Tag Archives: prodigal son

We Are the Prodigal Sons & Daughters Who Need to Return Home

“Within the text of the coursework provided you heard many ideas that either changed or reinforced those you already had about yourself. A Course of Love is a teaching text and the goal of its teaching was stated and restated many times so that you would not forget the purpose of the learning you were participating in. Eventually your learning reached an end point as the learning goal of this Course was met, and this you were told as well. I say this to remind you that the time of “teaching” like the time of “learning” had its place as well as its methods.” (ACOL, D:6.1)

The goal of A Course of Love is to establish a new identity; it thus takes the next step after A Course in Miracles, which had as a goal to dislodge the ego. Now we are finding in the third book, the Dialogues of A Course of Love, that our ego is gone—for all of us who have come this far. Can we believe it? Dare we believe it?

Yes! The ego is not exactly just being egotistical. It is a persona that looks to our own self primarily, but it is the personal self that doesn’t place God as our Creator, that somehow has this authority problem that thinks that we created ourselves. This is nonsense, of course, and when stated this plainly, the nonsense becomes apparent. But we do have misguided notions of Jesus’s concept of God as Father. Basically, we are the prodigal sons and daughters who need to return home. And to do so, a first step has been to stop putting ourselves in the center of the universe. We belong in the universe, but we share it with all living things. We are necessary for our brothers and sisters to make their way safely through our world. And an egoic bent means that we put #1 first all too often. We don’t need to denigrate ourselves, but we do need to share our good fortune with everyone we encounter.

We don’t have to run after new and better techniques to get to God. Jesus says that, after all (and this makes sense to us), there is an end point to our seeking—once we have found. And we have found in ACOL. If we rest easy and don’t try to form a new egoic personality, we will be home free. Let us all choose to do the non-egoic ways of thinking. Let’s all be at ease in returning Jesus’s embrace.

Jesus will shortly resign as our teacher, and choose to be our partner, companion, fellow worker, and the like. We will be in dialogue with him, adding to the future piece by piece. He says that he will never be predictive, because he is the “I Am” of Christ-consciousness. So, as we create this new world, we won’t be able to “figure it out” the way that the ego functioned previously. We don’t need to effort to bring about a new world, though; the things that we need to do will occur to us at the appropriate time. We are receiving guidance from our Christ-Self all along.

So: Keep the faith. Be thankful for this day’s opportunities. If bad things seem to be happening in our world, know that we can live above the fray. We don’t have to be influenced by negative happenings. Stay close to our inner God in prayer. And the day will take on a complexion that will astound us.

Prayer

Thank You for guiding me, as always. Help me to stay positive, not to fret about anything and everything. Fretting is worrying, and that is a symptom of egoic thinking. Trusting in You is the whole Answer. And I aim to do just that.

Thank You for teaching me how to navigate this sometimes difficult world. May I realize that I sometimes have more time than my brothers and sisters to speak to them. Many of my brothers and sisters occupy a very busy world, and when they don’t respond to me, it is a symptom of their busy choices. Help me to be ever understanding.

Amen.

The Prodigal’s Return, by Ivor Sowton

I wanted to let you know of the A Course of Love USA Facebook group if you haven’t already heard of it. The group is centered on the audio recordings of the “first receiver” or channel of A Course of Love, Mari Perron, reading the chapters of ACOL. Currently the group is discussing via Facebook posts their own response to hearing Chapter 9. The group is open to any sincere student of this Course, so look it up and join in for some wonderful support, encouragement, and co-creation in Unity and relationship.

Chapter 9 is The Prodigal’s Return. It is one of the longest chapters in the whole work, probably because of its centrality to the entire thrust of Jesus’ essential message in A Course of Love. “You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.” (9.29)

The chapter begins with Jesus helping us differentiate between true feelings of the Heart and our emotions. Our true feelings are like a beacon Home, for they already know of giving and receiving pure love. But our emotions are twisted distortions of these true feelings, because our body-identified egos “speak the language of the separated self rather than the language of your heart.”(9.2)

I can feel what He is talking about here more deeply now. I can see myself constantly trying to grasp or cling to the things I think I’m lacking in my life, trying to use them to fill that gaping Void inside.

There is a deep discussion of use and abuse in this chapter. Abuse is seen as simply a more extreme case of the mercenary use we have all tried to impose on our world. The first thing we try to use is our own bodies, which Jesus clearly states that we made up in order to stay separate from each other! And we follow up on this miscreation by then setting up the body as our master rather than our servant, so we can say “my body made me do it!” I can really feel this in myself now. Better late than never!

In keeping with the title of Jesus’ new dispensation to us in A Course of Love, it is the Heart in us that can see through the separation ruse and start to draw us back Home. We have an internal guidance system in our own hearts—our very center. So in spite of the ego’s attempt to hijack these feelings into fear, trying to get us to “control or protect” the very little we think we deserve, we have a chance now to see this fear for the illusion it always was.

This requires great self-honesty. I actually love the strong language Jesus employs here in calling our separated state a nightmare world, because it does not allow me to use denial or deception as I did before. As a prodigal son I have no joyful present or future if I’m still trying to beat out the competition in that grim scenario of the survival of only the fittest. We’ve settled for that nonsense so very long, and we have to get good and tired of it before we look any deeper, it seems!

It’s like I’m finally willing to stop running and trying to hide from God. And Jesus gives me a very big Shoulder to lean on as I do the inquiry He asks of me in this chapter. He gives so much encouragement! Here’s one example: “Child of God, you need no imaginary (ego) friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and he who would show you that you have no needs at all.” (9.31)

It seems so important now to stop and honestly appraise my life with the help of that Mighty Friend. Like the image in A Pilgrim’s Progress , all I really have to do is drop my burden of all that ego baggage at the Lord’s feet. I had thought I needed all that stuff—achievements, status, security—but I finally saw that with the ego in charge none of this was fulfilling at all!

The chapter goes on to circumvent some common reactions to our dawning realization of prodigality, like suddenly feeling huge guilt or shame, or by seeking to bargain with God as if He is our banker: “You would prove to God that you can “make a go of it” before you would ask Him for His help.”(9.34) These common reactions prevent us from forgiving ourselves, which is just another ego ploy.

Gradually we realize that we’re all in the same boat here! “All your vast wanderings will be seen for what they are. All that you desired will be revealed as only two desires, the desire to love and the desire to be loved. Why wait to see that these desires are all that call you to the strange behavior that you display?”(9.48)

Indeed, why wait!?
-from Ivor Sowton

A Separated Self Is an Illusion

“You can be faithful to but one thought system.  One is the thought system of the separated self and is based on separation.  The other is the thought system of creation and is based on union.  Your faith in what you have made has been shaken now, and you realize you would like to place your faith elsewhere.  (A Course of Love, 11.6)”

Affirmation:  “I choose union today, with God and my brothers and sisters.”

Reflections:claude-monet-paintings-claude-monet-woman

1 – Separation

We have long believed that we are somehow separated from God because we fell from grace and were expelled from Paradise due to our missteps.  Perhaps we need to take another look at these concepts.

2 – Did We Separate from God?

What if we only thought that we had been rejected by God?  What if we have never really separated from Him at all?  These are the thoughts of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Our belief in separation is based on the illusion in which we live.  It would be impossible to actually separate from God, but we can imagine that we have done so, and thereby experience what it might be like to be “other than” God.  By such thinking, we recognize, eventually, that we are lost in dreams and that we want to return home.  And home is heaven.  We find ourselves welcomed home as the Prodigal Son was welcomed back by his earthly father.

3 – Union

What does “union” mean in this context?  Union is the consciousness of All That Is, the choice to join with God in knowingness and love, and with our brothers and sisters in knowingness and love.  We are One, and in union we come to see how this can be.  There is no separation among those who love each other.  We will all meet again those in our lives whom we have loved, either on this earth or in the world beyond (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

4 – We Have Not Separated

Let us put our fatih in a different place today.  Let us reaffirm that we have not actually left God at all, that this choice would be an impossibility.  But that we think that we have left is very possible, and it goes a long way toward explaining our fears and apprehensions.  We think that He is angry with us for “rejecting” Him, and we cringe in tribulation.  All of this is illusory.

5 – A Better Day

May the faith that we reach today, the turning aside from the separated state and the choice for union, give us a better day–and may this better day be the harbinger of many good days ahead.  Would not Jesus choose this for us?  Yet we ourselves make the choice, and if it is in line with what Jesus would see as best, we are poised for a new tomorrow.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to place my complete faith in You.  You know my needs, and You care for me.  You will guide me to make the right decisions, in the things that I must do to be safe and loved by those about whom I care so much.  Your way is best.  Your way is actually the only sane response.  May my day go well in Your light.

I would join in union with all today, and with All, meaning You.  May any obsessions about my continued safety drop away before Your grace.

I know that to separate from You would be impossible.  But all of my brothers and sisters do not have this knowledge.  May I reach today those whom You would have me reach with this blessed news of Your constant presence in our lives.

May the day go well.  If I am true to You all the day long, paying attention to the promptings, then this day will be good indeed.  Thank You.

Amen.

Safe Embrace

“You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.  (A Course of Love, 9.29)”

Affirmation:  “I am in my Father’s safe embrace.”

vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-arles-1Reflections:

1 – In Trouble

The prodigal son or daughter is an image of an individual in trouble, an image with which we can all identify at one time or another.  We may not know “trouble” that is like that of our brother or sister, but we all know difficulties of one type or another.  And we need the prayers of ourselves and others to help us out of the mire.

2 – We Are Safe

We are told in today’s passage that God Himself offers a safe embrace to us, an embrace that, because it is “safe,” is also comforting and protective.  May we reach inward today for that embrace.  May we know that God, the Divine within, wishes us well.  We only need to turn inward to know that we are safe, that we do not have to fear anything that this world can do to us.  Regardless, there will be a happy ending–if not in this world, then in the next.  Normally, though, there is no need to spend our days on earth longing for the better world that is beyond this one.  That is a very demoralizing stance to take.  God wishes us well here, and He is always here to help.  May we take Him at his word and enjoy the safe embrace that awaits us when we stop trying to do it all alone.

3 – We Are Not Alone

We are not alone.  A nightmare in sleep is inconsequential, and we have nightmares in the sleep that we have for eight hours at night, and in the illusions that we have during the day.  When we awake in the morning, we simply go from one form of sleep to another (an ACIM tenet).  Knowing this, cannot we feel some comfort?  Our nightmares are not real, whether they come in the night or the day.

4 – The Promise

We long for God’s safe embrace today, and we can have it–even today.  That is the overwhelming promise of the passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept Your safe embrace today, ever mindful that when I turn to You, You are always there for me.  And You are there for me even when I am too upset and distracted to feel anything at all.  Your felt presence is a blessing that takes us out of our despair and gives a helping hand to the affairs of the day.  I would thank You for the felt presence, when it comes.  It is indeed blessed.

Be with me again today.  So often I ask for that.  And You always respond.  Thank You for the answers to recent prayers.  I see Your answers working out in my life.  And I pray that You will walk with me until the culmination of my prayers happen.  Be with me in the day and in the night, especially if the night does not bring sleep.  You are always awake, and I can use time awake to commune with You.  Help me to remember that just maybe You want some time with me that I don’t allow You during the day.

Be with me.  Help me.  Thank You for the many blessings that I have known throughout my life.  And thank You for learning at a young age that prayer is the secret to a good life.

Amen.