The Bible story of the prodigal son presents two life choices: cultural conformity by the dutiful son, and non-conformity by the profligate son. At first it looks like one brother made good choices while the other made bad ones. I was reminded of the above Bible story when a crossroad decision made years ago came to mind. When the decision was made I did what seemed right at the time, but it was now occurring to me that I had taken the path of “cultural conformity.” The other path, in the fantasy of hindsight at least, had the promise that “I could have been somebody;” perhaps done something important in the world.
Both thoughts are firmly established in the past, expressing the double whammy of: “I should have. .” and: “I could have. .”
Memories are dreams and dreams are thoughts about “who I think I am, and who I should have been.”
With this view it becomes clear that whatever done or not done in life, while meaningful and often full of drama, is not the substance of true fulfillment.
Either choice considered at the time came from influences about what I thought I was expected to do and to be.
The choice made merely pointed out the overriding interest at the time, with the resulting consequences. The remnant thought that “I coulda,” is of course, a “should” thought from another set of things I think I should have accomplished.
It dawns on me that the choice made many years ago was neither right nor wrong. It resulted in both good and bad due to the many common cultural thoughts swimming in my consciousness from the sea of mental garbage. Yet, at the same time, throughout my life, good ideas and good things happened.
The Good of life does not come from what I do or not do, what I have or don’t have. The Good of life flows from an orientation to what is wholesome and harmonious.
Even now decisions can present themselves as “urgent and life changing,” but this is not the truth. The real choice is to recognize whether something is in harmony with what Is, or not. The main question to consider as information and events unfold is: Is there PAGL? If there is, everything will work together harmoniously. If PAGL is not present, let go of the decision for now and be open to learning something.
The healing journey for both brothers in the Bible story was to discover the futility of seeking fulfillment through what they, or their brother, did or did not do, and to turn their attention to the context of Pure Love, as symbolized by their father. It then becomes possible to forgive the past and be grateful for the joy that is available right here, right now.