The Heart of the Matter
April 15, 2009
By the Time We Got to Woodstock

I speak today as a resident of Woodstock -- a town known far and wide for peace -- a place now metaphor for the highest aspirations of the human race.

What I have to say existed long before speech, long before teachers and those who thought they needed to be taught.

I speak of the time before time, before "us" and "them," before otherness, separation, and the need to make amends.

Pure presence there was back then. Isness. First light. What the wise ones among us call by many names according to their faith. But it has no name, this impulse to be, this pulsation of life -- what poets feel before they pick up their pens, why dancers -- quivering in their own skin -- look around the room for space in which to leap.

Back then, before the yes and no, the good and bad, the black and white, the East and West.... back then before our addiction to naming and knowing and the curious claim people make that God is on their side and their side only -- there was only one thing, one infinite expanse of grandeur, one breath.

The human voice was silenced with awe before it.

I speak of presence and wonder and the state of divine receptivity. I speak of being at home in ourselves and with each other -- what children feel before they sleep, alone in their bed, knowing their parents are awake in the next room. I speak of the place where no fear of death abides, and even more importantly, no fear of life.

In this beginning is life -- this fresh start that comes with every breath, the only path there is, the one we make by walking on it.

The path Buddha walked. And Jesus. The path of Krishna, Moses, Rumi, Kabir, Lao Tzu, The Ba'al Shem Tov, Hafiz, Mother Theresa, Masters known and unknown, YOU, your neighbors and your friends -- each on fire with the possibility of living life as it was meant to be, each ignited by the very same power some call God -- the God whose name lovers, no matter what their path, scream at the height of their passion.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Gypsy Rose Lee. The God of Wizards. The God of Fools. Why the earth turns and the Sufis and the seasons.

It is this unreasonable force, this power of love, this mirror of our selves to whom we pray even when we sleep, that joins us all together here today -- why men with beards dig deeper underground half a world a way and others penetrate the sky, each fueled by what they think is noble enough to die for.

The question, my friends, is not what to die for, but what to live for. What is your calling? Your dream? Your gift? What is your personal responsibility?

The choice, as always, is yours. The messenger abides within you... comes to your threshold... sneaks past the guards you've posted at love's door and speaks:

"The cave you seek is the cave of the heart. The air you patrol is your breath. Walk whatever path you choose, but know that each step is also an arrival. Slow down. Breathe deep. Trust. Give roses to people you barely know. Make someone tea. Embrace humanity all you want, but don't forget to embrace each other -- NOW, the only time there is.

Let your weapon of choice be cupid's bow. See God in everyone. Have fun. Be real! Let go! Live as if this was the first day of your life... or the last.

Men, be men. Women, be women. Win the war inside you -- the battle between darkness and light. Rejoice in the undeniable fact that you are alive. Find your voice. And when you do, use it wisely. Sing! Praise! Dance!

Do whatever you can, with all your might, to wake up from the dream.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at April 15, 2009 01:50 AM


Mitch, that's breathtaking! You are an incredible communicator. Thanks for the inspiration. Heartfelt, Chris

Posted by: Chris Cantrell [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 15, 2009 03:54 PM

Mitch thank you for the poetry and passion, the clarity and focus. Your sharing is your sharing is divine.

with appreciation ....... for you, me , for each of us and that wonderful spark that is within each of us.

Posted by: craig klawuhn [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 15, 2009 08:29 PM

hmmmm...sounds great.... Kabir, Yogananda, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, have all described very similar states of conciousness. this experience, what i understand to be called 'nonduality', or 'oneness with God', 'superconciousness', 'Self-Realization', freedom from all forms of doubt and fear, sounds like the same state that Prem Rawat claims to have acheived. if you, Mitch, have achieved this state, no congratulations are necessary for you. after all these years, it's wonderful to have reason to think that the fruit has begun to ripen. the time for the hungry humanity to feast has come????............

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 16, 2009 01:55 PM

Once again I am humbled by the opportunity that presents itself before me. To hear it from a voice of passion prostrates me like the beggar I truly am. Thanks Mitch with all I have.


Posted by: Chris [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 16, 2009 08:28 PM


Great to read this! Very inspiring on a day when I need it most - down in the dumps with worries and fears. Words and insights such as these lift me on a breeze of angels' wings and let me feel once again that soft breath within, the divine realization that hey! yeah, things are tough, for now anyway and this too will pass, but you are alive! ALIVE! What a miracle! You can see, hear, talk, walk, laugh with a friend, or someone you just met, read a poem, dig the clouds in the sky, smell the fresh breezes of spring, take a drink of fresh water, rejoice in the beauty of life lived now with every breath!!!

Keep it up! I love it!

Posted by: j bhutu-ji [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 28, 2009 05:54 PM

I will turn 63 years old in 48 hours ! I was almost 23 during the summer of 1969 & wished I could of been at Woodstock Nation. Here I am researching Peace signs today for my 14 year old grand daughter Jessie that has just fallen in love with them & your name kept popping up, so I started to read your blogs & what you had to say ! All I can say is that I am one awe inspired Nana this afternoon.
Thanks so much !

Posted by: Papilio [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 25, 2009 05:22 PM

Wow, U can paint with words. Thanks.
Tell me more about what M said in Woodstock.

Posted by: henryw [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2010 04:58 PM

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