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What have you wished for? We tend to use the word “wish” to say what we want for ourselves and for others, though we probably don’t think that wishing is going to make it happen.
This morning I heard someone at the grocery store say, “I wish I had remembered to bring my list.” Can you imagine her surprise if the list suddenly appeared in her hands?
Her comment made me think about wishing and wonder – what if the fictional character Aladdin magically appeared and offered me three wishes? What would I wish for? Given the opportunity to think about it, I came up with this list.
Wish #1: I wish that people would no longer hold prejudices.
If my wish came true, rather than judge differences or marginalize anyone, we would celebrate diversity. No more racism, sexism, ageism, nationalism, this-or-that-ism. We would recognize that we are all connected, and through that we would respect each other. Our relationships, our communities, and our institutions would be guided through principles such as justice, inclusiveness, and even love.
The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. If you meet those of different race and colour from yourself … rejoice to be among them.
Wish #2: I wish that we would love our planet and its creatures as much as ourselves, maybe even more.
A few days go I happened to see these simple words from the Dalai Lama: “We are visitors on this planet.” If we humans lived as guests here, no more and no less welcome or privileged than other animals and plants, we would surely preserve the environment. We might even find ways to reverse some of the damage we’ve already done. Challenges such as climate change, water disputes, distribution of vital resources, air quality, preventable diseases, and so much more could all be managed and eventually even solved.
In 1998 the Baha’i International Community offered this perspective in a statement about spirituality and material development:
As trustees, or stewards, of the planet’s vast resources and biological diversity, humanity must learn to make use of the earth’s natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, in a manner that ensures sustainability and equity into the distant reaches of time. This attitude of stewardship … will compel humanity to temper its actions with moderation and humility, realizing that the true value of nature cannot be expressed in economic terms. It will also require a deep understanding of the natural world and its role in humanity’s collective development — both material and spiritual. must be shouldered – a pre-requisite for spiritual development as well as the individual’s physical survival.
Wish #3: To Make Those Wishes Come True
With just one more wish available from Aladdin, I am tempted to wish for more wishes. But I don’t know if the rules allow that, or if rules exist in this fictitious scenario. So instead, I have a wish that brings me personally into this, a wish that is now obvious to me – I wish that I might do something every day to help make the other two wishes come true.
There are many quotations within the Baha’i writings about individual actions and the potential to affect change. This short passage from Abdul-Baha can serve as a daily reminder and motivator: “Strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers.”
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What about you? Do you want to end prejudices and encourage inclusion? Do you want to preserve our planet and its creatures? Do your actions reflect your thoughts and well-wishes?
Of course, I don’t need wishes from Aladdin to live free of prejudices and to honor our planet and its creatures. I can align my practical actions with these ideals. I can have conversations that help me explore how to do this. I can support organizations that actively engage in social action. If enough of us do so, we can make it a reality.
What about you – what do you wish for? Today is a good day to make your own three wishes, and then do what is necessary to make those wishes come true.