The Zen of Oz
The Zen of Oz: Spiritual Lessons from Over the Rainbow by Joey Green came out in 1998. Green asks could Dorothy be trying to convey the idea that Oz is a state of mind or a kind of enlightenment like Nirvana.
The Tornado is bad karma. It represents things spinning out of control. The cyclone becomes a physical manifestation of Dorothy Gale’s inner struggle for inner awareness. The results of the “gale” winds storming through her psyche.
Landing in Oz was the rebirth into another life. The Wicked Witch is the bad Karma following her. Dorothy must stop seeking Aunt Em’s love so obsessively. Your choices, after all, mirror, how deeply you know your true self. If you make good choices in Kansas then you won’t have to go to Oz.
The Ruby slippers, which were silver in the book, actually represent the inner spark of divinity in all of us. Glinda’s pink bubble is like a womb. Glinda tells Dorothy never to let the slippers off her feet. The Wicked Witch is jealous of Dorothy’s youthful spark and the slippers represent.
Oz is very similar to the word Om, which is used in mediation. And “There’s No Place Like Home” shows that you already process the attributes you seek most passionately. Glinda the Good Witch is like a Zen Master and The Yellow Brick Road is the Journey to Enlightenment. The Lion, The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman all want to flow with the cosmos. “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” is a sort of mantra and meditation.
The path or journey is not simple. There is a fork in the road and there are decisions to be made. It doesn’t matter what road she takes, they all lead to self-awareness. If the only decision you make is to keep going forward that can still lead to self-awareness.
The Tin Man is rusted when Dorothy finds him. The Tin man is a second group of people or soul searchers who are paralyzed by indecisiveness. The Scarecrow is nailed to a post and can’t go anywhere. He represents the people in live who let others hold them back from realized their dreams and aspirations. The cowardly lion represents those who lack the courage to make the spiritual journey alone.
Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. The Scarecrow also says, “Of course, I don’t know, but I think it gets darker before it gets lighter.” This echoes the Tao teaching that the path into light seems dark.
When the Scarecrow craves intelligence, but it escapes him. When Scarecrow lets go of his preoccupation with obtaining, he becomes a quick thinker and problem solver. The Lao Tzu says, “Free from desire, you realize the mystery.” When you look for it, there is nothing to see. When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear. When you use it is inexhaustible.
The Tin Man shows us what comes around goes around as far as love is concerned. The Lion yearns to be King of the Forest, but what he really craves is to be King of himself. Lao Tzu says, “Because of deep love, one is courageous.” Your heart’s desire is your destiny, for this to be they must to follow the witch’s advice and surrender. Why? Because even your worst enemy has something to teach you. What Dorothy surrenders is her desire to go back to Kansas.
Detachment allows the intelligence of the universe to help your intentions manifest themselves. To feel in control, the Wicked Witch is obsessed with controlling others. The need to control demonstrates a lack of self-worth. The Witch’s motive is to gain control over herself, in inward power struggle turned perversely outward. Of course, the only way to gain control over yourself is to instill balance and harmony in your life is the inner spark within you. This will unlock the rich creative potential we all have.
In Zen the monkey represents madness. The Witch thus surrounds herself with Madness. The Wicked Witch is then killed by water. In the Tao Te Ching it is said that in the world nothing is as soft and yielding as water, but it dissolves the hard and inflexible. Nothing can surpass it.
The Wizard is a false prophet. He is a good man, but a bad wizard. He sends Dorthy out to confront her fears. The Wizard gives her a spiritual lesson, namely that you already possess the attributes that you seek most passionately. Jeremy Wolf says that experience is not only the best teacher, but the only teacher.
In the end, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin says that, “We are not humans having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And that is very true. And we can to that there is no place like home—yourself.