. . . self has really two meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Bahá’í Writings; one is self, the identity of the individual created by God. This is the self mentioned in such passages as “he hath known God who hath known himself”, etc. The other self is the ego, the dark, animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. It is this self we must struggle against . . . in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain perfection. (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, p. 18)
This was the quote that helped me to understand the Baha’i concept of a personified “devil”. The devil isn’t a being outside me. He’s built into my very nature as the ego or the shadow side of me that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. There’s nothing wrong with me because of it. It’s how God designed us. We’re all sinners. We all have lower natures. We all need to become awakened to our dual natures so we know how to move from one to the other.
If our purpose in life is to know God and acquire the virtues we need for the next world, how can we acquire them if there is nothing to “struggle against” so we can “strengthen and free the spirit within us”? It’s all part of our very identity and part of God’s great design and plan for our lives, nothing to fear.
Knowing my dark side was given to me for a purpose, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Getting to Know Your Lower Nature