I was at the creek the other day, a stream whose width and depth varies with the amount of rainfall that works its way down from the hills. Rain has been scare here for a bit, and except in its deepest hollows and grooves, the creek was nearly dry. I like it when that happens. I can walk on the exposed slabs of shale out to center of its bed for a whole different view of the surroundings than I usually have.
Because of the dry weather, leaves have already been tumbling down and they blanketed the shale and floated in the water, their rusts and golds shining like coins. I had to pick my way carefully to the center, watching where I stepped. When I reached my destination, I stopped and looked around, enjoying the view and breathing in the fragrance of the autumn air. Then, when I looked down again to take another step, I laughed in delight to discover a white, fuzzy caterpillar on one of the rocks. What a long journey he had made to arrive there!
He seemed in no hurry. He had paused at the rock’s edge and, like me, seemed to be taking in the view.
That’s what we’re here for, I thought. Just that. To take in the view.
If you let the events of the world be your focus, the view can look frightening. We’re dealing with so much chaos on so many fronts right now. I imagine the sudden heap of autumn leaves can look pretty chaotic to a caterpillar, too. But here was this little one, peering at it all from his perch on the rock, seeing it from a higher point of view. And I must say, he seemed quite at peace with it all, even though he was in the middle of a creek bed where water rushed in rivulets between the rocks and fallen leaves three times larger than he was challenged his path.
I think he was a teacher, a wise, enlightened being in caterpillar form. Fear was alien to him. From his point of view, everything was simply phenomena. He didn’t label it good or bad, safe or dangerous, kind or cruel. He didn’t tell himself stories about it, or try to figure out if he deserved it or not. He simply took in the view and traveled on. He was nothing but pure awareness in a fuzzy body, and he knew it.
We’re not our bodies, or our thoughts, or our feelings. Those are just phenomena, too—things that we perceive. We’re much larger than that. We’re more spacious and free. We’re the awareness itself, in fuzzy bodies, come for the joy of taking in the view, the kaleidoscopic dance of sacred energy. No matter what the view is. No matter how chaotic the moment may seem.
That’s what the caterpillar told me. Take in the view, and travel on.