The Story of Imaginal Cells (And How You Might Be One)

butterfly imaginal cells

Imagine…

That was John Lennon’s powerful message to humanity. He envisioned a better future and encouraged us to step into it.

Imagination is the basis for the creation of novelty; new ideas, new concepts, new everything. It’s that important and that potent.

Now here’s where things get really interesting. In biology, there is a term called Imaginal Cells. And they got that name for a reason.

We all learned that caterpillars go through a metamorphosis and become butterflies. But few of us know the details of how this process actually takes place. How it happens is absolutely amazing.

Imaginal Cells: From Caterpillar To Butterfly

After a period of ravenous consumption, the caterpillar finds a perch and forms a chrysalis. The end result, we know, is a butterfly. But the mindblowing thing here is that there is no structural similarity at all between a caterpillar and a butterfly.

Inside of the chrysalis, the caterpillar actually dissolves into organic ooze. Cells, which are aptly called “Imaginal Cells,” begin to emerge. This is what starts the process of creating a new form and structure.

At first the Imaginal Cells – the seeds of future potential, which contain the blueprint of a flying creature—operate independently as single-cell organisms. They are viewed as threats and are attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system. But they persist, multiply, and form connections with each other. The Imaginal Cells communicate more, creating larger and larger cooperative networks until they eventually hit a tipping point. And a butterfly is born!

A Microcosm of Humanity

Now let’s relate the Imaginal Cell phenomenon to humanity.

Think about the general state of a caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly: mindless consumption. Sounds familiar, right? Go to any city, any store or just turn on the tv, and the level of mindless consumption is hard to miss. Humanity has been that way for a while, but the paradigm is shifting.

Then, when the new Imaginal Cells start popping up, they get attacked by the other cells. Look at what happened to all of the prophets, geniuses and visionaries (Jesus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Gandhi, Nikola Tesla, Martin Luther King Jr, John Lennon…etc.). They get attacked and demonized by those who are still trapped in caterpillar mode. Those who I just named were some of the first Imaginal Cells, the harbingers of a new level of consciousness.

What if we (humans) weren’t just individuals, but cells of a superorganism?

Now remember that more and more Imaginal Cells start to pop up. Then they begin to connect, work together and create the new being.

Our outdated version of humanity is the caterpillar, mindlessly consuming everything in sight.

But now we’re seeing more and more of these Imaginal Cell-like people emerge, shedding away our collective chrysalis. And if you’re reading this, you’re one of them.

There’s a worldwide awakening going on. We’re coming together and cooperating to bring about a new humanity.

Cheers to becoming a butterfly.

– An Imaginal Cell Named Stevie P

How Stories Shape Our Culture

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What stories shape your life?

Take a moment to think about that.

We all live based upon stories. Collective stories are the basis of culture and personal stories are the basis of how we view ourselves as individuals.

Stories are the underpinnings of human reality. Humanity is built upon stories. Stories shape our culture, our lives and the way we perceive the world.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or false, if a story is believed, it becomes a blueprint of reality.

Cultural Stories

Every culture has stories that act as the very basis for how people live their lives.

In ancient times, mythology shaped the way people viewed reality, the world around them, society and themselves.

Any religious culture is dominated by the stories of that religion. People’s whole lives, down to the finest detail, are dictated by those stories.

Our modern western culture is based on a combination of science, religion and history (his-story). Science is constantly updated, disproving older theories, while failing to explain the “why” questions of our reality. Most organized religions are distortions of spiritual truths for purposes of control. And his-story is merely the story told by the winners of wars.

These cultural belief systems are attempts at explaining truth, at best. And at their worst, they’re attempts at control and manipulation. I’m not saying that all of these are false; I’m saying that regardless of being true or false, these stories shape our experience of reality and every aspect of how we live our lives.

Let’s take the scientific paradigm as an example. According to this story (again, I’m not saying it’s necessarily true or false):

  • We are our bodies, or more specifically our brains.
  • We live on Planet Earth, which revolves around the sun, in an incomprehensibly large universe.
  • This universe started with the Big Bang (the Big Bang THEORY).
  • On Earth, we evolved from apes, growing smarter and more and more sophisticated, until we’ve dominated nature and now live in the wonderful culmination of all of that evolution and “progress.”
  • You see, this is a STORY, or the background program that we run our lives by. And that’s not even getting into the stories of history, money, work, relationships, purpose, pleasure and everything else that makes up our belief systems. These things determine how we perceive and interact with reality.

    Where does this story get us? Well, take a look at the world around you. Check out the “news.” If it seems a little disharmonious (which anyone with eyes can see), we have to start reevaluating the stories we’re living by.

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    Your Story

    What stories are you telling yourself? What is your identity based on? What labels do you identify with?

    In the midst of the trend of collective stories, we have the personal stories we tell ourselves. These are our individual stories that shape the way we view and interact with the world.

    Let’s use a man named Henry as an example, whose personal story might look like this:
    I’m Henry.
    I’m a white man.
    I’m an American.
    I’m a Christian.
    I’m not good at math (because my third grade teacher told me that and I’ve believed her ever since).
    I’m good at fixing things (because my dad said I was when I fixed his truck).
    I’m an introvert so I don’t have many friends.
    My favorite color is blue.
    My favorite food is steak.
    I’m a car mechanic, so I’m not good with computers.
    I’m a lower middle class guy.
    I go to work every day, then come home, drink a beer and turn on the tv to relax at night.
    I don’t have time to eat healthy or work out.
    I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans.
    I wear boots and flannels because I’m manly.

    Ok, you get the point. This is all a STORY. Almost all of those things could be dropped and changed instantaneously. Our friend Henry could literally have a completely new life tomorrow, if he chose to.

    Programming and patterns are incredibly hard to break for us humans. But simple awareness of the stories we tell ourselves puts us in the position to consciously choose what our stories are.

    So what stories are you telling yourself? What identities are you carrying with you day in and day out? What patterns do you have? What are you building momentum towards?

    Gain some awareness of the stories you’re telling yourself. Only then can you choose to change your life for the better.

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    Creating New Stories

    We can create new stories in each moment.

    It is a choice. But you have to first be aware to even know that you have a choice.

    We can tell new tales and shape reality in our own way.

    What do you want out of life? What is your purpose? What’s on your bucket list? Who do you want to be?

    Be open and willing to change.

    Find your vision and start working towards that. Only tell yourself stories which help to create that vision of yourself.

    The Power of Fiction

    The importance of stories is why I love fiction so much. Whether reading or writing, fiction helps to reshape our world.

    Truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth. Paradigm-shifting truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry.

    Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

    This is why I read and write a lot of fiction. If we change the stories we tell, we change how our world is shaped.

    Want to get your hands on an example of a paradigm-shifting story?

    I just published a new book, Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth.

    It’s a story written from the perspective of a dog, told in a journal-like format.

    And the twist is that dogs aren’t just dogs. They’re actually multi-dimensional superbeings checking out Earth and humanity.

    This story will stretch your mind, provide you with insights, entertain you, make you laugh and a lot more. It’s available for both paperback and Kindle.

    Get your paws on it here: Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth

    Let’s reshape our world.

    – Stevie P

    The Art of Random Mindblowing

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    A favorite activity of mine recently is randomly blowing people’s minds. Whether through conversation or action, it’s exciting to shake things up a little bit and get people to re-evaluate… well… everything.

    Being a CRS (Certified Reality Shatterer) makes life so much more fun. Mindblowing, directed at both yourself and others, shakes up the bland monotony and adds some much needed spice back into life.

    It is merging of your lighthearted, childlike essence with the wisdom of life experience; making the world your playground.

    How to be a CRS (Certified Reality Shatterer)

    Being a CRS means having fun with this experience of life. It’s being random, spontaneous and lovingly unpredictable. It’s shattering societal norms and blowing people’s minds (including your own).

    It is being randomly funny, while not forcing people into anything or being preachy. It’s being unshakably yourself. No inhibitions and no fucks given. Living your inherent, brilliant uniqueness.

    Comedically sneaking in wisdom is always fun…

    Something like giving Pokémon cards to random people at a bar (yes, I’ve done that). Or saying “Planet Earth” when someone asks you where you’re from (my apologies to any extraterrestrial readers out there). Or even just being surprisingly kind. Believe it or not, it blows people’s minds when you go out of your way to be kind.

    Another good one is calling the body a vessel, which I find hilarious, yet it implies that we’re infinite beings temporarily inhabiting human bodies. (getting deep on ’em)

    “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    And, remember, it’s all about shattering realities from a place of love. The art of random mindblowing is completely deviating from social norms and conditioning without causing harm to yourself or others.

    Why do this seemingly ridiculous stuff?

    The art of random mindblowing is making people re-evaluate everything and think differently, helping to create a world of brilliantly unique individuals. It’s dropping bits of wisdom in an entertaining manner.

    It’s about being yourself. It’s about being free. It’s expressing your magnificent uniqueness.

    We all sacrifice our freedom based on fear of what others think or pressure to conform to “norms.” And that’s no fun. Life is infinitely more fun and fulfilling when you do your own thing.

    Imagine achieving the same level of minblowingness of Inception or The Matrix with your own ideas and actions. And making it funny, like a thought-provoking stand-up comedy set. Now that’s living.

    “The decision is, do you want to live or want to exist?” -Andre 3000

    The art of random mindblowing in action:

    “Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the Weather.” -Bill Hicks

    +A couple weeks ago at a crowded bar, I struck up a conversation with a really drunk girl comparing getting to the bar to a game of chess. We both agreed that we wouldn’t want to be a pawn haha. (Sneaking in deep insights.)

    +One time, my friend Marcus spontaneously started konging on the street, next to a woman sitting outside at a restaurant. She didn’t know how to react. In case you don’t know what konging is…

    +My Dad always purposely says the wrong name of anyone with a nametag (waitresses…etc.) It always creates an entertaining exchange.

    +Mindblowing also works with evidence that effectively overturns commonly accepted truisms. Like how distance running is far from ideal for fat loss. I’ve shared this article (well worth the read) with a lot of people, and half-sarcastically say “I don’t wanna get fat” whenever the topic of long-distance running comes up.

    +Inspired by writing the post, I did some CRS’ing today… In the parking lot of a Chipotle I walked up to a guy, while kind of staring at the sky, and asked “Excuse me, what planet is this?” in a tone of genuine curiosity. He looked at me and with a confused look said “Earth?” (almost second-guessing himself). Then I said “Ok, thank you.” turned around and walked away. I’m pretty sure he’ll be marinating on that moment for the rest of his life.

    I’ve been doing a lot of random mindblowing lately; and been around some people who embody being a CRS as well. I hear a lot of things like “Oh, I never thought of it that way…” or “You’re funny/interesting.” Which is cool. Plus it’s just so damn fun.

    Mindblowing intros:

    “You look like some friendly beings.” -Me to a group of two women

    “Hey, I recognize that vessel…” -My friend Marcus to some guy he met once before

    “Hey, nice vessel.”

    “What’s your thoughts on the human condition, in one sentence?”

    “It’s a beautiful hologram we live in, right?”

    Mindblowing goodbyes:

    “Have the best night of your life.” -My friend Chris (to at least 100 different people on the streets of NYC one weekend)

    “May all the dreams and desires of your heart come true this year.”Jay Electronica ending an interview. (I’ve started saying this one too; such a great way to say goodbye haha.)

    And to piggyback on that Jay Electronica quote, I changed my email signature at work to say “May all the dreams and desires of your heart come true.” Now how’s that for shattering realities?

    I also enjoy leaving people I’ll never see again with the classic David Icke quote… “Remember, infinite love is the only truth, everything else is illusion.”

    I incorporate all this in my textual adventures too, especially with women I’m pursuing who are unresponsive. That’s the opportune time to let go, leave them with something thought-provoking, blow their mind and spark that inner light within. Exhibit A:

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    Now get out there and blow some minds. Have fun, be spontaneous, be yourself and enjoy life.

    May all the dreams and desires of your heart come true.

    -Stephen Parato, CRS

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    The Tigers and the Strawberries (An Old Zen Story)

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    There’s an old Zen cone (parable) that goes a little something like this…

    A man was walking through the jungle, when he spotted a tiger. The man immediately fled, but the tiger gave chase. Approaching a cliff, the man saw only one option… A hanging vine. He jumped off of the cliff and grabbed the vine, hanging on for dear life.

    The tiger came to the edge of the cliff, snarling.

    Just as the man thought he was in the clear, he noticed another tiger prowling below.

    And then, if things weren’t difficult enough, the man then saw two mice above him (one black, one white) gnawing away at the vine.

    In this state of impending doom, the man looked over his shoulder to the sight of a strawberry patch on a ledge, at arm’s length.

    The man reached over, plucked a strawberry and ate it. It was the best damn strawberry he ever had.

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    The symbolism of this tale is powerful…

    The tiger at the top of the cliff represents the past.

    The tiger at the bottom represents the future.

    The mice represent time, ticking away.

    And the only thing we truly have is the present moment. Savor it.

    “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” -Eckhart Tolle

     

    Life is short.

    Enjoy the strawberries.

    -Stevie P!