Spiritual realizers have taught the path to “The Great Liberation,” and they’ve called it by different names. You may be familiar with some, or all, of these terms:
- Enlightenment or Awakening
- Moksha, Kensho, or Satori
- Emancipation or Salvation
But have you ever heard of it referred to as metamorphosis? In this blog post, we’ll explore the analogy between metamorphosis and enlightenment.
The word metamorphosis derives from Greek μεταμόρφωσις, which means “transformation,” μετα- (meta-), “after” μορφή (morphe), “form”.
When referring to metamorphosis, the life cycle of a butterfly may come to mind:
- Egg: Eggs are laid on plants by the adult female butterflies.
- Larva: Caterpillars are in the feeding stage. As the caterpillar grows it splits its skin and sheds it about 4 or 5 times and can grow 100 times their size during this stage.
- Pupa: This transition stage can last from a few weeks, a month or even two years. It may look like nothing is happening, but tremendous changes are happening inside.
- Adult: In the reproductive stage, the adult form has flight wings, and job is to mate and lay eggs.
It’s obvious that the form and function of the butterfly are completely different in each stage. Some animals undergo metamorphosis, some do not. References to “metamorphosis” in mammals (e.g., human beings) are imprecise and only colloquial. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to investigate what functional metamorphoses are available to human beings.
Mirra Alfassa, also known as “The Mother,” was a great realizer and teacher in modern times. She was the peer and partner of another great realizer, Sri Aurobindo. The Mother had this to say about her experience of Awakening:
“I am on the frontier of a new perception of life. As if certain parts of the consciousness were in a metamorphosis from the caterpillar state to the butterfly state”
— Satprem, “The Mind of Cells” quoting The Mother, Mirra Alfassa
Metamorphosis is part of our evolutionary path. Deep within human is DNA programming for “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one.” Our species has gone through several iterations. From early hominids to Homo sapiens, our ancestors have undergone changes in both form and function, most notably through stages of development of the brain and mind.
Now, we are on the brink of another Renaissance, a rebirth of the human species as a New Human. We need the will to transform. No one can be forced to live in a new way, but the old ways are like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
“Six and a half billion Homo sapiens are now learning the futility of their ways of existence, just as one day some fish learned the futility of their gills on dry land. If those fish had sought to improve their aquatic science, invent new fins and new philosophies, they would have been mistaken. The question is whether we will find the WAY, not to improve human suffocation, but to be and live in another way on earth”
— Satprem, “The Mind of Cells”
What are the agents of human metamorphosis?
We simply accept that human DNA is programmed for development through physical stages: Zygote, Embryo, Fetus, Infant, Toddler, Child, Preadolescent, Adolescent, Young adult, Middle adult, Old adult.
We also accept that consciousness develops through stages, which recapitulate the great Epochs of human consciousness. We also accept that stages of consciousness stop developing at or around the age of twenty-five, and that the world’s population is largely distributed in the Mythic, Modern, and Postmodern stages.
A hidden evolutionary drive has been the primary agent that “mutates” human consciousness through these “early” developmental stages. But, recently, humans have developed the capacity for consciousness to become conscious of consciousness, for awareness to become aware of awareness. The newest, emergent layers of the Higher Brain are now mature enough to support new stages of consciousness, and new states of Enlightenment, also known as Growing up and Waking up. Was this capacity hidden in our DNA all along?
We’ve unlocked new consciousness but have yet to use it to bypass our futile ways of existence. This new capacity in consciousness carries the capacity for causing metamorphosis. With this new capacity, the use of our subjective awareness has become a driving force in our own evolution. The choices we make, and actions we take, have become the driving forces of evolution, and that comes with new responsibility.
The new agent of human evolution and metamorphosis is our own Will. We must find the way to live in a new way or the old ways will become our own undoing, like a butterfly insisting on better ways to crawl.
A Metamodern Mystery School
How can we apply our will to cause our own metamorphosis? There are teaching and practices to engage willful evolution. But it’s not for everyone. Some will choose to remain in earlier stages of evolution. Some will choose to become The New Human. The choice is ours to make.
To learn more about becoming The New Human, watch this webinar about PraxisAletheia:The Metamodern Mystery School.
Wilber, Ken, “The Religion of Tomorrow” (2017)
Satprem, “The Mind of the Cells” or “Willed Mutation of Our Species” (1982)