Unity Walk 2016: Know Your Neighbor

Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.)

Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.)

Hello everyone,

Another week, another opportunity to enjoy and embrace the big and little things in life.

This week's newsletter is about my time experiencing Unity Walk 2016 - and what I gained from it. Every experience provides a chance for us to find the deeper meaning and value it brings to our lives - the opportunity to participate in Unity Walk 2016 was no different for me.

Enjoy :)

Unity Walk 2016: Know Your Neighbor

Holy City by Brian Whelan (on display at the Washington National Cathedral until January, 2017)

Holy City by Brian Whelan (on display at the Washington National Cathedral until January, 2017)

I am lucky to have culturally enlightened friends, who are willing to have me tag along when they do culturally enlightened activities.  If it weren’t for them, my leisure activities would sink to watching movies and going shopping.

Instead, I had the privilege of attending the Interfaith Walk, entitled, “Unity Walk 2016: Know Your Neighbor.”  This event successfully drew hundreds of people together, to commemorate 9/11.  On Sunday, this September 11th, everyone walked down Massachusetts Ave., in Washington, D.C., and visited various religious centers of worship, to demonstrate unity through religious tolerance.  We were rewarded with delicious curry dishes at the Sikh Gurdwaras temple, lemonade and cookies at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States, as well as other treats from each place we stopped to see.  We had a lot of fun, along with a healthy exposure to different places of worship.  I came to know my neighbors. 

One particular neighbor I especially enjoyed getting to know is the Washington National Cathedral, which I have never visited in all the decades that I have lived in the DC metropolitan area.  Would “stamping out mental illness” and raising children--who invited me to watch Winnie the Pooh and Teletubbies for ten years—be sufficient excuses for my neglect of such a glorious edifice?  No?  I didn’t think so, because, here, awe and beauty found form through stained glass, gothic arches, light and music.

Lighting candles at the Cathedral

Lighting candles at the Cathedral

The program included twelve open houses:

Opening ceremony: 1:30pm at Washington Hebrew Congregation

The program will include: Greetings by Rabbi Lustig, Washington Hebrew Congregation, a prayer offered by a leader from the Sikh Gurdwara DC, and a musical send off by David Shneyer and a group of musicians from Kehila Chadasha.

Open House Block 1: 1:50pm-3p
Embassy Church
Annunciation Catholic Church
Sikh Gurdwara
Washington National Cathedral
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Open House Block 2: 3pm-4:15pm
Community of Christ Church
Soka Gakkai- USA, Buddhist Cultural Center
St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral
Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States
Indian Consulate

Closing Ceremony: 4:30pm, The Islamic Center of Washington, DC

The program will include:  Remarks by Rev. Jim Winkler, President of the National Council of Churches, and a performance by Mosaic Harmony, a local interfaith choir.

The tolerance, compassion and connection that united people, during the Walk, are the same instruments used to mend broken hearts in various psychotherapeutic settings, because the universal bond that heals is unconditional love.

There are innumerable religions as well as innumerable psychotherapeutic approaches.  And that is a good thing.  For, it is through religious and therapeutic diversity that the diverse needs of the human race are served; the message of love is uniquely conveyed; and the burden of healing is shared. 

Kahlil Gibran expressed the ideals of the Interfaith Walk, in the following quotes:

God made Truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them.

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. 

May I echo his sentiments, in my walk as a holistic and integrative psychiatrist: 

No matter how many doors we seem to walk through, nothing separates healing from truth and love.