Who are we to be gods?
The outer world has become untenable. Once we have drawn our attention from the play of shadows, it becomes very difficult to reengage. We’ve moved on and there’s no going back. At first, it’s all floaty and surreal, impersonal on a total scale, and evocative of the heady upswelling rush of dissociation. The void has no reference points other than the ones we carry from early-life fracturing, and the traumatized child finds costly refuge in these foreign, uncharted lands. Sometimes we can forget to breathe.
We are falling and if we attempt to gain traction — find something, anything, to push up against — the acute sense of dislocation is only accentuated. Falling, falling, falling, no beginning and no end, just falling. Pre-verbal wounding, held in the symbolic domain of implicit memory, evokes a primordial terror. The thinking mind hadn’t even developed yet. We are ‘falling’ towards all of the lost and fragmented aspects of self that never came back from the void. In shamanic terms, this is called soul loss. The pre-verbal memory of humanity’s collective soul loss — the Original Wound — casts the largest shadow of all. Yet there is no trauma left to heal if our very selves are being assimilated as all of consciousness returns to itself.
In biblical lore, the story of the Prodigal Son is used to demonstrate the power of redemption and the nature of Grace beyond a rotten paradigm of deserving and undeserving. The youngest son squanders his inheritance by “wild living” and returns to his father empty-handed and ashamed. The older son had played by the rules, respected the honor codes, and reckoned himself deserving of a better reward than his wayward brother. Yet it’s never asked: What if the father gave his son the wrong inheritance?
To redeem means to return something to its true nature. The Prodigal Son went looking for his destiny and got ensnared by the sensual world. First he falls from Grace in order to encounter its true nature. When our behaviour no longer needs to be governed by laws, processes, dogmas and ancient superstitions, we are set free from the whole game. Life becomes elegantly simple. The Prodigal Son bypassed all the ancestral rules and went straight for his fortune. When he failed, as surely as destiny dictated that he must, his father rejoices, and gives him a ring, a robe and sandals. He even kills a fattened calf in his honor. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found,” rejoices the father.
Redeem can mean to buy back, in the sense of an equal exchange. The Latin root of the word mercy also means exchange. The currency for this redemption is a life for a life. We must die in order to be reborn. We are all the Prodigal Son and the Prodigal Daughter when we have ‘failed’ the old world, exhausted the cycle of repetition, and found ourselves, arms outstretched, at the mercy of all-loving, all-forgiving Grace. It’s the one failure that can’t be avoided and is absolutely necessary.
Now, are we fallen, or falling into Grace? In this unavoidable freefall, one becomes the other, and the other the One. It was only ever our opinion that divided Grace into meaningless pairs of opposites: worthiness and unworthiness, earned and unearned, process and outcome, lawful and heretic, broken and healed, self and other.
In a cause-and-effect reality, we move from Point A to Point B as a methodical process. But the great involution of consciousness is folding time, distance and history into a single point of light. That’s why the Christ was the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Sooner or later, we awake in a scarcely believable world. The old rules no longer apply. But the more unreal the outer world becomes, the more real we become and the less the outer world matters. The father’s embrace of his Prodigal Son is immediate, spontaneous and unconditional. We were lost in the trials of this time-torn world, and now we are found.
God, in a manner of speaking, was never interested in our comfort or safety, much less willing to bargain for our limitations. God was only interested in our greatness. Why else have we been dying with such astonishing regularity? The cycles grow short as all that we are not is surrendered to Source, and all that we are is recognized in its singularity. ‘I am the center of the entire Universe’ is a puffed-up statement of grandiosity when it comes from the constructed ego-self. But when awareness becomes aware of itself — when the viewer and the view collapse into the same experience — it’s a self-evident truth. More simply: I Am.
Finally, we can die to a spirituality of subtraction and diminishment. We have finished our ascension for the real business of descension: becoming the living templates for heaven on Earth. Once again we are falling.
Dare we claim our own light? Who are we to be creator gods? It overturns the ancient superstition set in train by the myth of original sin, and recapitulated by the dictum that bound us to the ancestral curse of endless repetition: honor thy parents. The Prodigal Son’s true inheritance is to grow beyond his father, and in doing so, banish the law forever. Karma ends when cause and effect ceases to exist, when we have exited the corrupt matrix of belief and repetition.
The self and the other become the One to give rise to a third force: the individualized ‘we’. Many voices, one truth. Many faces, one gaze. Many flavors, one taste. Many souls, one door. We know the end of history is close when we die with every exhalation, and the Holy New is born with every inhalation. Patience is a given but waiting is futile. We are the new world, here, now. Our only job is to fall, fall, fall…
Photos: Witold Pruszkowski, Falling Star; Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son; Geetanjal Khanna