Great Morning Beloved!
The Wizard of Oz – There’s no place like home
Well, home at last. This has been a bit longer journey through OZ than I anticipated when I choose to enter the Yellow Brick Road back in the Spring. But things happen, don’t they? And often, things aren’t always as they seem.
Our journey on the Yellow Brick Road through the Land of Oz has been an enlightening one…that is, IF we let the Lessons aid us on our own personal journey through this life.
Let’s see where we find our gang this week….
The Tao Te Ching tells us – “When they think they know the answer,
People are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don’t.
People can find their own way.”
So, what’s author Greene telling us in this last chapter of his book, “The Zen of Oz – Ten Spiritual Lessons from Over the Rainbow”?
If we believe that we already know everything and it is our journey to enlightenment through re-membering, then we can agree with the basic position of Zen – “it has nothing to say, nothing to teach.”
Alan Watts wrote in “The Way of Zen,” wrote, “the truth of Buddhism is so self-evident, so obvious that it is, if anything, concealed by explaining it. Therefore, the master does not ‘help’ the student in any way, since helping would actually be hindering.”
Which is why I ask questions of you…hoping to stimulate the thinking and thus your journey begins or continues. Though I do not consider myself a master by any means.
In the case of Dorothy and her quest to return to Kansas, the Wizard is certainly NOT the master here. It is Glinda, the Good Witch, who is and who sets Dorothy on her path to self-enlightenment.
When Dorothy learns to stop allowing others to control her life, when she stops putting her faith in others to solve her problems, when she discovers her inner spark, she attains the Zen experience of awakening.
Glinda tells herDorothy awakens to the realization that her heart’s desire is an inward journey, not an outward one. She had to discover this herself. And this is why Glinda sent her to see the Wizard who MIGHT be able to help her.
A Zen Master’s role is to intentionally mislead the student by putting obstacles and barriers in the students’ path. There are those questions again!
Alan Watts tells us again, “This is like encouraging the growth of a hedge by pruning, for obviously, the basic intention is to help, but the Zen student does not really know Zen unless he finds it himself.”
Knowledge cannot be taught; it must be gained from experience.
Jeremy Wolf, Zen poet: “experience isn’t the best teacher, it’s the only teacher.”
Think abut your experience and how they have taught you, led you on your journey of enlightenment….
And what an experience Dorothy and Toto had! She found out what really matters. Time spent with family and friends is what matters…spirituality matters. Discovering your true self matters.
It didn’t matter to Dorothy that her family didn’t believe her after telling them about her ‘Dream’. “This is my room and you are all here…I love you all. Oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home!”
This is so much like metaphysics. To truly understand it, you make it personal, you look at the verse or reading or question and ask what does it mean to you? What’s the underlying message for you?
Dorothy discovered what really matters to her.
Here’s another example of what’s important:
What’s Really Important?
It’s a story of a man who decided not to go to the 99 Cent Store for a Valentine’s gift for his wife, but rather a pet store because he thought that is wife would like a bird that would keep her company and sing and talk to her.
He thought, “Wouldn’t be wonderful if when my wife came into the room the bird would say, ‘Good morning, how are you?'” The man thought, “Yes, this is the gift I need to get for my wife.”
So, the man went shopping. He went into a pet shop, asked for the store manager and said, “Sir, I would like a bird that sings and talks.” Well, the man bought the bird. The next day the man returned the bird and said, “I’ve had this bird for twenty-four hours now and it just sits there and looks at me. He doesn’t sing and he doesn’t talk.” “That’s strange,” said the manager. “Does he peck on his little bell?” “What bell?” said the man, a bit frustrated.
“Oh no,” said the store manager. “Did I forget to sell you the bell? You have to have a bell for your bird, mister. You get up to the sound of a bell each morning, don’t you? Well, so will the bird. He will peck on his little bell, and when he hears its sound, he will start his day too.” “How much is the bell?” asked the man. “$8.95, sir,” replied the manager. “Give me the bell.”
The next day, the man was back in the pet shop, only this time he was a little more irritated. “The bird still doesn’t sing or talk,” he said. “Well,” said the manager, “Does he climb his little ladder? He doesn’t have a ladder. Oh, he must have a ladder. Don’t you exercise each morning? Well, birds need exercise too. In fact, that’s really what gets them started. He will begin his day pecking on his little bell, and then he will climb up and down his little ladder. His blood will start circulating and he’ll feel like singing and talking.” “How much is the ladder?” asked the man. “$16.50,” replied the manager. “I’ll take the ladder.” He pays his $16.50 and leaves the pet shop with a ray of hope.
But he is really irritated when he returns on the third day with the same complaint.
“Does he look into his mirror each day?” asked the store manager. “What do you mean by that?” shouted the angry man. “Well, you look into a mirror each morning, don’t you? Doesn’t it make you feel good about yourself? Well, the bird will look into the mirror and feels good about himself. In fact, he’ll feel so good about himself that he will want to sing and talk.”
“Okay, okay,” said the man. “How much is the mirror?”
“$21.95 for this framed mirror,” replied the manager. “Give me the mirror.”
On the fourth day, the angry man returned only to be sold a swing. On the fifth day he walked into the pet shop with a dead bird in his hand. “What happened?” said the store manager. “He died; that’s what happened!” shouted the angry man.
The store manager said, “I hate to ask this, but did he ever sing or talk?” “He never did sing, but he did talk,” replied the man in a quiet and solemn voice. “When I put the swing in his cage, he looked at me rather strangely and then he pecked on his bell, slowly climbed his ladder, looked into his mirror, and then he hopped onto his swing and began swinging ever so gently. Just before he toppled over and died, he looked at me so sadly and said, ‘Why didn’t you buy some birdseed?'”
Are we overlooking what really matters?
Zen Master, Glinda, knows she is sending Dorothy to the Wizard, who is a fraud, but she also knows Dorothy is safe with the ruby slippers, her inner spark. And as she showed them all when Dorothy and the Lion fell asleep in the poppy field, Glinda can help Dorothy when she needs it.
When Dorothy first meets Glinda, she floated away quickly, causing Dorothy to remark that people came and went quickly in Oz. Well, time is fleeting, Eternity is now, the present moment.
A Zen poet wrote, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
The way to live in the moment is to remember, “This too shall pass.”
When you are experiencing joy, remember it while you have it for it will pass. When you are experiencing pain or sorrow, remember that it will pass. It all is only temporary.
When Dorothy says she feels as if she has known the Scare Crow and the Tin Man and the Lion ‘all the time’, she concludes that “We know each other now,” choosing to be in the NOW.
When you embrace the present, when you immerse yourself in the here and now, when you become one with the moment, you experience the pure joy of the cosmos.
The Tao Te Ching says:
Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you.
Now is the moment of all creation; the moment of all potential; of infinite possibilities.
If you want to change the world, you must first change yourself. Living a life of love and service begins with the desire to center your life on the source of correct morals, ethics, and principles. That source is your intrinsic essence, your true Self, the inner spark within you.
Remember, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
When you discover the true essence of your inner spark and embrace your spiritual nature; when you live in the here and now and are at home with yourself, the creative energy of the cosmic intelligence will flow abundantly, propelling you to your cosmic purpose easily.
Then you will truly know with all your heart and might and soul that there’s no place like home.
This week concludes our Lessons based upon the story of the Wizard of Oz. I hope you had an opportunity to not only see the story through different eyes but maybe were tempted by some of the Lessons and the questions presented to look at yourself for more Spiritual Discovery Opportunities.