In today’s episode of “Healing from Within” your host Sheryl Glick welcomes Dr. Jean Houston author of her newest book, “The Wizard of Us—Transformational Lessons From Oz.” Dr. Houston is a scholar, lecturer and philosopher active in the “human potential movement.” She has been an advisor to political leaders and to UNICEF and since 2003 has worked with the United Nations Development Group training leaders in the new field of Social Artistry. She holds a PhD in psychology and a PhD in religion and rather than following an acting career, chose to further her studies into the human mind.
Over the course of her work, Houston has developed a worldwide network of social leaders, educators and philosophers such as; Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Helen Keller and Margaret Mead, giving her unique insight into fostering the development of human potential. According to The Law of Attraction, which states that “like finds like energy” in the case of Dr. Houston and the people she has been guided to work with, it appears that the world community is made brighter, and their vision of hope, love and cooperation for people worldwide, may be a reality in the future. The energy and concerted efforts of the devoted souls Jean Houston has partnered with and who seek to share their stories of transformation is a spiritual gift to all.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead and mythologist Joseph Campbell were influential sources in Jean’s earlier life experiences. These icons and leaders in their respective fields shared knowledge for developing self awareness and inner vision through their written material, helping others create better lives and a better world. With Margaret Mead, Jean began to work in cultures around the world and expanded her knowledge of societies and cultural ethos. With mythologist Joseph Campbell on his PBS series, Jean extended her understanding of the role of myth and storytelling from different cultures…she loved The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a groundbreaking work of Campbell’s on world mythologies. In examining the elements of any story, it becomes clear that the worldwide population at our core are more alike than different. The elements that move any story to a satisfying ending follows a process that rings true in our hearts and are as follows:
1. The Hero’s journey begins with a Call to Adventure that beckons the hero to leave old concepts and go forth into new ways of being…in most cases the hero is reluctant but as the everyday world is thrown radically out of balance the hero, like Dorothy, is called to a larger life beyond her outmoded situation.
2. Once the hero accepts the call, he or she receives special aid on the adventure from magical allies who help the hero make important decisions along the path.
3. Next the hero learns to think out of the box and ventures into an unknown realm of amplified power.
4. Then the hero lets go of old habits and old conditioning in order to be woven into a stronger and brighter form. It can sometimes be accompanied by depression or introversion or even a stronger need to get away from it all.
5. Final separation from the hero’s known world and known self sometimes described as the person’s lowest point or night of the soul…
6. Road of Trials: Includes tests and extraordinary adventures…often the favorite of storytellers for Fear is the dread we all feel of the Unknown.
7. The hero meets a Father/Creator character who recognizes him…known as the Presence and the hero achieves a sacred marriage with a spiritual form or inner beloved of the soul and TRANSFORMATION BEGINS.
8. The meeting with the Beloved is an experience of love…unconditional love and the person begins to see himself in a non-dualistic way…Self-Unification or Wholeness, sometimes represented by finding another person the hero loves most completely or in other words—some big time reward represented by something in the physical such as the key to knowledge or the ring of power, but actually it is the expansion of consciousness and therefore of Being. Now the hero may restore the world…darkness of the shadow side of life is conquered.
Another contemporary leader in the field for human potential is Hilary Clinton. When Dr. Houston worked with Hilary as she was working on her book, It Takes A Village, Dr. Houston suggested an imaginary meeting between Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt who Clinton admired. The visualization or meditation method she suggested was aimed at tapping into Clinton’s own inner wisdom imagination, and higher vibration. While controversial at that time, now many people are able to discern information from this informational sphere where thoughts discoveries and inspirational guidance is available. Sheryl suggests that with the development of intuitive powers it is possible to connect to historical figures or loved ones and receive information. Much like the heroes in mythological stories who venture into the unknown realms of amplified power, human beings are now actually reaching this higher field of energy and information. No longer a myth, but a condition of evolution and a power of the human mind.
In the Wizard of Us, we revisit the beloved classic story, “The Wizard of Oz”, which can be our mythic lens showing Dorothy’s adventure in a magical land where danger and twists and turns along the Yellow Brick Road challenged Dorothy and the friends she made along the way. In her search for the way back home, she discovered her personal power and the resources needed for appreciating life and for loving herself. In other words, her soul matured and she developed self confidence and an understanding of her life force. Dorothy and her friends also discover the tools necessary to guide them through challenging times where they learn to thrive rather than merely survive. Through the mythical story we learn to apply these tools into our own lives.
In Dr. Houston’s newest book The Wizard of Us, she uses the movie version of the book “The Wizard of Oz” to guide us through the story following Joseph Campbell’s’ blueprint for every Hero’s transformative journey. She guides us through the challenges experienced by the main characters so we can find the deeper meaning of our lives and begin to remember the capacity we all have to survive evil and remember the multidimensional layers of our being so we may tap into the potential that lies within each of us. “The Wizard of Oz is a deeply spiritual text for discerning the qualities of faith, love, compassion, intelligence, courage, humility, honor and innocence: all of which are the resources of our inner soul or energetic presence. When we activate our Universal connection to life and use our higher virtues we discover our capacity to heal, love, and transcend the ordinary fears of our illusionary mind.
Deepak Chopra, in the foreword to The Wizard of Us asks, ”Why should myth fill our yearning instead of other areas such as organized religion? Dr. Houston goes on to say that myths are more than fairy tales..they are the codes, roads and maps of our life journey and where we wind up on life’s journey depends on the maps we carry. Sheryl feels the innate intelligence or inner guidance system of Universal energy is the map or life plan/destiny and by accessing our inner wisdom, we understand the outer world…this map is the Universe within each of us and our soul connection to past present and the future. In the same way myths offer a personal connection to the Universe, they help us find out more about the human condition and ourselves. As myths lead heroes on the search for their self-identity, we find we are much like the heroes we read about and the challenges of life are but opportunities for success and transformation.
Dr. Houston describes that her book shows us that the lessons shared propel us into understanding ourselves, the world, and Spirit in a clearer way. She describes, “ The world in here, inner essence, is dreamy and unreliable compared to the world of science, matter and energy out there.” She goes on further to dispute this thought and “joins a band of farseeing thinkers who declare that there is no split or duality between…in here and out there. Reality is whole…the Oneness or Unity of All. The only issue is how you choose to find it and explore it. If myth accomplishes only one thing, it is to expose human beings as multidimensional creatures.”
Sheryl remarks that though Dorothy starts out in a farmhouse in Kansas, the physical plan, she winds up in a transcendent world much like we might view Heaven or an afterlife…different, but still life- souls, experiences and love, nevertheless. The comparison of these two worlds show our multidimensional lives as spiritual beings having a physical life.
In reading the description by Abraham Maslow, commonly called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which describes the various stages of human growth and as such helps us to understand while we may be on different levels, still we all are on the same pathway to finding out more about who we are and where we come from. The fundamental human roadway for self development is similar to the roadway or Yellow Brick Road followed by Dorothy and her friends. They must satisfy their Basic Needs such as; food, clothing, shelter, air and water. Next they must establish Safety Needs or preparation for emergencies. A Social Level establishing a sense of belonging inclusive of friendship, intimacy, sharing and or a family, is another need. Acceptance by Peers and to be part of something at the office, church group or sports team or club and family is another human need. Esteem and being valued or accepted by others and contributing to others is the way towards Self-Actualization…stepping into our full potential and realizing though we live in the world, we don’t need the world. Here we attain the realization that we are made of God Stuff and not separate from the Creator. Sheryl suggests that Reiki energy healing sessions work with the 7 major chakras or energy points that correlate to the various stages of human growth as defined by Maslow. By clearing issues—fears, limitations or blockages in the energy structure of our bodies we may advance through all the stages ultimately achieving health and a satisfying life experience.
We go on to discuss how the characters in Oz were searching for a part of themselves that they thought was missing so they could make themselves whole and happy: a new evolved version of themselves when in fact, it was only their perception that something was missing. In actuality, whether in a myth or our personal lives we are born with everything we need to create and manifest our most wonderful selves and a purposeful life.
In Dr. Houston’s book she describes studies now being done for understanding the functions of the brain. This study is known as neuroplasticity. Scientist Bruce Lipton shows that thinking, learning, acting, intending and meditating can activate the genetic structures of our bodies, brain and minds, and can shape brain anatomy and behavior, giving us new capacities and even a newly evolved version of ourselves. As the mind takes on the shape of what it rests on and thinks about, we discover investing in regrets, resentment, quarrels, self-reproach allows your brain to rest in negativity. If we replace this negative tape of the brain with thoughts of happiness, love, wisdom and courage those characteristics will become our reality. Each character in the story of Oz was able to make a shift in their thinking due to the love they developed for each other and while looking for a special part of themselves to be happier, they realized it was there all along.
Dr Houston writes in her book…”What happens in one place quickly affects us all. In these accelerated times we are being called to expand our ways of being: to open ourselves to the cultures of other countries: to learn as much as we can about each other and the earth itself so we can thrive…We stand on the brink of a new way of Being that is so much more than we can imagine.”
Myth is always about the maturation of the Soul and the new world being created our Souls expand. As we see it is not just the heroes in worldwide myths or stories who become aware of their dynamic and empowered energy, but each of us as we travel from an outmoded existence to an amplified life, that will be the way for humanity to deal with the threatening world events happening now.
Some threatening realities that are happening now: Spikes in population, now over seven billion…nearly every natural habitat is being degraded due to deforestation, pollution, and mass extinction. Species we have taken for granted, lions, pandas, polar bears, tigers and elephants are on the brink of extinction. Ninety percent of the larger fish have been eaten…nearly every person in the scientific community agrees we are facing a life and death situation. In response to these events, Dr. Houston suggests our personal stories may need to include new ways to improve our community by concerted group efforts for handling the challenges facing world communities today and offers numerous ideas towards accomplishing these necessary changes.
Dr Houston’s extensive writings and books included such interesting topics such as “The Passion of Isis and Osiris” and “Godseed: The Journey of Christ—A Course Extending Your Physical Mental and Creative Abilities.”
An quote by Dr Houston in The Godseed was, “ Jesus declared that the Kingdom of God is within us, and if we look within we discover immense wisdom…the kingdom is all around us spread upon the earth and people don’t see it. So the treasures of this Kingdom are both within—the felt wisdom and the love of heart and without, and knowing the Universe as presence or God’s presence, infuses creation. We only appear to be separate from the Infinite, but new physics show that beneath this seeming separateness, there is a deeper unity, a nonlocal connection—when we enter into the deeper parts of ourselves we find we are connecting to the flow that sustains the entire Universe. We do not dwell in the Universe—the Universe dwells inside us.”
This is the journey of the hero to rediscover the truth of this eternal source of life and to conquer the fears and limitations that may delay or impede their discovery of this truth..May you find within your own life story the joy to live in peace and harmony with yourself and within the world.