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Deep in the Dark Night A New Day is Born: From the Caterpillar of Separation to the Butterfly of Oneness
July 2, 2023
Deep in the Dark Night A New Day is Born:
From the Caterpillar of Separation to the Butterfly of Oneness
Good morning. I’m Rev. Esther Frances, the founder of the “Earth Is My Cathedral” ministry celebrating the paradox of Oneness and diversity. I’m so thankful to be here with you this morning.
It’s exciting to be here because we are at a pivotal time, an extraordinary time, an unprecedented time. We are in transition into a new era of humanity that is as radically different from our present way of being as a butterfly is from a caterpillar! The crisis of our time serves as the birth canal for a new identity for us--- an identity that knows it is one with all beings and all life.
We are emerging from an “Ego-logical” into an “Eco-logical” age! My mentor Thomas Berry coined the term “The Ecozoic Era,” to refer to a time when the human presence is mutually beneficial to both the whole Earth community and to each other. The human caterpillar stage is ego-based, defined by the idea and experience of separation. Their primary activity is consumerism. Caterpillars quickly strip a tree, caterpillar humans quickly strip the forests, and then they move on to consuming the planet! Butterflies sip nectar from the flowers and take only what they need.
I differentiate this new human presence with the name HUEman, HUE capitalized to symbolize a consciousness that knows itself as the whole spectrum of the human family rainbow. HUE mans know they are the ONE appearing as the many. The rainbow is a paradox: it appears to exist yet it has no solidity. A rainbow is ONE, with each color inseparable from the whole, yet each color is distinctly visible.
What if the pot of gold isn’t found somewhere else, over the rainbow, but right here on Earth, found when we realize that we are just like the rainbow--- one Divine essence expressing itself through the entire diversity of Life? What if we have to breakdown our caterpillar phase in order to breakthrough into butterfly HUEmanity?
My song Breakdown to Breakthrough says:
“Shinin’ rainbows show the pot of gold is lettin’ go and bein’ bold;
Enough to risk a new way of being, opening new eyes to a new way of seein,’ Openin’ new ears and openin’ new senses, jumpin’ out of conventional fences; Openin’ up to receive the Spirit, breakin’ down resistance that fears it.”
Ego identity is like thinking you are one tiny finger instead of an entire body! Our challenge is to die to our ego’s illusions and be transformed into a “whole-i-ness” based on a subjective experience that we are one with, a part of---not apart from--- the whole of life.
We are holographic in nature! Let me give you an example: In a holographic image of an elephant if you cut off the trunk you have an entire image of the elephant. The only difference is one of scale—the part “cut off” of the original is a smaller replica of the original whole image! It contains the whole within it!
There is the old parable telling of the contrast between heaven and hell. I’m sure some of you have heard this story before, but it is one of my favorites and illustrates that the transformation we are experiencing is one of consciousness:
A curious man wanted to know the difference between heaven and hell. First, he was guided to hell where he saw a group of people seated around a huge pot of delicious food. They were all skin and bones, suffering and miserable. The spoons they held were very long....too long for them to feed themselves, so they sat there starving, in hell.
Next, he came to heaven. As the door opened the scene was familiar. People surrounded a huge pot of sumptuous food. However, here everyone was smiling, laughing and joyful. Looking more carefully, it was apparent that the people were feeding each other and there was no lack, want or hunger.
We have been operating out of an assumption, a belief, and a “conned- ceptual” perception we could call “the myth of separation.” We’ve been taught that who we are is exclusively a person, defined by a particular body or at best a separate soul with a spiritual dimension. We are taught to think and act as if this is who we are----as if our “beingness” stopped at the boundary of our skin or was somehow encapsulated as a separate entity.
We are taught to identify ourselves as people separate from other people, nations separate from other nations, and that the whole human population is somehow separate from the planet. As if our “body temples” weren’t made out of Mother Earth---as if the liquids in our body didn’t come from the Earth’s waters, as if we could breathe without the air of the Earth’s atmosphere!
Notice how different the story of heaven and hell is when it is told from the presumption of separation or when it is told from the context of Oneness. From the premise of separation, feeding each other can appear to be charitable and generous. Seen from the perspective of Oneness, each ONE realizes it is “every-ONE-else.” Feeding and caring for each one is not just “loving thy neighbor as thy self but knowing thy neighbor is truly and actually thy divine SELF.
Environmental collapse was one of the first wake-up calls that challenged the idea that we are not connected to each other and what surrounds us. We discovered that polluted waters, air and soil create unhealthy humans and threaten the lives of countless species. It has become apparent that we are in crisis. Crisis has long been recognized as a portal for new possibilities, creativity, and emergence.
Emergency does have the word emergence as its root. The sustainability issue is now showing up in the deep fissures in our social systems. A society and economy based on separation and scarcity have created excess and poverty. We can embrace the breakdown phase of the process as a necessary “falling apart so we can come together” in an unprecedented way.
We can exercise our power by casting our vote of consciousness. We can choose to focus on a new vision based on Oneness and interconnectedness or we can default to fear, worry and lament that the old caterpillar ego is dissolving. When we see the meltdown as prerequisite for the metamorphosis into the Divine HUE man we can hold the process in a wise, compassionate embrace. This doesn’t mean ignoring the suffering created in the collapse. We can both care for all in harm’s way as the old structure collapses while we vision and create the new.
A mind and body divided creates dis-ease. Imagine the catastrophe that would result if all the body’s organs were in competition with each other rather than cooperatively co-creating together with the awareness that the entire body is their mutual greater identity.
Imagine a planet where we realize that all life on Earth is integral to the greater Earth body. What if each bio-region, state, nation, ethnicity, culture and religion realized that their greater body was the ONE-EARTH- commUNITY and that the only way true peace, prosperity, health and happiness can flourish is when we identify with the whole instead of thinking we are just a little part, vying with all the other parts to get what we think we want and need.
What if we act like a body where the heart, lungs, liver and differentiated parts aren’t enemies. A world built of separation is not sustainable any more. The caterpillar is disintegrating as the evolutionary call to butterfly is being sounded.
I’d like to tell you another story:
Once upon a time there were two caterpillars crawling along in the grass. One looked up and saw a butterfly flying by. She poked her companion and said, “Check it out. What is that?” The second caterpillar looked up and gazed intently at the strange, winged creature and said, “I don’t know, but you’ll never find me up there in one of them!”
As caterpillars transform into butterflies, they first die to their old form as they dissolve in the chrysalis. Then “imaginal” cells that are the beginning of the butterfly emerge but they are attacked by the old caterpillar immune system that perceives them as a threat. Only when there is a critical mass of these new cells, does a system change takes place where the new organism recognizes the imaginal cells as their new butterfly identity. From that point on, the butterfly becomes the prevailing paradigm.
Could Mother Mary, Mary Magdaene, Jesus, Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, the Buddha, the great yoginis, yogis, shamans and universalists be the first “imaginal cells” of the HUEman butterfly? Could they be the first examples of an evolved HUEman identity that knows its primary unity with the Divine even as it manifests in HUEman form?
Like the caterpillars, it is difficult for us to imagine a way of life based on the experience of our ONEness. We are in transition and by definition transition refers to that territory that is neither here nor there. We have left the womb and are in the birth canal without knowing what the baby will look like.
If any one here has experienced natural birth, you know that it is very important to have assistance and the pre-knowing that the intense stage in birthing called transition is only temporary. This awareness makes all the difference in the mother’s capacity to stay focused and not panic. Understanding provides a context that meets potential fears and reassures them.
Likewise, when we understand the nature of our transition, regardless of gender, we can all assist in birthing our selves into butterfly HUE mans.
In 1996 I received a poem that speaks to the transitional time we are in. It is called “The Dream of Earth Is Waking.” I’ll share the last half of the poem with you:
“We can bring forth wonder; We can bring forth peace; We can fit together and facilitate the largest evolution to have reached the human race.
Let your fears be noticed then let them fly away; Transform them into butterflies, Then they can lead the way to transformation so astounding we will one day laugh; When we look back at ourselves when we didn’t think we’d last;
We’ll savor cosmic humor, an irony so deep; Truth reveals a wonder of multiplicity; Like the creepin’ caterpillar we won’t be “no more;” Yet we will be more fully than we ever have before.
Spread your wings of wonder; Join the cosmic dream; Awaken and fully “grok” our galactic destiny - Feeling full kinship with all of Earth’s Life - Glad to be resurrected in this awakened Life;
Butterflies of Beauty, bathing in the rain; Home is multi-dimensionality, this is our terrain. Earth Mother is calling you to wake up from the trance; Dance Her dream into awakening, Join in Her song; Release all your fears when so much is “going wrong.”
This day is a new day, this time is a key; Unlocking many doorways to another way to be; Don’t miss this opportunity, it is not mere chance; Look to your courage, dare to dance your dance.”
Courage is a great ally at this time. The word has its roots in the Latin word “cor” for heart. How do we gather our courage? One way we can benefit each one of us is to share our encouragement. We can hold the context of our evolution into Divine, HUEman butterflies, while we simultaneously soothe and give generous empathy and assistance to all needing it.
Fear arises and can be manipulated by the “caterpillar royalty” as the old economy and structures based on separation, conquest and struggle collapse.
Another favorite story shares a wise strategy for dealing with fear: Trungpa Rinpoche was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher and author. One day he walked to a monastery with two attendants. Out of nowhere a huge, ferocious–looking dog came charging at them all. The attendants froze in terror, while Trungpa Rinpoche sounded a shriek and charged the dog. It ran away with its tail between its legs!
Isn’t it interesting how fear will stalk us until we turn around and face it. As the lyric in my song “Dive In”* suggests: “Face your fears no longer run away.” No matter what the issue, fear’s power is diminished when we look at and listen to what is afraid with compassion and courage. Fear is the fuel of the ego and separation. Love is the fruition of unity---the awareness that you are love, the lover and the beloved.
Fear is also generated because we know that a system based on individuality and separation isn’t very kind to those who don’t “succeed” in the sham of independence. We’ve lost the security the tribe provided. It is frightening if it’s your home, your work, your family, your friends, and your planet that is caught in the breakdown.
And we know if it can happen to someone else it can also happen to us. We can choose to meet the fear with compassion, and not go into the fear, flight or freeze reaction. Community, communication and communion, rather than greed and hoarding, is the antidote to the poison of feeling isolated or victimized.
Caterpillar economy is rooted in war-related activities, dis-ease-management that masquerades as health care, and destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems for energy when new possibilities “in the wings” are thwarted. Competition becomes an end in itself, rather than being a vehicle to provide excellence for the greater good.
We’ve been programmed by the monopoly mentality. We live in a topsy-turvy world where the Oneness of the essential reality has been mimicked in what appears as the external reality. When we come home to our unity we simultaneously embrace and “cell-ebrate” diversity. We recognize that there is a place and niche for “everyONE” and that sometimes that can look like someone is “doing nothing.”
Buckminister Fuller, spoke of the power of the individual by his example of the tiny trim tab on a sailing vessel, only a teeny bit of the mass of the ship, that is capable of turning the whole ship around, also assured us that the inventiveness and genius of an awakened, non-exploitive economic system would easily pay for a few “doing nothing.”
We are learning that a standing tree creates greater value and benefit than lumber. Just by virtue of its existence, it keeps the soil intact, provides clean air, and shade. It is a host for birds, insects, and stabilizes weather, insulates and is a windbreaker.
Likewise we can realize that humans are inherently valuable without a need to prove their worth by working. Is it better to “make a living” by destroying our planet, and creating tools of destruction or by living lives that are healthy, happy and do no harm.
Preventive health measures insure fewer high cost interventions; lower stress means less “dis-ease,” less crime, less suffering for all. We are moving into a time of plork--- the union of play and work.
Butterfly economy has “thrive-ability” as its intent. Co-operation, co-creation and communion create a community where authentic needs are met. There is an understanding that the personal and the universal complement each other. “EveryONE’s” unique abilities, passion and bliss are honored. Tasks that are necessary, but not inherently fun, can be shared so no one gets stuck with them.
When we look out exclusively for out personal self and family, we have a few who are interested in our wellbeing. If “everyONE” were to look out for the whole then each ONE of us would have everyONE else caring about our “well-fare.” You don’t need to be a mathematician to see which way the benefits go!
Fear would have us bicker with each other, fight over scraps, fall prey to the “divide and conquer” weapon always used by BIG EGO to dominate and control. Our real power derives from our ability to no longer buy into the duality of either/or thinking and graduate to the awareness that life is a living paradox beyond yes/no and right/wrong.
Once more going back to the circle, each perspective has its own information and wisdom. As in the ancient tale of the blind men and the elephant, there is no need for any ONE’s right to make some ONE else to be wrong just because it has a different perspective.
Both/and much, much more accommodates the knowledge rooted in wholistic intelligence. Paradox avoids the divisions, labels, antagonism that comes from either you are right or you are wrong. Perspective creates a plurality of viewpoints, an abundance of context.
“We are emptiness and form; The rebel and the norm. We are the dark. We are the light. We are love. We are delight. We are the Uni-verse as we. We are not a separate me. We are the U-ni-verse, we’re ONE, before the Cosmos was begun, we are the Great Mystery.”
“U” are the U in the U-ni-verse awakening and remembering the U-nity that U are! Furthermore, the words unit and unity are verbs when you spell them phonetically as in the verb “knit” creating the terms “U-knit-y” and U-knit.” We are not passive objects, shuffled around in a random arrangement. We are receivers and transmitters, intimately involved in the world we inhabit and create.
Dark is a term that has been kidnapped by division. Look at the prejudices and the class structures in the world and we can see the picturing out of the image that dark is synonymous with evil, ignorance and sin. Yet, it is in the dark of the night sky that the millions and billions of stars are revealed. The dark night of the soul is associated with struggle and despair, yet it is also the gateway to dawn. Daylight’s conscious awareness illuminates the gifts that were given in the depths of dark. We each have a dream messaging service bringing us insights and perspectives we are blind to in the light of the Sun.
The late poet John O’Donohue said ”We come out of the night into the day. All
creativity awakens at this primal threshold where light and darkness test and bless each other.” Physicist Nassim Haramein asserts that white and black w-holes are one and the same! The white w-hole is around the black w-hole. The light radiating stars are the outside of the black w-hole within them.
There is a constant relationship between the expansive and contractive parts.” They are not separate!!!!! What an affirmation for the equality and complementary nature of the dark and the light---the female and the male! Imagine what transformation will occur when we model and design our way of being around this radical equality between the yin and the yang, rest and activity, doing and being
Haramein also speaks of us as being “the event horizon,” the threshold between the infinitely large and the infinitely small. He says we live in a w-holofractal universe. Remember, in a hologram every part contains the whole. The fractal nature of the Universe refers to the realization the wholes are nested within each other, much like Chinese dolls fit one within the other, into infinitely larger and infinitely smaller wholes! Atoms are black w-holes within cells within organs within bodies within planets within solar systems within galaxies, within galactic clusters, within our uni-verse.
Haramein says, “that when you become aware of this, “your way of being in the Universe, the way you are, how you are, completely changes. Because you start to see the importance of your observation, you start to see the importance of your interpretation of the field and what you are feeding the Universe.” “
Instead of seeing yourself as an insignificant little dot that means nothing to the Universe, you start to see yourself as the center of creation. Everyone else is the center of their Universe as well and thus we are all equal and we are all One.”
The camels of ego are collapsing. We have wandered, parched in the desert of possession for so long. Full of acquisition; we are thirsty for peace. The caravan of consciousness is on the move. The mirages of maya are dissolving in the dawn of awakening. We are the “ONE-der-full ONEs waking up to the ONE-der.” The gospel---yes, the good news---is that today I am remembering and you’re remembering and we are “re-member-ing” that we are the “wholly-w-hole!”
We are the “glory-us” Divine diversity. We are the new alphabet co-creating a new language of possibilities based on the “thrive-ability” of the whole rather that the “possessiveness of the few. We are a new posse rounding “in” instead of up!
We ray-diate out our radiance coded with recipes for possible humans, possible planet, possible dreams. We’re the ONEs the future will know as the range riders who wrestled the “steer-ing” of impossibility back to the ground of Being from which the possible Heaven of Earth emerged.
Re-UNION is a h-OM-e c-OM-ing to the lotus heart that never lost its petals. Birth and death are but projections on the transparent screen of Life. Blessed benevolence is the balm and perfume released by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a key unlocking all we have ever yearned for---the pervasive peace that heals all imagined wounds, all conflicted thoughts and all the scrambled eggs of separation. When you know the two is really The One, the tango of truth disarms the ego’s weapons and we twirl in the waltz of “ONEder.” The boundless butterfly of awakening kisses us with its wings and we fly fearless on the winds of ONEder.
Word and world are only one---check it out---letter apart from each other! Worlds are made of words. Words are world makers. You are the one ONE, as everyONE is the one ONE, that shapes and breathes life into the wor-l-d you create and experience. We are the ONE, multi-faceted Divine Diamond, returning to the home in our heart where we realize that we are all the One Divine Love.
We are the rainbow-butterfly-HUEman, the wholly w-hole, the diamond and all its facets, the dark and the light, Divine Love and Delight, we are, everyone of us, the Great Mystery!
© Esther Frances
12/21/2010, for the Dec. 26th service at Unity Temple, Santa Cruz