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Today in the world of humanity the most important matter is the question of universal peace. (Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 27)
All of us know that International Peace is good; that it is conducive to the general welfare of humanity and the glory of man; but we are in need of will, volition and action. We must act. (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 317)
Because universal peace is so important, and because bringing it about seems like such a massive and daunting task, many of us think that one person is powerless to do anything. But that’s not true at all.
It’s simple, gratifying and actually fun to help others, and that selfless service to humanity makes the connections that lead to peaceful interaction with people from other communities, cultures and nationalities. Selfless service to others is peacemaking made local.
Even though it may be hard to change the course of history as one individual, it only takes a few individuals to come together as a group – and groups of visionary, dedicated people always create the force that makes change happen. Joining a group that works for peace can have enormous impact, not only on the world but on your own sense of inner peace and well-being.
Peace groups exist in most communities, and proliferate online. Many cities have United Nations Associations or groups like the World Federalists, Rotary International and others that actively work for international cooperation and understanding. Local non-profit and NGO volunteer opportunities are available for everybody, and reaching out to help someone else can expand the circle of peace a little further.
All of these activities coalesce and come together as one in a Baha’i community. The Baha’is have active, diverse and engaging groups of people in almost every locality. We welcome anyone who wants to help develop a unified world free of war and conflict. Baha’is happily and proactively work with people from every background, encouraging creativity and building bonds of humanitarian service, friendship and love. And the Baha’is have a global blueprint for peace that actually gets put into practice every day, creating a world free of prejudice, hatred and war — and dedicated to providing the people of our planet a real working model of international peace and unity.
So Baha’is endeavor to do what Abdu’l-Baha recommended a century ago –
[T]he Baha’is are constantly engaged in laying the foundation for world peace. . . This (they) can do by concentrating on wide and continual dissemination of the Peace Statement whose contents should be known by the generality of humanity, on engaging people from all walks of life in discussions on peace, and on instilling and encouraging a sense of personal commitment to the prerequisites of peace. In a word, what is needed now is a worldwide consciousness of not only the requirements but also the possibility, and inevitability, of peace. Therefore, our immediate and inescapable task as Baha’is is to imbue the populations with such hope. (The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities)
When people develop that feeling of hope — that peace is not an impossible pipe dream, and is not just possible but ultimately inevitable – they often find a new sense of purpose and the happiness, energy and optimism that go with it. Powerlessness and fear gradually become empowerment and faith. Hope turns any great undertaking, even disarmament and an end to war, from an impossible task into a potential accomplishment.
Of course, freeing the world of nuclear warheads is not a simple task – if that were the case, these terrible weapons of mass destruction would already be gone. But everyone who wants to truly work for disarmament and an end to war can have an important impact on the world’s path toward peace. It’s actually pretty simple. It starts, like most good things do, by deciding to do something constructive. That essentially spiritual decision then leads to movement and action — meeting other like-minded people, connecting with a group that shares your peaceful outlook, turning your inner musings and meditative thoughts about the issue into concrete suggestions for change, consulting together about ways to help resolve the conflict and contention in the world, and then agreeing to exert your efforts toward a common goal. Baha’is around the world use this approach every day. Your Baha’i community, wherever you live, warmly invites you to join them in their consultation about building a just and permanent world peace.