“Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.” This statement of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, is definitely applicable to those of us who have the good fortune to live in Washington, D.C.
Any one of us can wake up one morning, have breakfast with a friend and discuss issues related to ourselves as individuals, have lunch with a group discussing national politics, have afternoon coffee with someone who has just returned from a trip to Asia and Africa and talk about global issues, and then end the day with a dinner with another group planning a service project to benefit local schools.
Living in this city, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities to expand one’s mind or be of service to others, whether living next door or in a village halfway around the world.
This environment is particularly appealing to members of the Baha’i Faith living in Washington D.C. The Baha’i community has been in the city since 1898, and its members have been involved at all the levels described above. We welcome the opportunity to get to know more of our neighbors, and for our neighbors to better know us.
The types of issues we are engaged in are wide-ranging and include: promoting the conditions necessary for world peace; racial amity; the equality of women and men; moral education for children and teenagers; environmental stewardship; interfaith activities, and many more.
There are signs everywhere that our planet is shrinking into a global village with the continued advance of technology and social evolution, but we need values and a vision that will allow us to transition to this new stage of human development.
We live in a city where we are in a unique position to be the butterflies whose fluttering wings can ripple throughout our global ecosystem and be a force for good. The Baha’is would love to increase our collaboration with our neighbors in this city to better understand how we all can be a force for positive social change during these critical times.
I began this piece with a statement of counsel from Baha’u’llah about having global vision, and would like to end with another which operates at a more local level: “Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.” We look forward to getting to know our neighbors and to share in service, dialogue and fellowship.
Shastri Purushotma serves on the governing council of the Baha’is of Washington, DC