The Heart of the Matter
July 31, 2012
Love Is Something You Are

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2012
Discovering Your Kindness

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Words: Prem Rawat, Copenhagen,6/24/12
Graphics: Birger Pohl

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July 24, 2012
What Is Knowledge?

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The pathway to Knowledge

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July 22, 2012
What Prem Rawat Said in Chicago

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Other, upcoming Prem Rawat events

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:48 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2012
Three Yogis in a Cave

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So there are these three yogis meditating in a cave. They've been there for ten years -- in total silence the entire time. Then one day, in the tenth year of their retreat, an albino mountain lion makes his way to the mouth of the cave and lets out an earth-shattering roar.

Five years pass.

The first yogi twtiches, opens his mouth and says "WOW!"

Another five years pass.

The second yogi blinks and blurts, "Yeah, I know what you mean, my brother."

Five more years pass.

"HEY!" the third yogi bellows, "knock it off! If you guys don't shut up, I'm moving to another cave."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:34 PM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2012
Sign of the Times in Denver

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Check out this sign advertising Prem Rawat's event in Denver on July 22nd. The bus goes back and forth on the pedestrian mall just two blocks from the Denver Convention Center where the event is being held. If you want to request an invitation, click here. The event is open to everyone and admission is free.

Words of Peace Global

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July 16, 2012
What Prem Rawat Said in DC

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Prem Rawat's North American events
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Words of Peace Global

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:02 AM | Comments (2)

July 15, 2012
Last Night Beyond Words in Woodstock

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I wrote this piece last night at Karl Berger and Friends' awesome evening of gone beyond music in Woodstock. They opened a crack in time and space for those of us in the audience to enter. (The following piece is best read aloud).

I have a perfect seven-letter Scrabble word in my hand but nowhere to put it. It just doesn't fit.

The word is astounding, Olympian, holy, -- the perfect blend of consonant and vowel, but I just can't lay it down if you know what I mean.

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So I'm sitting, amazed, struck dumb by my knowing -- like the time, as a young man, when I experienced such a cosmic revelation that I had to write it down -- which I did -- infinitely content for the moment at having expressed the secret of life, my own personal scripture needing no confused disciples to argue, years later, about what it meant -- me still ecstatic the next day, contemplating whether or not I should start my own religion or speed dial the Dalai Lama and read him what I wrote to claim my rightful seat in some exotic realm only 3,000 year-old Tibetan monks have ever heard about, but dare not speak, afraid their telling would dissipate this moment's sand mandala of love.

Yes, it was that kind of moment I was having -- or maybe it was having me -- so I grabbed my trusty notebook and opened, like a rose, to the page now home to my sudden revelation.

Not my revelation, mind you, as in mine -- not something I could claim as the one who had had it. No, I was simply the caretaker of the knowledge every jazz musician worth his weight in the spaces between notes understands before playing.

That's what I'm talking about -- the moment when the blind piano player, alone in a room with no hope of high tipping tourists getting past the bouncer, takes a very long breath and exhales.

It was precisely at this moment that I opened my notebook, curious to read that which the rhapsody of my soul was only preamble to.

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I must say I was surprised at how little actually made it to the page. Most of it, like the first 64 years of my life or the entire universe, was empty space.

There were only a few words on that page, each one an orphan from a faraway land, the memory of caravans where no mirage abides, no grave robbers, no time, the place where madness and sanity are the very same thing and always have been.

"What did I write?" I wondered. What hieroglyph of my need to know had found its way through me in a blinding flash, last night's secret stash from a thousand gypsies dancing around the fire.

Four words. That's all there was. Four words -- none of them longer than four letters. One of them only two.

There it was -- my entire revelation, my night's escapade into the far reaches of knowing reduced to... just... four.... words -- like a stunned fan of Miles Davis backstage at the apocalypse with only enough time to say.... "Thanks, man... For everything."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:37 PM | Comments (3)

July 14, 2012
Texas Prisoners Find Inner Peace

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Here's an extraordinary fact: There are more people living in US jails than live in the entire state of New Mexico.

Based on the latest data, the combined inmate population of correctional facilities in the United States is currently about 2.35 million.

The cost to the US Government? $74 billion dollars. That's $30,600 per prisoner. Those are staggering numbers. But even more staggering are the recidivism rates. 60% of all prisoners released from jail eventually return.

Clearly, the prison system is broken -- not just in this country, but in the world. Attempts at rehabilitation -- and there have been many -- have simply not worked. Until recently.

The Prem Rawat Foundation's (TPRF) Peace Education Program, now being piloted in Texas' Dominguez State Prison, is getting extraordinary results. Here is the story (be sure to watch the video).

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More about the program in Spanish.
More about the Peace Education Program
Inmate expressions
Letters from Prison officials
Recent PEP news
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Words of Peace Global

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2012
What Prem Rawat Said Last Night

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Next Prem Rawat events

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What a Wonderful World!

Fabulous two-minute BBC video narrated by David Attenborough. Big thanks to Paul Solis Cohen for the heads up.

Find out how wonderful YOU are.

Prem Rawat in Washington DC, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Asheville.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2012
What Prem Rawat Said Tonight

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Next Prem Rawat events

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:39 AM | Comments (2)

Words of Peace Billboard in Denver

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THIS JUST IN!

The above billboard, advertising Prem Rawat's July 22nd event in Denver, has just gone up in that city's busiest highway interchange. And it was given to the event organizers for free.

To request an invitation to the Denver event.

Denver event music video

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:10 AM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2012
The Pressure's Off

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

It's Hoffman Time on This Blog!

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Ladies and gentleman, in case you didn't know it, that's a photo of Stuart Hoffman to your left. Stuart (along with Jennifer Edwards and Hannah Blake) produced Searchin' USA) -- one very cool video, methinks.

He also produced this cool invitation to Prem Rawat's North American tour, this one for Milan (along with others for Birmingham, Copenhagen, Munich, and Spain) and did the music for Dance in the Dance, with Daya and mucho other wonderful musicians (video editor: Fernando Garcia.)

But wait! There's more. Stuart is working on something to help get the word out about the Amaroo event in September. It should be done by July 23d or so. Stay tuned. You will see it here, first. Or maybe second or third.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

Ponder This

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)

100 Awesome Quotes on What It Really Takes to Innovate

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No matter what path you walk, hop, skip, or jump, there's a good chance you will need to innovate if you want get your message out there. Here are some inspiring quotes to goose you on your way...

1. "I want to put a ding in the universe." - Steve Jobs

2. "Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them." - Alfred North Whitehead

3. "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." - Jonas Salk

4. "If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles Kettering

5. "Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

6. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

7. "You can't solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level." - Albert Einstein

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8. "Do not fear mistakes. There are none." - Miles Davis

9. "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves." - Carl Jung

10. "There is only one thing stronger than all the armies of the world: and that is an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo

11. "If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think."
- Clarence Darrow

12. "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." - John Steinbeck

13. "To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act." - Anatole France

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14. "It is the essence of genius to make use of the simplest ideas."
- Charles Peguy

15. "There's no good idea that cannot be improved on." - Michael Eisner

16. "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." - Anais Nin

17. "We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything."
- Thomas Edison

18. "The best vision is insight." - Malcolm Forbes

19. "Genius is infinite painstaking." - Michelangelo

20. "Nothing will change the fact that I cannot produce the least thing without absolute solitude." - Goethe

21. "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together, go to the making of genius. Love, Love, Love. That is the soul of genius." - Mozart

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22. "Swipe from the best, then adapt." - Tom Peters

23. "Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself." - Robert Louis Stevenson

24. "You can expect no influence if you are not susceptible to influence." - Carl Jung

25. "Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed." - Albert Einstein

26. "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Goethe

27. "Sit, walk, or run, but don't wobble." - Zen proverb

28. "The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites." - Carl Jung

29. "We don't know who discovered water, but we're certain it wasn't a fish." - John Culkin

30. "I will act as if what I do will make a difference." - William James

31. "There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start." - Charles Baudelaire

32. "What is now proved was once only imagined." - William Blake

33. "Remember, a dead fish can float down a stream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream." - W.C. Fields

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34. "99 percent of success is built on failure." - Charles Kettering

35. "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslow

36. "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein

37. "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

38. "The ultimate creative thinking technique is to think like God. If you're an atheist, pretend how God would do it." - Frank Lloyd Wright

39. "I start where the last man left off." - Thomas Edison

40. "Never confuse motion with action." - Ernest Hemingway

41. "The greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child." - Thomas Edison

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42. "No matter how well you perform, there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Sir Laurence Olivier

43. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

44. "I'll play it first and tell you what it is later." - Miles Davis

45. "The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away." - Linus Pauling

46. "Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought." - Albert Szent-Gyorgi

47. "A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind."- Antoine Saint-Exupery

48. "Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn't do nothing." - Duke Ellington

49. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky

50. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki

51. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - General George Patton

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52. "The man with a new idea is a crank - until the idea succeeds." - Mark Twain

53. "A problem well stated is a problem half solved." - Charles Kettering

54. "The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil." - Thomas Edison

55. "Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." - David Lloyd George

56. "The silly question is the first intimation of some totally new development." - Alfred North Whitehead

57. "A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor." - Victor Hugo

58. "Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money." - William J. Cameron

59. "Systems die; instincts remain." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

60. "You will never find the time for anything. If you want time, you must make it." - Charles Burton

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61. "Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission." - Peter Drucker

62. "One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive one." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

63. "The lightning spark of thought generated in the solitary mind awakens its likeness in another mind." - Thomas Carlyle

64. "I failed my way to success." - Thomas Edison

65. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

66. "The way to succeed is to double your failure rate." - Thomas Watson, (Founder of IBM)

67. "Innovation opportunities do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze." - Peter Drucker

68. "The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present…the decline will be fast." - Peter Drucker

69. "You can only be as good as you dare to be bad." - John Barrymore

70. "No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered."
- Winston Churchill

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71. "Conclusions arrived at through reasoning have very little or no influence in altering the course of our lives." - Carlos Casteneda

72. "After years of telling corporate citizens to 'trust the system,' many companies must relearn instead to trust their people - and encourage their people to use neglected creative capacities in order to tap the most potent economic stimulus of all: idea power." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

73. "If the creator has a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely would have meant for us to stick it out." - Arthur Koestler

74. "If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." - Rollo May

75. "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have." - Emile Chartier

76. "There's always an element of chance and you must be willing to live with that element. If you insist on certainty, you will paralyze yourself." - J.P. Getty

77. "Almost all really new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are just produced." - A.N. Whitehead

78. "Our best ideas come from clerks and stockboys." - Sam Walton

79. "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." - Albert Einstein

80. "Every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction." - Pablo Picasso

81. "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx

82. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

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83. "Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way." - William James

84. "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible." - Jonathan Swift

85. "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Alan Kay

86. "If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it." - Gordon MacKenzie

87. "Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

88. "There is a vitality, a life force, that is translated to you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and will be lost." - Martha Graham

89. "We have approximately 60,000 thoughts in a day. Unfortunately, 95% of them are thoughts we had the day before." - Deepak Chopra

90. "Confusion is a word we have invented for an order that is not yet understood." - Henry Miller

91. "I refuse to be intimidated by reality anymore. What is reality? Nothing but a collective hunch." - Lily Tomlin

92. "Now that we have met with paradox we have some hope of making progress." - Niels Bohr

93. "Microsoft is always two years away from failure." - Bill Gates

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94. "We've reached the end of incrementalism. Only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy. - Gary Hamel

95. "If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied." - Alfred Noble

96. "I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it." - Steven Wright

97. "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new." - Steve Jobs

98. "I am looking for a lot of people who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." - Henry Ford

99. "You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere." - Lee Iacocca

100. "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John Cage

Where I am focusing my innovation efforts

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2012
My Tray of Hors D'oeuvres Is Empty

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I have been a student of Prem Rawat (AKA Maharaji) since 1971.

For the past 41 years, inspired by the feeling of deep peace and gladness he has awakened in me, I have been attempting -- in various unsuccessful ways -- to describe who he is.

In the beginning, my descriptions were extremely effusive. Borderline inflated, you might say, and tinged with a hint of the zealot -- not unlike the poetry of one in love for the first time and badly in need of an editor.

Charming? For sure. Engaging? You bet. Attention getting? That, too. But also confusing to anyone sincerely wanting to understand what the big deal was all about.

In time, like wine, I've mellowed, no longer ruled by the need to label, define, and explain. It's a game I choose not to play any more.

What does Maharaji say when people ask him who he is? "Just a human being -- a mirror that helps people see their true reflection at that moment in time." This has been my experience completely. Allow me to be more specific...

The year was 1983 and I was living in Los Angeles.

Although I had enjoyed some wonderfully casual moments with Maharaji throughout the years, most of my contact with him had been at big programs, him on stage, me straining to see from the mezzanine, wondering how to get a better seat. Like most of his students I wanted "special" time with him, away from the crowds.

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And so when a friend asked me to be a waiter at a party he was throwing for his neighbors I jumped at the chance. I rented the outfit. I shined my shoes. I showed up early. Nobody but my mother could have guessed I wasn't a waiter by profession.

And then, with a signal from the caterer, my adventure began -- silver tray of hors d'oeuvres in my left hand -- spreading out with the rest of the waiters among the guests, each according to our designated areas.

The first thing I saw was Maharaji.

Technically speaking, he wasn't in my "area," but since none of the other waiters were approaching him, I decided to fill the void. This was my chance, I reasoned -- especially since I hadn't talked to him for three years.

"Hors d'oeuvre?" I asked, extending my tray of goodies in his direction.

Maharaji pulled his head back, looked away, and extended his hand in a slow, downward motion as if to say, "Keep that thing away from me!"

I smiled and continued on my way, wondering if his refusal had any kind of cosmic significance. Was it me or the pizza puffs? Was he seeing some deep, ancient flaw in me? Was I hopelessly uncool?

Fortunately, the day was too beautiful to obsess on my thoughts for long and so I kept moving until I located my area in the field behind his house.

From where I was now positioned, there were absolutely no sight lines to the party, no chance to see, I thought, Maharaji. The only thing interesting to look at was the ocean and the sky.

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And so it was: Every 10 minutes or so a few guests would make their way back to my area, surprised to see a waiter, umbrella in one hand, tray in the other, standing in a field so far from the party.

It took about ten guests to empty my tray. After that I would head back to the waiters' shed for refills. This must have happened at least 20 times during the day and each time it did, Maharaji would somehow enter my field of vision -- standing, talking, eating, walking, and doing all the things that a person does at a party. And though I could never predict what he was going to be doing when I saw him, I could predict the feeling I would have.

"Jazzed" is how I would describe it. Pumped. Buzzed. Blissed. I was a curious hybrid of boy seeing Santa and a Grateful Dead groupie with a lifetime back stage pass.

"It's "him," I would think to myself again and again. "Him!"

This little scene played itself out several times during the day. I could have gone on like this forever. But then something curious happened.

About the 20th time I saw him, I felt nothing. enso.jpg Zero. Nada. Zilch. An unwelcome sense of normalcy began to take me over. Seeing him was suddenly no big deal. I wasn't awed. I wasn't amazed. Neither was I captivated, astounded, excited, glad, grateful, inspired, delighted, or energized.

I wasn't anything.

My concept of Maharaji was being deconstructed before my eyes. My "mental model" wasn't working. Something I had counted on for years -- that seeing him would always be uplifting -- was no longer operational.

Was it him? Was it me? Was it both of us? Neither? Something else?

One conclusion I could have easily drawn was that Maharaji was nothing special -- a Wizard of Oz made great only by my own neurotic projections.

Yes, if I wanted proof that he was nothing but my own self-invented hype, now I had it. But having received Knowledge from him 12 years earlier and having experienced the many benefits of his guidance in my life, I could not bail out at such a simplistic conclusion.

Something else was clearly going on.

Looking back, my 'buzzless' series of waitering moments at Maharaji's party felt like the unceremonial end of my extended honeymoon with him -- that formerly delightful time of spiritual romance in which I had been protected from (or blinded to) the moments in which one's "significant other" does not appear very extraordinary.

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In marriages, this either marks the beginning or the end of the painful acceptance of the apparent mundane -- the time when the husband no longer seems heroic and the wife is no longer recognized as goddess.

It was confronting to admit it, but the part of my relationship to Maharaji that I had fabricated was becoming undone. Without knowing it, I had become a fan and a groupie in addition to being a student.

Like my previous strategy in my personal life of creating short-term love affairs to keep me feeling studly, I had been orchestrating my relationship with Maharaji to provide well-timed payoffs. Did it work? Yes it did. But it went only so far.

I was not alone.

In my experience, lots of Maharaji's students have set him up in this way. Ruled by the very human need to define and categorize, we turned him into many things: a superstar, a hero, an Avatar, an anthropomorphized version of our own private God -- projecting all kinds of images on him, not unlike small children do with their parents or teachers.

Inevitably, this leads to disappointment. Which leads to doubt. Which leads to anger. And it is this anger, born from the gap between who he is and who we imagine him to be, that is often the reason why some students of Maharaji eventually reject him.

"He is not who I thought he was," they claim. And of course it is true, because, in many ways, it is impossible to know Maharaji (or anyone else for that matter) through the medium of thought.

More relationships are ruined, I believe, by expectations than by anything else.

Husbands do it to their wives. Wives do it to their husbands. Parents do it to their kids. The Master/Student relationship is no exception. Somehow we get it into our heads that a Master has to be a certain way.

movie_20director_small.jpg Casting directors in our own "B" movie, we patch together our favorite stereotypes and create a picture of how the Master should be -- and then proceed to compare everything he does to that picture.

Of course, we're going to be disappointed. How could it be any other way?

The alternative? Live and let live. Be who you are and let Maharaji be who he is. Give up the addiction to having everyone and everything fit the Procrustean bed of your spiritualized imagination.

Allow the simplicity of love to be the fulcrum around which your life revolves. Appreciate each breath. Be grateful. Live and let live. Savor the opportunity to be alive and enjoy all the many blessings in your life. Take off the rose-colored glasses and those rose-colored explanations. You don't need them anymore.

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How to register for Amaroo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:15 PM | Comments (4)

July 07, 2012
The Beauty of Amaroo

If you have learned the techniques of Knowledge as taught by Prem Rawat and want to register to attend the five-day Amaroo event with him, click here. It's possible. Make your effort. See what happens...

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:01 AM | Comments (1)

July 05, 2012
Amaroo and You

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If you have learned the techniques of Knowledge as taught by Prem Rawat and have expressed interest in attending the five-day Amaroo (Australia) event in September, now would be a good time to register . For more info, check out www.Amaroo.org.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2012
WAITING DOWN UNDER: A Timeless Moment in Amaroo

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When asked to explain his highly abstract Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein made it comprehensible in just two sentences. "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute," he said, "and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute."

I can relate.

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There are entire years of my life I can barely remember, but singular moments that seem eternal. The birth of my first child was one of them. So was the birth of my second... as was the first time I saw the woman who would later become my wife... and the time I almost drowned.

"Peak experiences," they're called, moments when time seems to stop and we connect with something timeless -- moments when thinking gives way to feeling and we realize, without words, what life is all about.

And though the catalysts for these moments are different for each of us, the experience is universal.

Something takes us over. Something opens up. A Red Sea parts and we feel totally alive, far beyond the usual ways we measure the world, our worth, and life itself.

I've had my share of these moments and am grateful for each of them. But the most memorable ones have been in the company of my teacher, Maharaji.

Being around him brings out the best in me.

I laugh the loudest, feel the deepest, and experience the kind of spaciousness within that contains everything. Home sweet home. Free Parking in Monopoly. The peace that passes all understanding.

He is, for me, is an amplifier of all things good, a human tuning fork vibrating at the frequency I most love to frequent -- the frequency of love.

Which brings me back to the reason why I began this article in the first place.

A few years ago, I attended a five-day event with Maharaji, in Australia, along with 3,500 other people from more than 30 countries.

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It took me 27 hours to get there, but it seemed like a minute.

Life was simple in Amaroo. I lived in a tent. I went to bed when the sun went down. I woke with the birds. I had no cell phone, no laptop, no worries, and nothing to do but listen to Maharaji -- twice a day -- hold forth beneath the vast Australian sky.

I was a happy camper.

On the fifth day of the event, I began to feel an old melancholy creeping in -- the kind I used to feel as a kid on Sunday afternoons when I knew the weekend was coming to an end.

Ah... the paradox!

On one hand, I was immersed in an experience that left me wanting nothing. On the other hand, the more this awareness grew, the harder it was for me think about leaving.

And so when I bumped into Michelle, an old friend of mine now working at Daya's Fine Dining, the on-site restaurant Maharaji was known to frequent, I asked if there was any way I could get in tonight -- my chance, I thought, to see him one more time before I flew home.

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"All the reservations are taken," she replied. "But we still need waiters. If you meet me after the event, I'll introduce you to the woman in charge of personnel."

Fast forward a few hours.

The next thing I know a very focused woman is introducing me to Carl, the Head Waiter -- a well-dressed gent oozing confidence, purpose, and five-star restaurantiness.

Quickly, he explains my role, the difference between salad plates and dessert plates, when to bring the bread, when to pour the water, when to open the wine, when to take an order, how to take an order, where to find the spoons, how to fold the napkins, when to present the check, where to get the checks, what the consecutive numbers of my tables were, and a thousand other things that went over my head like an empty thought bubble in a Homer Simpson comic I had no time to read.

I wanted to take notes, but couldn't find a pen. I wanted to ask questions, but there wasn't any time. I wanted to confess my ignorance, but no one was available to play the priest.

I still didn't know where the kitchen was.

And then, before you could say "What are the specials tonight?" the doors open wide and the guests come flooding in.

I go to my section. I meet. I greet. I pour. I nod. I try to remember how the pork is prepared.

So there I am, walking across the room, carrying a chilled bottle of an Italian mineral water I couldn't pronounce if my life depended on it, when the entire restaurant becomes totally still.

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Not the sound of a fork. Not the clink of a glass. Just pin drop silence and everyone looking in the same direction.

This, I knew, could mean only one thing.

There, at the threshold of the room, stood Maharaji, radiant, buoyant, completely present. He is looking in what I think of as "my direction," (though I'm convinced he's looking at someone else over my shoulder.)

"Hey Mitch!" he calls out. "So it's come to this? You've been demoted to a waiter!"

Everyone laughs. It's funny. But more than that, it has opened the floodgates. He's broken the ice and opened my heart with only 13 words.

It's clear that he is talking to me, not that mythical dude over my mythical shoulder. It's also clear that, standing halfway across the room, I'm much too far away to be having a meaningful conversation with him.

I should be closer. Much closer.

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And then... I have one of those moments Einstein must have been referring to, years ago, when explaining the Theory of Relativity to people like me.

Time twisted. A second became a lifetime. A lifetime became a second.

Next thing I know I'm standing next to him.

I have no clue how I got there. Technically speaking, I walked, but not really. I didn't move an inch as far as I could tell. I was moved -- as if the entire restaurant had just been tilted in his direction... and I simply slid towards him.

Effortlessly.

Now next to him, before any other conversations in the room had a chance to begin, we continue the thread of what started as his humorous ice-breaker. I look at him and smile. He looks at me and says something about ADI, the new magazine he likes so much. I respond with news of my recent meetings with Ole, the editor. He says something else. So do I. Small talk, you could say, but for me it wasn't small at all.

It was huge.

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Now everyone in the room is getting into the act. The guy at Table 12 (Trout Almondine and the broccoli soup) asks Maharaji about a new software program. The couple sipping champagne at Table 9 talks about music. Someone asks about this. Someone asks about that. And he is totally gracious and present with everyone -- as if each person speaking was the only one in the room.

Me? I'm just standing there next to him, soaking it all up.

And then, just before he continues on his way, he turns and, out of the blue, says something kind about my writing.

Then he pivots and is gone, schmoozing forward into the next room where more people who love him are waiting patiently. I follow behind, a self-appointed member of his entourage, but I know my moment with him is over. I have people to wait on, wine to pour.

And so I return to my station.

Everyone seems a bit different now than when they first came in. Lighter. More expansive. And no one is asking about food.

Of course, that moment passes, too. Soon someone is asking for more butter. Someone else complains about the bread.

The odd thing?

If you look at this story from the outside, it doesn't seem all that extraordinary. OK, so I fly to Australia, live in a tent, don't use my cell phone, and listen to Maharaji for five days. Then I dress up like a waiter, walk across the room, and have a seemingly mundane conversation with him.

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"That's it?" one could easily conclude.

Ahhh... This is precisely where the great mystery kicks in, my friends -- the mystery of the most off-the-grid relationship I know.

It's never about the what. It's all about the who and how.

When you're in love it doesn't matter what's happening. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you don't do or don't say is infused with a feeling.

And that feeling is what it's all about.

My moving across the floor at Daya's Fine Dining took just a few seconds. My conversation with Maharaji took just a few minutes. But the feeling of it all will last a lifetime.

This is what Knowledge is all about. This is what we were born to experience: the timelessness of love. And it is available to each and every one of us every single second of our blessed lives.

If you have learned the techniques of Knowledge and want to attend this year's Amaroo event, click here.

Most photos from Amaroo.org

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:14 PM | Comments (12)

July 02, 2012
From Clever to Wise

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:50 AM | Comments (2)

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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