I delivered the following speech at my high school graduation.
We tend to view the future as if the end of the world were just around the corner. Our perception of the passage of time is that the world has been moving faster and faster, and now it is accelerating at a frenetic pace. The state of technology is rapidly advancing, yet there never seems to be enough time to enjoy life. Lately, the media has been saturated with images of natural disasters, unspeakable crimes, and unusual occurrences: tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, fires, earthquakes, comets, plane crashes, train wrecks, environmental destruction, terrorism, domestic violence, murder, rape, mass suicide, starvation, war crimes, religious persecution, nuclear threats, widespread mutation, human cloning, government conspiracies, and alien contact - it seems as if the End is near. However, disaster is a normal consequence of existing on Earth. For thousands of years people have felt the same sense of impending doom that we feel now. The world is not ending any time soon, so go ahead and make reservations for the Millennium celebration.
Our future is defined by uncertainties, and we humans naturally fear what we cant control. But we must understand that the shape of our future is not uncontrollable. Our reality is composed of individuals whose momentum determines the direction of the future. Too often our society is plagued with apathy, inaction, and ignorance. Positive change can only be effected when individuals accept the responsibility to be concerned with societal issues, to use their energy to precipitate action, and to continually seek knowledge in order to be intelligent participants in societal change.
Before we can tackle problems in our environment, each of us must examine the internal environment of the Self. This age of scientific thought has caused many of us to lose our spirituality, and we are left with uncertain values, chronic unhappiness, and empty religious ritual. A constant meditation on the nature of ones inner Self, combined with the discipline to live in peace and moderation, will reveal that space and time are not limiting factors; we are free to exist in harmony with reality, and to be a part of God.