Monday, April 17, 2017

Growing Pains

Does a butterfly know that as a caterpillar it will spin a cocoon and emerge as a beautiful butterfly? Probably not. We don't realize as babies struggling with unsteady legs and immature eyes and tongue that we will emerge in command of our legs, eyes, and tongue and become adults, at least not when we open our eyes on this bright and painful place far from the warmth in our floating womb. Even as we struggle through puberty beset with longings and rebellious determination to fly free into a world without restraint and rules do we begin to realize the struggle is not over, merely just beginning as we fumble and strain to find our place in the grand design, constantly struggling to figure out where we belong and where we go from here. Then it all ends without ever having known what it all was for. We are born. We live. We die. We are gone. In between each phase, we struggle with growing pains, stretching for more, for beyond, for the purpose to our struggle and to our lives.

Throughout history it seems others have it all figured out. They eventually die -- or so we believe -- and it is too late to ask them what they saw we did not. These magnificent butterflies may leave stories or words, parables or truths we did not experience through our senses and so we are told to believe and have faith. We will understand some day, but do we? Do we truly understand or are we still wobbly-legged toddlers taking our first steps or babies kicking the air and eventually rolling over onto our bellies to wriggle our way across the ground? We are all caterpillars struggling to spin cocoons from which we emerge butterflies after great pains into the light of the next phase of our lives.

Is this what Francisco of Assisi learned when he emerged from his fever to spend days in the fields and eventually cast off his finery to walk naked through the streets to the ruin of San Damiano to rebuild as one by one his young friends cast off their families and possession to join him as humble beggars living as the poor, walking barefoot from place to place to spread the message that peace and hope were not to be found among the distractions of the accepted way of life? It was not the perfect understanding of an ascended master like Yeshua bar Joseph, merely a glimpse of the change that awaits us all as we struggle for understanding in a world gone mad where hate, greed, and entertainment divert us all from what is right in front of us. We have not even the glimpse that Francis saw before following what he saw as the way to take in his grasp and to follow what he knew of the enlightenment of the Holy Roman Church. That path is still open for those who choose to believe, but it is not the final destination merely a way station on the road.

I've begun to see reports and videos of followers of Islam who find peace and a better way than obedience or death in a set of beliefs that run counter to the peace and limited enlightenment of Christianity or even Judaism. Those systems of belief were forged during a time when mankind was ignorant of other beliefs, other methods of finding enlightenment -- at least in the Western world. The Eastern world follow Buddhism toward enlightenment for the same message offered in those teachings echo Christianity and Judaism, both of which sprang from a different well. Though nearly extinct, the New World followed the path of the Incas, Maya, and Aztec, among others and what remains after the conquerors from Europe raped and pillaged a way into and among the First Nations of the northern territories of the New World also held a seed of enlightenment eventually shared with the newcomers and their descendants where seekers found a spark or a glimpse of enlightenment. Nowhere on this planet, not even in the vast reaches of Australia, have seeds of enlightenment not been spread, some codified in organized religions and the rest as whispers in the dark promising the light.

Though it seems impossible that light is visible in the turmoil and darkness of our modern times, we all struggle, weakly or with increasing power, toward the light, moths to the brightness that flares in the darkness drawing us forward, ever onward to the promise of enlightenment. Maybe that is why at this time we find everything changing and a man like Trump at the helm promising a return to better times, more profitable and peaceful times, but we will not find it by following another flawed demagogue for truth and the path ahead does not go where Trump or Obama or Clinton or leaders around the world are going. The light that fills our minds and brings peace to our hearts is all around us, visible when we cast aside the distractions that make it oh so difficult to see. Enlightenment fills the planet, the trees, the animals, and everywhere we look when we refuse to be distracted.

We need not be beggars or follow the paths carved out before us. Some few may glimpse the light, but not enough of us until we shed all that hampers us from embracing what has always been freely given. We are racked with the aches and pains of turning away from the distractions that beset us, the bright, shiny objects that pull our focus on what matters most -- the light. Flashes of brilliance blind us temporarily and yet through the blinding glare the clear pulse of true light remains.

We are no longer children, but teenagers tortured as we fight free of our cocoons. Like the butterfly, we must free ourselves of the confines of our cocoons, the fight for freedom strengthening sinew, sending blood pumping to new wings that change as the wrinkles of confinement disappear while the blood forced by the effort to escape the confines of our previous existence, raise blood-filled wings, test the air, and finally leap into the sparkling air into the existence that has always been right there in front of us. With each beat of our wings, we move closer to the light and closer to the real change we could not see or even glimpse while distracted by sparkly bits and bright flashes that obscured what lay before us. The growing pains will subside with each beat of our wings. As we move forward into the light we will shed the rest of the shreds and patches of the cocoon, leaving a drying husk to mark our metamorphosis and to point the way for the butterflies and moths to mark the path for all willing to test their wings and accept enlightenment and realization that we were and are meant for more. In our wake we lead the way into a brighter and more peaceful reality where we can exercise the wings carrying us to the phase of existence where we will no longer be hampered by earthly constraints. That is our destination the future, growing pains and horrors, hate and aggression behind us, as we move into the light.

That is all. Disperse.

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