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“The Wizard of Oz – Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”

“The Wizard of Oz – Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”

We start this weeks’ Lesson with a question: when the Wizard gives the Tin Man a heart-shaped watch on a chain (in the movie, not the book…the book it was a satin shaped heart), he tells the Tin Man; “a heart is judged not by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”
What does that mean? Do you agree?

Does it mean someone like Mother Theresa, who was always doing good didn’t really have a heart? What about the egotist who gives to charity only to have a building named after him? Is his heart big or small?

Is public opinion the judge for heart size? Because the people of Emerald City love the Wizard, is his heart bigger than the Tin Man’s who is loved by Dorothy, the Scare Crow and the Lion?

Here’s the real question: is the heart judged by how deeply you are loved by others? Or is the depth of your love the true measure of a heart?

How deeply you are loved by others reveals the depth and sincerity of your love for them.

No one loves the Wicked Witch because she has no love for anyone. She didn’t even morn her sister.

The Wizard is loved by the people of Emerald City, as long as he protects them. The Wizard’s love for the people is not genuine; it’s conditional. Only if he can remain in power. And he’ll ‘love’ Dorothy and her crew only if they can bring the Wicked Witches broomstick to him.

So, he has a heart only by virtue of the fact that he is loved by others.

How much you are loved by others is equal to how deeply you love.

If your love for others is selfless, you are much more deeply loved than a person whose love is selfish and motivated by greed.

Having a heart requires more than compassion. It is necessary to serve others with unselfish love.

Dorothy and the Scare Crow meet a Tin Woodman, who was once an ordinary being of flesh in love with a beautiful Munchkin maiden. Unfortunately, however, he was under a spell cast by the wicked Witch, so he kept chopping off parts of himself and being repaired by a tinsmith until he became the first fully bionic man, with a completely mechanical body. In the process, he lost his heart and thus is no longer able to love the Munchkin maiden; now he wants a heart so he can love again

When Dorothy and the Scare Crow find the Tin Man and get him oiled and moving again, he tells them to bang on his chest…it’s hollow!

A suggestion that many people never seek or heed their inner essence and consequently fail to grasp their true potential. WE here at Unity believe and strongly suggest that it is our own responsibility to work toward re-membering who and what we truly are…connected to Source, to the Divine Mind that we call God, Spirit, even Universe.

The Tin Man longs to be ‘tender,’ ‘gentle.’…”I could be kind-a-human, if I only had a heart”

He puts out the fire the Wicked Witch throws at the Scare Crow and then vows to help get Dorothy to the Wizard whether he gets a heart or not.

So, his altruism is already showing he has an enormous heart. He is showing if you want to be blessed with a heart, you must give with your heart.

“Give and you will receive.”

Helping others get what they want is the easiest way to get what you want.

“When you give from your heart, sympathetically, unconditionally, without expecting anything in return, you receive happiness in abundance.”

Love is a life force that must continue circulating; keep the energy flowing. Keep love in perpetual motion.

And our intention is vitally important. There must not be an ulterior motive. We cannot try to manipulate anyone or create indebtedness.

Only create happiness. The most precious gifts you can give are spiritual gifts: compassion, sympathy, affection, appreciation, and love.

Love, as we know, can hurt too. The heart can be broken, especially when you see someone you love being hurt.

The Tin Man cries when his friends fall for the poppy fields sleep effect. And again, when he sees where Dorothy is being held prisoner, the dark and terrible witch’s castle. And of course, then he rusts and must be oiled again.
Being overly sensitive, attached, can be paralyzing.

Love must be allowed to flow to empower you to serve others. Allowing love to bottle up, to become stagnant, interrupts the energy flow of the universe.

How can that happen? when we’re indulging in personal interests at the expense of ‘others’ … we realize that we’re sacrificing kindness to others (being a victimizer) or ourselves (being a martyr or victim); we need the oil of shared interests to loosen up our rigid thinking and find the real heart-felt comfort that transcends ego’s artificial comfort zones.

The Tin Man doesn’t realize how he gives so selfishly and instinctively. He touches the lives of nearly everyone he meets with genuine generosity and loving kindness.

Do you know anyone like that?

And that is what having a heart is all about the Wizard tells him as he is handed his ‘heart’.

As Dorothy prepares to leave, the Tin Man realize he will no longer be able to receive the joy of giving love to her.

He laments, “Now I know I have a heart because it’s breaking.”

How much you are loved by others is determined by how much you love.

Simply, ‘what goes around, comes around.’


“The Wizard of Oz Summer Series – Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking”

“The Wizard of Oz Summer Series – Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking”

Welcome back! Did you enjoy your journey on the Yellow Brick Road? Hopefully, yes.

And you are possibly learning something about yourself….maybe your life as your travel the road that is your True Nature.

I think something like this book and movie remind us of our true self…if only we could let go and travel that road to self-awareness. We use so many different excuses to not go within, to not look at who we truly are.

The Path to Enlightenment is a personal journey. No one can hand you the answer on a silver platter. So, the ego must grow up, maybe even fly away to who knows where for a little while until it learns how to handle all that hot air from the Wizard and in that balloon! This is letting go and taking advantage of the present moment.

This is exactly what Dorothy does – as soon as she realizes she can. As Lama Surya Das says, “If you cling to nothing, you can handle anything.”

Always we must tend to our own gardens. No one can do it for us. The best way to deal with another person’s out of control ego (As in the Wizard) is to get control of one’s own. Sometimes (but not always), getting control means just the opposite – letting go – seeing through – and smiling down on the little self that loves to make mountains out of molehills and who thinks it’s the king of all of them, including the forest.

In other words, sometimes we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously.

Instead of looking at the obstacles that we find on the path as a learning opportunity, we look at it as a struggle…. just something to get by. We say; ‘there’s always something.’ My Mom used to say that, and I would turn it around for her.

And we can do that too. It doesn’t have to be ‘always something’. We can find a way to keep moving.

This week we look at ourselves. Our spiritual essence is pure consciousness. We have a responsibility to delve into our selves and know our True Self so we are able to align with the pure potential and total Oneness of the universe.

The scarecrow does a lot of thinking for someone who claims to not have a brain. “I’d think of things I never thunk before and then I’d sit and think some more.”

AS a conscious being, the only thing you need to find happiness is to perceive clearly who you are. Being upset about what you don’t have wastes what you do have.

Morya, one of the “Masters of the Ancient Wisdom”, says, “A man depressed by circumstances, becomes immobile and dull. Dullness LIKE RUST corrodes a portion of the fundamental substance. Sympathy draws men’s energy downwards. When we sympathize with someone, we prevent them from learning their lessons in life that intend to teach them and we get pulled down into their misery. Sympathy is delusion but compassion means understanding.”

What the Scarecrow really yearns for is higher consciousness, enlightenment. His head may be filled with straw but he echos a profound metaphysical insight when he states “I’d face a whole box of matches for the chance of getting some brains”, proclaiming Sarte’s philosophy: ‘existence preceded essence’.

In other words, you exist whether or not you have discovered your true Self, your cosmic purpose.

The Scarecrow is saying he is willing to risk his existence to discover his essence.

Plato urged his students to “Know thyself” believing ‘a life unexamined is not worth living’

The Tao Te Ching says it this way:
Knowing others is intelligence;
Knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
Mastering yourself is true power.

AS Dorothy & the Scarecrow travel the Yellow Brick Road, they must travel through a dark and rather creepy forest. The Scarecrow says, “Of course, I don’t know, but I think it’ll get darker before it gets lighter.”

Pretty keen philosophical insight for a brainless straw man! The Tao states “The path into light seems dark.”
How could this brainless man of straw be on the same wavelength as some of the greatest Zen masters? Natures intelligence flows freely and effortlessly. When you are in harmony with the creative intelligence of the cosmos, when you know your True Self, you can harness the pure potential of the universe.

I’ve experienced that myself and I bet you have also. Many times, in class or discussing something with someone, some words will flow from me and I have no idea where they come from. Have you experienced that?

Of course, we all know that to get to that True Self, we must get past those obstacles that can block us…the insecurities, the past conditioning, the domestication, the guilt, compulsions and need for approval.

All this old baggage wastes your energy. Get off that pole stuck in the middle of the corn field and let go. Free that energy and accept things as they are right now.

By doing nothing, letting go and being in the here and now, you let your talents flow, you’re connected to the abundant universe. The Tao say to acquire anything, simply give up your attachment to the outcome.

When the Scarecrow accepts the here and now, every obstacle he encounters becomes an opportunity in disguise: pgs. 62-63 of Zen

When the Scarecrow is bestowed with a Doctor of Thinkology, he tries to impress the others by forcing to use his brain. He forced himself out of sync with the Tao, the universe.

The Scarecrow is like a very intelligent person who cannot afford college and therefore feels inferior. You are always smarter than you think. Trust the power of your True Self and you will have no need to try to impress others seeking approval. “No need to do an awful lot of talking”

Be yourself.

“The Wizard of Oz – Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

“The Wizard of Oz Summer Series” – ‘Follow the yellow brick road’

Here we are, week three in on our Journey following the Yellow Brick Road into Oz. What are your thoughts so far? Is it a comfortable journey for you? Or have you struggled a bit like Dorothy? Maybe you relate to Glinda, the Good Witch of the North? Or one of the Munchkins? Hopefully not Miss Gulch!! Though even SHE has some lessons for us, right?
The Munchkins lead us onto the Yellow Brick Road to follow Dorothy’s and OUR True Nature, to embrace our True Self.
Their mantra, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” is easy for us to chant along with Dorothy.

And why are we looking at this old book and movie for inspiration? William Bausch tells us in his book, “The Yellow Brick Road; A Storytellers Approach to the Spiritual Journey” that ‘stories try to make sense of the journey itself.’

Stories help to explain some of the ‘wonderful and terrible things’ that happen in life.

Think about your own stories….don’t they tell about your life? Maybe it’s time to write a new story….just saying.
The journey itself has a goal, a story says more than words, helping that journey along.
Pg 5-6

We know the Universe is composed of pure energy. When we are in harmony with the infinite creative intelligence of this Universe, we have connected with the Oneness of the cosmos.

The Munchkin’s mantra, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” lead Dorothy & Toto on their way to connect with the Tao, that creative force we know as Spirit, God, Universe, Cosmos…the WAY, the Path, the way to creative intelligence.
Our one intention doesn’t change: to be a light of God expressing. This light encompasses love, joy, peace, compassion, and generosity of spirit—all present within all of us.

“When you align yourself with the Tao, you align yourself with the infinite potential of the universe.”

And the nice thing is, this is something you don’t have to work at, you already ARE aligned when you ALLOW your mind to function freely and naturally….you go with the flow.

As the Zen poem by Seng-ts states:
‘Follow your nature and accord with the Tao;
Saunter along and stop worrying.’

The question about whether Dorothy is a good witch, or a bad witch comes with some discriminatory language – are all witches ugly? And by who’s standard?

The fact that Glinda asks Dorothy if she is a good or bad witch, I think, questions Glinda’s integrity. Do the people of Oz base everyone’s character on beauty?

Or is Glinda planting seeds in Dorothy’s young mind about HER integrity?

It’s like we have heard people say, ‘get ‘em while they are young’ meaning that’s when their minds are ready for seeds of wisdom to rely on later in life.

If you have those opportunities with young people, tread wisely.

Dorothy is traveling the yellow brick road searching for something she never lost – her True Self.

And we all have done that too: we’ve gone here & there looking for something to give us peace….yet we didn’t think to look within, maybe until recently, unless you found the wisdom early on…lucky you!

All Dorothy needs is the brains, the heart, and the courage to let go and trust her natural instincts. And we know that choosing which way to go doesn’t matter, because all roads lead to self-actualization, to God, to Spirit.

Our choices aren’t as important as we make them…Green tells us, ‘what matters is that we make the choice, that we have the courage to move forward’. If we are paralyzed with indecision, we are like the scarecrow, stagnant, lifeless.

If we turn around, back to Munchkinland, we regress, deteriorate.

Only moving forward, facing the unknown, experiencing uncertainty are we opening ourselves up to the infinite possibilities, realize our dreams and find our hearts desire. Only when we dare to step out of our comfort zone do we find freedom and fulfillment.
Green reminds us that when we step into the unknown, the road less traveled, we are on the right path.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

And so, our Dorothy travels hopefully on the yellow brick road, her true nature toward self-discovery.

We’ve discussed many times here on Sunday’s and in our various classes the importance of self-discovery in our quest to re-member our innate divinity. And it’s linked to Unity’s belief…

Self-responsibility….it is your responsibility to do the work, to ask the questions of yourself, to search for the answers. To knock three times and more to receive. To be open and accepting….to be willing.

And of course, our travels are never alone.

Dorothy travels with her very wise Toto. Remember, Toto is our wise inner Self.

And her passion to self-discovery inspires the scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and even the Wizard himself to make a change.

Have you found yourself, like the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, hanging about by the sidelines of life, not knowing what to do to move forward and then someone or something comes along to motivate you to move forward, just a step first, and then maybe more.

Maybe someone shares a book with you that moves you off that domestication that was holding you down like the Scarecrow, maybe someone actually listened to you about that hurt had you frozen in time like the Tin Man, or maybe you finally faced the fear that had you afraid to move out of your safe place like the Lion?

Did you give that inspiration the time and effort it needed to get you started on your yellow brick road to self-knowledge? To self-actualization?

Or did you give in to domestication? To the fear of something new, something maybe better?

The Scarecrow, nailed to the post, cannot go anywhere. He represents those people who let others hold them back from realizing their dreams and aspirations.

The Tin Man was also immobilized, was rusted in place for a year. Frozen in place because of indecision. Did he need a whole year to ponder his troubled soul and realized that ‘he is all hollow’? He represents people paralyzed by their indecisiveness.

The Cowardly Lion, who, like others, lacks the courage to make the spiritual journey.

Does any of this resonate with any of you? Are you indecisive or fearful? Do you let others dictate your actions?

Each of these characters, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion have nothing to lose but their unhappiness. YOU have nothing to lose but unhappiness by stepping on your yellow brick road; your path to actualization’.

Dorothy states they would be no worse off than they are right now.

In our own discontent, we could wallow in self-pity or we could set forward. We could:
Set a goal
Use our imagination seeing us reaching that goal
Picture it often
Give it lots of positive energy
Clear our mind of all negative thoughts and let our energy flow

Dorothy visualizes a Wizard at the end of the Yellow Brick Road who will send her back to Kansas; she gives that idea positive energy, never stopping to see herself being sent home by the Wizard.

We attract into our lives whatever we picture most vividly, what we put energy to.

“Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind”

Get it!?! Get what that means?

So where are your thoughts? Are they traveling down your true nature singing; “Follow the Yellow Brick Road?”

Or have you let yourself fall into maybe victimhood? Or negativity? Are you seeing the bad in the world or are you counting your blessings? Your blessings of friends to travel with, wisdom and brains and heart and courage to make conscious choices. You have your inner spark, your passion, your individuality, your uniqueness, your spirit.

And no one can take that from you without your consent….so don’t let them! Be strong.

The universe works through the dynamic exchange of energy. The more you give, the more you receive. The love Dorothy gave to the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion came back to her many time as they try to rescue her from the Wicked Witch of the West.

And though you may encounter some smarty trees throwing apples at you, or you may travel through the dark and scary forest or you may sleep for a bit in the poppy fields, when you go with the flow and travel the path of least resistance, the universe will unfold perfectly.

A Zen Proverb says: “Obstacles do not block the path…the obstacle is the path”

Green reminds us to not hold onto our goal too tightly, for when the Wizard accidently takes off without you in his balloon, there may be something better waiting for you.

In this case, when Dorothy lets go and connects with her inner essence, she ultimately realizes she has all the love she needs within her own heart to be at home with herself.

Dorothy “journeys down the Yellow Brick Road while staying open to the harmonious forces in the universe that will unfold before her. No matter which fork she takes, no matter who her companions are, no matter what obstacles are placed in her path, she will ultimately be returned to Kansas once she puts herself in tune with the creative energy of the universe.”

All we need to do is listen to that mantra: Follow the Yellow Brick Road, one brick at a time.

Zen saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

And Martin Luther King, Jr. told us; “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

“The Wizard of Oz ‘Never let those ruby slippers off your feet”


“The Wizard of Oz”
‘Never let those ruby slippers off your feet”

Welcome back to Oz…..does your life sometimes look like Oz? Either very colorful which is good or very confusing which may not be very good….
Either way, I hope you are looking at how these characters, and some ARE characters(!) are a part of you as you have traveled the Yellow Brick Road of your Spiritual Journey.

Today we enter the colorful world of Oz. If you recall, Kansas was pictured as a drab and dreary world with no one to love or care for Dorothy. She only had the wise Toto (kind of like the wise Yoda!) to give her help as she traveled her own Yellow Brick Road.

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” These are Dorothy’s first words after she steps out into Munchkinland. Many of us have had that feeling, haven’t we? Perhaps we’ve experienced the tornados or twisters of our lives and as we move through a new landscape, we realize that our life will never be the same.

Indeed, Dorothy and Toto are not in Kansas anymore. At this point in the story Dorothy may think all her problems are solved. After all, she’s escaped Elmira Gulch, Toto is safe in her arms and she’s in this beautiful place. What could possibly go wrong?

She has yet to realize that she will face the same and bigger trials in this new life as she faced in the old life.

It’s like the story of a traveler coming to a village and finds a man standing by the gate. The traveler asks the man what kind of people live here. The man asks what kind of people lived where you came from?

The traveler replied, “they were mean and unhelpful, gossips.”

Well, the man said, you find the same kind of people here.

Later, another traveler came by the village and asked the man the same question. The man replied with his same question, “what kind of people lived where you came from?”

The traveler replied, ‘Oh they were great, really friendly, always wanting to help each other.”

The man said, “you find the same kind of people here.”

Some of us can identify with this. We want a different sort of life, a life filled with love, ease and grace and yet we go through life, making unconscious choices – like Dorothy, unnecessarily walking past Miss Gulch’s house, running away from her problems and getting catapulted over the rainbow to face those same problems in another form.

The good news is that we can make other, conscious, enlightened choices as we move along the Yellow Brick Road. The yellow brick road is following our true nature – our divine essence. And where do we begin?
At the beginning. Right where we are – right now – this breath, this moment.

Dorothy says, “I Can’t Go the Way I Came” by house! – And we cannot begin again with the same consciousness we used to get here. When we begin again, we are called to go a new way, to take a different path.

We can wake up to our innate divinity and use our Spirit given power to co-create our lives with heart, with wisdom and with courage.

Today’s trip reminds us that we carry within us an inner spark. That spark gives us a “potentially radiant character and the capability of knowing, loving, and spiritually communing with the creative intelligence of the universe.”

We are endowed with infinite potential for goodness and greatness. We all have free will to discover this inner spark and our cosmic purpose.

Our Tuesday Group is studying “Living Between Two Worlds” by Joel Goldsmith. He calls it our God given destiny.

In our story, our author, Joey Green has the Ruby Slippers representing that inner spark within all of us. One of my mentors called it Gods urge. These slippers are made from the rarest of gems, reminding us of the value of that inner spark.

And he sees Glinda as Dorothy’s Mother. When she tells Dorothy, “Never let those ruby slippers off your feet,” she’s telling Dorothy to never give up her passion, her individuality, her uniqueness, her spirit….her inner spark.

Think about that. Have you ever given up your inner spark? Your passion? Your individuality? And why did you do that? I venture to guess that many of us have to some degree. There’s one of your Questions for meditation and contemplation. “What have I given up and why?

The Wicked Witch of the West isn’t very happy to see her sister dead, under Dorothy’s house. And she’s even more upset as she watches her sister’s body wither away as the slippers, her inner spark, are removed magically and placed on Dorothy’s feet.

“Their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn’t want them so badly,” Glinda tells Dorothy of the Wicket Witch of the West’s protests in losing her sister’s slippers. Glinda leaves Dorothy to figure out the power of the ruby slippers on her own.

The Wicked Witch of the West extinguished her inner spark long before this, which explains why she is much worse off than her late sister. Even her sister wasn’t as cruel to the Munchkins as the Witch from the West is to the Winged-Monkeys and the castle guards, the Winkies.

She wants to ruby slippers to increase her power, ‘my power will be the greatest in Oz!” Her hunger for power is a sign of insecurity. Remind you of anyone in your life? I think we all know someone who fits this description.

We all know that security does not come with power; it comes from “self-love, knowing your true essence, your cosmic purpose. When we choose a life of righteousness, we come closer to the creative force of the universe.”

Choosing wickedness distances us from the creative force of the universe, extinguishing the inner spark.

Embittered people who have extinguished their own inner spark justify their miserable existence by trying to extinguish the inner spark in others. The Wicked Witch of the West tries to do this by placing Toto in a basket much like the one Miss Gulch did in Kansas. Didn’t last long that time either!

There are ‘Wicked Witches of the West’ in our lives. They try to get us down the same hole that they are in. Bosses, politicians, teachers, even parents and friends and family. They try to rob our integrity, our passions, our spirit, our reputation, even our cosmic purpose. But they cannot unless we let them.
We just need to heed Glinda’s words, “Never let those ruby slippers off your feet.” Never give in to others negativity.

After Dorothy accidently liquidates the Wicked Witch, we forget about the ruby slippers until Glinda tells Dorothy she always had the power to return to Kansas.

The Scarecrow asks Glinda why she didn’t tell her sooner?
Glinda replies, “Because she wouldn’t have believed me, she had to learn it for herself.”

Dorothy has to discover her cosmic purpose on her own. Sound familiar? There are many things we must discover on our own, hopefully they ‘sink in’ the first time around!

Dorothy agreed, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

Simply, the answers are within, not handed to you by a wizard, in any form.

Discovering our cosmic purpose brings us home to our true nature. And we discover that true purpose by becoming One with our Spiritual Essence.

After Glinda tells Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road in the beginning of our story, Dorothy says, “What happens if…….? I imagine completing Dorothy’s sentence… What happens if I get lost? What happens if the Wizard won’t see me? What happens if the witch confronts me?”

For us it might be – What happens if I lose my job or if I get sick or if my relationship ends?
Just follow the yellow brick road. Follow our Divine Nature
Even as we follow our divine nature, there is no guarantee that we will not sometimes get confused or afraid. We will come up to forks where a choice must be made as to which direction we need to go.
When Dorothy meets the scarecrow at the fork in the road, Dorothy called upon wisdom in the guise of the scarecrow and then the choice was easy to make. In fact, she never referred to it again, she made a choice and took the steps.
It doesn’t really matter anyway, as we follow our Divine Nature, all roads lead to Illumination if we let them.

From the book, “The Zen of Oz”: “Choosing is absurd. It doesn’t really matter which fork in the road Dorothy takes. As long as she follows the Yellow Brick Road, our inner divine guidance, all the roads lead to self-actualization. If Dorothy, Toto, and the Scarecrow go one way, they will meet the Tin Man and the Lion. If they take the other route, they will undoubtedly affect the lives of others as they go with the flow, enjoy the here and now and guide themselves consciously toward the Emerald City.”

And truth is, we never travel alone. Remember that!
Just like Dorothy, our passion for our spiritual journey is contagious. Look around, you’ve attracted all of these like-minded people. And I bet you have attracted and inspired other people in your life just by shining your light.
And you DO shine!