Why Leave Home?
(Posted on October 22, 2014 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of “A Search For God” study group and working on the Destiny of the Soul lesson, a class member working on “The Prodigal Soul” exercise wondered about the reason for the son’s journey away from the comfort and abundance of his father’s house and if there is anything good in such a journey. Here is my reply. – David McMillin]
… those are great questions that we have touched upon in some previous lessons. It's about the nature of personal relationship and what is required to have a healthy relationship. We encountered this first in the lesson on “Know Thyself” (The Healthy Self exercise). Many subsequent lessons have echoed this theme of relationship – SEPARATE YET ONE:
God, the first cause, the first principle, the first movement, IS! That's the beginning! That is, that was, that ever shall be! The following of those sources, forces, activities that are in accord with the Creative Force or first cause – its laws, then – is to be one with the source, or equal with yet separate from that first cause. (262-52)
Thus we are to know ourselves to be ourselves and yet one with our Creator – separate yet one.
You will recall that we also touched upon the “separation” aspect of this relationship dynamic in the Day and Night lesson. This is sometimes called rebellion in Spirit or even the “Fall” in Christian theology. But the Cayce readings also describe it as the flight of the soul:
… it [the soul] has flown out from its source to try ITS wings, to seek ITS own doing – or undoing … (311-2)
So was the separation a rebellious fall or simply a great adventure of the soul? This is your question about the prodigal son experience.
God desires companionship. Souls are created with will to have a separate sense of self (individuality), yet be one with the whole. That is a necessity for companionship of equals. Some souls misused the opportunity of self expression and chose to be entirely separate (in consciousness) and entirely the whole within themselves (apart from awareness of God). This is the extreme or exaggerated separation that we see around us in this world when we leave God out of the equation. This is the condition of the prodigal son in Jesus' parable.
The question is whether the OPPORTUNITY of self expression of the prodigal son was the best way for him to meet himself and grow up, as it were. It seems to have turned out pretty well in the story. We do all make it back to the Source, although we may take different paths. This seems to be the question you are asking about whether there is anything “good” in the younger son's adventure. Personally, I think so – in that the possibility of rejection is inherent in the gift of will and essential for the freedom of relationship that God desires.
Since you have a keen interest in the “A Course In Miracles” approach, you can process the parable using that model if you wish (particularly the nature of the apparent “separation” or the illusion of separation). You can even modify the parable a bit if you like. For instance, the elder brother can go looking for the younger sibling and help him find his way back. Or perhaps the younger brother was only having a bad dream (nightmare) and the elder brother wakes him up.
Personally, I like the story as given in scripture – it rings so true to the human condition as we experience it in our own relationships. It is a story of choices and consequences – challenges and suffering – growth and development – love and transformation – all in a simple format that everyone can relate to. And it does nicely portray the story of the soul and its destiny – a return to Oneness with the Source and yet still retaining its individuality – separate yet one.
P.S. – “The Healthy Self” resource addresses some of these themes. So if any of this seems confusing or vague, you may want review that material (and particularly the video of the lecture I gave on the subject).
The “Prodigal Souls” resource for this exercise also covers some of this same ground from a slightly different perspective.