On Spiritual Mentors: The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz became a mentor years ago when I adopted one of his quotes as my motto as a therapist: “I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad wizard.” The Wizard then draws upon that goodness to be of help to the travelers. He does this by performing what are known as “reframes”, i.e., taking a resource within each person and putting it in a different frame. For example, what he tells the Scarecrow is essentially “You already have a brain. But to believe that, I’m going to give you a diploma.” The Good Witch sums up this notion when she helps Dorothy to realize that the solution to her loss of home was always with her.

Better than Carl Rogers and several other of my inspirations, the Wizard has helped me see that we all have what we need within. We either don’t believe it or don’t know it. As a therapist, there is little that I do in terms of teaching people something new. Rather, when therapy works, the client finds an answer within that perhaps they did not know was there. They realize that they were “victims of disorganized thinking”, just as the Wizard said. Often they simply come home.

This notion that we have all we need within is at least as old as the Bible. At a human level, this is one aspect of Jesus’ statement “The Kingdom of God is within you.” In other words “All you need to cope and to grow has already been given to you. You just need to uncover it.” This is part of the point of our spiritual journeys, to uncover and lay claim to this Kingdom Within. Just as Dorothy’s true home was in Kansas, our true spiritual home lies Within.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the big thing in my business these days. Rarely do I see or hear anyone credit one of the earliest and best cognitive behavioral therapists — the Wizard of Oz!

Reflection: What experiences have you had with uncovering inner resources you didn’t know were there? What helped you uncover them?