This parable is about a caterpillar. He is the leader of his tribe of caterpillars. He is big and fuzzy and hairy, and he is old. Due to this, he is given a lot of respect by all the caterpillars who are part of his tribe. As our parable opens we see a dark forest, with thick under growth, tall trees, and very thick foliage. The rays of the sun are barely able to reach the forest floor. The forest is cool and damp, but very pleasant. All around is a deep sense of calm and quietude. On many, many of the leaves we see large numbers of caterpillars either moving very slowly, or not moving at all. Under the shade of a very large leaf is the leader of the caterpillars waiting patiently. And munching. Munch, munch, munch. Everyone waits in silence for the big caterpillar to speak. Not often does he call for a tribe meeting. This must be important. Finally, the old caterpillar stops munching, and speaks, “I have heard that there is a forest spirit, claiming to be the messenger of the Ball in the Sky, who has come to offer us a new deal. I have called this meeting to inform you that, as your leader, I shall be meeting this forest spirit, to question him about this new deal that he wishes to offer our tribe.” All the caterpillars had stopped munching, too excited to eat. The old caterpillar continued, “Till I speak to this forest spirit, I forbid you from entertaining any rumors. I forbid you from communicating with him. Only I am wise enough to recognize the truth, and tell you what to believe.”
When all the caterpillars had left, and once again settled upon their leaves, the big caterpillar decided to meet up with the forest spirit. But he thought to himself, “Surely if the forest spirit is as great as he would like us to believe, he would hear me if I call. I don’t need to go to him. Let him come to me.” And so he called out, “Big Forest Spirit, if you are what you say you are, I ask you to come here before me.” Much to his surprise, the foliage parted, and a very large, kindly, gentle spirit stood before the old caterpillar, who was mostly hidden under his leaf. The caterpillar refused to come out into the light, and remained under the leaf, and so saw only a small part of the spirit, and not the whole. He did not see the eyes that shone with love. He did not see the smile that played gently on the face of the forest spirit. He did not see the arms that were open in embrace.
In his loudest, most boastful voice, the leader of the caterpillars thundered, “As leader of my tribe, I ask you to tell me of this new deal I have heard you wish to offer us.” Gently, the forest spirit replied, “I wish to make you fly.” The caterpillar sneered, “What kind of forest spirit are you, that you do not even know the simple truth that caterpillars cannot fly? What greatness have you got that you are so ignorant?” Lovingly the gentle spirit smiled. The love in his eyes, and the gentle smile, were lost to the caterpillar who desired to remain buried under his leaf. Once again the spirit said, ‘I wish to make you fly. In the sun.’ “In the sun! What do we have to do for this deal?” asked the annoyed caterpillar. “Well,” said the spirit, “first you have to be open to change. You must welcome it. You must commit to it. Second, you have to learn and recognize, Oh Wise Caterpillar, that within your very body you have all that you require for this change.” “Bah!” scoffed the caterpillar. “I have lived more years than you seem to know of, and let me tell you, Spirit of the Forest, caterpillars are not biologically engineered to fly.” Without any change in his loving face and voice, the Spirit said, “That is the second step, Oh Wise Caterpillar – you must acknowledge that within you, you do have the ability to change, and fly. But there is something important that you must know. Before this change is complete, before you can fly, you shall have to go through some time of being alone in a dark cocoon.” Angrily the caterpillar retorted, “You expect me to believe that you are a messenger of the Ball in the Sky? What God do you come from who would make us do all the work, and stand by, claiming to offer us a ‘deal’ that can lead to our death? Ignorant Spirit, do you not know that if a caterpillar stops eating, the caterpillar shall die? Go away! Do not return! I know that you represent the force of evil.”
The caterpillar called for another meeting, and informed the tribe, “I have spoken to the spirit of the forest, and I have recognized it as evil, for which messenger of the great Ball in the Sky would not know that caterpillars cannot fly, that caterpillars need to eat, constantly, and that caterpillars cannot live in the direct light of the sun? This deal that he offers shall expose us to the light of the sun. I have recognized this spirit as evil, and I forbid you from entertaining any further rumors. Let us remain satisfied with how things are. In this lies our safety.”
But wait.... one caterpillar has broken free from the tribe, and we see him talking to the Spirit. We cannot hear their words, but we can see the Spirit lead the caterpillar to a clearing, and there, he points upwards. The caterpillar looks up at the high tree tops, and there, behold! are the most beautiful butterflies flying free in the sun. In joyful amazement he recognizes some of the butterflies as the caterpillars that had once belonged to this tribe. Caterpillars who had dared to dream. Caterpillars who had dared to change. And follow their dream.
(Inspired by a parable of Kryon)