The Wizard of Oz

Films can be a great source of Dharma. In a talk I gave last week I gave the example of the wizard in The Wizard of Oz.

In the film, you may remember, when Dorothy and her entourage finally arrive to see the wizard they enter an extremely imposing chamber, with fire flaring up, and the wizard’s face projected frighteningly large and ghostly, and his voice booming loudly at them, telling them to go away. Then Dorothy’s dog runs off behind a curtain, and pulls the curtain back to reveal what turns out to be an ordinary, old man, pulling levers and shouting into a microphone, who was just doing his best to fulfill the job he had been given, but admits to not being very good at being a wizard. However, when he stops trying to be a wizard, and is just himself, a normal human being, he is able to give Dorothy and her three companions the help they have been seeking.

This is a great teaching for those of us who believe that we are not OK/acceptable/capable/………(insert you own particular perceived inadequacy) as we are, or who, with the best will in the world, make great effort, but effort that is misplaced.

Yes, we need to make effort, but it must be the effort to go deeper, rather than the effort to do things better. The effort to do things better tends to be according to our own limited ideas of how that should look (fire and noise!) whereas the effort to go deeper is open to anything, including the arising of skills and means that we didn’t even know we had.