You can read Part 1 of Garry’s story here. Ed.
Unconsciously becoming Conscious
After that rite of passage voyage on Winny I moved to London to retake exams. I entered a social world where the clash of new and old was in full swing. Dylan had already captured the mood in his song The times they are a-changing. ‘The centre’, as described in Yeats’ famous poem, was definitely not holding. Cultural norms of restraint and self-control were being challenged. Baby boomers were energetically exploring all life including areas beyond the boundaries of conventional social taboos. This ex public school boy was wide eyed! Between tutorials I explored Scientology and Transcendental Meditation and experienced the rich diversity of London’s social networks, mixing with old public school friends, and creative expressions of the new age in places like ‘Middle Earth’. (I once attended this shrine of Hippysm in a three piece suit!). Between tutorials I explored Scientology and experienced the rich diversity of London’s social world. Unfortunately, after the winter retakes, another failed English ‘O’ level put university on hold once again.
Life via the ‘old boys’ network’ opened up two possibilities. One was the invitation to join a prestigious merchant bank (at a very junior level) courtesy of my uncle who was one of its directors. The other was to join the Voluntary Service Overseas education team working in the Falkland Islands courtesy of my godfather who was then the Islands’ Governor. One represented the well-trodden path to a well paid job and all the security of a traditional privileged life. The other promised adventure and new horizons in the southern hemisphere. For a 19 year old there was only one choice!
Those new horizons proved infinitely richer than I imagined. It started with a four weeks’ voyage on a small cargo boat which linked London Docks with Port Stanley. As we sailed south, I developed a reading discipline. The morning was devoted to philosophy and politics, the afternoon to classic literature. It was during this time that I discovered Plato, the Socratic dialogue and my first awareness of one of the founding fathers of the European intellectual tradition. Plato’s ingenious art of asking probing questions and following the logic of the answer as a way of uncovering a truth, was a revelation. His insight on relativism described in and through his cave metaphor stays vividly with me. His astute insights into perennial cycles of political power (dictatorship, democracy, anarchy, dictatorship) made me aware of humanities as timeless and astute insights. Plato definitely became one of my teachers.
On the Falkland Islands (the size of Wales but supporting a population of only 2,000 people) I was mandated to teach basic English and maths to young children living on the many remote Island farmsteads. Life started staying in Government House with my Godfather. We followed social conventions of empire, dressing for dinner (in a dinner jacket), and toasting the Queen at the end of every meal! Then after induction I was put on a rolling teaching programme spending about two weeks teaching in each place. This was all made possible through travelling on the Islands’ little sea plane.
Without other distractions, my non-working life was perfect for walking, reading and reflection. Change was on the horizon. First came Tolstoy. Through reading War and Peace my world view was turned upside down. Up until then I had come to believe in protecting my sense of self through identifying with elite social hierarchies which existed in opposition to ‘the middle and lower orders of mediocrity.’ This book with its multi-stranded unfolding love story on the background of titanic inter-nation battles, combined with its associated philosophical musing, enabled me to realise that my identity was in fact unique, could never be compromised, and that a sense of union and universal love for all humanity was the way forward. It was as if I was walking across a beautiful and remote sandy beach during a magnificent sunset when that realisation came to me. Simultaneously the skyline exploded in a magnificent flash of deep red. In the language of Buddhism it was a powerful ‘satori’ moment. During this time I was also reading H.G. Wells’ History of the World. This history introduced me to the Buddha’s eightfold path and the beauty of the Buddhist tradition. In turn, this helped me to gain insights and real appreciation of the Bahá’í tradition via ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s American talks recorded in Foundations of World Unity. It was a second satori moment. Later I again discovered the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung and the insight of John Donne. I still remember the sense of wonder spreading across my being when first reading ‘No man is an island…. ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee!’ The hairs on the back of my head went up! It was another satori moment. Parallel with cultivating my inner world view, I was living cheek by jowl with different farming families. It provided a first hand experience of how others lived and the different parental ways of bringing up children. Falkland Island life itself was instructive. It was the world in microcosm; surrounded by gossip, alcohol abuse, family breakdown, lovely people muddled out their lives! I left the Island better read, more socially aware and richer in life perspective.
The journey home was via the diversity of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. I returned with the firm intention of getting all the necessary exams to gain entrance to Trinity College Dublin.
Loughside (my home) was energetic with ideas, debate and activities. My father was now a leading member of the newly formed Northern Ireland Conservation Society. This was an early expression of the environmental movement. Their focus was the promotion of environmental awareness. Their insights informed my study of economics. It enabled me to understand a growing tension between government policies which highlighted economic growth perused in a planet defined by finite resources. It also helped me to understand the principle of biodiversity essential to a stable and sustainable ecosystem. Dad was also leading various humanist initiatives to promote reason rather than religion as the touchstone of human progress. Dick Backwell, our near (and dear) Bahá’í neighbour, had just published a book on Christianity, The Christianity of Jesus, from a Bahá’í perspective. It sparked a great debate between them about the relative merits of atheism and theism and the contribution or otherwise of Christianity to advancing civilisation. Given Christianity’s role in the destruction of Ulster society, Dick found himself on a sticky wicket. His Christian-Bahá’u’lláh googlies found little penetration past the straight bat of my Dad’s humanist perspective! In a funny way, from my viewpoint of impartial observer, they both seemed right on their own terms.
Disturbed by the worsening political situation, Dad had joined the Alliance Party. This party was the only voice of political sanity in a province descending into the madness of sectarian extremism. Meanwhile my Mum was tirelessly working for the Bahá’í cause. She promoted a touring ‘new age’ Bahá’í exhibition in Belfast. She successfully developed contacts in the media world and was able to get maximum media coverage for the various Bahá’í travel teachers who passed through the province. At a local level, she was fostering the fragile Greenisland Bahá’í community. Many were swept up in her vision and enthusiasm. Bahá’ís at that time believed that they held the keys to mass conversion. Success was there if they could only find the right keyhole! Apart from this, she introduced me to yoga. The movements of ‘Salute to the sun’ have stayed with me as an occasional practice ever since.
The lives of my parents were buzzing and both were superb examples of progressive social thinkers and activists. I found myself pulled in two directions. One was towards wealth and status of my Norman-Anglo-Irish heritage. The other was the pull of all the implications tied up in my developing critique of the current direction of society and its economics. (Galbraith’s The New Industrial State, and Mishan’s The Costs of Economic Growth beautifully articulated this).
Being authentic to this direction involved letting go of materialistic aspirations and their (bourgeois) status symbols. But as many know, detachment or letting go of a long heritage can be psychologically challenging and difficult in practice. I was beginning to realise that the dominant ideological drivers of capitalism and communism were compromised in so far as they were both obsessed (for different reasons) with models of economic growth in a world of limited and finite resources. On top of that, both systems engaged in an industrial process that damaged the environment and turned people into dull automatons. Both world views, despite different justifications, were in my view deeply unsatisfactory. Both were suffocating in so far as they squeezed the scope of permitted consciousness. They gave little room for the transcendent, the spiritual and the creative: subjectivity, creativity, spirituality, social diversity and non conformity were proscribed or viewed with suspicion. It was becoming clear, in an unclear way, that the current direction of the world was unsustainable and some kind of revolution was inevitable. What form this might take, or which form I might champion, was the seed question growing within me.
As I let go of my aspirations for a wealthy privileged life style, I began to explore what was then known as the alternative community. This was not a singular thing but rather it was an international network of idealistic youthful souls inspired and united by a mishmash of utopian visions, left wing politics, hallucinogenic drugs and experimental music. Their world view tended to divide the social world into straights (those who affirmed the norms of conventional life as we knew it) and freaks (those looking for new anti-materialistic solutions to the problems of living). Here was a rich and motley human soup of diverse social idealisms. Some aspired to violent revolution, some to communal living, some to tireless and selfless political agitation. Everyone hated the bomb. The more contemplative, spiritually inclined, or intellectually lazy, were attracted to Timothy Leary’s (of acid fame) famous dictum: ‘Turn on, tune in and drop out’ and leave the world to rot in its own karma.
After taking my exams and still musing on all of this I hitched, trained and bussed from Ireland to Morocco, then along the north Mediterranean coast and down Italy to join Winny in Malta. Then it was a voyage to Yugoslavia and back. I experienced a rich range of Mediterranean cultures. The good ship Winny, as ever, provided ample opportunity to read, think and discuss.
On my return I found that I had finally passed my English ‘O’ level exam and gained a place at Trinity College to read sociology, politics and economics. Joy! Exploration was about to get more intense!
One strand of university is about gaining intellectual knowledge, another strand is about exploring sensuality via drink, drugs and relationships. In this later strand I found two major practitioners; the drinkers and the druggies. I tasted both and sided with the druggies. I wanted to be, in the idiom of the age, a ‘head’ and explore my inner territory, delve into the mysteries of my unconscious psychology and find deeper inner truths (far from the worlds of straight reality)! The consequences were predictable. Not only was the world descending into a mess, but I started adding to the mess by becoming a mess myself! I increasingly slid into an indulgent, self absorbed sensuality. In the process I became angry, alienated, introverted and sympathetic to one dimensional left wing political perspectives and their re copies of violent social revolution.
A sub theme floating around the counter culture (as it was then called) was a critique of my parents’ generation: “Look at the awful world which you have created!” For me there was a logical extension to this question: What sort of world was our generation (or I) going to create for our children?
This question, oiled no doubt by my Mum’s prayer and my parents’ brilliant examples of idealistic living, became the dominant question of my life. At the time I was flirting with a range of extremist world views. Mao’s Little Red Book, Trotskyism, and the glamour of violent revolution. Bring on the destruction of capitalism was the battle cry. Black Panthers and their neo-Marxist dictum ‘revolution is the barrel of a gun’ was in the mix. So too was Shamanism via the books of Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan et al). Working through it all, I came to the realisation that when push came to shove, the path of violence did not sit easily with me. The ‘answer’ lay somewhere else. This was a time when people saw ‘answers’ not as an inner individual truth, but in terms of joining organisations which seemed to embody collective truths. The Marxist mantra that unity was power informed the thinking of many with the idea of the power of the group. At that time Europe was awash with movements claiming to represent truth: Marxism, Maoism, Christianity, Hari Krishna chanters and a range of New Age psychologies. All beckoned with their ideological finger and promised individual or collective nirvana!
That summer Dad organised another amazing voyage on Winny, this time from Malta and on to Turkey and Greece. It was another epic, another time for reflection. On my return to Ireland I set up house in the country with a friend with the intention of getting ourselves, in the idiom of the age, ‘together!’ In reality we were descending into deeper levels of un-togetherness!
The beginning of the end arrived from a completely unexpected direction. A group of us had gone for an all night solstice chanting session at the megalithic tomb of New Grange. It’s a place where the dawn solstice sun illuminates a tombstone at the end of a dark passage. (Metaphorically speaking I was in that long dark passage)! On returning we visited Bewleys, Dublin’s wonderful and iconic café for breakfast! In the early morning sunshine of that day we met one of our ‘street head’ friends (that is someone who is mainly homeless, lives on the edge and smokes lots of dope). He was looking bright. He told me that his life had been transformed as a result of taking knowledge from his Guru. This Guru, he told me with conviction, was a ‘perfect man’. The Guru would be visiting the British Isles shortly and I should meet him. The concept of the perfect man attracted my attention. He went on to say that there would be a meeting that night. A number of us went to this meeting for negative reasons. We had been invited to a friend’s smart Anglo Irish party in a grand house somewhere in the deep countryside but, not being together enough to get directions, and lacking other diversions, we went to the meeting about the Guru for want of something better to do.
It was my first ‘satsang’ session (a Hindu concept which translates as ‘talks about truth’). After a general talk, I got into conversation with one of the devotees (a follower of the Guru). From my view nothing much made sense but, in our exchange, she spoke with such soul passion that my intellect was circumnavigated and something deep inside me was touched. In that moment, on that midwinter night, an inner shift took place that changed the direction of my life. Early in 1972 a group of us hitched to London to meet the Guru (known as Guru Maharaji). We were dimly aware that England was in deep crisis as bread strikes, miners’ strikes, power shortages and a four-day week were the norm. It all supported the general counter-culture contention that the straight world was finished and alternative ways of living were imperative. In London we spent our waking hours in the Guru’s centre, known as the Ashram (Sanskrit word for shelter) of the ‘Divine Light Mission’. Inside we discovered a parallel universe! It was my first exposure to the Arian world view and Hindu spiritual discourse. What richness, what a treasure trove of wisdom! Here there is a concept that our consciousness can live in truth or illusion. The wise man searches for truth. The truth of the divine was seen as internal, not external (as in the Judeo-Christian tradition). Similarly, the divine law was not an external imposition but the very core relationship of life to itself (Dharma). This Hindu understanding was mainly transmitted through stories with a nod to the non dualistic philosophy of Shankara. The stories were a delight of colour and magic. The best drew their insights from the laws of nature. The main teaching of this Guru was this: knowledge of God is not a concept but an experience. The route to this knowledge is via four meditation techniques; light, hearing, taste, and sound. The starting point of practice is in an initiation where ‘ knowledge’ is transmitted. All these themes and more were articulated by wise Indians and charismatic Hippy traveller types who had returned from the East abuzz with spiritual insight and wonderful tales of their guru encounters. The effect was to create a powerful head of spiritual and psychological steam. It was an energy that shifted world views!
For me it all became increasingly palatable; in this view knowledge was an experience rather than a mind construct. This formulation seemed to be both spiritual and scientific. Their strap line was ‘truth, consciousness and bliss’! Indeed, the longer our time in the ashram, the more blissful I became! My being was increasingly touched by a sweet spirit and watered by the transmission of a perennial wisdom. Moving towards initiation, I increasingly found myself letting go of all preconceptions and intellectual prejudices. Technically speaking I was going into a state of deep submission (as the Muslims describe it) or surrender (as Hindus would have it). In the language of European philosophy, I was letting go and taking that backwards leap into the unknown in a state of total spiritual trust. The times surrounding initiation were intensely spiritual, and deeply soul rich.
My, what a leap, what a turning point! The logical part of my being was being encompassed with the knowledge and feel of the spiritual part of my being which hitherto had been mainly ignored. My, did it feel good! What beauty, what bliss, what a life changer! It was an ‘uber’ satori moment as I found myself filled with a deep sense of well-being and brimmed with positive feelings. A gorgeous eternal aspect of my being was now being experienced! In its light the world I experienced was a bright bright contrast to the dense ego darkness of my previous world.
Now most people who go through such an initiation become guru worshippers. I too was quite willing to flow in that direction. In surrender, you lay your life and worldly possession at the Guru’s feet. You live to meditate and experience his darshan (spiritual presence) and do service. In surrender I listened to my heart and found that it did not lead in that direction.
While I found the premmies (followers of the Guru) lovely in a general sort of way, I found their politics to be shallow. For them it was sufficient to be in the light, do service, speak truth and live your life the best you can. This world view had similarities to Mahesh Yogi of transcendental fame who taught the idea that if enough people meditate in one place, peace will break out naturally. For them, the fundamental issue is not to do with your formal religion but the quality of your appreciation of the spiritual truth that lies within you and your religion. They would say: meditate, do service and let the light be sufficient to you. The Divine Light Mission did not so much challenge social injustices, rather it enabled one to live with them more comfortably! Their essential attitude, as I understood it, was ‘live in the light and ignore everything else’.
Well, each to his own. It did not sit well with my thinking. Light was to be used to see the world as it is, not an object of contemplation in itself. From my point of view, for social injustices to be effectively challenged, a new paradigm of global social justice was necessary, not only as an ideal but also as a social practice. So, the next question for me was this: where would my new insights and energies best be put to work to help make the world a better place?
My divine light encounter gave many insights. One was the understanding that our individual inner spirit world is vast. It contains experiences ranging from total blissful enlightenment to extreme alienation and madness! (Coincidentally as we got ‘knowledge’ the friend we were staying with went to an encounter group and experienced the infinite screaming pain of total inner isolation and aloneness)! A spiritual guide is advisable/essential for protection and safe passage. Consequently, I changed my view about religion. I now understood that religion, rather than being the opiate of the people (Marx) or a psychological crutch for the psychologically fragile, actually provides a map to navigate the inner world and a standard to live by in the collective outer worlds. Clearly the various religions had exerted a huge shaping influence on the world. So the next part of my journey was an attempt to understand religion, its many manifestations and my relation to it.
Here I had an advantage. I knew that the Bahá’í Revelation claimed to be the latest expression of a world religion. I took it as a starting point for my exploration. At the time, our house in Greystones was full of hippy types. We were very much the brown rice, lentils, candles, incense and Indian paraphernalia variety. A number of us had taken knowledge from the Guru. In the first flush of our enthusiasm we were doing hours of meditative spiritual practice. Being naturally social, our house opened for sessions of spiritual discourse. In an unofficial sort of way it became a centre for Divine Light satsang. The energy in the house was very positive. While my relationship with Trinity College was extremely tenuous, my relationship with things spiritual was intense. At night I was in the habit of lighting my room with a tilly lamp which gave off an intense white light and a soporific hissing sound (of the high pressure release of paraffin). At the time I was reading a compilation of Bahá’u’lláh’s and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s writings which had been put together by George Townsend, Glad Tidings of Bahá’u’lláh. I found the spirit of these writings beautifully chimed with the spirit of the Divine Light meditation. Sometimes, when reading in the still of the night, the room filled with a roaring sound which harmonised with the hiss of the tilly lamp. Other times, in states of meditation, I had a sensation of being lifted into the air! I was definitely living at the interface between this world and some kind of spiritual wonderland! Later, I realised that Greystones lies only a few miles from the grave of George Townshend, my mother’s teacher…. Was this significant!? Who knows? Life was spiced by delicious meditation sessions down on the beach often bathed in the light of the rising sun. Guru taught that one should consciously remember God with every breath. It was a great spiritual practice which I tried to incorporate as a living pattern. At a spiritual level I felt totally fulfilled. At an intellectual level I discovered that the Bahá’í Faith brought together and unified the many separate and disjointed good ideas that lay jumbled in my mind. What impressed me most was the way it brought mysticism, spiritual practice, social idealism, and joined them with a democratic social community practice linked to justice. It weaved all elements together in a multi-stranded spiritual and social discipline. It was, as the Hindus might say ‘the complete Horse.’ I saw in this tradition the spiritual, the social and the community were joined in a way which could practically build the Kingdom of God on earth (as the Christians might describe it) or the Golden Age (as the Hindus might describe it). I could see that it made a wonderful marriage between the spiritual and the social! I sensed that this small world community, working as it did at a local, national and international level, contained the practical potential to grow into a massively positive social force for good.
Could this be the practical outward social vehicle in which to put my energy? There was a problem. Signing up to the Bahá’í way also involved committing yourself to a religion, a law and a social discipline. This was more like formal marriage as opposed to an unencumbered passionate love affair (and I was not into marriage)! As a free thinker with strong anarchist tendencies, such a commitment did not sit well within me. Should I or shouldn’t I? The internal struggle raged. One voice said to stay as an independent agent of change, the other voice said, do it, tune in with the destiny of humanity, submit to the laws and commit to the community being spun out of Bahá’u’lláh’s vision. The mental debate was intense. When I looked at the principles of the faith, I could find nothing not to like, yet the pull of individual freedom was equally strong. It was a close run debate. I feel sure that the prayers of my mother tipped the direction of her erstwhile errant son towards the community of the Greatest Name!
The external trigger was practical. I felt that the world was speeding up in its downward spiral. Catastrophic collapse was on the cards. It would take more than individual action to create a realistic alternative refuge. I felt that, in political terms, the gravitational pull of an organised community was essential to change our human direction. If the Bahá’í community was the future, went my reasoning, then the time is now, forget individualism, join the collective and work to build the new. It was another satori moment, procrastination was over; to be authentic I had to take the next step. So it was, that on a dark Tuesday night in February 1972, before attending a gig of ‘Dr Strangely Strange’ in Trinity, I made my way to the Dublin Bahá’í centre, knocked on the door and told the surprised caretaker that I wanted to sign up!
Schuon (a very articulate western Sufi) drew a parallel between true submission and a Muslim marriage. The groom does not see the bride’s face till after the marriage has been sanctified. So it was for me. The face of the Loved One’s infinite beauty only slowly uncovers itself and its blessings. Happily this uncovering continues to this day! This slightly reluctant groom found blessings infinitely more abundant than imagined. The reality of the ocean into which I had dipped my toe was deeper, richer and more beautiful than all expectations. If before my meditations had been, figuratively speaking, watching the sun while sitting in a desert, I was now watching that same sun but surrounded by an exquisitely rich and beautiful garden. This was the first gift from the Loved One. The second was discovering the beauty of the Bahá’í Writings when recited aloud in a devotional mood. I could feel the rhythm of sound and content watering my spirit and subtly restructuring my world view.
Now, when one takes any particular path one necessarily experiences a mixture of tests and confirmations. There were tests, but they paled into insignificance when contrasted with the many moments of massive confirmation. The most amazing thing was that in the space of two months I had moved from being angry, alienated and self-indulgent to being open, optimistic and intensely engaged with living. That one time wide-eyed ex public school boy had gone on a journey of search which, by pure grace, quantumly morphed his being into a new and richly decorated spiritual home. I found myself swimming in a grace-filled ocean of spirit. Meditation, prayer and reading the Holy Writings became a blissful part of my life. My world was dressed in new and exciting meanings and new possibilities. Life was filled with a bright internal sunshine! Instead of following my intention to drop out of university, I re-engaged big time with academic life. The quality of my academic output went up lots of notches. A few months later came another insight moment. My mum in her inimitable creative style had gathered a diverse group of Greenisland ‘wild boys’ and an assorted social mix of old and young and asked me to drive them down to Limerick to attend a weekend school. It was my first meeting with the beautiful Limerick Bahá’í community (this community had grown in numbers from a struggling 9 to an exuberant 200 or more in the space of a year) and I spent an extraordinary weekend in their company. Adib Taherzadeh (whose father had met Bahá’u’lláh while on pilgrimage) was leading the weekend. He talked in his amazing way about the spiritual truths contained in the Bahá’í Revelation. He certainly channelled a powerful vision. As the atmosphere built, we – the young, the old, the confused and the normal – were drawn into a space of unbelievable sweetness and richness. I understood this to be another of the gifts and graces of the Loved One; to create a profound sense of unity between people of divers backgrounds and cultures. During that weekend I for one went to another level of paradise and gained a deeper insight into the joyful glory of the Bahá’í Revelation! It was also the first time that I met a culturally homogeneous group of ‘normal’ people who were also Bahá’ís! In my mind I associated Bahá’ís with marginals, eccentrics, misfits, the aged and People from Persia!!
Later that year destiny granted me the privilege of going on pilgrimage along with the most excellent Jack Nagle. I wanted to see the effect of holiness on the physical environment. On arrival I became exhilarated by the outer beauty and pondered with sadness and wonder at the intense sacrifice and pain which had been integral to the birth of such beauty. I saw how the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and their companions, held firm to a vision of love and beauty despite having been subjected to the harshest of harsh stress tests. I saw how this steadfastness had transformed barren landscapes into exquisite places of beauty. Inwardly I felt the vibrant energies of the holy shrines. Outwardly I walked in gardens dancing with exuberant colour and vitality. For me the gardens became metaphors. They embodied the reality that through holding to truth despite pain a glorious future can come into being. I was enabled to understand that the energy that powers this Cause and its Covenant was strong enough to welcome and fulfil all humanity, from the deepest mystic knower to the most worldly of pilgrims who had merely signed up for a different type of holiday! What a place of welcome, what a place of re-energisation, what a beautiful universal physical embodiment of our collective human spiritual home!
This insight was further confirmed in my first meeting with the Universal House of Justice. Emerging as I was from that alternative long haired hippy background, I was naturally suspicious of short haired suit types who wore ties! When nine people of this description entered the room I found myself involuntarily feeling total respect, maybe for the first time in my life. For me they were the embodiment of a beautiful power wrapped in an open, humble and loving friendliness.
I knew then, with a complete certainty, that in my terms the New Age had been truly birthed. A nascent but powerful form of universal justice was growing and would through time recreate the whole world into an embodied paradise. The motor of this transformation was justice, the heart of which was beating with an incredible vitality. The lives and inspiration of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi had laid the foundation of a new way of seeing, living and a new age politics which was perfectly suited to the emerging new human consciousness. The sheer beauty of it all filled my heart to bursting point. I knew with absolute certainty that slowly, slowly, the transformation of the human world into a planetary golden age paradise was both a practical possibility and our unavoidable human destiny! Phewwww!!!!
It was another blessed moment of grace and confirmation. Coincidentally the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice was formally signed in the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh by the members of the Universal House of Justice on the Day of the Covenant, while I was on pilgrimage (and I recommend this document to all…it captures so much practical and ideological beauty).
I had definitely found my path. The challenge now was how to walk it!
Northumberland, January 2013