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Stepping Stones

The Return Home - Moving From Oz to Om

In the Oz myth, Dorothy wakes up in her own bed, back in Kansas, surrounded by Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, and the rest of the characters from her childhood home. After her mythic journey through Oz, she now realizes that the path of her life lies right before her, not somewhere over the rainbow, and that transformation is a process that unfolds deep inside her from her home in the center of her being. As we watch this final scene of the movie, we see Dorothy trying to explain where she has been and what she has learned, surrounded by loved ones looking at her quizzically if not dismissively as she tells her story.

When we have had an authentic spiritual experience, it changes us. When we have touched the deepest parts of ourselves, the God within and without, it is often hard to live in the gap between this world and that world. We come back into this world light and alive. We see the magic of that light in every being. We understand the struggles of others, for we have walked those struggles ourselves. We see the mystery of the Divine Field of Being unfolding moment to moment in All That Is. But this view is not what most of the world sees. The world is not prepared to honor this way of seeing and knowing.

And yet somehow we are meant to walk this truth back into the world. We see the world now with new eyes, with the eyes of the mystic, alive and sparkling with the special awareness of the Infinite in motion through the wonder of the universe. But we must return to the place where we began to complete the hero’s journey. While her Oz friends encouraged Dorothy to stay with them, the teaching of the myths and of the religious traditions is clear; we do not get to stay at the top of the mountain. God depends on us to re-enter the world and transform it by our presence. This is the evolutionary demand of God immanent. Joseph Campbell teaches that while it surely takes courage to return after you’ve been in those woods or on that mountaintop, you really do not have a full adventure unless you come back into the world. Campbell reminds us that this is the ultimate task., “the bodhisattva, the one whose being is enlightened, voluntarily comes back into the world, knowing that it’s a mess, and participates joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”

The trick of the return is to be wise. We are challenged to live our authentic self without needing the approval or others, knowing that most people won’t understand what we have discovered. We need to keep our awareness alive and live in the truth of our deeper self, without shouting what we know on the corner like a kook. Once we have touched this deeper place inside, we are simply called to live authentically within our new awareness. Our transformation is sustained by finding some like-minded friends to walk with, practicing active compassion for ourselves and others, nourishing our evolving awareness with spiritual study and meditation, and quietly living in an integrated way inside our new awareness while we go about the business of our ordinary life. This is how we move From Oz to Om.

Weekly Stepping Stones

In what ways are you being called to walk your truth back into the world? What stops you from returning to the world and speaking your truth? In what ways are you bringing the Om consciousness into expression in your daily life? What practices can you maintain in your daily life that will help you to remember who you are and your connection to God?

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