The Lesson Of The Butterfly

A Letter from Riverstone YogaWelcoming May

Dear Yogis,

I recently came across The Lesson of the Butterfly, a short story by Paulo Coelho, and I was reminded of this simple message’s importance.  I loved it’s simplicity in the past and believe it bears repeating.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it is a beautiful example of how struggle is a part of being human.  It prepares us, teaches us, and makes us stronger.  If we apply the idea of struggle to situations of conflict and even anger, we again learn that they too are necessary and part of being human.

The energy of conflict is a wake-up call that someone is in need of attention.  We choose to label this conflict and anger negatively.  We consider it unwanted and detrimental, but it does not have to be so.  Applying a negative label allows us to bury, avoid, deflect, and further justify rage – preventing us from addressing the deeper issues involved.  It prevents growth, a clearer understanding, and the learning of the life lesson before us.  

Conflict, struggle, and even anger is the fuel that helps us move on and grow, allowing us to fulfill our true dharma.  It’s all energy – necessary energy and effort in different forms placed in our paths to propel us forward.  I hope you enjoy the story as much I do.

…with Peace from Patricia
& Your Committed Riverstone Staff

The Lesson of the Butterfly
By Paulo Coelho

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon.  It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it.  After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.

The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly.  However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.

The man continues to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away.  Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.

What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.

Sometimes a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced.  Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared and never manages to fly off to their destiny.  


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