Last week as I was lying in savasana at a new yoga class I was trying out, we went through a healing meditation in which we visualised golden white light travelling through every part of our body. As I mentally pictured this light moving down through my arms and out of my fingertips my brain immediately jumped to the scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when Beast undergoes his final transformation.
As Beast lies on the threshold of death, something magical happens. His body is lifted into the air as little meteors of light cascade around him, and he begins to morph back into the Prince. His claws disappear and his paws turn back into hands and feet, and out of each fingertip and toe a beam of pure light shoots forth. Finally, his transformation is complete and golden white light beams out of his chest where his heart centre resides. Anyone who knows this story and has watched this scene knows how powerful that moment is. Beast has finally let love fill his heart.
I’ve often pondered the allegory of the Beauty and the Beast story. It was one of my favourites as a child (it still is), Belle being one of my favourite heroines, so the story always made an impression on me. I used to think that on some level the story represented Kingship/Patriarchy’s imprisonment of the Divine Feminine and eventual recognition of Her importance. And whilst I still think you could justifiably read it that way, I now feel that its message has far more layers and complexity.
Now I tend to see Beast as a symbol of fear – not a symbol of something we should fear, but rather Fear made manifest in a beastly, demonic form. As a precocious, judgemental and cruel child, Beast earns the wrath of an enchantress by denying her aid and shelter because of her haggard appearance, and he is cursed into his beastly form from which he can only escape by learning to love another completely, and earning their love in return.
But, even within this “demon” the kernel of love was always there – a powerful, mighty and transformative power. He may have fallen into bitterness and despair but, deep within, the potential for love and selflessness is there. Belle simply pierces his heart and lets the first rays of light shine in.
What has all this got to do with yoga? Well, my thought in that moment of meditation was that we can all relate to the Beast: we come to love him as a character because we each have a Beast within us; that is, we all have fear, we can all be selfish and have bad judgement, and we all struggle at times to do the right thing. We all have the potential to become the Beast and give in to our worst tendencies. But, we can replace fear with love at any moment of our choosing.
With each meditation and visualisation, each time we open ourselves up to healing energy (represented by white, golden light), we are transforming. We are, bit by bit, becoming beings of Love. Or, rather, we are returning to beings of Love, because that is our natural and true state. When Beast transforms back into the Prince he becomes the man he always had the potential to be. He never lost that truth.
I believe the golden white light is a real thing. Some people can see it with their eyes, others in their minds only. I think it represents the life force that pervades everything in the Universe, and we are accessing it all the time. We call that life force, or energy, “Love”. When we consciously tune into it magical things start to happen. And like with Beast, it starts to awaken and change us from the inside out.
And the real beauty of Beast’s story and our own is that we have the power for that transformation and evolution within us right now. All we need to do it make the choice to open to it.
What are your thoughts on the Beauty and the Beast story? I’d love to hear them!