The Greek name for a butterfly is Psyche, and the same word means the soul. There is no illustration of the immortality of the soul so striking and beautiful as the butterfly, bursting on brilliant wings from the tomb in which it has lain, after a dull, grovelling, caterpillar existence, to flutter in the blaze of day and feed on the most fragrant and delicate productions of spring. Psyche, then, is the human soul, which is purified by sufferings and misfortunes, and is thus prepared for the enjoyment of true and pure happiness.
—Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable
I’d like to share a touching story that I once read about a woman who brought two butterfly cocoons into her home that were about to hatch. The woman wanted to observe the butterflies break free from their cocoons and eventually take flight.
For days she eagerly watched, waiting for the butterflies to emerge. In time, she was able to witness one of the butterflies begin creating a small hole in its cocoon. From the woman’s perspective, this first butterfly seemed to struggle painfully as it slowly pushed its way through the opening it had created. Once it was fully liberated, the butterfly lay there on the table, exhausted and unable to go any further. However, after a short period of time, the butterfly finally raised itself up and flew out a nearby window, fluttering on its strong and beautiful wings.
After observing the challenging process that the first butterfly experienced, the woman felt inspired to help the second butterfly free itself from its cocoon so it wouldn’t have to struggle like the first one did. Meaning well, the woman decided to use a razor blade to gently slice down the centre of the second butterfly’s cocoon as it began its journey toward its liberation. Once freed, the second butterfly lay there on the table just like the first one did. However, after that same short period of time, rather than raising itself up and flying away, the second butterfly quietly died.
Confused about what had occurred, the woman contacted a friend who was a biologist and asked her to explain why the second butterfly had died. Her friend expressed that the challenging struggle the butterfly undergoes to liberate itself from its cocoon actually forces liquids from deep inside its body cavity out into the tiny capillaries in the butterfly’s wings. This process is what causes a butterfly’s wings to harden, making them strong enough and healthy enough for their new life of flight. She explained that without the struggle a butterfly experiences in breaking through its own cocoon, there could be no strength in its wings, no flight, and ultimately no life.
Just like the butterflies in this story, you and I are destined to liberate ourselves from the bonds of our own protective cocoons. And just like the caterpillar, we each have everything that we need within ourselves to (1) love ourselves unconditionally and (2) create the inner and outer freedom that we all intuitively desire.
When we stop to reflect on the deeper meaning of the above story we are graced with one of life’s most beautiful and empowering lessons: Each of us already has everything we need within ourselves to fulfil our life’s purpose and realise our greatest potential. God, or the intelligent universe, created life this way. Life itself inherently holds all that it needs within itself to fully become all that it is destined to be. Our greatest potentials and strengths already live within us, just waiting to be cultivated and expressed fully in our lives.
Unfortunately, however, too many of us live our whole lives without realising this. We go through life living in fear, constantly relating to our world from the familiarity, comfort, and safety of our protective cocoon. Way too often we end up settling for a limited way of life, having never realised nor expressed the fullness or the greatness of who and what we all truly are.
If we don’t just settle for cold comfort, a large majority of us continually search outside of ourselves, thinking that something or someone outside of us will free us. Maybe someone will rescue us or save us from the restricting confines of our own cocoon?Maybe someone will love us enough or care for us enough to liberate us from our personal struggles and make everything okay?
What an illusion this truly is!
All of us are born caterpillars in this life, and we all create a cocoon for ourselves as we grow. What differs among us, however, is that some of us are willing to follow the inner prompts of our heart and soul to become the liberated, passionate, and purposeful beings that we’re destined to be, and some of us quite simply are not.
There seem to be only two options in life. We either become the butterfly that we’re destined to be, or we don’t. We either master loving ourselves unconditionally, and in so doing free ourselves from our cocoon, or we don’t.
In the first option we undoubtedly struggle; sometimes we struggle deeply and it’s painful. But with the struggle and the pain always come the magic, wonder, and beauty of living our most liberated and joyful life. The struggle and pain actually become worth it because we’re blessed to experience the inherent freedom and joy of our soul’s deepest and truest nature. We get to be free, and one could say that our soul gets to fly.
In the second option we either settle for the unconscious, fear-based comfort of our cocoon, or we wait for someone or something to come along and free us. We might live our whole lives waiting for someone to slice open our cocoon for us. In both cases, we end up living our entire lives unaware that we already have everything we need within us to liberate ourselves and to live the magnificent lives that we’re all destined to live.
Considering this, loving ourselves unconditionally always leads to the lasting inner peace, health, happiness, and fulfilment we’re all looking for. I have found that once we’re finally ready to welcome and love all of who we are today, as well as all of who we have been in the past, we naturally find the strength, courage, and love within us that’s necessary to heal ourselves, fulfil our life’s purpose, and realise our greatest potential both personally and professionally.
Excerpted from Blake D. Bauer’s book: You Were Not Born To Suffer
Blake D. Baueris an internationally recognised author, counsellor, and alternative medicine practitioner. His book You Were Not Born To Suffer and his work centre on loving ourselves unconditionally as the key to healing ourselves, fulfilling our life’s purpose, and realising our full potential both personally and professionally.
Bringing together the most effective spiritual practices and holistic approaches to health and well-being, Blake’s work and teachings have successfully guided thousands of people internationally toward greater psychological, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual freedom. www.unconditional-selflove.com | https://www.facebook.com/BlakeBauer1 | https://twitter.com/BlakeBauer
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