As I drove down the highway today I saw a sign which said “school crossing”. Soon after came another sign saying, “deer crossing”. These signs are meant to keep one alert, on one’s toes. They are meant to keep the driver watchful for the ‘deer’, for the ‘child’, or for the ‘falling rocks’. They are meant to keep the driver alert for the occasional crossings over the highway, infrequent and incidental, yet expected and known.

Today there was no deer in sight. No pedestrian, no falling rock. Today I drove with my mind’s eye on my own being. I was watchful, alert, attentive, looking for nothing in particular. It’s here that I witnessed the unexpected crossing which took place in slow motion. A single tiny butterfly, yellow, zigzagging this way and that, fluttering across the man made divide making its way to the other side slowly and steadily, softly and gently, its pale yellow wings a divine spark of life laboring against a background of vast blue sky.

The yellow butterfly looked painfully fragile as it crossed that lonely path amidst the clamorous hubbub of traffic. It seemed so alone. Yet as she traversed that lonely unmarked path a silent beauty began to unfold from moment to moment. I wondered if anyone else had witnessed this delicate butterfly crossing, or if any other driver was feeling sensitive enough to experience her extraordinary beauty which can only be glimpsed in a state of alert presence? It’s here that I began to wonder if I too could metamorphose into a butterfly and fly in the lightness of Being.

In that remarkable smallness, in that minute yellow fluttering life so fine and light there existed such a vast aliveness that could not be explained, but that I could sense deeply as I watched that delicate life in slow motion. It occurs to me now that maybe what I sensed was my own aliveness as I slowed down, watching the unfolding of this butterfly’s life from moment to moment in great detail. It’s as if I were witnessing the underlying spark of life. From the nothingness everything is born. Can I too be reborn? Can I too become nothing and no one so as to emerge a winged being, filled with the light of consciousness as clear and free as the day I was born? Yes, I was born free.

I wonder if such a delicate creature laboring patiently without any assumption about its own fate can ever feel the burden of its fragility. Does this fair-winged tender spark of energy, this living wisp of vibrating muslin created out of the very building blocks of the universe ever stop to ask “why” or “why me?” I had to laugh out loud at that thought. Only a thinking animal would judge life in this way so I STOPPED.

I felt myself smiling from within as well as without. My very being was alive, radiant, and shining with delight at the sight of this butterfly. “It’s not an easy task,” I thought to myself. “This highway for her is a treacherous passage which may end in her death.”

Again I found myself smiling. What greater and more arduous passage is there than the transformation which this butterfly has already confronted through the miraculous experience of metamorphosis?

Like all others I was born a common caterpillar, a larvae. While others revel in the so called creativity of the human race, I myself find the human journey to be hardly as magnificent and meaningful as the journey of the caterpillar which metamorphoses into a butterfly. The caterpillar’s trial is a tribulation as he patiently inserts his rear claspers into the silk holdfast and then gradually releases its hold and assumes the correct position for pupation to commence. Pupation gives way to the formation of the chrysalis and the shedding of the old skin, as the chrysalis lies in wait until it assumes its final shape. Once the soft chrysalis has reached its final form, the most profound inner transformation begins as the wings, abdomen, and head of the butterfly are formed with all of its magnificent colors until the new creature within pushes through and emerges as a butterfly!

But until now man has labored, it seems, without any inward metamorphosis of any kind, or any emergence from the cocoon which binds him to his mortal coil. He may have created some things of beauty in his external world. He may have evolved more complex social structures. He may have evolved industrially and technologically. But has he evolved internally, psychologically, creatively? Is ‘evolution’ an appropriate designation for technologies which may in fact destroy much of the earth’s precious resources at the expense of many of its life forms including human beings?

But here before me is a little yellow butterfly worth more than all of mankind’s industrial and technological evolution. This beauty is worth more than every external human revolution which seeks independence from the cocoon by becoming increasingly dependent upon it, burying our heads deep within and calling this “freedom”. The ego is self-centered and this self centeredness creates its own misery without any hope of genuine change which can only be attained from the inside out. Yet here flutters not a work of art, not a symbol of life, but Life itself in its splendor, the caterpillar’s metamorphosis being the realization of its greatest potential in Life. When human beings can accept that life’s meaning exists only in the moment of existence, and only for the sake of existence, then perhaps man too can emerge from his cocoon, spread his colorful wings and fly to heights he could have never imagined possible.

This crossing butterfly is not just a butterfly, she is ME. She represents my potential to BE. I am a larvae refusing to remain in a state of infancy waiting for life to snatch me up in its jaws and eat me alive. No, I will traverse the pathless path and cross the treacherous highways and byways. I will suffer the human condition without any complaint, without any resistance from within, and I will defy the human nature which compels me to bury my head while I claim to occupy the center of all sight and intelligence on this planet. This caterpillar is resolved to exist for the sake of existence. She is resolved to accept that meaning is not contained in the idea of a future goal or beneath the security blanket of thoughtful recollection, but in the act itself from moment to moment. From this attention to the inner workings of the self I will form my chrysalis, and in the stillness of my being will transform from the inside out, emerging once and for all with colorful wings as the essence of Life in the Light of Consciousness, a Butterfly evermore.

Butterfly Dream
by Rula Mazigi

Transcending caterpillar dreams
On love-fused wings fluttering softly
Her fragile essence begins to glow
A surge of pure energy permeating
Her existence, wordless

Unparalleled beauty unfolds
The sacred rhythm of soul
The world of words collapsing
Love’s lost language unearthed

Communicating steadily with the winds
Surrounding the sphere of her course
She surmounts the threshold of certainty
Unknowingly in timeless infinity

As the meaning of meaning refines
Two dreams bind deep within
The shared layer of sixth sense
Evoking a dream as real as any reality

His presence paints within without
Her palette shedding shades of gray
Clarity of scene defining the undefined
Seizing this instant of pure intent


Posted on 05/03/2005
Copyright © 2011