Beauty & The Beast

Once upon a time, a woman so kind, so pure, so lovely that her very name was Beauty was taken prisoner by a hideous Beast.  Through time, Beauty grew to love the Beast, and her love transformed him into a prince.

Like all true stories, the tale of Beauty and the Beast may be understood various ways.  The first, the most common reading, is that the love of a good woman can turn even a beast into a prince.  This is the secret gift of love–that its presence awakens all of us, brings us from darkness into light.  When we know we are loved, we know we are free to be our true selves, our most authentic, most wise, most lovable selves.  When we feel the touch of love, we are transformed.

Another reading of the story is that the Beast represents a part of Beauty herself, the unknown and denied animal nature within, the subconscious, the primal.  To be fully whole and free, Beauty must learn to accept this part of herself, her darkness as well as her light, as we all must.  Only by accepting and loving the darker parts of herself can Beauty come into her true power and grace.

But I see an ever greater lesson hidden within this story.  As I see it, the Beast represents the whole world, the whole universe.

At the beginning of the tale, Beauty finds herself in a strange world governed, she thinks, by a monster.  Everyone else–her family, the townspeople–tells her that the Beast is a monster and that she is not safe with him.  When she looks at him, she sees what she expects to see, what everyone has told her to see–a Beast.  And yet, the Beast is kind to her.  Gentle.  He gives her everything she could ever wish for, every comfort, every pleasure.  Even, when she asks for it, her freedom.  The reality of the Beast is far from Beauty’s expectation, far from the claims of the outside world.

When Beauty finally sees with her own eyes and heart the reality of the Beast’s love, she sees the truth that was there all along–that the Beast is a handsome prince, and that she is his beloved.

Life is much like this.  We come into the world terrified, and we learn from our family and friends that the world is a cruel place full of suffering.  We are afraid, we think ourselves alone.  And yet, if we only open our eyes and our hearts, what do we see?  We see trees, oceans, flowers–beauty spread across the earth.  We feel the warmth of the sun and feel the arms of our loved ones.  We hear the birds sing and children laughing.  If we look deeper, trust in love rather than in fear, we see there is no end to the beauty and the love that surround us.  We see that even freedom is ours, if we choose it, for the ultimate freedom, the freedom to be our true and authentic selves, has never been denied us.  We see the beauty of the world, and we know ourselves beloved, just as Beauty did.

This is the secret:  We are Beauty.  We are Beloved.  But we can only see what we are.  We must find the beauty within before we can find it without.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tahoelauren
    May 09, 2012 @ 12:14:05

    Sometimes it’s hard without the reassurance???

    Reply

  2. Scattering Light
    May 09, 2012 @ 12:42:09

    Yes, of course–that is why we look to our loved ones to remind us that we are loved when we have forgotten. But let the whole world be your reassurance– listen to the wind whispering its love for you, let the warmth of the sun hold you. The Beloved tells you that you are loved constantly–sometimes through other people, sometimes through a song on the radio or a rainbow in the sky. Welcome all of it. Let the whole world be your love. All it wants is permission to love you even more.

    Reply

  3. tahoelauren
    May 09, 2012 @ 13:21:02

    Thank you :) And I feel your love and love you back twice as much!!

    Reply

  4. nikky44
    May 11, 2012 @ 04:01:18

    I so loved this post!! I love the story in your perspective. I never thought of it this way, maybe because i didn’t read the book and all I know is a cartoon I saw once with the children. You are right. That is the true explanation of this! It’s a very nice lesson!

    Reply

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