I had identified with the elder son in the story, the good boy, who found the lavish welcome unfair. This son had toiled dutifully for years without, he felt, such rewards as given the one who had walked away.
So, I didn't get it. Until now.
In the last couple of weeks, I've seen my plans for a much needed change continually thwarted. I did my best to listen and make adjustments, but the roller coaster ride of hopes raised and dashed continued.
I didn't handle it well at all. My emotions ran the show, and trust and inner peace seemed always just beyond my reach.
The prodigal son squandered his fortune in loose living and cavorting with harlots. I spent mine in fear and its various manifestations: anxiety, doubt, worry, and choppy sleep.
It wasn't a lot of fun.
I did manage to maintain awareness of the process, though. I recognized that rather than simply doing what was mine to do and allowing events to unfold, distrust was causing me to try to make something happen. I just couldn't seem to stop myself.
One evening, though, I'd had enough. I think I'd finally just worn myself out. As I sat down to meditate, filled with disappointment and remorse for having responded in opposition to all I knew, suddenly~~instantaneously~~ something shifted. Like the prodigal son in Christ's story, I was welcomed unconditionally back home.
In a moment, I was back in the manor house, and felt as if I'd never left. There was no need for apologies; no harshness came my way. My 'punishment', if that in fact was what it was, had already occurred in all I had brought on myself while away.
I understood some things from this experience that I'd never gotten quite as deeply before. Living in harmony is our birthright. That is our fortune. Spiritual development is about growing into that abundance and living it more fully in every moment of every day.
Yes, we can~~and we will~~turn our backs on this bounty again and again. We shall squander our fortune in the way that is our wont. But we can return at any moment we truly wish. No questions asked, although depending on our behavior while away, we may need to right a wrong done.
I also saw that we each have our favorite methods of leaving this state of grace. For the elder son, who lived and worked in the fields of his father, envy and judgment and minding someone else's business were his particular temptation points. As soon as he fell for them, he too had turned his back and left the fields of plenty. He was squandering his fortune in his own idiosyncratic way, but will be welcomed back whenever he decides to return.
And that change I needed? As soon as I got myself out of the way, things did begin to unfold. It's quite likely that the end result will be far better than I could have conceived.
Good thing I'm not driving this bus!
I hope this week finds you living within the fields of plenty!