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Blue vs Red
Thursday November 11th 2004, 1:14 am
Filed under: General
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I live in a very liberal county which is in a conservative state. As a matter of fact, the electoral map of Virginia looks similar to a red eye with a blue pupil right in the middle. This tiny pupil happens to be where I live which is Nelson County and neighboring Albemarle County (home of Charlottesville, UVA, Jefferson etc.) And after milling around this last week, it was obvious that there was a serious case of the blues here in the blue ridge mountains. We went to a birthday party over the weekend and it was kind of funny because no one even mentioned the election at all, which, I guess was out of respect for the fact that they were there for an eight year old little girls big day. It was clear that we were all on our best behavior for the kids sake because if you scanned the room, the first thing you would notice is that most others were also looking around the room in disbelief that no one has yet to mention the painfully obvious. So, after the last present was opened and the last piece of cake was eaten and the kids ran off in various directions, one person said “can you believe it?” and it was as if the floodgates had opened.

I was encouraged by the level of sobriety that was expressed by everyone in that room. The overwhelming sentiment was that we are likely headed for very turbulent times and we will surely be facing much harder times before we see better times. It is times like these that remind me more than ever that we are part of a process that is best examined in a broader context rather than in isolated moments of history. The image that I always come back to is the process of the caterpillar evolving into a butterfly. The caterpillar in itself is perfect just as it is and not lacking in any sense. However, through evolution, this perfect caterpillar naturally enters into the cocooning state which could be a metaphor for what Buddhists refer to as ‘ignorance’ or Christians refer to as ‘darkness’. It is ONLY through this most valuable phase of the cycle that provides for the opportunity for this already perfect caterpillar to naturally evolve into a perfect butterfly. For myself, this is a perfect demonstration of how everything is already perfect just as it is, however, within this perfection, everything seems to be evolving in such a way that reveals an even more expanded dimension of perfection.

Another aspect of the ‘caterpillar’ metaphor that I find relevant today is the fact that it is ONLY through suffering or ‘darkness’ or ‘ignorance’ that provides the caterpillar the opportunity to evolve or expand. In spiritual circles this is commonly referred to as ‘grist for the mill’ or ‘polishing your mirror’. Now, if one were to isolate the cocooning phase of the caterpillars history then one may judge this is a pretty shitty deal. Seen out of its complete context, one may even come to the conclusion that the caterpillar is being punished or that something has gone terribly wrong. Similarly, if one were to witness a birth, he may gather from all the screaming, bleeding, tearing of the flesh, body fluids spilling to the floor and general undertone of violence that this was a most horrible event that is to be avoided at all costs. Yet this very experience is universally agreed to be the most beautiful spiritual experience that one can witness.

It is only through that intense suffering that we are catapulted forward in our spiritual evolution. It is specifically the Winter that will reliably deliver us into Spring….fresh, revitalized and enriched from our experience of the cold dry winter air.


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