Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Smallest of Zen Reflection on the Original Koan


I see that Frances Ethel Gumm was born today in 1922.

Most of us know here better as Judy Garland.

Noticing this triggered a recollection of the Wizard of Oz and particularly one song.

Roger Ebert wrote, “The Wizard of Oz has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects and excitement, but we still watch it six decades later because its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them.”

Given that the film was released in 1939 when the world was already moving from a global depression into a global war, the anxiety it addressed was deeper even than our childhood fears. And, which, I believe, is one reason the Wizard of Oz continues to haunt us with dreams of something better, something hopeful over the rainbow. And, particularly, I think, of that one song…

There have been endless covers. Some quite heartrending…

Maybe we’re more aware of that longing for something during hard times.

But, I think perhaps that sense of longing is the great common human experience. It is the source of all religion, the thing that drives all hope.

Of course, there is a secret hidden within that longing. And it is the thing which I find offers a magical moment in that original film.

So, the great question.

Where is that secret place of the heart?

Where is it really?

A koan. The koan. The original koan.

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