Are you an imaginal cell for humanity? We are familiar with the story of transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly, but most accounts leave out a key factor in that process that has great implications for our society as we transform and evolve.
When the caterpillar feels the urge to spin a cocoon and enter a state of profound inner focus and quiet, we can apply that to what many of us felt during 2014 and sporadically since then—moments of wanting to withdraw. It continues as frequent opportunities to let go of habits, beliefs, and patterns that were useful to us in the past but no longer fit who we are becoming. For example, when my “To Do” lists no longer spurred me into action but instead lay reminding me that I wasn’t accomplishing what I thought I “should” be and thereby offering an easy source for guilt, I had to let them go.
As the cocoon is spun, imaginal discs appear in the body of the caterpillar. These discs hold the templates of the butterfly’s parts. Even though these discs are part of the natural evolution of the caterpillar, its immune system does not recognize them and tries to destroy them. Many of us, as we started to awaken to our potential and to the potential of humanity felt like lone voices and experienced separation from people who saw us as no longer part of their world view. Some of the earliest ones, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Gandhi and others could be seen as being destroyed by the confused immune system of society fighting to maintain the status quo. Today we can feel it as rejection of what we know, as a seeming loss of power to effect change in corporate and governmental strongholds, and as distancing from some family and friends. But…
The discs mature and form imaginal cells, clumping together into new patterns, using the protein in the disintegrating body of the caterpillar to fuel their co-creation of new structures that then emerge from the cocoon as the soaring butterfly. The butterfly has transcended and incorporated the caterpillar (old society). It is the coming together and joining in mutual intent that infuses imaginal cells with the power to realize their potential. That’s us. Only by choosing and learning to come together in true co-creation, not just collaboration, do we form the society we yearn to see. In collaboration we each bring our creations and integrate them with others who have brought their creations. In co-creation we move beyond what is “ours” and meld our insights, skills, gifts and energy into the symphony of the whole. It requires maturing our ego (especially the mind) to willingly become led by our whole being.
It is happening! Social researcher Paul H. Ray calls society’s idealists (imaginal cells) “cultural creatives” who see us all as members of one planet, with emphasis on transforming consciousness in all aspects of life and changing our identities toward recognition of our spiritual nature and global citizenship. Sound like you? He found that in 2008 there were already thirty-five percent of Americans who fit this description, but most felt they were alone. Since 2012 that number has multiplied and spread throughout the world, and we are coming together in thousands of small groups. There is no turning back. The butterfly is forming.