As I reviewed a clip from the Wizard of Oz last week I observed something I had never noticed before. Dorothy discovered the Tin Man as a result of chasing an apple. She had been picking apples when the trees came to life and refused to give away their fruit. The brainless scarecrow developed a scheme to trick the trees into throwing the apples at them. Chasing after the discarded apples, Dorothy discovered the Tin Man.
An apple is symbolic of many things. It is a tasty fruit ascribed with the power to “keep the doctor away.” When cooked in a pie it is has come to be known as “all that is American.” But to the spiritual seeker one cannot help but recall the symbolism of the forbidden fruit. An apple does not appear in the story of Adam and Eve, but it has come to symbolize the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
God warned Adam not to eat of this tree “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” But who and what die? Adam and Eve do not die. They do however find themselves naked, without cover, fear and doubt made visible. They find themselves outside of the place of wholeness in which the Tree of Life grows. They find themselves not dead, but disconnected from their Source. They feel empty, alone, hollow. What has died is their sense of wholeness.
Chasing after the ill-gotten fruit, Dorothy discovers a man made of tin. He is hollow, not truly alive. He is apparently without a heart, the life-giving organ that circulates blood, oxygen and vital nutrients to the whole body. He is made of tin, a pliable metal, not easily corroded. Yet the tin man has been frozen in time, rusted and unable to move.
To eat something is to take it on, to make it a part of you. In eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, knowledge of what is divided or not whole becomes a part of one’s consciousness. As spiritual beings it is not possible for us to be outside of the wholeness of God. But it is very much possible to perceive that we are outside of God. It is possible to listen to an inner voice that seeks an ill-gotten fruit, nourishment from the outer sense consciousness. It is possible to put on a clothing or identity that is metallic in nature, resistant to the flow of Spiritual life. It is possible to believe ourselves as hollow, empty, imperfect, unable to give or receive love.
But the heart is never missing. We may have allowed fear or ego to close the heart. But opening the heart is a simple matter. It begins by breathing. Yes, I said breathing! Paying attention to our breath, we bring our focus to the area of the physical heart and the heart energy. Here, we draw our attention away from whatever seeks to cause us pain. Here we allow God to breathe through us.
God breathing through us is like the oil applied to the Tin Man. It loosens our stuck parts. It allows us to rediscover our authentic voice. It allows us to open our hearts to God’s presence in us and in all things. It allows us to leave behind the story that has frozen us in time and begin an inner journey to wholeness. As you breathe right now in this moment, imagine that it is truly God breathing through your heart. As God breathes through you all your parts, all your thoughts are oiled and renewed. The heart opens wide to let God in. The heart is never missing. It simply needs to be opened to the inflow of God, the Tree of Life.
© 2015 Rev. Eileen Patra