Note from Gary: This exquisite article draws an elegant parallel between the messages of A Course in Miracles and those of The Wizard of Oz. Skillfully done! A must read.
By Sheri Baker
In its unique melodic style, A Course in Miracles (ACIM) tells a story — the story of us. It explains who we are and how we got here, along with the most expedient way to return to the home we yearn for, but have long forgotten. Although many of us are challenged by the message of the Course, the story is actually quite a familiar one. According to ACIM, “No one but knows whereof we speak” (Workbook, Lesson 182), and “You know the ancient song, and know it well.” (Text, Chapter 21)
As offbeat as our “song” may sound, especially when we first encounter the Course, the truth is we’ve known the tune since our Creation. On occasion, we even manage to hum a few bars. Though we don’t always recognize it, our story plays out right in front of us in a variety of subtle ways, often disguised as literary fantasy. Consider the classic tale, “The Wizard of Oz,” a masterful adventure that in many ways echoes our own.
Curious about what lies over the rainbow, Dorothy leaves the only reality she’s ever known after taking a big bang to the head. Like us, she enters a dream state she is convinced is real. In the dream, she’s presented with two choices — follow either the loving Light, represented by Glinda the good witch, or the fearful darkness, personified by the wicked witch of the West.
Feeling called to return to her family, Dorothy takes Glinda’s advice and walks her spiritual path, raising her awareness brick by yellow brick. She courageously works her way through a frightful forest of disgruntled apple trees, flying monkeys and the relentless negativity of the frightening, but ultimately powerless wicked witch. Likewise, for us to return home — to the knowledge of who we truly are — we’ve got to make our way through a similar jungle of fear-based thought patterns, limited beliefs and unresolved negative emotions. It’s a scary prospect for even the most intrepid spiritual thrill seeker, but walking our own brick road is much gentler, as ACIM teaches, with the knowledge of Who walks the path with us.
Like us, Dorothy doesn’t make her journey alone. In addition to Glinda — the ever present Voice for God — she’s joined by a scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion, “mighty companions,” as ACIM says, who assist her when the going gets tough. Each of her loyal friends feels a lack inside themselves, be it a brain, heart, or courage, but as a result of their own journeys, prove they possess these traits already.
Reaching Oz, Dorothy discovers that to fulfill her heart’s desire, she has no need for the magical wizard, or anything else outside of her. She realizes she has always had the power to return to the home she never actually left. “Then why didn’t you tell her before?” the scarecrow demands of Glinda. “Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.”
Sound familiar? Despite our own tendency to disbelieve truth when we hear it, there’s a part of us that feels comforted by what the Course has to say. “Listen, and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.” (Text, Chapter 21)
It takes courage to remember our song because we’re afraid it means parting with the only world we think we know. As ACIM says, “You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then.” (Text, Chapter 21)
Had Dorothy not walked her path and faced her fears, she would never have realized there’s really nothing of value to lose. “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again,” she says, “I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
Awakening from the illusion, Dorothy realizes she hasn’t left behind anyone she loves. They were merely actors in her dream, and are together always. As scary as it might be, we have within us the same ability to face our own wicked witches, and find the peace that comes from knowing our true self. After all, “There’s no place like home.”
If cowardly lion could find the courage to accept his truth, there’s certainly hope for the rest of us.