An old man once told me the story of a younger son who was dissatisfied with the life provided by his father and decided to leave home. After a long time of wandering, he had exhausted his resources and ended up in a cesspool of debauchery and humiliation in which he suffered greatly. However, his father, who was very wise and knowing of his suffering, sent his elder brother to fetch him and bring him home. The elder brother found the younger in a dark and filthy pit, wallowing in despair. After also entering into this thoroughly unpleasant place, the elder brother lifted up his younger brother, who had since forgotten where he had come from, and reminded him of his true home far away.

When he again came to realise who he really was, the younger son wept both with tears both of regret and joy to discover that his father was calling him home. The eldest placed the youngest on the road and accompanied him home to their father. However, the journey was still long and not easy. Many dangers and obstacles still lay in their way. The world was full of shadows and many traps were set for the travellers. However, in his mind the younger son could now see his father waiting for him to complete his journey home and this gave him the strength to continue the battle with the shadows until they had all been overcome. .

His most powerful weapon was the realisation that he was, and had always been, a beloved son of the father and nothing could separate him from his father’s love. In fact, he now understood that it had been this, his misguided wish to separate himself from his father that had caused him to leave home and enter the world of suffering. He had been misled and had not realised that having knowledge of good and evil would involve having to experience both, as well as loneliness, pain and suffering.

Upon his return with his elder brother, he greeting his father and cried out aloud; ‘Thank you Father, that I can at last see the purpose of human drama and pain.’ ‘I now know that that which at first seemed so meaningless, is all part of the universal tapestry of the unfoldment of your Being.’

Jimmy Henderson www.discoveringyourself.co.za