On: The Prodigal Son
PalTalk ACIM Gather October 3, 2004
The parable of the prodigal son is a crucial teaching that is as fresh today as it was 2000 years ago when Jesus told the story.
In order to illustrate the study of this topic we selected an audio tape by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick and his wife Gloria, titled: I will be still an instant and go home.
Part I – For Part I we will use side 1 of Ken’s tape. In this workshop Ken tells the story of the prodigal son, and opens up by telling us that this story he will tell, has a sad beginning, it’s not so good in the middle, but it does have a perfect and beautiful end. Then he proceeds to tell the story of the prodigal son, from a Course in Miracles perspective, which describes the moment of decision, when we first listen to the ego thought: God is not enough.
Part II- We will use side 2 of Ken’s tape. In this workshop(s) Ken and Gloria share a beautiful meditation and close with the idea that returning home is a matter of an instant. It all started with a choice that appeared to give rise to a world all our own, and it will end with a choice to be still an instant and go home.
The ending of Part II, is reminiscent of the Biblical “Be still and know that I am God”
God is an experience that we voluntarily gave up, and He is not the ultimate goal of a real journey. He simply is, never having ceased to BE, and always BEING, forever and ever. As such, He is found in the eternal stillness of a silenced mind. A mind cluttered with thoughts of “God isn’t”
It is important to take a closer look at how Jesus presents the parable when telling it to the disciples. He starts the story with a metaphor: There is a father and two sons.
Going back to Course symbology, these represent God the eternal Creator and His Creation, which originally is one, yet now is seemingly split between two apparent wills: One will leave his father because he has decided that Heaven is not enough for his lofty dreams, and one half that will stay at home.
In Disappearance of the Universe by Gary R. Renard, page 9, it is said that the latter part of the parable in the traditional Biblical account of the metaphor was added later on and was not part of the original story told by Jesus. This makes sense because that is the part that shows how the brother that stayed at home is then jealous and reactive to his brother’s return home, which means that he too was affected by unloving thoughts. This would have to imply that all of God’s creation (in its entirety) was willing to have a different will than His. Which in Course metaphysics is an impossibility. This would by the same token invalidate God, perpetuating the thought system of the ego completely: God is no longer God His will is not done by me.
The brother who stayed home represents the Holy Spirit, the right-mind, the part of Creation that is the Voice for God and calls us home permanently since the moment when we first conceived the idea of leaving Home to come to a place that was not our own and call it home. This part is not the part of creation in whom we identify as the ‘self’ but in whom we have our real Self and who is so close to God the distance isn’t even there.
What is interesting to note is that the part that was added to the parable is the part we live in the world every day of our lives. We seem to compete with our brother whom is now symbolized in all the projected “others” with whom we share this home-away-from-home.
Who hasn’t felt a tinge of jealousy at another’s success? Who hasn’t ever felt the lack he feels inside “realizing” that its completion lived in another external to the self? We added this part to the parable because we live it. We feel we are in competition with God’s creation for God’s favor and attention. We want love but all to ourselves because it is in this smaller self in whom we identify.
It is nearly impossible as a regular human walking this earth to stop and look at another person and say to ourselves convincingly: That person is a piece of me. There I am.
Recognizing this is the beginning of the journey home.
The Course tells us:
“You who are beloved of Him are no illusion, being as true and holy as Himself. The stillness of your certainty of Him and of yourself is home to Both of You, Who dwell as One and not apart. Open the door of His most holy home, and let forgiveness sweep away all trace of the belief in sin that keeps God homeless and His Son with Him. You are not a stranger in the house of God. (T-23.I.10).”
Our true identity is not in the brother who left home but in the one who stayed, the one who never left and the one who rejoices in Heaven at our return as part of the Self we never ceased to be but thought we had.
So, let us be still an instant and go Home. Let us look at Workbook lesson #182 with all earnestness and make it part of our daily bread for it has been given us.
“This world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of. Yet still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here. Just a persistent feeling, sometimes not more than a tiny throb, at other times hardly remembered, actively dismissed, but surely to return to mind again. (W-182.1.)”
That nagging feeling that we have that we are not whole is simply the recognition that never, in a million years or in eternity, could we be whole without our brother. He is the memory of home that keeps haunting us, that calls us to return home where we are One in God, eternally.
Let us be still and instant and go home. That stillness is found in each miracle, each moment of true forgiveness when we are joined with our brother in the Love of God and in which we Honor the Wholeness of His Creation.
Blessed Journey Home, dear brothers.
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