A couple of months ago I was listening to an interview in one of those online “summits”. Unfortunately, I did not make a note of the speaker at the time, so can’t attribute properly here.
However, the man being interviewed was an apparently prolific author and meditation teacher and he told a story that really got my attention.
When he was asked about how he got interested in meditation he told the interviewer about an incident he experienced thirty years before when he was flying out of San Francisco airport. He was walking to his gate feeling rushed, stressed and angry about long lines and delays and generally working himself up into a real lather.
As he was walking down a corridor he saw a man come towards him. This man looked easy, calm, relaxed and gave a him a big smile as he walked passed.
The author was stunned. Because it had honestly never occurred to him that travelling and being at an airport did not automatically mean you needed to be stressed out and miserable! He had accepted being totally stressed at the airport as an irrefutable truth of life, and was acting accordingly.
This one little encounter with a man who was simply having a good day changed the whole trajectory of his life. It left him determined to find out how to uncover and break unconscious rules he was living by that were making his life unnecessarily difficult. He was driven to find ways to conquer his own mind and empower himself to make constructive decisions about how he approached situations in his life.
And from the interview it sounded like he has made a wonderful fulfilling career for himself sharing that knowledge with others and has changed thousands of other lives for the better in the process.
When we hold our annual UK ITM Summer Workshop at the Royal Agricultural University in the Cotswolds many people attend who I have never met before and there are also other groups staying at the University at the same time.
On the first couple of days I need to get close enough to people to be able to recognise their faces to know if they are one of our attendees. But after about day two, I can recognise our ITM workshop students by seeing them from afar simply by the way they move: easy, flexible and relaxed. I know they look different because they have been willing to reconsider some of their hidden rules and beliefs and have exchanged them for more constructive ways to interact with themselves. I also know that this will inevitably translate into positive changes in they way they interact with other people.
This man’s story about the airport made me think how those people who have simply made constructive changes in themselves, in the way they move and think could be having a ripple effect on the world around them that they may never know about. Just like the man who smiled in the airport who never knew he changed another man’s life and with it thousands of others, simply by being joyfully himself, walking down a corridor.