To Be A Butterfly

While painting some butterflies, I was reminded of a beautiful quote by Maya Angelou.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

For a butterfly to be so beautiful, it had to go through an enduring process of transformation from a caterpillar. So too, when we go through difficult situations, we can look at them as opportunities to transform ourselves, to be stronger, and emerge out from the other side as a beautiful butterfly to enjoy the freedom to fly. It also teaches us that there is a right time for everything, that we can't force something to be before its time. If we were to cut open the cocoon and try to free the butterfly before it emerges out on its own, the butterfly will not survive, as its wings wouldn't be strong enough to enable it to fly.

This week I was reading Yours Forever: Life and Letters of Swami Chinmayananda. In it is mentioned a favorite example that Swami Chinmayananda uses to explain spiritual transformation.

The caterpillar moves on the leaves and plants, hugging them and feeding on them. The butterfly hovers above it all and pollinates the flowers when it drinks the nectar. So also, the worldly person hugs and feeds on the things of the world, helpless and vulnerable like a caterpillar. After Spiritual transformation takes place, he is liberated; he moves free as the wind, untouched by the world, nourishing and sowing the seeds of spirituality in all those he happens to contact.

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