Sunday, April 26, 2009


I've been so busy lately that I really haven't had the combination of time, energy, and thoughtfulness needed for blogging. Even now I really should be going to bed, but, hey! the things I want to talk about here shouldn't always take 3 hours to express! I need to learn how to let my thoughts and feelings out little by little. It's all part of the process. Even if I sit here and blog for ten hours I'm not going to come to the Conclusion. Ultimately the problems of my life boil down to basic truths. I'm sure it would help to state them here.

So one of my problems is that I'm really sensative to how my actions affect the feelings of others. I wonder if I said the right thing, did the right thing. Did I offend them at all? Rub them the wrong way? Give their soul a noogie? Sometimes it's impossible to know, too subtle to detect or ask about.

I have another problem which is connected to this I think. I depend on others too much perhaps. When I get by myself I have a really hard time being productive and motivated. When I'm with others I feel the life flowing through them, through me. I feel the connection, the meaning. Life makes sensewhen I'm with other people, but when I'm alone I'm often just passing the time or doing just the basic things I have to do.

Both of these have to do with being too attached to the world and not attached enough to God. I need detachment. Detachment can cure the oversensativity problem. Only if I have my heart set on God will I have the composure, the desire, and the will to let my heart burn with loving-kindness towards all who cross my path. Only then will I really make my best effort to serve them, to show them love, to brush away all dark thoughts. Only when I see the unity of God reflected in His handiwork can I be that way with total sincerity. Then I can know that I'm making the efforts that my heart knows are right and good. Then I'll feel no shame or regret. Others will benefit from my words and actions, but they will all be directed to God through His servants. They will all be part of sustaining the link between me and God, and it must be sustained and supported throughout the day or it will break. As with anything (such as prayer), at first it may seem laborious and not natural, instinctual, but doing little things throughout the day as part of my relationship with God will bring Him, slowly but surely, into focus in my daily life. Finally I will reach a point where I do all I must do to sustain and strengthen my relationship with God as a second nature. I will see Him clearly manifested before me. I will speak to Him and hear His voice. I will feel the warmth and see the light of His radiance!

What must be done to build up and sustain this link? That's for another time, but I can start out by saying that prayer, obedience, virtue, and consistent, daily effort are at the root of it.

What about the problem of being like a little puppy dog that starts going nuts when it's alone for too long? The same solution. The only way I'll free myself from being blown about on the winds of circumstance is to engage in the relationship with God, laborious and one-sided and clumsy as it may feel at first. Only through communion with Him can I gain independance from the world and all its peoples. Then I can stop worrying about getting all the love I want from them and be filled from the inner wellspring of His love within me. Then I can focus on really loving, really serving, really listening, really seeing others! When I crave for my own selfish desires, even if they be for good things like love and gentle care, my desire blinds me! How can I see the truth when I am chasing the products of my imagination! I must have faith that that God is here! That He will respond! That the reality of His spiritual Kingdom is far better for me than whatever I've put up on a pedastel in my mind and heart!

I must not be discouraged! Finding the link with Him, taking hold of it, finding it again, strengthening it, beign cleansed and purified by it, being filled from it, having my eyes and ears and mouth and nose and hands opened up--all these things take time. I must be grateful, so much more than I now am! How blessed--how undeservingly!--I am to recognize Baha'u'llah, to be able to read His words, to have the chance to consecrate myself to His will, to devote myself to Him entirely! Nothing can approach this goal in worthiness. It is the supreme purpose of my life and its execution embraces everyhour of the day, every circumstance of life, everything within and without me! Every moment, no matter what, holds the chance for me to draw nearer to my Lord.

Why hesitate? It's a good question. I there's no worthwhile reason, but there are a myriad reasons that I allow myself to be convinced by every day. I need to take a close look at what they are....another time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I keep reaching out for my desires. I keep on with my craving of all those things my imagination builds up, all those earthly rewards that I hunger for, all those hopes I insist must realized. Despite all I have learned from Baha'u'llah, I cling doggedly to my cravings and aversions. I imagine the way I want things to be and feel elated when they turn out the way I want, dejected when they don't. I like to think that because of what I've learned from Him--because I understand the concepts--that I am watching the game of self and desire from a lofty remove.

The fact is, I am down in the muck! I am in the very thick of this tragic game of chasing mirages. I claim to be a follower of Baha'u'llah, a lover of God, but I love only myself! When it comes down to it, I do things because in some way they benefit me! I am in the prison of self. O God! I am so sorry! 16 years after discovering Thy truth and the path of Thy good pleasure I am no better than I was then. I have learned nothing! Nothing! I have accomplished so little. I have offered up so little to Thee. My mouth speaks the words of truth, of love and devotion, of unity and reunion with Thee, while my hands tightly grip the mortal cup of my own vain imaginings. I turn to others and sing Thy praises. Then I turn away and drain the cup of self. I am like clear but bitter water, seemingly pure but in fact defiled with selfish desire.

O Lord! 16 years ago I first read these words of Thine:

"O Son of Man!

If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee."

When first I read those words at the age of 16 I knew in my heart that they expressed my heart's inmost desire, that they summed up the whole purpose of my life. At that time I also read for the first time Thy words:

"O Son of Spirit!

There is no peace for thee save by renouncing thyself and turning unto Me; for it behooveth thee to glory in My name, not in thine own; to put thy trust in Me and not in thine own self, since I desire to be loved alone and above all that is."

I knew the truth of these words then. I knew then that they were the absolute truth. I knew from the beginning what my heart truly desired, what Thou hadst destined for me, the purpose for which Thou created me, what would lead me to light and peace and fulfilment, and what would lead me to pain, loss, and regret. From the very beginning I knew the way so clearly! Every step of the way was mapped out in paths of light on my heart, yet I failed to walk in Thy path! I took up two handfuls of dust and blotted out Thy gifts! I failed Thee!

Even now I walk about in a trance. In a few days I will enter the 34th year of my life. Years pass away, one after the other, with increasing swiftness. Year after year I stand before Thee, at the very shore of the ocean of reunion with Thee. I stand with my back turned to Thee and all my being focused on the mortal cup in my grasp. With the waters of Thine eternal grace lapping up around my feet I cannot tear my gaze away from my worthless desires! With the waves whispering Thy call to me I listen only for the coming of the mirages of my selfish passions! Oh God! Help me! I'm dieing! No, I am as one dead. I am but a ghost. I am powerless to escape this darkness. I have nothing. I am nothing. Everything I would use is but an instrument of my own desires. Every grand idea is but another outgrowth of ego. Every antidote I apply is infected with self. Every escape plan I devise just leads me around in circles!

Long ago I first recognized the truth of these words of Thine:

"O Son of Being!

With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof."

I knew then and have known for every day of the 16 years since, my Lord. I have known clearly but I failed to act. I was afraid. I couldn't bear to let go of this world. I knew Thy truth yet I couldn't bring myself to trust Thee! I knew the way but I wouldn't make my feet move one in front of the other to walk it! I recognized the poisons and drank them with relish!

It's all like a dream. My whole life is a dream, a mirage. I see not the souls of others. I see only what they can give me, as much as I seek to convince myself otherwise. I don't really love anyone because I don't know how to love. I don't even know what love is. I can't see it or feel it or even smell it. It's as Thou said:

"O My Friend In Word!

Ponder awhile. Hast thou ever heard that friend and foe should abide in one heart? Cast out then the stranger, that the Friend may enter His home."

After all these years I have still not cast out the stranger. The Friend still waits outside to enter His home. How patient is the Friend! How merciful! How forgiving! How long He waits, waiting for this one soul, this one who is as a spec of less than nothing before Him, to prepare my heart for Him and invite Him in! After all this time He has not abandoned me! For 16 years He has waited. It's almost beyond belief, but somehow I have not lost my chance.

I need Thy help, O My Lord! I feel so weak. I feel incapable of doing what I must do. I feel so tainted and diseased. It seems everything of me comes out of ego and nothing escapes the mesh of my desires! How can I escape this prison? O Lord! I want to die in Thee! I want Thou to live in me! You ask but one thing of me: to give myself to Thee entirely. O Lord, enable me to really do it! I'm as ready as I'll ever be right now! Destroy me! Let nothing remain! Fill me up, O Lord, and do with me what Thou willest! Burn out from me all traces of self and desire! Enable me to acheive the victory, O Lord, for love of Thee, in the light of nothingness before Thee, returning to Thee, dieing and burning away and disappearing in Thee, growing and learning and teaching in Thee, singing and flying and being born in Thee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I've got everything and nothing to say, as ever I do, so I guess I don't really know what's on my mind but I feel I need to write. I guess what matters is what's on my heart. The problem is that matters of the heart don't take shape in my mind in a very crystal clear way. I guess that's one of the main things about the next world that I so look forward to, the chance to finally know what I was really feeling all this time! To know what exactly I've been longing for and why. I really wonder if I'll be as curious as I think I will be or if everything will so transformed that it'll be like thinking of life in the womb. You can only dwell on that so much and then you've covered it.

I know what I'm longing for actually. I just want to love and be loved. Seriously, if that's all there was in my life and everything--everything!--else was stripped away I think I would be fine. Love is so mysterious. It is the measureless ocean that endlessly yields its waters to an unquenchable thirst, the supreme state of being that transcends all else, the ultimate goal that diminishes all the loftiest aspirations, yet at the same time it is like a wisp of fragrance floating on the air, always seeming to be only the faintest trace of its source, and at other times it is like the starry sky, filling me with wonder and delight, but leaving me cold and lonely in my far remoteness.

This longing...I barely feel worthy to feel it at all. I could be doing so much more to show my love to God! "Let deeds not words be your adorning." So much of my time I spend escaping from the pain of reality, because reality is the pain of loneliness! I feel like I need so much love, almost like I'm greedy for it. I want it so much! I want so much of it! I want to swim in love and never reach the bottom! Just keep going and going forever!

I don't just want to take love, though. I want to give it too! All I want to do is give love! It's all I want to do all the time! I spend so much time alone but all I want to do is serve others. I swear I just need other people to tell me what to do and I'll do anything, as long as it feels right. If it's a chance to give and receive love then what is there to think about? Just do it! If only all my life could be the expression of love! If only every action I take, every breath were somehow part of giving and receiving love.

Love is an ocean whose depths have no end, and the farther down you swim the lighter and brighter and more true and free everything becomes. Love is an open sky filled with the breath of the Best Beloved and the birdsong of His eternal Kingdom! Love is a rose ever blooming, ever opening and unfurling its petals for all eternity! Love is so wonderful, so, so precious!

Nothing is of greater value than love, yet in my life I have let it slip away so many times. I was holding onto love. I was in the arms of love! Yet I didn't appreciate what I had. I neglected and abused love. I was a blind fool, or at least that's how it feels. I was young. Now in my late blooming I can finally see clearly, but what fate awaits me? How much loneliness does my Lord wish me to endure? What is truly the way out of loneliness and into love?

I guess the first key to drinking from the cup of love is to truly love others and to feel love for others all the time. The problem for me has been that love has always felt so much like a flash, a spark of spirit that could only be contained within this reality for a moment or two before it winged its way to His Kingdom. Can those sparks kindle a constant flame? Can I feel love burning throughout my being all the time? Can I stoke it enough and receive enough sparks of the spirit to really start a blazing fire? Could that fire grow into a great bonfire and ignite the hearts of others?

I know the answer is yes. I have no doubt, yet I have this fear, so difficult to place, so hard to translate into words. It's like I'm in this prison cell of ego, cut off from the world--not the world...but cut off from the souls of others, cut off from the spiritual world, severed from His presence. In this prison I am truly alone. No soul can enter into or even approach this space of selfish desire, not even my own. There is an open window in the cell offering escape, but I'm too afraid to jump out of it. I even feel like I don't know how. I know if I jump out of there I can't count on anyone catching me. I don't know how much help or what kind of help I'll get. I just know I'll be falling. I just know I'll be putting myself out there, giving my all, opening my heart, exposing myself to the cruelty and heartbreak of this world. I'll be giving of my heart and soul. What will others give to me? I'll be sacrificing my all for others. Will others sacrifice for me? I'll be dedicating my life to selfless service. Will others serve me? I'll be truly loving others with all my heart, loving their beautiful, precious souls, loving the light radiating from deep within them. Will they love me in return? It's like doing a trust fall. Will the people in my life catch me if I really do it, if I really fall back with my eyes to the heavens? If there aren't enough arms to catch me, strong enough to hold me, will I crash into the earth? Will I smash and destroy myself? Will I die of a broken heart?

Will you catch me if I fall Lord? If I open my heart will you fill it up? It is not my place to question Thee, I know, nor to seek assurances before I commit to Thee. I can only pray to Thee. I can only beseech Thee to help me to consecrate my entire being to Thee, my Lord. O Lord, I beg Thee to give me the strength and confidence that I do not feel within me now! I beg Thee to open wide the doors of service that I may see my opportunities clearly and seize them swiftly! At this time in my life, O lord, I know not how to best serve Thee. I want in my heart to do all I can for Thy Cause but I am held back by my weakness and selfish habits and by my lack of vision. There is a cloud before my eyes that obscures the path Thou hast laid out before me, the path of sacrifice to Thee, the path of emptying myself before Thee, the path of, at long last, being filled with Thy love. O my Lord, I beseech Thee to blow away this cloud with one breath of They mercy. Help me to do all I must do in order to truly walk this path. O Lord, help me to overcome my loneliness! Help me to truly love others at all times and under all conditions! Help me to find the way to loving Thee, truly, deeply, with not the slightest wish to turn back, with all there is of me! Please help me to feel the warmth of love, my Lord, to travel through the waters of Thine Ocean of love as I move through the days of this earthly life. O Lord, I beg Thee! Give me the chance to pour out the river of love that flows through my heart into the hearts of others. Strengthen my foundations that I will never fail to be kind and loving, that I will seize with heavenly zeal every chance to give love to others and, if Thou willest it, recieve love from them.

O Lord, do you wish me to have a wife some day? Do you wish me to have children? I have hurt hearts greatly in the past and my own heart has been hurt so terribly! Nevertheless, I know that I could give and receive love with my family even more than with other people! If in Thy wisdom, and in Thy great plan, Thou wishest to bestow such a wondrous and precious gift upon me, I will be grateful beyond measure and I will strive to recognize it as a gift from Thee, a beautiful, wonderful, growing tree of the life of Thy Kingdom, a treasure that Thou hast entrusted to me, but which belongs to Thee forever. I know not what Thou hast destined for me. I beg Thee, my Lord, to make me patient and wise and to aid me to rely on Thee alone, to seek only Thee, and to be utterly content with whatsoever descends upon me from The heaven of Thy will. Thou art the Goal of my desire and of the yearning of all Thy creatures! I beg Thee to take me into Thine arms, and to forgive me, unworthy as I am, and to purify and cleanse me, wretched as I am, and to nurture me and hold me close! All praise, all love, all glory be unto Thee! All of my heart of hearts is for Thee!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Just saw the movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" tonight. I loved it! It was so slow and steady, flowing like a river through this man's life. So much of it was in that time that I love so much: the 20s, 30s, and 40s. It was so sweet and alive, just a man's life. It was like telling the story of any person's life, the magic and love and memories that fill a normal person's life, a person like me, but since he's aging backwards there's something special going on, but really were just kind of tricked into experiencing the magic and sorrow of real, everyday life.

Benjamin Button grows younger and younger until he is just a little baby when he passes away. That's exactly what I want for myself. I can only hope and strive that I may be as innocent and pure as a newborn baby when it is my time to pass from this world, because that passing is not the end but the beginning. It is not death. It is birth, and all I can do for myself here is to develop in the womb as best I can. Everything but my own spiritual growth and the bonds of love I share with others will pass away.

The knowledge Baha'u'llah has given me about the afterlife is kind of a double edged sword. It makes me feel at peace with the whole process and not afraid, but rather excited about the prospect of moving on from this world. It puts everything in the right perspective and endows life with true meaning that I can embrace completely. In a sense, eternal life has begun already! At the same time, however, knowing that the next world is one of light without darkness, union without seperation, joy without suffering, and goodness without evil, makes this world sometimes seem all the darker. It makes me sometimes so impatient to be quit of it, and frustrated that I must experience so much toil and sorrow. And so many suffer so much more than me. To love God is to know that you are in prison. Ignorant bliss is shattered forever when you see what true freedom is, the freedom that comes only from letting go of this world and its trappings, submitting your will entirely to God, cleansing your heart with sincere efforts in His path, and opening it completely to His love and care.

That all sounds great right? It is great, but it's really difficult to to actually do and maintain and can be really painful, like strenuous exercise. True life, spiritual life, is such a challenge. It demands so much--everything! I often feel alone, more alone than perhaps I really am, and it's harder when I feel that way. That's why, if I get married, that woman must be a devout Baha'i and she must be passionately engaged in this same quest for God, because if she's not, I think I would feel more alone than ever. I know I would.

On the contrary, if she is on that path then I think we would both be able to support each other greatly. Maybe that's especially important to me because I feel like life is so much more real when I'm with others, when there is a real person there to love and serve. Marriage and family can be a way to bring the spiritual world into ours and to raise us up into that realm. So, now that I've written it down, I'm sure that's what I'm looking for in the marriage department. A Baha'i who will walk with me, hand in hand, every step of the way on this heavenly yet very difficult journey. I think I've been through enough and learned from my mistakes to have the right view of it now. Of course that means I have to be more detached than ever about finding that special woman, because I have REALLY narrowed it down. Detachment, especially in that area, is a good thing for me. It's difficult though, a perfect example of the challenges of the spiritual path. I am grateful to still be on it! Thank you God! Help me to walk it well!

On another note, a few nights ago I had a dream. I still remember it vividly, which is rare for me, so I'll describe it as best I can. I was in a small house with some friends and family. We were stitting around a table talking. Someone went to the window and said that she saw something strange and that maybe a storm was coming. I went to look through the window. You know how in dreams you see strange things that you would never see in real life, but in the dream it seems normal and you don't have much reaction? Well, what I saw out the window made such an impression on me that even in the dream I was mesmerized, so much so that I think I almost woke up at that point. What I saw was a vast landscape rolling of into the far distance, with a city full of skyscrapers off to the right. The sun was setting low in the sky. The clouds were ablaze with color but not the usual colors. They were full of blue and silver. The sun was a white light, not blinding, flickering just like a spot of bright reflection upon rippling water on the brightest of days. It was flickering a silver white light, flickering a heavenly light, pulsing to an unheard angelic melody. It was so peaceful, so beautiful. For a long time, which later seemed like only a moment, I gazed into that light. Then I felt commotion and distress growing around me. I turned to look around me in the house and I saw that everyone was racing about frantically and preparing to abandon the place. I asked someone what was going on. She said a great storm was coming, and that the house and all this area would be destroyed. She said it would arrive in a few minutes so we all needed to escape as quickly as possible. I looked out the window again. The sun and sky were as peaceful as before but I saw that that something was changing in the earth. It was shaking or moving in some way, almost becoming like liquid. Then I started to feel rumblings in the ground beneath my feet. I was suddenly so alarmed! I started racing around the room collecting things that I thought I needed. I grabbed this and that. My arms quickly filled up with a pile of stuff. When I grabbed things they seemed essential, but when I looked at what I was carrying it all seemed like utterly useless junk that would be no help to me. I kept running around piling things into my arms, however, stuff falling out onto the floor. I was full of anxiety, as if my whole future depended on the things I could carry out of that room. Meanwhile the room is shaking more and more. I knew I had to get out of that house now. Then I saw a plate of bacon on the table and a bacon and egg sandwich next to it. Suddenly I felt so hungry and felt that I had to eat, that I wouldn't be able to find food for a long time. I stuffed my face with bacon until I realized I had to get out of the house immediately or I was going to die. I raced out of the back door of the house. The land rose steeply up from the house into a thick forest. Everything was so green and lush. I saw the last stragglers of what I knew somehow to be a vast retreating mass disappearing into the forest. I was alone. I raced up the hillside towards the shadows of the forest. The whole world was shaking and rumbling. Some ways up I stopped and turned to look behind me. I could see the house below me, the city to the right, but beyond the house what had recently been plains and hills sweeping far into the distance was one indescribably vast maelstrom of spinning earth. It was growing rapidly, turning all the land into liquid, spinning unbelievably fast. It was miles and miles wide! The fury and power of it was like nothing I've ever experienced before! It hadn't reached the house or the city yet, but it seemed inevitable it would. It was spinning so gracefully, so majestically. I stood on the hill and watched as it grew. I wasn't afraid, but I felt so small. I looked to the sky, into the setting sun. It's flickering white light filled my vision. All else was cleared away and all became silent. In the light I felt such peace as I had never known. Oh, such peace! O my Lord, my Best Beloved, such peace, such peace! Then I woke up.

Back in this world, the light replaced by a pillow, blankets, and a wall. The world rushed in again to swiftly fill my mind. I felt such dismay. Oh, Lord, I beg Thee! If it be Thy will, let me gaze again on Thy light! Oh Lord, fill my vision with it! Let me not wait through all the years of this mortal life to feel such peace and love! Let me be a channel of Thy peace and love to others! Let me eat, drink, and breath them! Oh Lord, help me to walk this path, weak and prone to failure as I am, in such a way that will cause me to be filled with Thy light and to feel Thy closeness. All else is ashes and dust! Help me Lord. I need Thee. I am starving for Thy love. Please Lord, aid me to love Thee, that Thy love may flow into me and through me unto others.

Ya Baha'ul-Abha!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good Medicine

Special moment for me right now. I'm listening to a new album by The Orb for the first time in 4 or 5 years. I love The Orb and I love this new album! Few things compare to hearing a really great new album by a band you already loved for the first time. Can you dig it? I knew that you could.

I hung out for a long time today with my only Korean friend who is not a coworker or a Baha'i, and we hadn't seen each other for like 4 months or something, so it was kinda special. We went and saw one of those romantic movies that feels good when you're watching it but when you walk out you start feeling really lonely and crummy. It was "He's Just Not That Into You." First time I've seen a movie at the theatre for like 5 months!

My friend is really cool, kind, and soft spoken. A good person I can really be friends with. Unfortunately her English isn't quite at the point where we can have more abstract conversations. Actually I was able to talk about all kinds of spiritual things, about life and stuff, about the Baha'i Faith, and she understood almost everything I said clearly. She got frustrated trying to express her own understanding of Buddhism, but she said it was hard to speak clearly about in Korean as well. Of course I made an effort to teach the Faith but I think she might be kinda satisfied with Buddhism right now. I'll invite her to a devotional in the near future.

So with that in limbo I'm down to basically zero contacts for teaching the Faith right now. I'm like a painter who has everything but paint. I'm not going to sit here and complain about the myriad difficulties in teaching the Faith in Korea. I've done that enough already. It is what it is. Korea is just tough. I'm sure it seems tougher to me because I can't help but compare it to China. Someone coming from the States might not notice a lot of difference, except that they can't communicate with most people, and that the concentration of evangelical Christians is much higher than in most places in the U.S., which is surreal.

Until recently, I was getting more and more set in my feeling that I needed to move on from Korea as soon as possible, mostly because of my perception of the low percentage of receptive souls here (I don't know if it's accurate) and because of how difficult it's been for me to meet people and develop friendships. Well, also because I can speak Chinese and Korean is pretty hard to learn, and because I had such unprecedented successes in the teaching field there. And maybe because I have this urge to keep moving, keep moving, which is definitely partly unhealthy.

My trip to Malaysia shook me up though. I got a break from Korea, which enabled me to go back and look on it with fresh eyes. I also got to know many members of my community that I hadn't been able to connect with very closely before, because a bunch of us went to Malaysia together. Since then I've been spending a lot more time with other Baha'is, especially one-on-one. I've been getting out more and participating more in the activites of the community. I've been able to serve others, listen to then, give them counsel, all those good things. It's made me feel much more useful and envigorated than I was when I was just trying to survive in my cave. The teaching work is going slow, but at least I can serve the community. At least I can support the friends as they face their own daunting challenges. At least I can love them and be a friend and hopefully a positive example to them.

I've really fallen in love with this community since the Malaysia trip. The Baha'is of Seoul and the surrounding area are really a family. It's a small community, and there are a number of souls drifting around the edges, not participating much or at all (which I understand. I've definitely been there!) but there are some really pure, dedicated, radiant souls working hard for the Cause here. They love each other, they take care of each other, they support each other. Korea is not an easy place for them to teach the Faith or to be a Baha'i either! They face the challenges courageously, though, and persevere. They keep stoking the flame of devotion, cultivating unity, and taking step after steep uphill step on the path that God has laid out for us. I really admire them and love them.

So I'm trying to find my path of service to the Cause here in Korea. I was almost in despair about it before, but now I feel buoyed by my capacity to serve the members of the community. I'm also focusing maybe more than ever before on my own spiritual practice, as well as other things, like getting good sleep consistently, that are a huge part of the overall picture. Baha'u'llah sometimes refers to Himself as the Divine Physician, and it really helps me to think of Him that way right now. He understands all my problems and He knows the solutions. He has diagnosed me perfectly. I know the essentials of the treatment that He wants me to undergo and I know what medicine He wants me to take. I've always known but I haven't ever taken the treatment and the medication consistently enough to really receive their benefits. I've been so, so stubborn in my refusal to change, to break with my discredited old ways, to accept my need for his healing treatment. I've also been such a daydreamer that I keep drifting off into fantasy, not holding onto reality long enough to really see and start attending to the urgent needs of my life. Maybe when I've seen the problems is right about when I've dove back underwater.

So whether it's better for the Cause for me to stay here or go to China or something else I don't yet know, but I do know this: establishing healthy and transformative new habits like sleeping and eating well and getting exercise, like praying and reading the Scriptures every morning and evening and memorizing the words of God, like saying my Obligatory Prayer and 95 Allah-u-Abhas very day without fail, like studying the Faith and maybe other important things in my spare time, like grounding myself in the present moment and its needs and joys, then my whole mental-physical-spiritual makeup will be changed over time. It's all good medicine from God, especially the prayers and readings, and good medicine has a profound affect over time that you can't appreciate until you've experienced. Important decisions are best left for when one is healthier and of sounder mind.

I've been telling myself to do all these things for years, but not having much success due to a lack of commitment. I feel like something is happening now though, maybe something entirely new. I feel very hopeful. I guess I see the importance of all these things more than before, especially taking the prescribed medicine from Baha'u'llah. It feels like something I'm actually wanting and doing rather then something that I'm ruminating on and "should-ing all over my self." That's new. Like, for example, I realized that I need to set a strict bedtime for myself, probably 1 am for now, at which time I must be in bed no matter what. I can read and stuff but I have to stay on the bed. I hadn't thought of that before! I can't believe now that it hadn't occured to me but I think it didn't because I didn't really care enough. I didn't really want to change enough. Actually, it's more like this: I didn't want to stay focused on the reality of my problems long enough to find real solutions to them. I already had it figured out! When things get tough, escape into fantasy! Problem solved! Well, not really. Escapism solves problems about as effectively as drug use, just with less side effects.

Anyways, what do do and why and how to do it are pretty clear, so all that's left is the doing! Everything still feels kind of empty when I'm not teaching the Faith, no matter how much good I'm doing, but I can't just give up on everything else. Besides, good things in other areas will lead to good things in teaching. They'll make me better able to teach. I just ahve to accept that teaching is going to go slowly here and just do my best and stop getting so frustrated all the time. It does no good.

In order to teach the Faith in Korea I'm going to have to really put myself out there by joining groups like Toastmasters or going to this meeting of Unitarian Universalists I heard about. If I don't do that I just don't know how I'm going to meet even one person, much less a searching soul! And even when I join those groups it will take time. It will take some time tilling the soil and planting seeds before I see any sapling springing from the earth, and even they aren't guaranteed to grow as much as I hope. Other people have their own lives and they are in God's hands. I can only do what I can. I wish I could be more direct in my approach, like a soldier on the battelfield, unsheathing my sword and racing towards the evil horde, yelling out a battle cry, but I'm not on a medieval battlefield. I'm in a big modern city, full of busy, preoccupied people. I'll will do more than what I'm doing. I'll pray for God to show me the way, to send souls to me and me to them, and to give me the strength and purity and openness and constancy and love to be able to understand what they're searching for and to humbly guide them to the fountain of the love of Baha'u'llah, where they may at long last quench their thirst. I must find my own way there before I can guide others. I certainly must.

That starts with getting good, regular sleep, so I'm going to observe my new bedtime rule and go to bed!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nine was already my favorite number...

It's been two days of work and two nights after work since I wrote the last entry, and since I made the commitment written down in it. I guess I can say I've made progress on that path. I haven't played any computer games or watched any movies or TV shows. I still end up at the computer but now I'm replying to old emails I should have answered a while back and cleaning out my inbox and stuff. I haven't been able to actually tear myself away from the computer yet. I see progress though.

Actually today I spent about an hour cooking home fries and veggies with tofu. It was actually pretty fun and definitely rewarding. It takes a while but it's healthy. Ive avoided cooking before, partly because I figured it's no fun cooking for one. The plus side of cooking for one is that you have leftovers for later, though, so it kinda evens out.

It was kind of a special experience today with the food. I actually went out of my way to buy vegetables, and when I was there I just chose and bought like it was no big deal. I wasn't stressed out or confused. Then I just went home and got to work chopping and stir-frying. There was just something wholesome and good about the cooking experience. It just felt right, like spiritual nutrition. It's the exact kind of thing I need to do more of to have a more balanced and healthy life.

Cooking is also one of those things where afterward I was thinking, "That was cool but it woulda been so much better with someone to share it with." You know, someone to cook for and to chat with while I'm chopping and cooking, even just a friend. Well, that's a kind of revelation and a sign that I'm doing a healthy thing. I mean, I don't wish I had some company when I'm playing computer games or watching movies! Those are activities designed to cope with loneliness. They also reinforce it. Something more natural and healthy like cooking suddenly makes me feel like actually inviting someone over to my house for a meal! WOW! I mean, it hasn't even occured to me to invite someone over because I've gotten into such a turtle shell mentality. My apartment is my shell and after work I slide back into it, and I spend a lot time on the weekend holed up there too.

That's no way to live, not for me at least. A while back I learned about the Enneagram and I'm studying it some more right now. If you know anything about it then you'll probably agree when I say I'm totally a 9. That's #9 of the nine personality types. It's an amazing system actually, and 9 is dead on for me.

Anyways, one thing about Nines is that they don't really think about themselves much but kind of live through relationships or imagination. Nines don't tend to have any personal ambitions but get their satisfaction through connecting with other people and being part of a group. They love to bring happiness to others and harmony to groups, to listen and support and just be with others. Nines long for communion, oneness, and harmony. Being in that state with others is their bliss.

When Nines are alone they tend to retreat into fantasy, pleasantly daydreaming their way through life, as if they start to drift out of their bodies and out of this reality when not anchored by other people. From the Nine's perspective, other people, and the meaning and joy he draws from his relationships with them, are the only reason for his continued participation in this reality. In the absence of that living, breathing spiritual dynamic he naturally drifts away into a fantasy world where he can either feel those kind of feelings or forget his desire for them. This can lead Nines to become increasingly isolated and detached from reality, which in turn makes them less able to deal with reality as it impinges on their lives. Unfortunately, the Nine's way of dealing with this is to retreat even further and adapt his defense mechanisms to the problems as best he can. Meanwhile he does all he can to keep his problems from bringing sadness to others or disharmony to the group. Secretly he mourns the loss of his communion with others and the feelings of union with the divine and wholesome aliveness that he used to feel.

Am I telling the story of my own life or am I describing the Nine personality type? I don't know because they are one and the same! Learning about the Enneagram has definitely helped me get some perspective. It's funny...I was talking with a friend the other day. I said, "Well, I've been spending so much time alone since I've been in Korea. When I spend too much time alone I start to get really lonely and depressed and I spend all my time escaping from reality. The problem is that I just don't care about myself or my own interests and stuff. I just kind of shut down when I'm alone, but when I meet another person it's like I suddenly turn on. Suddenly I have purpose and zest for life! I want to commune with that person and hear all their stories. I want to serve them, to love and be loved by them. I feel full of life when I'm with other people!"

She said, "Well you should spend more time with others and less time alone."

"Hmm...good idea. Why didn't I think of that?"


Of course I know exactly why I didn't I didn't think of that, and why I didn't realize the problem so clearly until now: because I've been taking a steady dose of some kind of natural sedative that my brain produces and hiding from the pain and the problems and their solutions in a cloud of fantasy and oblivion.

It's still a process, though, even though I see the truth now. I mean, what I really want is the kind of union that I won't fully experience until the next world. That's really all I want. I don't want to accomplish anything for my own sake. I don't have a single personal ambition. I'm not about to get excited about trying to become a great writer or acquiring this or that thing or excelling at this or that pursuit. It's all I can do to simply find my way through everyday reality! Being grounded in this world and developing healthy patterns of behavior that carry me along a positive path through this material world is more than enough for me. Living life to me is all about creating a framework that will enable me to channel and experience spiritual reality. That definitely means taking care of lots and lots of things and it definitely involves striving for excellence in different pursuits, such as teaching ESL or learning Korean, but every one of those activities and pursuits is only a body. Without a soul a body is just a zombie, and that's exactly what I feel like when I'm doing things that aren't filled with spiritual purpose.

One thing to do about that is to cut out the things that I can't fill with spiritual purpose, such as computer games, etc., or to reduce them to a size where they can fulfil a spiritual purpose, as a means of rest or diversion or whatever. Another thing is to pour more spiritual purpose into the things that I'm already doing, such as teaching English, studying the writings of the Faith , and serving the Cause. Finally, it's necessary to start doing new things that can be filled with spiritual purpose, such as cooking, exercising, and learning Korean.

I have no problem with my essential nature, especially now that I've seen through the Enneagram that, though the essence of my personality is beautiful and valuable, I'm struggling with the weaknesses that come along with it. I know basically who I am and I know my weaknesses and I know what I really long for. Here's the most important point of all: I can't always be around people. Even if I was I wouldn't always be able to experience the union that I long for. The only way for me to find some measure of contentment in this life, to feel my thirst for communion quenched to some degree, is to embark on the path of communion with God. This relationship can and must be pursued through relationships as well as in solitude. Though I be ever far from Him, He is at all times near unto me. I must gather the courage now, at this hour of truth, to send myself with utmost resolve down that path of communion with Him. I must not hesitate or turn back my head. The time for that has past. I must have the courage to put Him first at all times, to focus on Him foremost in all my endeavors, to make Him the goal of all my pursuits. I must have the courage to make the sacrifices and the life changes that all that will entail. I must have the patience and fortitude to persevere on the path of absolute commitment and devotion to Him even though I feel pain and hunger and thirst and craving and fear. I must have the courage to walk over hot coals, to step over cliffs, to walk into shark infested waters. I can do all this and more because I know He is with me and I am with Him and so there is nothing to fear but straying from Him. There is nothing to crave save His presence. There is nothing to hope for save the opportunity to serve Him. There is nothing to love save the reflections of His spirit in all created things.

Baha'u'llah says:


Thy paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion."

Friday, February 06, 2009


Hey there. Well it's been a while. Not sure if anyone still checks this blog, but I'm realizing that people reading it is not the main thing this blog is for. On the last post I wrote, "I'm a Writer." Well, that's true. I was on a creativity kick at that time and was thinking I need to write creatively and stuff. I don't need to do that but I probably do need to write blogs and stuff for the sake of my mental health. I'm always thinking like I'm blogging, thinking things out, telling the story of my life, my thoughts and feelings, to myself, but in my head it gets scrambled up so quick its hard to put it all together into something that makes sense, something that looks like a real insight or even a decision that I can hold onto.

Another difference between writing and thinking is that writing gives me this feeling that the thoughts and feelings are flowing out and going somewhere, that something is being done with them, that they're being processed. They're going out of wherever they were into a new place and in that there is some movement, some energy and growth. Just thinking the thoughts and feeling the feelings keeps it all locked up and bouncing around inside. Not good.

Of course the main thing I want to do is to actually live life and to do all the things that I really want, in my heart of hearts, to do, but if writing can get me untracked and out of my mental spin cycle, then it's a good thing and a nurturing rain for the seed of action. Therapy is like that too, and medication. I could use both, especially the meds. A friend just told me about a hospital that has a great section for foreigners so I'm gonna go there for meds and some other ailments. She also told me about a clinic that provides therapy and medication. I'm not sure if I want or need therapy but it couldn't hurt. I probably could benefit from exercise and a healthy diet more than therapy!

Anyways, yeah it's definitely time for anti-depressants...I guess, I don't know. I don't what's going on up in my head. It's time to try them. It's not like I feel sad and anxious all the time but there's just something in me that's holding me back, something sapping me of energy and confidence, something keeping me from moving forward and seizing the day, something that makes me feel like I all I can do is take care of my basic responsibilities and I need to spend the rest of the time just escaping and resting, something that makes me feel overwhelmed by life and not able to get out of my apartment and face the world, something so afraid....

Something that has had its day and needs to go back to wherever it came from! I'm tired of this crap! If my brain chemistry is holding me back then let's take care of the brain chemistry and move on! There's too much I need to accomplish in this life, to much good to do, too many souls crying out in need of love and guidance, too many opportunities for service waiting for me to seize them. There's the whole Kingdom of God, all the angels of heaven, the whole surging force of spiritual life flowing, rushing forth from God, waiting for me to open up and let it flow through me! And here I sit, like I turtle with its head and legs all pulled in, afraid of what I might find if I stick my head out. Whatever it is it will be real, living, breathing, flowing, wonderfully burning spiritual life!

Really...why go on another moment like this? I don't like computer games, movies, and internet meanderings. I don't like them! I hate them! They are the devil. They are my drugs, my way of escaping reality and whittling away the hours meaninglessly. Such escapism is more death than life. I've consigned myself to this because I feel it's too hard to get out and meet people and serve people or to do things like exercise or study. It's just too damn hard to live this life of mine.

It's all so hard, so painful. So much effort, so much struggle and what is there ever to show for it? Is there happiness, joy? For fleeting moments and then its back to work. Keep striving, keep going, do your best, give everything! For what? That's the question I should be asking, because if I'm looking for some reward or for peace and satisfaction to take some tangible form that I can find in the physical world then I'm going to continue to be disappointed year after year. If I serve and strive and teach the Faith and selflessly do all I can for the Cause, for Baha'u'llah, for friends and family, for my students, for all who cross my path and hope for some expected results, or recognition, or for any reward, I will soon become disenchanted and run out of gas, as I always do, and then I will grind to a halt and start sinking into the mire, as I have so many times, and then I will fall into a slumber of negligence that will last for who-knows-how-much forsaken time.

I've got to ask myself right now: Is this what you want for your life, Daniel? Because only you can live your life. No one will live it for you. No miracle will occur to change the fabric of existence to be more in line with what would be convenient for you. This is it! This is your one shot to make a difference. This is your one chance to exercise your free will. What will you do? This life will pass, year by year, and you will find yourself decades down the road before you know it. What will you have to say for yourself then? What will you say when you've come to the end? Will you say, "I'm sorry. I failed. It was just too hard." Or will you say," Thank You Lord for having breathed in me the spirit of true life that has filled me and directed me to do Thy bidding all these years! Thank You Lord for giving my life purpose, for making me Thy instrument, for lifting my heart above the troubles and passions of this world into Thy realm of eternal peace! Thank You for loving me, for enabling me to love Thee and to love others, to feel this love so pure and bright and burning! Thank You for being there for me at all times and for giving me the strength to devote myself to Thee, body and soul! Thank You Lord for my life!"

I need to recognize this: when the end comes I will be saying one of those two things. I want it to be the latter. Life is too hard. It's too confusing and convoluted and crazy. It's insane. Life is painful. Life basically sucks. So why partake of it? Why drink from the bitter cup? Why, why, why? I mean if I want to go down the road of earthly pleasures I might as well stop pussyfooting and just go ahead and get addicted to heroine or something. Why hang out in limbo? Just choose a side, Daniel, and go that way with all your might. You want to escape into oblivion. Fine, go become a crack fiend! Otherwise....recognize that this world always leads you back to right where you are right now! Stuck in the muck and hating it!

I've tried this world and all it can ever offer me by now. It has nothing new to offer. Everything will just be a variation of the same theme: indulge yourself and sink into oblivion, or retreat in fear from the big scary world, or go get that thing you hunger for. Without those three things in my life the only thing left is God. There's not even me left after those three things are gone.

I'm tired, so tired. 32 years of this life is enough. Death is better than decades more of worldy desires, idle sloth, and all the ego-driven endeavors. It's all ashes and dust. It's worse than that. It's poison. It's horrible. I'm sick at the thought of it. I could die right now, going only into nothingness and darkness, and it would be better than this worthless vanity, this sick game, this prison of self. (No, suicide has not even crossed my mind, so don't worry. That's not the point.)

Baha'u'llah says:


There is no peace for thee save by renouncing thyself and turning unto me; for it behooveth thee to glory in My name, not in thine own; to put thy trust in Me and not in thyself, since I desire to be loved alone and above all that is.


If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee."

In the past I've succeeded in withdrawing from darkness and I've begun my ascent into the light but I always falter and fall. One reason is that once my feet are off the ground I feel so weak and vulnerable. I'm seperated from my comforts, all the illusory supports of material life, not receiving the stimulation I've relied on. I'm in withdrawel. I reach out to God and beg Him to satisfy this painful hunger with good things from Him, to fill this gaping hole with light, but that's not how it works! A junkie trying to kick heroine is not going to find joy and illumination in some other substance, some replacement, something that's OK because it's "good" and heroine's "bad." No! Spiritual life is something completely different from material life. The hunger and emptiness that I feel when I pull out of my comfort zone is not something that God will EVER satisfy or fill. The only thing for them is the pain of letting them die. That's the pain of the death of self. That's the pain that we cannot escape. Yet that pain need not linger on for all my life! I can deal with it now, go through the death of self, suffer the horrible fever, let the battle rage within, and when the fever breaks the evil will be gone! I must, of course, guard against letting it back in! But I will have acheived the victory over self in this life! In that process of healing, as my soul fights the infection of ego, glimpses of true joy will come to me, the clouds will slowly part and I will begin to taste true peace!

The battle may be long. The infection has spread throughout my being. The fever may be frightful. What does it matter? There's nothing left but to offer up my soul to the Divine Physician, to accept His diagnosis, to apply His remedy, and to take His medicine. That is all that is left to me. I cannot live like this anymore. I'm calling 911 right now. This is an emergency! I know He hears my call and He is sending paramedic teams of angels to save my soul. I won't resist the cure anymore. I don't care what it entails. I care nothing for my future or for any goal or interest or hope or opinion or possession or craving or aversion I've ever had or ever will have! They are, every single one of them, poison! I don't care what anybody thinks! I don't care if people think I'm a fanatic or a religious automaton or a whatever! I don't care about who I coulda, shoulda, woulda been! I don't care about my artistic talents or my potential for this or that. I don't care about wealth, security, happiness, satisfaction, liesure, comfort, or the fulfilment of any desire! Poison! All of it! As of this moment I'm throwing my entire life, past, present, and future in the furnace of God's will! Whetever is pure and praiseworthy will remain. Let the rest burn and begone! Good riddance! Goodbye to the putrid taste of it all in my mouth! Goodbye to the fetid odor of it all! Goodbye to the hatefulness and wretchedness of it all! Goodbye to the sinking melancholy and depression of it all! Goodbye to the selfish folly of it all!

Baha'u'llah says:


A dewdrop out of the fathomless ocean of My mercy I have shed upon the peoples of the world, yet found none turn thereunto, inasmuch as everyone hath turned away from celestial wine of unity unto the foul dregs of impurity, and, content with mortal cup, hath put away the chalice of immortal beauty. Vile is that wherewith he is contented.


Wherefore have not these soiled hands of thine touched first thine own garment, and why with thy heart defiled with desire and passion dost thou seek to commune with Me and to enter My sacred realm? Far, far are ye from that which ye desire.


Give ear unto this: Never shall mortal eye recognize the everlasting Beauty, nor the lifeless heart delight in aught but in the withered bloom. For like seeketh like, and taketh pleasure in the company of its own kind.


Be swift in the path of holiness, and enter the heaven of communion with Me. Cleanse thy heart with the burnish of the spirit, and hasten to the court of the Most High."

I can do this. It's what God put me here to do. The only alternative is a living death. There is no other way. It's going to take time. It's going to hurt a lot. But I will persevere, and this time when it hurts so much I feel I'm going to explode, I will continue with the divine treatment and continue to take the holy medicine. I'm ready to go, Lord. I'm gonna need you every step of the way! Please guide me! Please protect me! Give me the strength to walk the path! Ya Baha'u'l-Abha! You have asked me the simplest of questions, my Lord. My answer is YES!