“Why should I become a butterfly?” asked the chrysalis. “I am happy as I am, grubbing around in the dirt. This is who I am and what I do best.” Then he saw his brother, with beautiful wings, multi-colored, gently moving with the cool breeze, dancing in the sunlight, caressing the flowers, limitless, free, beautiful and beloved. The chrysalis knew in that instant that this was his destiny. He realized the butterfly was really who he was, not his now limited self.
Our awakening dawns in a moment that is lifetimes in the making. It leads, however, to an inevitable process of transformation like the chrysalis to the butterfly that is slow and often painful. To make our awakening a permanent part of our lives rather than just a sugar pill fix that quickly dissolves and is gone, it is important that we then make an inner shift.
The shift comes when we realize that, despite ourselves — not usually because of ourselves — we have to change. An example of this was St. Teresa of Avila, the Christian mystic born in Avila, Spain in 1515. Her parents were pious Catholics and they encouraged their daughter to embark on a life of prayer.
As she grew up, however, Teresa lost her piety and religious zeal. She grew into a regular teenager, interested in boys and clothes, flirting, romancing and having fun. With her natural charm and witty nature, she had an increasingly wide circle of friends who admired and loved her.
It may seem strange to some that Teresa should feel compelled to leave behind her happy life to become a nun. She had no personality hang-ups; she was well-balanced, lively, popular, and life was good. However, her dissatisfaction came in direct proportion to the spiritual seed that had taken root and was now blossoming within her. While her social circle allowed her full expression for her charm and wit, she had as yet little expression for the flowering of her divine nature. Life no longer satisfied her; she wanted something deeper and she knew deep down that there was more to life than what she had already experienced. In her own words, “The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual.”
While Teresa was making this inner shift towards higher consciousness, some of the other ignorant, close-minded clergies regarded this awakening of her divine nature as the work of the devil.
The truth is that Saint Teresa of Avila was a thoroughly modern woman even by today’s standards; irrepressibly charming and full of life while at the same time an enlightened mystic. The mysticism in her works and which she experienced directly in her life exerted its influence on theologians through the centuries and she still inspires thinkers today.
To Saint Teresa, spiritual life was an attitude of love, not a harsh discipline. She befriended God not as a grim father figure to be feared but as the Divine Creator to be loved above all. In her words, “The feeling remains that God is on the journey too.”
These are not the days to lock ourselves away to find peace; these are the days to give service in the midst of materialism. It is the shift away from our own personal likes and dislikes towards the realization that so many need our help. These are the days for the ‘spiritual activist’ when, more than ever before, all men and women of good heart are being called, because we are all needed. We all have a vitally important role to play in these pivotal days of change.
My husband, Gary, and I will be conducting the first of three classes in March, April, and May designed for our spiritual rejuvenation. The first class is on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. on, “The Chakras: Your Gateway to Healing and Enlightenment”. Please join us! (See ad for further information).