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An Airport Parable

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.

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Tony says:

Thank you for posting this story Dr. Dyer. I actually remember reading this story from one of your books. I remember this story every time I am faced with a delay and it brings peace to my soul.

Jussi says:

What a lovely little story! I try to remember it next time when I got annoyed about some little delay. Thank you for reminding me!!

Penny says:

We hugged four times before we left each other, I saw him as God in action too. I said “God bless you” thinking he would relate to that…he asked.. Are you Catholic? “No” Are you Protestant? “No” Funny, me seeing God in him, and him asking me my religion….gotta love that!

Penny says:

My meeting was with a man in the park when I was on a run….Costas, 101 years old, with a cane. His eyes were so bad he had to lean right into me, I had to talk to him an inch from his ear. It was cold, he was alone and full of happiness and spirit. He couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t slow down and stop and talk….

Barbara says:

Joshua, I relate to your post #13 ….. I also need to “let go and allow, and assume the FEELING of the wish fulfilled”.

Perhaps the older lady, indeed, has mastered this concept!

Barbara says:

Beautiful article, Dr. Dyer, thank you so much 🙂

Fran says:

My intention is to recall this feeling of serenity and this story’s meaning the next time I face a similar situation. Namaste’ ~fran

Sarah says:

I felt that amazing content all the way here in South Africa! God Bless xxx

Joshua says:

I have recently found myself at a crossroads. I don’t know which way I will be led. This is a time when I know I must let go and allow. I have taken to heart the need to assume the FEELING of the wish fulfilled. Perhaps the old lady in your experience has mastered this concept as well.

neranjala says:

thank you so much for every word you have said so far….your words thoughts have always been the greatest inspiration to me and those who are around me.May the Blessings of the Triple Gem always be with you….

Joseph Wadas says:

We are not called to be thermometers, which merely REACT to the environment… hot when hot, cold when cold. No, we are to be thermostats, which take the ambient air and CHANGE it. The old Greek lady was able to do just that. Thanks for the reminder! Namaste!

Rosemary Medeiros says:

I closed my eyes and put myself in your shoes and tried to feel what you felt in seeing this beautiful soul, time and time again and seeing the beauty of the stillness, and then I tried to feel what it was to be in her shoes and I felt the language of the heart, unspoken yet speaking vibrantly deep. You were both speaking the same language.

Joshua says:

The calm old soul has realized her connection to the universal consciousness and thus has access to greater energy. Thanks for sharing this experience!

Parag says:

Nice to see the lesson from old lady, so take lesson by talking to them for your problems, don’t hate them telling they are not from new generation, Thanks, which gives the ultimate peace & harmony in our life by keeping calm and silent to this type of situation.

Ted says:

I felt enormous peace while reading this. Thank you for all you do Dr. Dyer.

Kenneth says:

Thank you, Dr. Dyer. I will take that vision you painted into my head and into my heart. From the moment I read it, I felt a sense of calm and happiness.

Nancy Shields says:

I totally relate to this simple old lady dressed in black – black because she is in mourning probably for the husband that she misses so very much. We don’t need distractions or things to do but only to be at peace within. Thank you for reminding me of my childhood family members,
In love and light

Mary says:

This is lovely! “…spread an invisible energy of contented bliss…” I agree with Diane: I can feel the peace radiating from your parable. Thank you!

parvin says:

because, you are accompanied by the Earth’s rotation. If you consider yourself as part of the world, you had accept every event happening, even though it is not your desire. You feel free of all destructive emotion.

parvin says:

The only person who is able to make your moment the best, is you. In the time being, you are here to build your life in the best way, no matter what happens around you. The entire universe rotates in a high velocity, but you do not feel it;

Diane says:

What a joy! In the retelling of your experience, I could feel the peace. Life lesson here, thank you.