Awake in the World

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.  ~Richard Bach

Monarch butterflies go through an incredible journey. They start out as larvae; next they become caterpillars and they eat a lot of milkweed. They romp on the stalks and leaves and finally they attach to a leaf and enshroud themselves with a fine and strong cocoon. Then they appear to sleep. But during this time when they remain out of sight, they’re silently transforming. 

Nothing is visible to the eye that observes from the outside. An inner process of transformation changes an ugly caterpillar with its belly on the ground, into an extraordinary creature with beautiful, iridescent wings. The old form must die or be released for the beautiful, new creature to emerge and take flight. During the process inside the chrysalis, the creature becomes liquid and then again takes on a new structure, one that gives it wings to fly.

With people too, very often inner, silent transformation is continually taking place, mostly beyond our usual realm of conscious awareness. Through meditation, mindfulness practices, silence and conscious speech and relating, it’s possible to transform the worm-like qualities and shed them. Through devotion and selfless service make it easy to gain wings and move into elevated spaces.

It takes courage and a willingness to grow and change. But wouldn’t you like to learn to fly?

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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