Greetings @Alabaster ointmnt I and I give thanks for the post, it is inspirational. I and I don't speak for all Rastafari but allow Iman to comment because Iman has been in a similar dilemma before, though I don't have answers to all of your questions I do hope what I write here will be helpful in some way.
First if the I is asking such questions than the I is on the path of RastafarI already and Jah shall surely guide the I because it is genuine. Ask yourself what led the I to ask this, that force is the source and answer.
The I said:
> Ini am on a quest to find the highest self in this iwah.
That is the key, without it you cyan enter through the gates.
Know that RastafarI is the natural and default state of the cosmos and of the self, it is not out there somewhere, but within. It is not something to be learned or studied, babies trod it already but society/babylon programs them as they grow and the force within is subdued. So this is not a search per say but a remembrance of what we have forgotten.
Who can know the I better than the Iself, so continue to look within. But when you go on getting to know the self don't loose sight of Jah and the wonders of creation or you risk getting consumed by the ego and back to square one.
Know that the SELF is a reflection of JAH and CREATION, this is the mighty and powerful trinity this is the literal meaning Haile Selassie I or in the holy language ቀ;;ዳ;;ማ;;ዊ;; ኀ;;ይ;;ለ;; ሥ;;ላ;;ሴ;;.
As for day to day trodding, the ancients always emphasize that word sound is power and that word manifests in flesh (contemplate this cypher deeply). What is in the heart shall surely be revealed, as the I put it:
> beauty within to shine forward and out into this world full...
Also Rastafari is not something you gain by following a set of rules or commandments, it is ever living, there is not limits it is infinite, love is infinite don't limit yourself to think that the I has found the self and that's it always keep learning about the self and that way youl learn about the infinite cosmos and the infinity of Jah.
Rastafari is also not strictly about one love and happiness, it comes with allot dreadfulness (pun intended) because the I has decided to rise up and rebel against the status quo, the I's friends and family will disown the I, it will be hard to get a job, the I will not fit into many places. Allot of pain and suffering can come from this if you are not mentally and spiritually prepared.
So in conclusion trust the process and keep on trodding on.