Practice and the Butterfly

The life history of a butterfly is similar to our practice. We have some misconceptions about both, however. We may imagine, for example, that because butterflies are pretty, their life in the cocoon before they emerge is also pretty. We don't realize all that the worm must go through in order to become a butterfly. Similarly, when we begin to practice, we don't realize the long and difficult transformation required of us. We have to see through our pursuit of outward things, the false gods of pleasure and security. We have to stop gobbling this and pursuing that in our shortsighted way, and simply relax into the cocoon, into the darkness of the pain that is our life. Such practice requires years of our lives. Unlike the butterfly, we don't emerge once and for all.

Charlotte Joko Beck

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