Most of us regard the circle of life as a symbol of completeness, or wholeness of being. In ancient cultures, the butterfly, the gorgeous glider par excellence, symbolised such wholeness. For the wise Greeks, the word butterfly represented the soul, the universal emblem of wholeness. This may have emanated from the thought that butterflies, in contrast to the unpretentious caterpillar, have wings. Our ancients also believed that a butterfly’s ornate wings projected the epitome of change or transformation. Something that transcends the essential dynamics of life’s limiting factors, or what most of us infer them to be.
Most of us also know that when a young butterfly materialises from its cocoon, it has literally pulled itself out from its chrysalis that plays the caring host for metamorphosis, with or without Kafkaesque intent. In simple terms, the young butterfly powers its energetic wings, breaking its way through the natural walls of its cocoon. This is like a little workout in nature’s gym — a colourful emergence. It provides the butterfly its ‘muscular’ strength to become strong enough to fly and lead a wonderful life, savouring its skills in pyrotechnics and ‘tapping’ nectar from flowers. This holds good for us just as well. When we keep strengthening our muscles and the ever-expanding power of our souls, we too can emulate the butterfly exemplar — the difference being of degree.
To illustrate a case in point — the pressure-cooker atmosphere in a Twenty20 World Cup final. The team chasing a big total needs a handful of runs with a few balls to spare; the bowling side needs to simply restrict or grab wickets to stall its canter. Now, the team that emerges triumphant from such a tough situation has achieved its objective by breaking through the cocoon, as it were. This is best expressed as staying power, creativity, persistence, guts, strength of mind and strength of will. Just like the butterfly. Don’t we all use our mental and physical muscles to disengage, resolve and overcome roadblocks or obstacles in life — each in our own simple, unique ways? At the same time, some of us shy away, no less, from breaking the barrier, despite the fact that everyone is given adequate opportunities to exercise their muscles.
The butterfly is a fantastic being. It does not merely possess god-given, marvellous wings to fly. It is also endowed with a host of natural attributes, foremost among being its inner resources. These are its natural wings — the muscles of the soul that help it to navigate through gentle or not-so-gentle waft, with effortless sophistication and élan. We would all do well to follow the butterfly paradigm in like manner and float through good and bad times, rather than feel that we are victims in a never-ending cosmic drama. Just think of life’s vicissitudes as colours in the wings of your own butterfly — or, an innate ability that all of us possess to rise above life’s innumerable problems — and, you will prevail.
Like an airplane, butterflies need the balance of two wings to fly with ease. This represents a wholesome balance, or an inherent quality found in all of nature, including us. We ought to believe that we too are like butterflies, where each of us requires a certain proviso of balance to ensure progress of our mind, body, and soul. Of something that helps us to balance and maintain equilibrium. These are the muscles of our soul — they are like quartz to a watch. They represent the foundation of spirituality, aside from the mystical and the transcendent. They encompass us all, including the unique alchemy that connects us to divinity.