In 1982 I went to Greece to run in the footsteps of Pheidippides, the original marathoner who ran the twenty-six-plus miles from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. to carry news of the Greek victory over the Persians. I was part of a big group of runners who were gathered at JFK Airport when we learned that our plane’s departure would be delayed by seven hours. The place became one gigantic collection of grumblers, complainers, and agitated people who now had to decide what to do for the next seven hours.
Amid this chaos was a little old Greek lady, perhaps in her eighties, all dressed in black, who proceeded to take a seat and close her eyes with a smile on her face as if she were meditating. I walked around the Olympic Airline terminal for two hours and then wandered back to the departure area and there sat the little old Greek lady, as peaceful as could be, still in the same position.
I then took a cab to a movie nearby and returned to the airport three hours later, and the little old Greek lady still sat in her peaceful manner. Eight hours after the original departure time we all boarded the plane. The little old Greek lady sat across the aisle from me. She smiled at me as we sat down, and then, believe it or not, for the next thirteen hours, the duration of that flight across the world, she never moved once. She didn’t eat, drink, get up, watch a movie, complain, stir—nothing but sit in the same position as in the departure area, with the same contented look on her face.
Finally, almost twenty-two hours after we had arrived at JFK for the flight, we landed in Athens. As we left the customs area, I noticed the little old Greek lady in black being met by her family. She laughed, took out gifts for the many children who awaited her arrival, hugged everyone, and was in an animated, high energy, joyful mood as she left the airport.
Almost 30 years have passed and I have never forgotten that little Greek lady, even though we only exchanged a smiling glance. Every time I observed her, I noticed that I felt more comfortable, more at ease, and less inclined to be upset. Her silent statement impacted all those who observed her in a way that seemed to relax everyone. To this day, whenever I am involved in a similar delay situation, I recall that little old Greek lady all dressed in black and remind myself of how to enter a mind field of peace.
Our thoughts are a field of energy cycles, a mind field, and just by our thoughts alone we impact not only ourselves but those around us as well. The little old Greek lady was able to spread an invisible energy of contented bliss to all of us on that flight by doing nothing more than sitting and thinking. Obviously, she resonated her inner calm to all of us.