Excerpts - The Parable of the Egg, Worm, Cocoon and Butterfly
Regeneration – from Salt Lake City Workshop 4/71
(parenthesis for audience participation)
Generation, of course is the creation of anything, and it is also called birth—the beginning of anything.
Now man is a seed—not a developed creature when he is born as far as studies of mankind are concerned. He is born first on a seed level. Perhaps we could use something else to illustrate.
Let’s use an egg, a worm, a cocoon and then there is a butterfly or a moth. Those are the four stages. Now actually each of these is a generation, not one in itself. So there are generations after generations.
So the first generation from parents is an egg. Now an egg in itself is possibly a valuable thing; but it is not very developed. It is subject to incubation which everything has to be, and it is then developed into a worm.
Now the worm grows and multiplies for a while—multiplies it’s cells by eating and consuming everything it can get, and then one day it goes into a state of meditation—winds itself up into a cocoon--like most of us wind ourselves in problems—we wind strings around ourselves and get so complicated and so involved in community and church and family and business that we get totally wrapped up in it; and this is a state like being dead. This state also has the greatest possibility of a total transformation.
Out of the cocoon came what—a beautiful moth or a dead worm. Take your choice, both do happen. So then here is regeneration.
Now a man starts out as the egg as a tiny baby. He is only an egg of a spiritual man. Then he becomes involved in each and everything he can get a hold of or accumulate—all the knowledge and training he can. He develops his senses and his opinions; and he thinks he knows what’s “good” and what’s “bad”. So, he grows up to quite a good size worm there. He’s worked it, and in the process is a consumer. That’s all he does is consume, consume, consume; but that’s worthwhile to the people who produce a little bit because if we didn’t have consumers, it would be a mess, wouldn’t it? So we got to have these consumers—the worms have got to be around.
Then the person gets so involved in everything with family, money, businesses, studies, learning, degrees, entertainment, and distractions until they wind themselves into a cocoon.
Now what happens inside the cocoon? You’ve been there. Most of us are in it—it’s the usual stage that we find ourselves in—that’s to say the people who come to these little discussions. The worms are still out inhaling somewhere this morning, so they’re not here.
We get ourselves involved in many things—we get tangled up; and we find ourselves in the cocoon stage.
Now if one could possibly see……………(end of tape)
………….(beginning of other side) neither do we want to give up all the things we’ve wound ourselves up in. Now really the only way to get out of that is to eat a hole through it and go, is that right?---or rip it. Did you ever watch one of those cocoons hanging around on a limb somewhere where the worm had departed. They tore it up. That’s all of the things we hold “dear” and “valuable”—all the things we have become involved in. It was our very “safety” to be wound up in all that stuff.
Now regeneration first determines that you give up all that you have which is the “go do”. That’s your whole bit of safety, isn’t it?—to be wrapped up in that nice cocoon. That’s all of our efforts to be safe, secure and sound.
So, this is where it separates the great mass of individuals. Some man said broad is the gate and wide is the road that leads to destruction and there are many who enter therein. Narrow is the gate and straight is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Now if you look at that cocoon, it has a little narrow hole in the bottom--that’s where the butterfly crawled out, huh? That’s that straight and narrow way, you see.
Can you drop all that you have “learned” and “believed” and held “dear” because all of it……… Well, let me put it another way. Where did you get it sir?
(From someone else or many other people.)
Good. Like all the things you got involved in was from somebody else. Now can you drop all of that, or do you have to hang on to it because of fire insurance and various and sundry other things. You’re still trying to be safe—like that first decision of “non disturbance”. You can’t take the butterfly stage in a state of chasing non-disturbance. If you want to remain safe (which is to be non-disturbed by having attention and approval from all the people round about you; and by having pleasure and being secure), then, of course, you can’t break the things you got wound up in, is that right, sir? You can’t be regenerated.
Now, of course, if you do choose to be a butterfly, you’ll be criticized, disapproved of, and all these things. I read somewhere that a man said if they throw you out of their groups and say all manner of evil about you, that’s the time to leap for joy.
And it also said that if the world agrees with you and pats you on the back and tells you what a good guy you are, you might want to take another look. You still stand with the worms. Worms just don’t understand these butterflies because they go flittin’ and flyin’ all over the place from flower to flower and don’t have a care in the world—and, after all, we got all these things wound up that are so “important” that you know good and well they they will make you safe or give you non-disturbance, Ok?
There is a simple thing that a person in regeneration has to be able to say--one prayer. We’ll try to repeat the prayer. If you can say the prayer, there’s a possibility of regeneration. That is if you can say it sincerely. If you can’t say it sincerely, try to be a good worm. The prayer is:
Oh Lord, if I worship thee to gain heaven, deny it to me. If I worship thee (which means study and all the other things you do) to avoid hell, cast me in right now.
In other words if I’m trying to get all this stuff I’m doing to serve that first decision of non-disturbance, I’m serving the senses and got it turned upside down and I won’t realize it. If I can say that prayer truly, then I can throw off all the things I’m trying to be safe with.
Can you sincerely say that sir? Can you sincerely pray that prayer. If you can, you’re a candidate for regeneration--rebirth. If you can’t, please try to be a good worm and quit bothering with it. If you’re trying to be comfortable and escape discomfort for goodness sakes work at that—don’t try to get a regeneration because that’s not the way to comfort, ok? That’s where you open yourself to challenges beyond all comprehension.
A grown man certainly has challenges that an infant doesn’t have, right? So the reborn man has challenges that the common earthly man never dreamed even existed; so if you don’t want challenge—you want to be comfortable—try to be a good worm and forget about regeneration. Regeneration opens the doors to tremendous challenges, ok? And challenges are somewhat disturbing when they occur.
Another point about regeneration—it doesn’t come like a blast of lightning with bells ringing, circus bands going down the street and siren’s ringing. It just happens a little at a time as you crawl through the cocoon.
Now finally when you get all the way out of the cocoon, you realize you’re in a different world, ok? But it goes slowly and there’s no great announcement and nobody jumps up and down and pats you on the back for having done it. The first thing when you crawl out of that cocoon, you’re kind of weak in that stage, and there’s a lot of things sitting around that want to eat you right there. Ok?
(Will you correlate that with waking up?)
Same difference--it’s being conscious rather than sleeping through it. You see if I’m wanting to be comfortable, I’m wanting to remain asleep—it’s disturbing me to wake me up. If I want to be regenerated then obviously I want to wake up from this stage of the cocoon here—I want to get outta here, I’ve been in here long enough. It’s all right to get tangled up in this, but the only reason for getting tangled up in anything is to get out of it, OK? And getting tangled up only gives a challenge to see how to get out of it. Now obviously there’s a challenge and that is waking up. When I’m free to accept the challenge and see everything as a challenge, then I wake up. You see I wind the cocoon around me in an attempt to be safe, huh? I got myself totally in prison; and when I’m perfectly free to be eaten by the first bird that grabs at me when I get out; at least I see getting’ outta here as a challenge and then I’m ready to get out. Ok, so it’s waking up.
Most of us around are in the cocoon stage—you want to stay there? It’s pretty safe, pretty cramped, you know, very frustrating, but safe for a little while—but you die there. Or do you want to get out and take your chances with being eaten by birds or flying to the treetops.
(Take a chance.)
Take your chances—ok—then you will be criticized, condemned, laughed at, and called every kind of fool under the sun and probably thrown out from the congregation of the “just”. Ok? Wanna go or not? If you do--leap for joy; if you don’t, get with it and try to be safe.
(in the cocoon you’re wrapped up how?)
Always involved in all these struggles and cares and worries of the world? You haven’t quite got there yet, you’re just starting to spin yours—been consuming pretty good so now your starting to spin the cocoon.
(Ok, now what you mean by being involved in everything.)
Well, making everything important—that’s when you wrap yourself up—making it important that you be safe—secure—doing the right thing. Is that straight now?
(Can I go from the egg to the butterfly?)
(Laughter from the audience)
That’s called an abortion. It just doesn’t work that way. So one goes the way things go—there isn’t any shortcut to transport one from the egg to the butterfly or even the worm to the butterfly. We all go the way. And we do get involved in things because that’s the third degree—don’t you see?
The butterfly is the fourth degree. The egg is the first degree, the second degree is the worm where you learn to consume everything in sight and the third degree is when you get all tangled up in everything, and the fourth degree is when you’re at the butterfly stage. That’s when you’re truly living—you’re a spirit.
The butterfly is a symbol of Spirit--there are no limitations. He can fly up, down, sideways, backwards, forwards or sit if he wants. And if he likes to fall in love with the flame, he’ll fly into it even though it consumes him, ok? And then the butterfly no longer exists, but the flame is—so he became one with the flame which might represent God.
(If you fly into the flame isn’t that like the Persian Mythology.)
Yes dear, the Persian Mythology happens to be the greatest teaching you’ll ever read if you can forget about it being mythology. It is parables and not myths—you know the ones we use are parables, and the ones other people use are myths. But the myth is also a parable and a very beautiful one. Do you see that as the interpreter loses himself in spirit, the interpreter ceases to exist as such, but the Spirit is there which is the pure light?
(Is that when the ______?________ denies the “personality”)?
Well I’d say burn it up. Lay down your life that you may find it is the common statement, huh? You’ll only find it by laying it down.