The rich symbolism of the Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a great story that is rich with symbolism.
Dorothy represents each one of us. Her dilemma is how to find the way back home to Kansas. (the ideal) She is given advice by her conscience (Glenda the good witch) to follow the Yellow Brick Road (the road of restoration) which will lead her to the Wizard of Oz (The Messiah). She is told that ONLY HIM can help her get back to Kansas.
On her journey she enlists the help of Scarecrow (mind), Tinman (heart), and Lion (courage/will). The Yellow Brick Road of Restoration is full of many dangers, and the wicked witch (Satan) is determined to stop Dorothy from reaching her destination.
When Dorothy finally meets the Wizard he is a larger than life, smoke and fire breathing image projected on a screen. He's subjective and intimidating. He also surprised them with request to go to Munchkinland and directly confront the wicked witch (Satan). But, after all this ordeals, when Toto pulls back the curtain and exposes the real Wizard, Dorothy is amazed and disappointed to discover that he is not what she had thought him to be. As it turns out, the real Wizard isn't really so "great and powerful" after all.
The Wizard then gives her companions some astonishing advice. He bestows symbolic blessings onto the trio. He convinces the Scarecrow that he already possesses a great mind and therefore gives him a diploma. The Tinman receives a huge symbolic heart and sheds tears, revealing the emotion already alive within him. The Cowardly Lion is awarded a medal of valor for acts of courage performed on the road to Oz, thereby regaining his lost self confidence as king of the jungle.
In the end her conscience (Glenda the good witch) tells Dorothy that she alone has the power within to find her way back to Kansas. It was there all the time. Dorothy discovers that she is now and always was her own messiah.
I see this story as a parable for religious life. What it tells me is that in our own journey to the ideal, what we ultimately discover is that we are our own messiahs. It's there within us; we just have to discover it. We look for God through Jesus Christ and other sacred persons. In one way or another, any religious search represents the human effort to restore the image of God within ourselves; it is the search for our true identity. There is no wizard or messiah that can take us somewhere over the rainbow and back to Kansas. He can't give us wisdom, heart, or courage. He can share from his experience and point out the way, but we must discover and cultivate those things ourselves if we want to get anywhere.
You and I are a lot like Dorothy. When the curtain is pulled back and we see “The Wizard” as someone different than what we thought him to be, how will we react?
When all of us find "God within" we will have discovered what Dorothy has at the end of her journey, that she was her own messiah all along. When one feels "deceived" and starts believing that it was all for nothing, one may lose or even reject all that was learned along the way. Therefore the attitude at the end "when the curtain is pulled" makes or breaks the experience, doesn't it?
This presents us with our own dilemma. We can see the Wizard as someone who tricked us into taking a detour through Munchkinland, or appreciate him for what examples of wisdom, heart and courage he has shown us on the journey back to Kansas.
Recuperation of our original value
The messiah is necessary and central in the process of restoration, as the Judeo-Christian tradition imply, also we cannot avoid the historic and personal “Yellow Brick Road” of Restoration, but soon or later we need to awake to the final reality that we ourselves become-are TRUE SONS AND DAUTHERS OF GOD.
The messiah is like the coach, but not the final one: Which is our conscience and finally God.
Each person has sacred, cosmic and unique value and is endowed with irrevocable dignity; therefore, persons are not means but ends in themselves. Every victory the Messiah accomplishes for the providence and proclaims for himself and his family, are claims done as a representative of humanity and therefore done for each and every person as God's sons and daughters, all who need to restore THEIR ORIGINAL VALUE:
1. Sacred value. We have intrinsic and inalienable dignity as God's sons and daughters.
2. Cosmic value. As visible manifestations of the invisible Creator, we are microcosms of the macrocosm.
3. Unique Value - Never will be another person exactly like each one of us. We are unique, unrepeatable and irreplaceable.
4. Eternal value. We are eternal beings who will live forever in the spiritual world with God.
The fact that each person has these transcendent values is the basis of universal human rights and an ethical society.
Through the process of restoration, God seeks to fully manifest in every man and woman as part of the original plan. Each person symbolizes the earthly and spiritual worlds coming together in harmony. As persons that will restore the original ideal we are commission to mature, enter into an eternal relationship of true love through holy matrimony with the blessing of God, after which not only our children but our descendants for generations to come would live forevermore as God's self-embodiment, both male and female, inheriting God’s nature and attributes generation after generation. God is invisible and without form. God cannot be seen even when we enter into the spiritual world.
Once we are able to restore our original positions we will became the visible forms of God, God will dwelt in our hearts and reigned from within them over the corporeal, physical world and the incorporeal, spiritual world. In other words, God will govern all worlds from within human love, through each and every person. Together, we will create God's kingdom of peace and harmony at all levels. All seven billion people living in the world today would express the visible form and manifestation of God.
"We are all looking for the ideal man or the ideal woman. However, having looked at the people of the whole world, you will come to the conclusion that there is not person who can truly be the model for you. Ultimately speaking, however hard you try to find such a person, you will not find one. You must finally decide that you have better find the perfect model for you in yourself. Then you have started in search of your original self. When you look into yourself, you will find something of vast value which is something like the Source, the Origin, God." (SMM - A Prophet Speaks Today. - Section - Spiritual Growth)
"It is crystal clear that we possess love, life and conscience and yet we don't feel them because they are totally one with us. By the same token, God is within the depth of our conscience and yet we don't feel Him because of the oneness. This is a great revolutionary vision. People have been seeking for God all throughout history, but failed to realize that God was within them." (Find Your True Self - SMM - November 23, 1994 - East Garden, NY)
God is alive. That God wants to live with each one of you. You must think: "The living God is with me." Say it aloud: "God is alive. He is dwelling with me." Say it again. (True Parents' Birthday - SMM – Belvedere, NY - February 25, 1985)
"Do not believe the teachers.
Do not believe the books.
Do not even believe me.
Only believe that which you have thoroughly tested and experienced for yourself, and which you have found profitable for yourself and others."
In the religious path there is a potential risk to end up worshipping the “deification” of a person (Jesus, Mother Mary and the saints, as some Christians do) and not understand that they are examples to emulate, not "idols", which can lead to some form of idolatry.
Without any aspersions to our own religious history, it has been a fatal human trait to worship and make divine the experiences and lives of others, while, at the same time, completely missing our own inner divine life and profound connection with God.
Each person express and manifest singular and unique characteristics (Imago Dei) as God's sons and daughters, but God is not limited to a sole and unique particular human face or image or couple, even a perfected Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ or True Parents are still a limited and partial manifestation of the infinite totality of the mysterious nature of God's personality. No single human or couple could be ALL of God, the totality of God. Our "Eternal CREATOR" is the origin and source of all the different and multiple (present and future) "Individual Images" (using the Unification Thought expression) and the ONE who can guide us internally and constantly through our heart (original mind) and consciences. This is one among other reasons why is wrong to worship or deify any human being as God himself. No person or couple can claim a “monopoly on God” or a “monopoly of the truth”.