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!