As I prepared for a time of meditation almost instantly one of those inner dialogues that sometimes occur began to take place. I found myself talking, as though to an old friend about how I felt I was like the Prodigal Son. I had wandered far from home and squandered my talents and my spiritual inheritance. My friend responded, “But, how?” I said that I now realized that while I thought that I was operating beyond the ego, in fact, my fear of success and my fear of failure were ego fears. I see now that thinking one is not egocentric is one of the first clues that one may be. It is not necessary to go into all the details surrounding that realization and I hasten to point out that I am not condemning myself for now seeing how things might have been different.
The question that came to the front of my awareness in this meditative dialogue was: “How do I get back home?” I can feel the open arms of Spirit welcoming me, but I am still far off. My feet are moving but the landscape passes so slowly. It is like walking on the mud flats as I did as a child gathering crawfish at night at low tide along the Columbia River. I fell that night, flat into the mud. I almost lost the crawfish I had collected. Then, I got up and returned on home. I have fallen a number of times in my life. So far I have managed to get up each time. I am not sure, however, that I always returned “home.”
When one comes to the realization that time appears to have been wasted and talents never quite fully expressed, all might seem lost. Certainly the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ parable felt that way. He found himself eating husks meant for the swine, wishing to be home if only to be a servant in his father’s house. What courage and resolve it took to pick himself up and return to the roots of his being. Of course, those familiar with the story know the ending was a joyous reunion and full welcome home. All that was lost was restored. (Luke 15)
In a sense the journey for all of us is that of “returning home.” As manifest in human form we seemed to have forgotten who we are. In Genesis 1:27 we read: “So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him.” Forgetting this source of our being is how we left home. Remembering it is how we return home. This creation does not mean that God looks like us! It means that our true nature is spirit and transcends the physical self. The ego is concerned with taking credit for satisfying the needs of the physical self. Our spiritual nature is concerned with the expression of God through our talents. God as Spirit is infinite. Man as Spirit is unlimited and free to express the fullness of God in health, happiness and abundance.
There are many individual applications of this concept of “returning home.” This week marks the greatest shock to Wall Street and the financial markets in recent history. It is still uncertain how it will ultimately be resolved. There is plenty of blame to go around, but affixing blame is no better than the dissipation and abuse of talents that created the mess in the first place. In this case perhaps the “returning home” will consist of replacing the greed and riotous living with a return to serving our fellow citizens. Rightly applied our talents are capable of providing abundance and well-being for all. When we fail to use our talents for the good of all persons, we ultimately we find ourselves losing all that we have.
Jesus instructed His disciples:
What will a man gain by winning the whole world, at the cost of his true self? Or what can he give that will buy that self back? Mat. 16:26 NEB
The Prodigal took what he believed was his inheritance and left his family thinking he could do better on his own. Having never recognized the source of his wealth, it did not take long for it to be exhausted. Sometimes we cut ourselves off from our families because we think we can do better without them. I believe our fate will be the same until we remember that it is our connection to our spiritual and human family, our roots, that connects us with our true source abundance—in love, support and encouragement.
So, I am reflecting on my talents and the Source from which they spring and I am seeking to return home to my true inheritance. I am looking to understand how I can better apply myself to making my world happier, more secure and peace-filled for all.