Oh, how I love the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. It's been my favorite for years. I love how Belle is bookish, lives in a dream world, and refuses to settle for an ordinary life. I love how everyone thinks she's "odd," but they like her anyway. And I love how she can see past the Beast's (beastly) appearance and recognize his goodness, which in turn brings this goodness out in him. The most amazing moment, though, is at the end of the film when the Beast turns into Fabio. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
I always thought this was a story about basic values. You know, human nature, good vs.evil, love vs. hate, seeing past appearances, karma, etc. And it is, but it turns out that there's much more to it than that.
Last Sunday, at Unity of Walnut Creek, Rev. David McArthur presented a beautiful interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, whereby he reminded us that both Belle and the Beast reside within us. The feminine and the masculine, the thought and feeling natures, and that which is pleasant and acceptable as well as that which is ugly and unacceptable.
Need I say much about Belle? She is the beautiful outer self that we are happy to present to the world. The Beast, on the other hand, is the hidden part of us that is wild, rageful, ashamed, and desperate for love. He is frightening and offensive, but ultimately he means no harm and is hopelessly misunderstood. As it turns out, the Beast is not a bad guy at all, and it is Belle's courage and willingness to see him for who he is that create the conditions for resolution and love.
So, how does the inner Beast present itself? It shows up as sarcasm, greed, passive aggression, depression, addiction, compulsive behavior, desperation, sabotage of self and others, pain and illness, drama, violence, and a thousand other expressions. As long as it stays locked up inside of us, it has tremendous destructive power.
How, then, do we free the Beast? Rev. David explains that it is through compassion and forgiveness that we are able to merge the inner and outer aspects of self and become healed and well. Wow! That thought is as breath-taking as the film. When you acknowledge the beast inside of you (not as the enemy, but as a lost and lonely fragment of yourself that longs for acceptance and love), you will notice an immediate shift.
I'm not claiming that this won't open a can of worms, because it just might; but in the long run, your "happily ever after" depends on your willingness to do whatever it takes to heal yourself and wake up to the greatness of who you came here to be.
Here's sending love to your inner Fabio---uhh, I mean Beast!