One day a man was walking through the woods near his home, deep in his own thoughts, when he saw a beautiful butterfly flitting from wild flower to flower. It had many spots and markings upon its wings, and its colors were brilliant.
The man was immediately uplifted by the sight of this exquisite creature.
He loved its beauty so much that he contemplated capturing it and taking it home with him. That way he could enjoy its beauty and grace as much as he wanted.
So he attempted to clasp the butterfly in his hands. It didn’t take too long for him to realize that this being was adept at moving about easily, and was not about to let anyone close in on it. But it did not fly away. Instead it asked the man in a voice that was not human, but which the man could understand, “Why do you want to capture me, and take away my freedom?”
The man responded in a sad voice, “Oh, dear creature, I wanted to witness your joy and freedom, because I do not seem to have much joy and freedom of my own.”
The butterfly then said, “Dear human, I understand, for I too was not free at one time. I could not take flight with such ease and grace. In fact, I was crawling around on the ground, at the mercy of many other creatures. Then I went through an amazing and crushing transformation. It took a while, but I was not worried. I knew I was all right. I didn’t exactly know what I would look like but I knew I would be able to soar above the ground and play and enjoy all of nature.
I also knew that my magnificence would be there for all to see, but only a few would be able to hear me speak. You see dear human, you are where I was. You are going through your own transformation, and soon you will also be able to soar above the reality that you now feel so profoundly as difficult and unsure,
But you will also be able to enjoy that same environment from a different perspective. Just like me, you will be in the world but not of the world.”
The man understood everything the butterfly was sharing with him, “Thank you dear butterfly. You helped me to see that I have my own joy and freedom to look forward to.”
With that, the butterfly fluttered over to the man’s hand, and perched there. The man could have easily captured the butterfly at that moment, but he no longer felt a need to do so.
The beautiful butterfly then soared so high that it seemed to just disappear into the sky.
The man walked back home with a smile on his face. He hadn’t smiled like that in a very long time.