Awakening to new possibilities
From caterpillar to butterfly
There is a metaphor for the current world’s interesting transition. It’s the butterfly’s metamorphosis.
A caterpillar crunches its way through its ecosystem, cutting a swath of destruction by consuming and eating as much as hundreds of times its weight in a day, until it is too bloated to continue and hangs itself up, its skin then hardening into a cocoon, more eloquently into a chrysalis.
Inside this chrysalis, deep in the caterpillar’s body, tiny things biologists, like Bruce Lipton call ‘imaginal’ cells begin to form. Not recognizing the newcomers, the caterpillar’s immune system wants to destroy them as they arise. It wants to keep the previous identity, the previous system, the lower order stability. Anyway they keep coming faster and faster. First they grow separately, then they create a community together.
Eventually the caterpillar’s immune system fails from the stress and the imaginal cells that build the butterfly by feeding on the soupy meltdown of the caterpillar’s body.
It took a long time for biologists to understand the reason for the immune system attack on the incipient butterfly cells, but eventually they discovered that the butterfly has its own unique genome, carried by the caterpillar, inherited from long ago in evolution, yet not part of it as such (Margulis & Sagan, Acquiring Genomes 2002).
The original post you can find here. It’s amazing that it was written several years ago and it’s much more actual today than ever!
Here is the amazing thing: the caterpillar and the butterfly have the exact same DNA. They are the same organism, but are receiving and responding to different organizing signals.
My comment on this is the following:
This metaphor so perfectly describes the period we are living. In my opinion we are in the cocoon now. I prefer calling it chrysalis. It’s more enchanting. There is a lot of effort to keep the status quo, control and domination on one side and an effortless organization on the other that responds to life’s calling with humility, novel awarenesses and with more consciously chosen focused attention.
The imaginal cells fail to obey the rules the previous cells of the caterpillar’s life were based upon. Is it a failure or the greatest victory?
It will be determined by where we look at it from…”The greatest source of suffering is believing in one objective reality.” according to my mentor, Donny Epstein.
Everything is relative to our experience on the experience we are observing. We choose to shift where we observe from, reality shifts. This is such a fascinating metaphor and a huge privilege to be able to live in this period of time in human history and serve humanity now.
Bruce Lipton's interpretation
To better understand the opportunity hidden in today’s crises, consider the tale of another world in transition. Imagine you are a single cell among millions that comprise a growing caterpillar. The structure around you has been operating like a well-oiled machine, and the larva world has been creeping along predictably. Then one day, the machine begins to shudder and shake. The system begins to fail. Cells begin to commit suicide. There is a sense of darkness and impending doom.
From within the dying population, a new breed of cells begins to emerge, called imaginal cells.(aka YOU!) Clustering in community, they devise a plan to create something entirely new from the wreckage. Out of the decay arises a great flying machine—a butterfly—that enables the survivor cells to escape from the ashes and experience a beautiful world, far beyond imagination. Here is the amazing thing: the caterpillar and the butterfly have the exact same DNA. They are the same organism, but are receiving and responding to different organizing signals.
That is where we are today. When we read the newspaper and watch the news, we see the media reporting a decaying caterpillar world. And yet everywhere, you and other human imaginal cells are awakening to a new possibility. We are clustering, communicating, and tuning into a new, coherent signal of love.
You can find Bruce Lipton’s original post here.