It's been a long time since I've written anything in detail about my spiritual life, because I've been going through some changes. One of the obstacles that I'm confronting in trying to hang on to what is good in the Writings of Baha'u'llah and let go of the rest is that so much in the Faith is over-laden with emotional baggage for me. With the light comes the shadow, and the shadow is a damned distraction. Right now, all my friends are in a tizzy about Peter Khan's latest pronouncement -- something that at one time would have had me blogging in outrage and disgust.
With all respect and affection to my online Baha'i friends, I've come to regard that stuff a waste of time. The administration of any religion is a worldly activity, and enmeshed in wordly considerations, and we were foolish to expect it to be any different. Either promoting or criticizing the latest plan from Haifa is irrelevant to anyone's spiritual growth -- which is the whole point of being religious in the first place.
I was reading the first page of the Kitab-i-Iqan the other day -- that's the passage that sort of hit me square between the eyes when I was first investigating the Faith. Baha'u'llah there insists that all that is worldly, and the sayings of religious authorities need to be cast aside by the seeker -- and that seems to me as true now as the day I first read it.
For me, the question "Do you believe that Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for this Day?" had become rather like the question "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" A denial would be completely false, but an affirmation isn't right either, because these are, very simply, the wrong questions. In fact, don't ask me anything about belief, because I don't think belief is all that important. It's just an egoistic construct that, because of human weakness, we seem to need. "I belong to this; I am called by this name; we are really important." And notice, I said "we" -- I'm not immune; I understand it. But I also understand that this need caused me a great deal of heartache. And, in the end, that kind of identification just bolsters up the self.
A better question would be "Do you love Baha'u'llah?", and there, I could give you an unqualified "Yes". Not a day goes by that I don't read his Writings; it's a part of my spiritual practice that I couldn't do without.
But the question I ask myself most often is "Does it help me on the Path, or doesn't it?" And, if it doesn't help, I should be trying to detach myself from it.