfly, begin their work in earnest. A new thing is born. The butterfly is the only creature we know of that changes its DNA in the process of transformation. The one that has entered the chrysalis is not the one that is released.

I hope to be an “imaginal cell,” holding the vision of a transformed society. I hope that for you as well. Next month we will celebrate the birth of One of our best imaginal cells, who was killed by the frightened cells who wanted to maintain the old caterpillar social order. May the many millions of us who hold to the unity consciousness of that One, or the many other ones who have offered a vision of kindness, where everyone is seen as our own “kind”—American or Iraqi, Mormon or Jewish, gay or straight--remain confident that our work is well destined, that our vision is beautiful and its wings are assured. Apocalypse may be a step, but, as Richard Bach wrote in Illusions, “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.”

As Thanksgiving is this week, I am especially grateful to have so many fine imaginal cells with whom to journey—to inspire me when I slip and crawl, hold me during the pain of transformation, and remind me that I can fly.

"In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy."

1 comment:

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