Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Ugly Caterpillar

Did you ever wonder how a being from another planet might perceive Planet Earth? What would a stranger to our planet think if he saw a caterpillar right next to a butterfly? It is quite a phenomenon.

A caterpillar has a long fat worm-like body covered in a furry striped coat. It slithers along the ground eating everything it can find. Eventually, it turns upside down and forms a cocoon. At this stage, it looks nothing like the caterpillar or a butterfly.

In the cocoon, the caterpillar just hangs out and transforms itself. All kinds of changes are taking place in the confines of that cocoon. When the time is right, it eats its way out of the cocoon. It must do it with no help. Helping it can kill the butterfly. Then, miraculously, a beautiful butterfly appears!

The difference between the caterpillar and the butterfly is so profound it’s hard to believe that it is the same insect! One does not even need to be from another planet to be astounded at the transformation.

There are so many more examples of amazing transformations in nature. A seed of corn does not resemble a stalk of corn. A tadpole does not resemble a frog. An embryo does not resemble a baby. If so many things in nature that can change their very being, why is it not possible for us? Could we transform as dramatically as a caterpillar? And the good news is: We can!

The ancient wisdom of Kabbalah says man not only can transform, but that he must do so in order to fulfill the purpose of creation. Man’s transformation, though, is not visible on the outside; rather, it is an internal transformation.

According to Kabbalah, man’s nature is a desire to receive pleasure (or the corollary, to avoid pain). Every action undertaken by anyone in the world is in fulfillment of this nature. Careful observation of ourselves and humanity will validate this statement.

If we wish to attain the enduring peace and happiness that Kabbalists tell us is awaiting us, we must change our nature so that we are imbued with a desire to give pleasure to others.

Imagine the changes in the world if every person on earth made this transformation: greed, exploitation and violence would disappear completely. There would be no need for courts, armies or any governmental offices. The vast resources that are freed up could be used to make life better for all.

Understanding the impact of this transformation seems more unbelievable than a Science Fiction film! It is truly amazing and what is even more incredible is that there are people who have documented these transformations as they personally experienced them. These people are called Kabbalists, and they have left us the methodology to achieve this transformation for ourselves.

Just like the caterpillar, we must work hard to prepare for our miracle. It is internal work that each person performs on their own. Unlike the caterpillar, though, we can accept help. Past and present Kabbalists can guide us on the path. Our friends who are on the same journey can support and encourage us. But in the end, we must each make the changes ourselves.

The transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly is an amazing feat, but it pales in comparison to the transformation of man. By changing himself, man changes the world. How many caterpillars can make that claim?

By: Bnei Baruch

Bnei Baruch, is the largest group of Kabbalists in Israel, sharing the wisdom of Kabbalah with the entire world. Study materials in over 25 languages are based on authentic Kabbalah texts that were passed down from generation to generation

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