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.
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