The Heart of the Matter
July 29, 2009
At the Threshold


A few years ago I found myself standing in my closet, madly searching for clean clothes in a last minute attempt to pack before yet another business trip, when I noticed my 4-year old son standing at the entrance.

In one hand, he held a small blue wand, in the other -- a plastic bottle of soapy water.

"Dada," he said, looking up at me, his eyes wide open, "do you have time to catch my bubbles?"

Time? It stopped. And so did I. At that moment, it suddenly made no difference whether or not I caught my plane -- I could barely catch my breath. The only thing that existed was him and that soulful look of longing in his eyes.

For the next ten minutes, all we did was play -- him blowing bubbles and laughing. Me catching and laughing, too. His need was completely satisfied. His need for connection. His need for love. His need for knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that absolutely everything was perfect just the way it was.

He is almost 15 now. His bubbles are digital. But his need is still the same. And so is mine -- and yours, I would venture to say.

Scratch the surface of our differences, remove the cultural masks, and all of us -- regardless of age, religion, politics, gender, or astrological sign -- are seeking the same thing.


And this "thing" is a feeling -- a feeling of contentment, a feeling of peace, a feeling of deep freedom, fearlessness, and joy.

Spiritual practitioners have been attempting to name this feeling for centuries, but ultimately it doesn't matter what it's called.

This sweetness is the place all journeys end. My son's took him across the living room to the threshold of a closet. Yours will take you other places.

But no matter where it takes you, one thing is for sure -- what's moving you has moved millions of others since the beginning of time. Yours is an ancient quest. Primal. Tidal. Pure. As basic as breath itself.

For the moment, let's call this driving force "thirst" -- the innate quest each of us has for meaning, love, and fulfillment. Why poets wait beneath a moon for words. What dancers feel before they leap. Why birds fly halfway around the world to the place where they were born.

This thirst is not the same thing as "desire." Desire is wanting what you don't have. Thirst is wanting want you do.

Desire assumes the emptiness you feel can be filled by getting -- as if the world was a giant puzzle and all you needed were the pieces. Thirst assumes nothing. It's all about being -- not getting or having.

The good news? You don't have to go to the Himalayas to find what you're looking for. You can start today, wherever you are. The pilgrimage you need to take is actually quite short -- merely the distance between your head and your heart. That's the so-called path.

Your guide on this journey? Thirst. All you need to do is feel it. And if you don't, then at least want to feel it. And if you still don't, then at least want to want to feel it.

Pretty simple, huh?


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 29, 2009 12:29 AM

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Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

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