How bittersweet that our worst enemy can sometimes be ourselves! When I was around 17, I had a dream. In the dream I was walking with Abdul Baha, and felt oddly at peace. We were walking around a labyrinth and a green flowered gardens. However, a black-haired girl was giving me trouble. She stared at me with great jealousy and hate. I felt like she was bringing me down. I didn’t understand why she hated me so much. I saw her face… and I recognized my own face looking back.
Nothing can truly hurt you if you let it… unless it’s yourself. Sometimes our own fears and doubts are what causes the worst possible harm. Whether it is excessive delusional narcissism , or insecurity, or allowing others to bring you down we are the only ones who have that power to imprison ourselves. We can become imprisoned by our own selfish desires, we can blind ourselves to what is good for us, we can spend unhealthy amount of time in jobs or relationships that are just not good for us.
Abdul Baha spent most of his life in prison. However, in the last days of his life, He dedicated his time to help others.
“After being forty years a prisoner I can tell you that freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition. . . . When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed a release.”
We can become imprisoned in our doubts, we can not live up to our spiritual potential. I believe one of the biggest obstacles can be regret. We can spend an insane amount of time thinking about what Was and not what Is. We can only live in the present, we can still remedy our mistakes, we just have to believe it is possible. Here is a story I made on this theme when I was in college ( it is pretty melodramatic sorry!) :
The elderly woman stood on her frail and peeling rocker.Her wrinkled hands grasped the knobby edges.She was alone.But she was no longer seeing the plain whitewashed walls and the worn throw rug which covered the floor.She saw only the girl with the long honey colored hair and almond skin. She saw her sparkling smile and dark eyes.She saw this girl with uplifting energy…who saw the world as limitless.She did not
see cruelty or evil or anger. She possessed that magic which marks impulsive joys like climbing an abandoned mountain.She had the tenderness of one who could care about others.She had the impulsive nature of youth.
But yet this impulsiveness was a double edged sword which defined life.She saw the NOW and not the AFTER.She could have proclaimed this great day through the heavens.She could have whispered to the stranger of the Hidden Name, a stranger who had waited to this day a thousand times….who in dreams had begged to word His name…this man who could have laid his life for the Beloved….yet she walked on and did not say a word.
She could have raised her arms to the sky in supplication and adoration to Him.Yet she decided to lay and take a nap instead.She could have “immersed herself in the ocean of His words” yet she decided to
watch Jerry Springer….each hour struck was less time to discover and yet millions were silently weeping to have one drop of the pages which were discarded in her bed along with candy wrappers.
She could have sang….she could have unearthed the “gems of inestimable value” that lay hidden inside her.Instead she rested in her large and comfy bed….not realizing the beauty which lay sleeping in a
watery grave inside her a beauty which could unleash happiness and make her vision more acute…..instead beauty’s locks became seeped with cobwebs and dirt and her dress became torn with disuse….and insecurity came and a sense of worthlessness.
And there was always excuses.She could have covered the world with her excuses….instead of trying to seek ways to find the love for Him she sought the brilliant collage of excuses which could mark her everyday
life.”I am busy”.”Maybe later”,”but I ‘m tired”……”I can’t”…and she began to ignore the gnawing guilt which marked her soul.She began to ignore the dying spirit who lay crying inside her…she forgot.
And through all this she slept.She lay in slumber.Never seeing that time went on and each hour struck with less and less mercy.Until there were no more strangers.And the sands of time were very few.
Until it came a day were she regretted and filled her room with “If onlys” sitting in an old rocking chair…remembering the almond skinned girl not realizing that time was slipping by ,not knowing that
even then she could grasp the reins of opportunity and show the girl who lay playing outside her window the idea of chance and time and hope and fighting recklessness.But she did not see the real girl instead she chose to talk with a ghost of a girl and weep her loss.
” If he strive for a thousand years and yet fail to behold the beauty of
the Friend, he should not falter…….in their search, they have stoutly
girded up the loins of service,and seek at every moment to journey from
the plane of heedlessness into the realm of being.No bond shall hold them
back,and no counsel shall deter them”Baha’u’llah, from the Seven Valleys
“Grasp the present opportunity and ignite a candle which shall illuminate
the whole mankind.”‘Abdu’l’Baha’