Some are inclined to think of recognizing the Manifestation of God (aka becoming a Baha’i) as an event. One might hear people talking about, “the day I became a Baha’i,” “the moment she caught the spark of faith,” “the point at which I realized Baha’u’llah was from God,” etc. Others are inclined to think of it as a process, that it is the journey of a soul over a span of time. For example, one might hear that when we first commit ourselves to Baha’u’llah we can rarely have much more than a dim vision of what that might mean, inasmuch as in the course of life in this world we can only catch a glimmer of the import of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.
I’d like to see what are some of y’all’s thoughts on this topic.
I, for one, tend to think of recognition as a momentary act that happens whenever a soul is touched by the Manifestation of God. The Writings use a number of images to describe this: gazing on the Beloved, catching the fragrance of His garment, hearing the call of God, etc. It can happen when praying, when reading the Writings, when receiving Anna’s Presentation, and in many other ways. We might say that there is a first time that this happens. But qualitatively there isn’t a great deal of difference between that and the fruits of routine practices like obligatory prayer. Every time we recognize the Manifestation of God we are influenced to some degree. The process of one’s spiritual development is the aggregate effect of a multiplicity of such moments. In order to sustain one’s spiritual progress, a person must constantly renew her recognition of the Manifestation of God.