Children’s Classic Series
Beauty and the Beast
We continue our metaphysical study of Children’s Classics with the story of Beauty and the Beast. I thought it opportune to take advantage of the story since it’s a hit in the theaters at this time.
Most of you are probably familiar with the revised, or shortened version that the Disney Company, for the most part, has make popular. However, the much longer original version was written by the French novelist, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. It was published in 1740.
It was shortened in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince to something close to the more recognized version.
The theme can be found in stories as far back as 4000 years, according to research…love for love’s sake.
In the original story, Belle, or Beauty had nasty sisters…. a theme that seems to be prevalent in many of the stories of old. Wonder what that’s about? They were even turned into statues at the end of this original story because of their behavior. Kind of reminds me of Lots wife being turned to a pillar of salt in the book of Genesis.
But maybe the lesson of good daughter-bad daughter is simple: we must have dark to be able to see the light. You know, like the day has its opposite in the night.
And a beauty has her opposite in the Beast.
Beauty, metaphysically means spiritual—Fillmore states – The loveliness of God beheld in His creations by the eye of man. Spiritual man beholds this divine loveliness everywhere. “He hath made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccles. 3:11).
And Beast is defined as: a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being, 2. a contemptible person; 3. something formidably difficult to control or deal with.
Let’s look at the story:
We start with a family; originally a family of a widowed father, and 6 sons and 6 daughters. This was a wealthy family with spoiled children, use to the luxuries that wealth brings. When that wealth is lost in a housefire and the sinking of his merchant ships, the family must find other ways to survive. The sons must work in the fields and the daughters go without, losing potential wealthy husbands.
Only Beauty doesn’t seem to mind this, in fact she enjoys taking care of the house and the family and in her spare time she reads. She is the symbol of the part of each one of us that is wholly innocent and inexperienced. She is untouched by hatred and suffering and is only a reflection of beauty and goodness. She has yet to confront darkness and fear.
One day the father learns that one of his ships was not lost at sea after all and he goes to see what remains of its cargo. Each of his children ask for some expensive item, thinking their wealth has returned to them. They still remain materialistic. Beauty only asks for a rose, it’s her favorite flower and because she is content with her new life.
The rose symbolizes our desire to grow, to gain wisdom and spiritual insight. We ask for enlightenment and wisdom without understanding the consequences. On this request the whole story hinges and the transformation of both the Beast and Beauty are directly linked to her asking for the rose.
Unfortunately, the father’s debtors claim all that is left on the ships cargo and he is still left without. As he travels home he gets lost in a terrible storm and stumbles upon the castle of the Beast. The castle mysteriously provides warmth and food and rest for the weary traveler.
The next morning, well rested, the father starts for home, but sees a rose bush and remembers Beauty’s request and so plucks one. This arouses the Beast, who accuses the father of being ungrateful for the comforts that were provided from the night before and says he must sacrifice his life.
So we see that the sudden wealth of the family ends up being an illusion and this can cause us to fall into despair. This despair is depicted by the terrible storm that traps the father and prevents him from returning home. What appears to be a problem turns out to be an essential ingredient for the story to move forward. So too in our life, the problem is often the very thing we need, to propel us forward in our life.
By plucking the rose the Beast is roused. When you seek for knowledge and spiritual wisdom you awaken the monster inside of you; the shadow self. It is not seen at first, it is hidden from awareness but it makes its appearance causing fear and uncertainty.
The Beast wants to kill the father for being ungrateful and taking the rose. It feels like when you open yourself to deepen your spiritual life you only awaken a beast that wants to kill you off. Rather than having more peace, it seems the spiritual path is fraught with darkness and fears. This kind of experience requires an identity death. Think about how we’ve changed since traveling on the Path in an awakened state.
The Beast is an important symbol here. He represents the dark animal nature, the primordial part of us that is connected to our fears, our survival instincts and our untamed self. This part of us is under a curse. Just as the beast is under a curse so is this dark part of ourselves is seen only as dangerous and even evil.
He wasn’t always a Beast. His real name was Adam and he had been a handsome young prince, but extremely arrogant, entitled, and lacking in empathy. One cold and snowy night, a beggar woman came to the castle begging for a place to sleep for the night to escape from the bitter cold. In exchange she offered him a single rose.
Adam sneered at the rose and refused her a warm bed and coldly sent her on her way, but not before the beggar woman suddenly transformed into a beautiful enchantress, who in her righteous anger put a spell on him, turning him into the physical manifestation of the Beast he had become inside,
The rose she had left him–which represents Adam’s True Self (and he had sneered at it because it represented the vulnerability he had rejected)–would continue to bloom for a decade. If Adam failed to learn to love another (and earn her love) in that decade, the rose would die and he would be forever doomed to his fate.
In us, this curse has many causes, such as constant criticisms or other abuses as a child, deep fears about our own primal sexuality as well as deep beliefs about our own unworthiness, ugliness, shame and dark side. The curse has power only to the degree that we believe in it. When we believe in our own ugliness the spell cannot be broken, when we fall prey to our deep beliefs about who we think we are or engage in shameful feelings this gives power to the curse.
The father begs to be allowed to tell his family of his dilemma, and the Beast, hearing about the daughters, allows that one may take the fathers place, but must do so willingly
When the father returns home and tells his story, Beauty offers to take her fathers’ place, thinking how much she loves him and maybe she could somehow escape the Beast.
This gets her out of the house, so to speak. Beauty had to be separated from her family. Transformation is impossible in the sanctuary of the familiar. Life has to cause you to become extremely uncomfortably scared and intrigued before you can be transformed. She cannot be saved from her own transformation before she willingly accepted the path offered even though she was unaware.
Willingness is a real important part of the message. You cannot be transformed unless you go forward with willingness to be changed. This is seen when the Beast requires Beauty to come and live with him willingly.
When Beauty sees the Beast, she realizes he is not as terrifying as she had imagined. This is true of life, when you face your fears even if only for a few moments, you find they are not as frightening or sinister as anticipated.
Beauty dreams she met a handsome prince who spoke to her by a pool in a beautiful garden. He told her not to be deceived by appearances. When she woke, she wondered if the Beast had kept this handsome prince a prisoner somewhere in his castle. She wondered if she was meant to free him
The dream shows us that the answers are inside of us even if we don’t fully understand the answers when we get them. The inner self always knows the truth even when our eyes and ears are deceiving us. (for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear)
The Beast asks her if she loves him and to marry him and then demands that she tell him the truth. In life, we must come to the point where we love and embrace the thing we are afraid of or fighting against. Our dark nature must be honored and loved if the true value is to be revealed. But we must be willing to tell ourselves the truth. Otherwise it is all a pretense.
Months passed, Beauty found herself to have whatever she needed and wanted. Every night the Beast asked her if she loved him and if she would marry him and each time she told him the truth, that she did not love him and would not marry him. He left her each night sad and lonely and each night she dreamed of the prince who told her to let her heart guide her.
Beauty began to miss her family and one day when she had become comfortable enough with the Beast, she asked him if she might visit her father and family. The Beast lamented her leaving him and tried to convince her to stay asking her what more she could want to make her happy. She begged him to let her go for two months and then she promised to return to him. She told him that she was grateful for all he had done for her and she thanked him for his kindness. He agreed and gave her a ring which only had to be turned on her finger three times and she would be returned to him. She left the palace and the Beast and went home.
After we have come to terms with our fears and dark nature we may long to be returned to our security and ease. Sometimes staying conscious and aware gets tiring. We believe that we don’t need to continue growing and learning. We leave the path and return to ease. But our transformation is incomplete.
The Beast will die if Beauty does not return. We have awakened a primordial self and begun a dialog with that dark and untamed part of us. The Beast inside of us is essential to our survival, our growth and development as a human being. Spiritual transformation requires us to know the Beast. The Beast is under a curse and is really a handsome prince. Our seemingly dark sides are really beautiful gifts that once transformed have the power to change our lives. The transformation cannot occur if we lose our connection to our essential dark self.
When she returned home, her family was thrilled to see her. And when it came time for her to return to the castle her sisters conspired to keep her there, jealous of her fine cloths and happiness. She worried about the Beast but she had rather missed her family and did not think the Beast would mind her staying just a while longer. But all the time she was there she found herself strangely unhappy and thinking of the Beast and her home at the palace. She was not content to be with her family anymore. At long last she had a dream in which she saw the Beast lying very still in dark cave. He appeared to be dead or dying. He faintly spoke to her saying it was almost too late. Beauty finally follows her heart and returns to the palace.
Returning back to what we used to be isn’t what we remember it to be. Beauty finds she is no longer happy where once she had been so happy. (you can’t go home). But she feels compelled to remain because her family doesn’t want her to leave. Sometimes the familiar has a powerful pull that is hard to break even when we aren’t happy with what is familiar. And the spiritual path, difficult as it may be, calls to us.
Again, she has a dream. We are always aware deep inside ourselves about the truth of our own path. This dream propels her to return.
When she awoke, she was worried about the Beast and she turned the ring that the Beast gave her to magically return to the castle, three times and suddenly found herself back at the palace. She searched for the Beast, remembering her dream in which she saw him in a cave. She found the cave and the Beast lying just as he was in her dream near death. When the Beast opened his eyes she said, “I never knew that I loved you until I thought that you were dead and I had lost you.” The Beast looked up at her and said “you really love such monster as I?” Beauty cried and said “yes, yes she loved him very much.” he asked her again if she loved him and would marry him she said “Yes, my dear Beast.”
At that moment there was a great light burst forth and the Beast was instantly transformed into the prince of her dreams. The spell had been broken and the two married and lived happily ever after.
The ring is an interesting symbol of connection and promise. This is similar to the marriage ring that gives loyalty and love to the other, just as you must commit to give love and loyalty to yourself by staying true to your own journey.
Just as you need to stay on the spiritual path or your soul withers and a valuable part of yourself that you have awakened, wanes. Once a part of you has been awakened it must be integrated or it will die. This is not a great concern because we are always guided back to where we need to be. But it is this absence that helps Beauty see for herself that she loves the beast.
The marriage between the masculine and the feminine selves is apparent here when the two get married as well as the marriage between the dark and the light.
Learning to accept the whole self is at the heart of this story; You cannot learn to love yourself only when you have achieved so-called perfection but to love yourself when are flawed, ugly, afraid etc. The transformation only occurs when you truly see the ugly as beautiful, the dark as light, the fearful as valuable. These are the lessons of the story of Beauty and the Beast.
Which character do you relate to? Can you think why?
Easter Sunday – What does Easter mean to you?
Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. What more it means to us Unitics is we are awakening our consciousness and raising our Spiritual Awareness. Every time we connect with our inner Christ, or Buddha, or Spirit, our whatever you call your inner connection to our Divine Creator, we have a resurrection. Jesus has shown us the wonders of the Kingdom, that we all can overcome the physical duality and find peace, and BE peace…and I am grateful for it.
Most of us grew up in traditional Christianity beliefs and it has been our work to discern what works for us now and what does not. That is most likely what brought us to Unity.
What I’d like to do today is share with each other our Easter memories. I’ll start and let’s see how far we can get to know each other a bit better.
I love a parade…my father was in the Hershey Chocolatiers, Drum & Bugle Corps. I love that sound, especially the drums.
There wasn’t that kind of sound as Jesus entered Jeruselam on what we call Palm Sunday so long ago. Lots of cheering and waving of Palms. And on the other side of the city, the military ‘parade’ entering as a show of force, soldiers and weapons to show the people just who was in charge!
But we talked about those parades last year and what they meant.
Today we want to look at an entirely different idea, reincarnation. What does reincarnation have to do with Palm Sunday or Easter? Just wait, it’ll come.
How many of you believe in reincarnation? And when people raise their hands get a big smile on your face and say nice to see you again!
And, how many lives have you all lived so far? Who knows, right? Or maybe you say there is no such thing as Reincarnation. We’re talking about the usual definition of reincarnation here, right?
The word “reincarnation” derives from Latin, literally meaning, “entering the flesh again”.
It’s defined as:
- the belief that the soul, upon death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form.
- rebirth of the soul in a new body.
- a new incarnation or embodiment, as of a person.
Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death.
It is a central tenet of all major Indian religions, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. And the idea of reincarnation is found in many ancient cultures as well as in many tribal societies around the world, including our Native American Indians.
And there are instances in the Bible that lead us to believe that Jesus and the Isrealites believed too. For example: in Matthew 11:14:
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!”
And again, in Matthew 17:12-13: “But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.”
Unity has no “official” position on reincarnation, but Charles Fillmore, our co-founder did fervently believe in it. In fact, he believed one could live forever, if we got all our ducks in a row, so to speak. He did grow his leg so both were even and wife Myrtle did heal herself of TB.
Was he getting a bit cocky?
He reminds us that the demonstration of eternal life can only be made in life, the soul and body working together. He believed we can only learn and grow while living and learning our Truths. And as these new Truths come to light for us, we move closer to the Light. And we all will come to the Light eventually.
From “Keep a True Lent”
“As the mind changes from error to Truth, corresponding changes take place in the body and the ultimate change is perfection and wholeness in every part. “
If our purpose as spiritual beings engaged in a human experience is to bring more of our spiritual energy into tangible expression, to achieve that new dimension of consciousness that Jesus calls ‘the kingdom of heaven,’ then it must follow that the process requires more than the limits of a single lifetime.
Think of the possibility that Jesus began a series of incarnations, beginning prehistorically and ending with His Jesus incarnation. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) He was in the beginning with God.
Jesus’ teaching: that we all shall be made free from error in soul and body. But until this change in thinking is obtained, there is death. To give us the full benefit of God’s Kingdom, life is necessary. So, when we lose our body by death, the law of expression works within for re-embodiment, and we take advantage to regain a body. – This gives us further opportunity to demonstrate Christ life.”
Let’s take this a bit further…the whole idea of Easter for us metaphysicians is our crucifixion and resurrection. Maybe we can look at that through the lens of reincarnation…
We are to be ‘born anew’ as Jesus says in John 3:3, if we wish to see the kingdom of God.
Our crucifixion is the releasing of our old ways, our error thinking. Our resurrection is grasping the new thinking that realizing the teaching of Jesus are a part of our being. When we connect with that inner Being that is our true self, we are re-born.
We don’t have to wait until we die to return at a higher dimension of awareness; it can happen in the here and now.
It is by experiencing the negativity resulting from our old choices that we are encouraged to make new, loving choices going forward. And our choices can’t be forced or dictated—it is always up to us to recognize the Good and choose to align ourselves with its energy.
The reincarnation thought comes into reality when we see that to get where we want to be, in complete acceptance of the Teachings of inclusion, of Oneness, and peace and love might take more that the lifetime we are living. Few of us are able to fully accomplish that goal within the artificial limits of a single human lifetime.
We work and play toward that Oneness and know that we are one with our Creator.
We are all spiritual beings, who have come into human experiences in order to achieve
the new consciousness Jesus describes as the kingdom of heaven as the inevitable consequence of his earthly choice to remain focused, not on his lack and need, but on his true spiritual identity, his Oneness with the Divine.
Since we are spiritual beings, “death” has no true validity. We may seem to “die” from the perspective of one life experience, but in truth we continue onward as eternal, expressive, creative spiritual beings. The only sense in which we could be said to die spiritually occurs when we embrace the truth of the Christ Presence that is our true identity—the truth that Jesus taught and demonstrated through his own life, and by moving through the illusion of death to express his eternal Spirit.
We die to mortal illusion and mortal limitation when we embrace spiritual truth and set about expressing our own true Christ nature. That is, in fact, the “second coming of the Christ.” The Christ first appeared to us through the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. It appears a second time when we follow those teachings, release old ideas of limitation, and embrace our spiritual identity. And we will find that all of God—all of the infinite universe of Good—is eagerly waiting for us to remember and express who we truly are. How many human experiences—how many “Hero’s Journeys”—it may take us to reach that point of Christ expression is entirely up to us.
So, whether we believe in the Webster definition of reincarnation or whether we look at it as an opportunity to seek spiritual liberation through ethical living and a variety of spiritual practices and learning opportunities, there are lessons to be learned.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
Keep a True Lent
We have traveled through most Charles Fillmore’s book, “Keep a True Lent” during these few weeks. In fact, we are close to the end. Soon we will reach that time of crucifixion and resurrection.
This week, Charles asks us to look at faith. Faith-thinking. And abundance.
What is faith-thinking? It simply is using our ability to think with faith. Our thinking capacity is most often ego driven. If we do not control it, have dominion over it as we spoke about last week, we can go astray.
The thinking in our head is often the second-hand ideas of our ancestors. So Charles asks: “Do we ever have an original thought?”
Faith-thinking is thinking from the heart or with love.
It is a waste of time & energy trying to build without the true thinking source, our heart, our spiritual center.
Everything that appears in our life & affairs physically & mentally has sometime been sent forth from our thinking. It is only through the power vested in it that you can come into consciousness…consciousness makes our heaven & our hell.
Our ability to think is part of our gift from our Creator. Ideas are available to all of us. We choose what we wish to do with those Divine ideas. Our free will is that gift that makes this world filled with variety – in every form.
We are the focus of life, intelligence, love, and substance of God. Our identity as individuals is formed by the infinitely various combinations of the attributes of the Christ.
Just think of the principle of music. One principle yet millions of combinations of its parts. And all important, just as each individual instrument is an important part of a symphony, if not heard together in harmony, it would be painful instead of beautiful to hear.
Our identity is formed by the various combinations of God’s attributes: the 12 powers.
We get to discern how to use these powers. Could be as a Spiritual aspect or an intellectual aspect, or very base. We have free will to live our lives.
How are you living your life? Can you combine these faculties for your good and the good of all?
Of course you can. Are you willing to do this? That is the question.
Our thinking faculty is the inlet and outlet of all ideas. When you master your thoughts, they are filled with ideas and wisdom, God’s gift to us.
Your talents are part of the abundance given to us all to use for good.
If you suppress your talent, being indifferent to it and to life, how would that show up in your life? Maybe frustration. Maybe anxiety.
And if you would be egotistic about your talent, maybe the behavior would turn out to be obnoxious.
Have you noticed any behavior like this in your friends and family? In yourself?
1 Timothy:4:14 tells us “Do not neglect the gift that you have…”
The important thing is, we must take control of our gifts–we must know what they are, and their place in our lives.
We can use the 12 powers to find them, and use them properly to the aid of all and for your personal growth. If we take control of our thoughts, we can enjoy a more abundant life.
Stephen J. Kosmyna. Unity Minister writes:
“Release thoughts of lack, limiting beliefs and self-imposed boundaries. You have more than what appears in your basket to create the life you desire. We draw from the Universe as a we think a thought, imagine what it looks like, build the picture and the vision, and hold it steady with tremendous feeling and emotion. See it. Believe it. Do your forgiveness work and be grateful for your vision manifesting in advance and absolutely it will come to be.”
In times of struggle…we forget what brought success to us, much like the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. If you recall, they would often, unfortunately, follow several years of good, fruitful living with disasters of weather and violence from enemies when they strayed from God’s Word.
Then they would pray and beg God to save them only to stray again, a continuous cycle until they finally got it…. just follow God’s Laws and all is well.
We do the same thing. We forget, or listen to ego, or someone else…instead of taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions, and following the Laws of our Creator. When we do that, all is good. We can have ‘life, and have it abundantly.”
To aid in that abundant life, according to Charles Fillmore, there are two laws of increase;
- Primary law of Increase is a Permanent law because it is Spiritual: possessing and molding in thought the omnipresence of Spirit –
- The Secondary law of Increase is Physical: piling up possessions by human effort. This is insecure: it can disappear as quickly as it appears. Just think the Wall Street crash…
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21
This is the world of the visible and the invisible. The world of ego thinking and faith-thinking.
Money, for example, is visible. Thoughts are invisible but they are connected. Control of your thoughts makes it possible to have abundance.
Spirit provides through ideas and wisdom. What we choose to do with those ideas is up to us.
Those choices determine our abundance. For example, what are your thoughts as you handle money? Do you give thanks as you write your checks to pay your bills? Or are you thinking about lack, limitation?
Remember: It’s not money B UT THE LOVE OF MONEY that is the root of our problems. Believing that our source is of this physical world.
Here’s another example – when you choose to gift someone, what are your thoughts behind the gift? Are you giving from the heart, no matter what kind of gift you are giving – could be physical, could be time or talent, or even treasure.
Could be at Holiday time, or here at Unity….
The thought behind a gift is the real measure of its value and efficiency. Think of a gift from a child…a drawing or a trinket. The thought behind a gift from a child is pure love.
And this is one reason why we ask you to bless your Tithes and offering each Sunday. Blessing something increases its value. We ask you to send the gift to Unity, no matter the size, and THAT increases its worth.
There are many ways we misuse money and other items that we give dignity to, but should not. Think about what you value and why. Does it really have the value you are giving it?
I have seen lately, a comment, ‘the problem we have now is because we value things and not people.’ Something to consider.
So, watch your thoughts when you are handling anything you consider of value.
Are you hoarding it, even in your thoughts?
If there are thoughts along the line of hoarding, then we are misusing the thing…whether it be money or other items.
If we do not keep the circle of giving and receiving going, the flow of good gets stuck, and the good stops flowing.
Many Unity’s do what they call Circulation Day. Instead of a yard sale, for example, they set up everything and let people come and take what they need. It’s a great way of cleaning out what no longer serves us and keeping the flow of giving and receiving going….circulation.
Thomas Merton said, “It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God’s will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about rent. But if you want them to believe you – try to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as God’s will yourself.”
We ask ourselves every Sunday, what is mine to do? Last week I reminded us all about the blessing of tithing, how Jacob set the example of making God a partner in all transactions.
As we go to our daily jobs, whatever they be, we can make God a partner there too. We do not have to slave and stress at our work. If this is where you have chosen to share your gifts, then make God a partner with your work. See it as a part of the Divine Journey. Look for the Divinity in all the parts of the work. Make it Sacred.
All work becomes divine when it is for God. God is a generous paymaster. The reward is much more than the money in the bank.
Remember, there is no place where God is not. Make every place you are and everything you do, sacred, for it is.
Bonaventure wrote: “God is “within all things but not enclosed; outside all things, but not excluded; above all things, but not aloof; below all things, but not debased.” He spoke of God as one “whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
So, when you sit down to eat your meals, be thankful for the abundance before you, whatever it is. As a child, there were times when food was scarce. A meal might have been biscuits and molasses. Or what we called Italian pancakes, made from flour and water. Yet it filled our bellies and we were grateful for it.
Keep in mind that everything exists because some other life form has sacrificed for it. Be it vegetable or animal. Bless the meal, be grateful for the hands that made it available to you from the farmer to the producer to the store clerk.
We must have compassion for our body, have compassion for every living body, declare oneness with everything and everyone. This is how we find peace, by BEING peace.