IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN
This month, we are exploring the metaphysical teachings found in the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz with some help from Joey Green's great little book called The Zen of Oz.a
Last week, we looked at Dorothy's choices and how they sent her over the rainbow. Today we will explore two of the three beloved characters she encountered over there -- The Scarecrow and the Tin Man -- in the context of a sentence opener that is just death to the fullest expression of life. Anyone want to take a stab at what that sentence opener is?
IF I ONLY HAD . . . . a brain, a heart -- the courage! (to throw the Lion in there as well)
A lot around us -- from early on in life -- tells us that we aren't enough or don't have enough. Race consciousness, society, mass advertising and even many religions teach us to focus on what we don't have instead of what we have - or more importantly what we ARE. So we begin to think and to feel, "If I only had a . . ." "I need something more."
We come to believe more in the power of circumstances than in the power of God at work in our lives. Whatever you think YOU STILL NEED in life is something you think has more POWER than God... stop and think about this one...
It's what we think we NEED or we're MISSING that brings us into a place of fear. Instead of focusing on the possibilities in each situation, our focus, like Dorothy's, turns to "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!"
So this morning, let's look at two great spiritual teachers - the Scarecrow and the Tin Man and how they taught us that we already have that which we think we need
1. The Scarecrow
1. The Scarecrow
The Scarecrow says, "If I only had a brain I'd know what to do." He thinks he doesn't know. But for someone who insists he doesn't have a brain, the Scarecrow has given a lot of thought to what he would think about if he did have one.
If you recall, he sang: "I'd think of things I never thunk before . . . and then I'd sit and think some more."
And he so wants to have a brain that when he asks Dorothy if he can accompany her to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard for some brains and Dorothy warns him against it. "I have a witch mad at me, and you might get in trouble," she says.
He says: "Witch? Hmph. "I'm not afraid of a witch," he insists. "I'm not afraid of anything -- except a lighted match . . . But then I'd face a whole box of them for the chance of getting some brains."
As Dorothy and her companions nervously follow the Yellow Brick Road through a dark and creepy forest, the Scarecrow says, "Of course, I don't know, but I think it'll get darker before it gets lighter." The Scarecrow is actually offering a keen philosophical insight: It truly does sometimes seem darkest before the dawn. Or, as the Tao de Ching sums it up: "The path into light seems dark."b
How could a brainless Scarecrow say something so insightful? Nature's intelligence flows freely and effortlessly. When you are in harmony with the creative intelligence of the cosmos, you can harness the pure potential of the universe.
If you have been stuck on a pole in the middle of a cornfield with crows pecking at you, let it go. Free that energy, rechannel it, allow it to manifest itself in a more meaningful way.
To acquire anything you desire, release the "IF I ONLY HAD. . ." attitude. And how? Simply keep your attention on the here and now -- everything you wish will spontaneously flow from the Universe to you. It is true -- the Universe does conspire for your good!
When the Scarecrow craves intelligence, which assumes he doesn't have it, it escapes him. But when he lets go of his preoccupation with obtaining a brain, he becomes a quick thinking problem solver.
When Dorothy can't figure out how to get him down from his pole, he spontaneously proposed, "If you'll just bend the nail down in the back, maybe I'll slip off."
When the talking apple trees refuse to give their apples to Dorothy, the Scarecrow instinctively uses reverse psychology to provoke the trees to throw their apples at them.
When the Doorman at Emerald City asks Dorothy to prove that the Good Witch of the North sent her to see the Wizard, he quickly pointed to the most compelling evidence of all: "She's wearing the ruby slippers the Good Witch gave her!"
Instance after instance, the Scarecrow uses the innate intelligence he doesn't think he has.
The Scarecrow is an exquisite example to anyone who feels intellectually inadequate: You're smarter than you think! When you trust the power of your Divine Nature, you have no need to impress others, seek approval or act smart! Just let it be.
As Lao-tzu confirmed:
"When you look for it, there is nothing to see
When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear
But when you use it, it is inexhaustible."c
In The Letters of Myrtle Fillmore she writes: "So it is through the development of our mind that we find the way to success. God is mind. "We have the mind of Christ," and it is for us to make conscious union in the silence with the all-providing Mind, lifting our thoughts to its standard of Truth and holding them in this Truth as we go about our own particular duties of living."d
How many times a day do you say, "I Don't Know?" At the core of this message is the core belief that we are separate from God. Saying "I don't know" is a PRAYER - it is affirming that you do not know.
Instead you might ask - What would you do if you did know? We are standing in a vast sea of infinite wisdom.
The rational mind wants to know it all, and when it doesn't know it ALL it says "I don't know." The intuitive mind is willing to say just what it does know.
There was a great illustration in a Herman comic a while ago - Two mice are looking at a piece of cheese strategically placed in a mousetrap. As the one has his hand poised over the cheese to take it, the other says: I don't know, but I've got a funny feeling about this.
We say, "I don't know . . ." all the time, but something inside of us does know!
What would happen in your life if you said, "I know," instead of "I don't know?" Or, "If I did know, what would I do." This week when you hear yourself saying, "I don't know," use that as a reminder that in that moment you have disconnected from the power and presence of God. ALL the WISDOM you need; all the ANSWERS you need; all the Knowledge you need, are already inside you... ACCESS IT...by KNOWING THAT YOU KNOW.
Charles Fillmore wrote in The Pure Reason and Honest Logic of Practical Christianity: "In Truth there is but one Mind; that the one Mind is universal; that Truth is not the property of any particular race or chosen people, but is given freely to all who open their understanding to that one Divine Mind, from which the only real wisdom, life and love, ever come."e
2. The Tin Man
2. The Tin Man
Now - THE TIN MAN - what does he want? - a HEART - what do most of us want more than anything else? To love and be loved... Once again, the challenge we have on our journey is thinking something is missing -- but he, like the Scarecrow, showed us that he really was filled with love!
Remember when the Wicked Witch threatens to stuff a mattress with the scarecrow and use the Tin Man for a beehive unless these two stay away from Dorothy and stop helping her? She threw a ball of fire at the scarecrow.
And who was it that saved the day? The Tin Man!! He slammed his tin hat down on the fireball to extinguish it - a purely selfless act of loving kindness.
It was the Tin Man who insisted that he will get Dorothy to the Wizard whether he got a heart or not. The Tin Man's altruism proved that he already had an enormous heart. Without knowing it, the Tin Man touches nearly everyone he meets.
Important point here - he couldn't activate the innate love that he was until he got some unconditional love from Dorothy -- which came in the form of what? An oil can, remember! If we are frozen in fear -- we need to have our love pump primed a bit by receiving some unconditional love first so that the flow that is already there can begin.
Love is a life force that must continue circulating. To keep that energy coming to you, you must keep love in perpetual motion.
It is vitally important, however, that you make certain the intention behind your giving is selfless. You cannot have an ulterior motive. You cannot be trying to manipulate anyone -- because that's not unconditional love. That's conditional love and we've all had way too much of that in our lives.
Your goal should always be to create happiness for its own sake. The most precious gifts you can give are spiritual: appreciation, love, affection, compassion. These are the gifts that the Tin Man unwittingly, unconsciously and instinctively gave to everyone he met.
There is a direct correlation between the depth and sincerity of the love you have for others and what you get in return. Jesus said, "Sometimes you sow in one field and harvest in another."f When we love our enemies-they don't always love us in return. However the Universe responds in direct proportion to the love we give out.
No one loves the Wicked Witch of the West because she doesn't have a smidgen of love for anyone. Her motives are selfish and egocentric.
The Wizard of Oz only loves so that he can stay in power. His love is conditional and insincere. And he is loved as long as he protects the Emerald City from the Wicked Witch.
Throughout the story, it is the Tin Man - the one who didn't think he had a heart - who loves unconditionally.
The Tin Man shows us that if you want to be blessed with a heart, you must give with your heart. How much you are loved by others is equal to how deeply you love.
If you want to be blessed with love, you must give with your heart. "Give and you shall receive." When you give from your heart, empathetically, unconditionally, constantly, and without expecting anything in return, you receive happiness in abundance.
The Tin Man is expressing the perennial Wisdom - it is in giving that we receive. When you put the goodness within you to work for another, when you decide to love for love's sake - NOT because the other is doing something worthy of your love - when you learn to give of yourself without expecting the other to act in a certain way - then the Universe pours out its grace and blessings on you.
Elizabeth Sand Turner wrote in Your Hope of Glory: "When we love God we are willing to renounce the things in our consciousness and outer lives that do not belong to our spiritual natures."g
Where are you stuck in your life - frozen in the yard like the Tin Man? Get loved first, then rather than wishing or expecting things or people to be different from the way they are, simply look around and see how you could love better.
Myrtle Fillmore wrote in The Letters of Myrtle Fillmore: "When wisdom and love and life and power prompt your thoughts, you are living and moving and having your being in the very presence of God, and you know that all is well."h
Divine Intelligence and Infinite Love -- that's what the Scarecrow and the Tin Man represent. Two eternal qualities they were both looking for, but which they both already had. Just like us!
A poem by Russ Koon beautifully encapsulates these ideas:
Here I AM
saying "I AM that I AM"
therefore, I begin to realize
I AM centered in Love
I AM surrounded by beauty
I AM filled with Joy
I AM tapping the infinite intelligence
I AM the unceasing energy that is atomic power
I Am the wisdom of the Universe
I AM God!!
The key is, however --
When will I fully accept this great I AM?
How about today, my friends? How about today? How about today taking a lesson from the Tin Man and the Scarecrow and realizing that you already are that which you seek?
aThe Zen of Oz, Joey Greene
bTao de Ching
dMyrtle Fillmore The Letters of Myrtle Fillmore
eCharles Fillmore The Pure Reason and Honest Logic of Practical Christianity
gElizabeth Sand Turner Your Hope of Glory
hMyrtle Fillmore The Letters of Myrtle Fillmore