By Laura Waters
September 13, 2018

I had just arrived at a nearby high school to teach a public speaking course, I was waiting to sign in (school security). In front was an elderly man. The woman behind the glass told him that his granddaughter would be right out, and the school’s assistant principal was coming with her. The assistant principal wanted to discuss her “options.” The elderly man nodded and stepped back.

Next in line was a male high school student. He immediately voiced his annoyance at the woman for stepping away from her post. The elderly man gently said to him, “Have patience, son. She’ll be right back.” The boy responded, “I’m trying.” Moments later, the woman returned, and the boy concluded his business with her.

The elderly man spoke gently to no one in particular, “The trouble with this young generation is that they’re programmed. Programmed by social media, television, their friends, whatever they see and hear. They don’t have any patience and think everything has to be right now and done their way. The parents have to help de-program them. They’ve all lost their way.”

I stepped closer to him, and said, pointing to my Instructor identification badge, “Some of us work at deprogramming, too. It’s a collaborative effort.” He nodded and smiled and responded, “It’s got to start at home. If we want to raise mindful children, we have to be mindful adults.” Wise and earnest words.

The way – The Way – is right here within us and among us, if we can only let go of what society and the world tell us to do, how to act, and who we are. We cannot be who we are created to be if we live the life society tells us to live. It takes patience and mindfulness to be in this world and not of it. It takes courage and determination. It means letting go of our “programs of happiness.” Cultivating relationship with ourselves, others, and Spirit in an atmosphere of silence and stillness empowers us to let go of the programming and conditioning, and to embrace the reality of Divine Presence.

Photo by Quentin Ober, distributed by Flickr and made available through Creative Commons.