Imaginal Cells

Imaginal Cells


At a crucial stage in the life of a caterpillar, an amazing phenomenon occurs.  The cells that formerly established the blueprint as a caterpillar begin to slow down and a new group of cells begins to mastermind the caterpillar’s evolution. These cells are called imaginal cells. While imaginal cells are in some ways like the other cells, they contain the blueprint for an entirely new, different, and extraordinarily freer l life.  They are the first seeds of the butterfly that the caterpillar is to become.

When the imaginal cells start to take command of the caterpillar’s processes, a fascinating phenomenon occurs: The old cells perceive the imaginal cells and the work they are doing as different, so the immune system of the old guard begins to attack the imaginal cells as if they are a threat. Yet they are no threat at all. They are, in fact, the best thing that could ever happen to a caterpillar. They are responsible for transforming the caterpillar into something entirely more wonderful. Fortunately, the strength of the imaginal cells is ultimately greater than the attack, and they prevail.

Here we have a stark and lucid model for how resistance operates in us, our clients, and the world at large. When something new and powerful comes along, the old guard perceives it as threatening, if for no other reason than that it is different. The ego, which thrives on the constancy of the known, defines anything different than itself as a threat. So when you make a statement or take a step to move ahead in your life, to change careers, to start or expand your coaching practice, or to make any significant life change, your imaginal cells are guiding the process (assuming it is a positive and healthy change). The ego, perceiving upward and expansive movement, swings into action and throws up a smokescreen of resistance, attacking the new plan and finding any and every means to distract and dissuade you from moving ahead.

This dynamic underscores our lesson, “Whenever I step forward to claim a big new yes, all of my old no’s show up to greet me.”  You can deftly and effectively apply this dynamic to your coaching clients who, when they are about to step ahead, experience resistance from within or without.  The non-imaginal cells within them may scream and shriek with threats, and other people may show up who represent resistance.

Here we must remember that the imaginal cells ultimately triumph over the resistant cells. So during the transitional phase, trust is required.  A Course in Miracles asks us to remember, “Trust would settle every problem now.”

We can extrapolate the principle to societal change. While the vast majority of cells have an investment in things staying as they are – even if things as they are quite dysfunctional  – there is always a small faction of imaginal population that thrives on a vision of how much better things could be, and ways that such better can come about. In their book, Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World, psychologists Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson identify the traits of people who just don’t seem to fit in with the way things have always been, and how they form the nucleus of genuine positive planetary transformation.

This, of course, is where you come in. You are an imaginal cell, a cultural creative. So are many of your clients.  When you understand how imaginal cells work, you have a bigger picture for the process of change, personally and culturally.

This month hold in mind the image and dynamic of imaginal cells as you go through your personal and professional life and you deal with your clients. Recognize resistance, internal or external, as the old guard attempting to squash the greater vision just because it is different. Even more important, remember that evolution always moves forward, and all caterpillars are destined to become butterflies.


Videos for the Month:




Movie for the Month:  The Truman Show  (Click on title to find description)


Please watch movie and we will discuss.




 Book for the MonthThe Cultural Creatives



cultural creatives