Let me confess that this article contains an exaggeration: There are not (if I’m being truly honest) 8 billion prodigal sons. There’s actually two beings who are not (named Clive and Vaishnani), who live, respectively, in Seaside, Oregon, and Mumbai, India. Confession number two: Okay, perhaps I have understated the situation. However, we can definitely state that on a ratio basis, the vast majority of beings are definitely prodigal sons and daughters without being aware of it. Before we go any further, let’s share what the term prodigal son actually means:
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, prodigal is defined as follows: “characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure; recklessly spendthrift.” The Parable of the Lost Son is related in Luke 15: 11 – 32. It relates the account of a father and his two sons. The younger son asks to receive his inheritance from the father, who willingly grants it. He travels to a distant country and lives an extravagant and wasteful life; while the older son stays at home. In time, the son who went away becomes destitute and is forced to take employment as a swineherd; work that would have been considered repugnant. When the circumstances of his life finally become unbearable, the prodigal son finally realizes that he must rise and return to his Father; who welcomes him with open arms.
The parable is actually a metaphor for what happens to on us during our human journey. I’ll go out on a limb and offer my understanding: When we stray from the Father (Awareness), such means that we have got caught up in the world of illusion (Maya) and forgotten our essential nature, which is Spirit. Due to our conditioning, we assume ourselves to be a separate self of name and form. That’s what it means to turn away from the Father, aka Consciousness. Due to this confusion, we waste our life on self-centered goals related to a fictional self. Please remember that all things–including our body-minds–are actually rendered by the mind. The parable mentions repentance, but this needn’t be interpreted so heavily. To repent merely means to acknowledge our error (sin: to miss the mark) and recognize true Self. By turning to the Father, the son “awakens” and realizes that his true nature is Spirit.
For several hundred years, the materialist paradigm of reality has convinced the vast majority of beings that their apparent body-mind and the world are made of independently existing stuff called matter. This continues to occur despite science informing us (for more than one hundred years) that atoms, which were once considered the foundational stuff of matter, are 99.999% empty space. The truth is that our apparent body-minds and the world appear in Consciousness. Both are rendered by mind. It’s why Jesus said that “I and my Father are one.” He was referring to Consciousness.
How do we turn to the Father? By investigating the nature of our being through self-inquiry. We can “Know Thyself” by withdrawing our attention from our senses and becoming still. When we meditate, we can see–directly–that we are the witness of our sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts. Our true nature is That which knows. It is Awareness, Itself, the very Substance of All That Is. It’s not dependent on the body or the mind. In fact, the truth is the other way around–the body and mind are dependent on Consciousness. They appear in the Waking State and are erroneously assumed to be the sum total of our being. Every time that we rest in the stillness of our essential nature, we return to the Father and, thus, know peace and joy. We only suffer, or become destitute (as in the case of the prodigal son), when we fall back into Maya and the perspective of personhood.
The ratio referred to in the first paragraph will begin to tip in favour of the Father when more beings investigate their essential nature. All that’s required is to ask the question “Who Am I?” with earnest curiosity. We are not our name; nor the body-mind. Instead of trying to appease the false “i” through objects or activities, we are wise to turn within and discover the true Source of happiness. Human incarnation provides a unique opportunity to recognize our essential nature. It would seem a shame to waste it.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2023 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🏻🧡