by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
Many years ago, I saw an episode of the BBC’s nature series Frozen Planet which featured an amazing little creature called the Arctic Woolly Bear Caterpillar. I have shared this little fellow’s story at conferences, retreats, and seminars because it is such a good lesson for all of us.
The Arctic Woolly Bear Caterpillar has a fascinating life cycle. He begins eating voraciously as soon as spring begins in the Arctic when there is finally vegetation to consume. Because of this short season, he will not consume enough to complete his metamorphosis by the time the ground freezes once again. So, the Woolly Bear does an astonishing thing: He freezes! He does not die, but his body makeup is such that it goes into a state of suspended animation, much like the concept of cryogenics.
When the warmth of the following year’s spring comes, the caterpillar defrosts and begins to eat again. He will not make it this next season either and will freeze to go through the entire process again and again. It will take the Woolly Bear fourteen years to obtain the necessary nutrients to finish his life cycle of cocooning and finally emerge as a moth. It is an amazing thing to watch!
This little caterpillar never doubts his life process. He never fears freezing, as he is actually frozen for most of his life. Every year he goes through the same process again and again, having faith in the final outcome. We could benefit from the lesson of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar.
For example, during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, a vaccine was developed in record time. Then a well-planned and implemented distribution of those vaccines, along with stimulus support for citizens, businesses, and schools, allowed us as a country to revive from the cold winter of the coronavirus. We have the strength to withstand anything in this world because “God is your safety in every circumstance.” This is our 6th Lesson in Light: God is the strength in which I trust. (W-47) This lesson starts by telling us…
“If you are trusting in your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?”
It then goes on to say what we clearly know: we, alone, can do none of these things. And, when we think we can, it is a false sense of strength…
“Of yourself you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted, and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger and sorrow.”
But we are not left there. Yes, we must admit we “do not know what anything, including this, means,” (T-14.XI.6), but that is so we can finally find the confidence to which we are entitled. We must gain an awareness of where our real strength abides. We must realize that of ourselves alone, we can do nothing, but when we join with the power of God’s Love, nothing is impossible.
“God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice which speaks for Him thinks as He does.”
The Woolly Bear caterpillar does not stop to listen to the naysayers who would declare it’s going to freeze to death, or it will never eat enough food to succeed, or it is going on a futile journey this year and the next and the next! The caterpillar just proceeds to trust, as directed by its internal nature, and its faith is rewarded.
We can take a lesson from this little fellow. We, too, have an internal (and eternal) nature; we have the power of God within us now that defies the naysayers of the world. Let us not be stopped by the illusions of fear we may face. Let us not be stopped by doubts or the blocks we may incur. God is our strength, not the world. Let us still the voices of the ego and listen in deep silence to the truth within.
At the end of this lesson is a beautiful, meditative thought to direct us within. It begins by asking us to reach past our weakness to the Source of real strength, to close our eyes, and repeat the thought…
“God is the strength in which I trust. … God is the strength in which I trust. …”
Then it says to search your mind “for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself”:
“God is the strength in which I trust. …God is the strength in which I trust. …”
“try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a sense of deep peace, however briefly.
Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is a place in you where there is perfect peace.
There is a place in you where nothing is impossible.
There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.”
This lesson ends with the comforting reminder to use this thought as the answer to any disturbance during the day. “Remember that peace is your right, because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.”
If a little caterpillar can do this, so can you! For: “God is the strength in which I trust.”
All of the meditations for the Lessons in Light are lovingly recorded on A Touch of Heaven. This is the seventh recording by Beverly and Steven Halpern, featuring Steven’s healing music surrounding Beverly’s meditative reading of these powerful A Course in Miracles lessons. The Center is making the seven albums available as free downloads and $1 CDs. Go here to find them.
Watch a video of the Arctic Woolly Bear Caterpillar’s journey: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00l72dn