Luke 15:1–3, 11b–32, Embracing the Prodigal

Verse 31–32: “’My boy’, said the father, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. How could we help celebrating this happy day? Your brother here was dead and has come back to life, was lost and is found.’”

This Scripture, from the Parable of the Prodigal Son, reflects a great truth about psyche/soul. Our psyche holds all aspects of our nature—the known and the unknown, the connected and the disconnected, the integrated and the separated, the in sync and the out of sync. Nothing is ever lost.

We may experience living from states of consciousness that create unpleasant circumstances in our life. The libido/life force, the seeds of the Self/God Within, present in these choices eventually guide us back to living from the wholeness of who are.

Our ego often holds the attitude of the older brother in the parable, angry at our “prodigal” ways. We shoot ourselves in the foot, so to speak, when parts of ourselves show up to be reunited to our sense of self. We judge the efforts and actions we have taken to explore, understand, and live from the desires of our true nature. We feel disdain and disgust for our longings, wants, and needs. Guilt and shame kick in to reject these aspects of self and Self.

The process of learning about our desires and impulses is usually messy, and it can seemingly squander our energies. We may even say, “I wasted my time on that relationship (person, project, etc.)!” The younger brother in the parable explored his prowess in the world, apart from the established order. He experimented with how to live, and where to live. In the process, he realized that he did not have what he wanted and needed. He acknowledged to himself (and to his father) that he had acted in misguided and misdirected ways. He chose to return to his father’s house.

Symbolically, the father represents the Self, the totality and organizing principle of psyche. The Self is God Within. When we do not stay connected to the Self, our desires and impulses act of their own accord. They do not have the benefit of being tempered or balanced by other aspects of the Self. When we, like the younger brother, realize we have acted against our Self, the Divine Within welcomes the ego/self and its new awareness. The energy (desire, longing, etc.) that prompted the searching is integrated into the whole of who we are. It finds its rightful place.

The reunion of lost or “wayward” parts of our nature is cause for celebration. Whenever we reconnect to a piece of our Self/God Within and our sense of self expands, celebration is called for. The Self feels joy and wants “to party.” We can hold the attitude of the older brother and deny ourselves the pleasure and enjoyment of the new, or we can enter into the fullness we are and celebrate our life.

Inner Reflection
Where have you been experimenting with living the desires of your nature? Are you creating the situations that reflect your heart’s desires, or are your energies being squandered? Ask the Self/God Within to guide you in re-connecting the desires and longings of your explorations to the whole of who you are. Trust that every impulse, longing, emotion, passion, etc. has its rightful place and rightful expression. Open to feel the joy that comes from lost parts of your self/Self being welcomed home.