The Heart of the Matter
October 14, 2012
The Whisper


Just like water takes many forms, Maharaji delivers his message in many ways: videos, live presentations, webcasts, DVDs, CDs, websites, blogs, magazines, brochures, casual meetings, one-on-one conversations and... er... whispering.

Silencing child in white.jpg

Whispering? Yes, indeed. Allow me to explain.

The year was 1980-something and Maharaji was giving a 3-day program at the Miami Beach Convention Center. My service, at the event, was to be a lobby usher -- a simple task requiring mostly common sense and knowing where the bathrooms were.

I was just exiting the ladies room (after restocking the paper towels) when Doug Bernard -- one of the event organizers -- approaches me with a sly smile on his face.

"Hey Mitch," he blurts, "Maharaji asked a few of us to come up with a list of possible speakers for tomorrow night's program and... uh... we put your name on the list."

I can see that Doug is talking, but I'm not really sure what he's saying.

Unphased by my lack of comprehension, Doug continues. "So... Maharaji picked your name."

Doug is obviously speaking Swahili. What he's saying makes absolutely no sense to me.

"I suggest," he says, "that you take a break from your service, return to wherever you're staying, and get a good night's sleep. You'll need to be in the Hall tomorrow at 8 am for a meeting with Maharaji."

Huh? What? Me? Speak?

Doug doesn't linger to explore my confusion. I'm left alone, like a weightless astronaut on the ceiling, thinking someone has just made a terrible mistake. Me speak in front of Maharaji and 10,000 people? You gotta be kidding. First of all, I wasn't feeling particularly inspired at the moment. Neither was I feeling particularly clear, devoted, connected, coherent, fluent, confident, or anything else I imagined a person should feel before speaking at one of Maharaji's events.

It was a short ride back to where I was staying, but a long night. My attempts at practicing Knowledge were totally dwarfed by the recurring thought that not only was I the wrong man for the job, but I was less than 24 hours away from ruining Maharaji's event.

In the morning, my friends feed me breakfast and send me on my way.

I flash my pass at the security guy and am escorted backstage. Joan Apter and Charnanand -- the other two speakers -- are already there, looking very relaxed. I am not. We make some small talk, then Maharaji makes his entrance, smiling, buoyant, alive. He looks at us and asks how we're doing. Then he pulls out three vomit bags and hands one to each of us.

"Just in case," he says.

Call me Puke Skywalker. Not only does Maharaji's gesture break the ice, it completely diffuses my anxiety.

The rest of the day? A blur. Though I talk to a lot of people and do a lot of things, I can't relate. Every conversation I have, every thing I do is dwarfed by what I know will happen later that evening -- my walking the plank into a very large ocean.

Aye, matey! This was the high seize -- waves of love followed by waves of fear followed by waves of love followed by waves of my inner Woody Allen looking for a way out.

Now it's an hour before the program begins. There is no turning back. Joan, Charnanand, and I are ushered backstage to a waiting area where we're supposed to cool out. I see a chair. I sit. I breathe.

Two sound technicians walk by, looking purposeful. Two lighting guys adjust something. Then Doug appears, explaining I'll have 20 minutes to speak, but shouldn't worry about the time because someone will flash me a red light when my turn is up. I ask if Maharaji has mentioned anything about what the three of us should talk about.

Doug flashes me an enigmatic Zen smile and continues on his rounds.

"Oh, I get it. I'm the warm-up act. Yes, now I see... I'm supposed to kick things off... then charismatic Joan will take it from there... then Charnanand, the sage, will wrap things up. Makes perfect sense."

Doug signals Joan to stand and take the stage.

What? Joan's first? Wasn't I the warm up act?

With Joan now halfway through her talk on the other side of the curtain, I close my eyes and turn within. The next thing I know, someone is whispering in my ear. It's Maharaji.

"Hey Mitch," he says, "Joan just used all your good lines."

Suddenly, I'm all ears.

Maharaji continues whispering.

"Remember, you don't need to talk about what's supposed to happen. All you need to talk about is what's already happened."

And with that he walks away.

I feel lighter now, as if some kind of psychic surgery had just taken place. In just three sentences, Maharaji had freed me of the concept I had to say something meaningful, ancient, deep, and holy tonight. What a relief! I didn't have to be an oracle. I didn't have to be a sage. All I had to do was be myself and talk about what had already happened to me since receiving Knowledge.

The good stuff. The real stuff. The heart of the matter.

That's what Maharaji loves. That's what the 10,000 people in the hall love. And that's what the other seven billion people on the planet love. Freedom. Real freedom. The genuine feeling of life.

Yes, I had my turn to speak that night. And yes, it was something I will cherish forever. But the real meaning for me, the real experience, was what Maharaji whispered in my ear.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at October 14, 2012 11:32 PM


Thanks again, Mitch for sharing these gems. You have such an amazing gift that transports the reader to experience those moments..... Thanks for taking me there. Again.

Posted by: George Dragotta [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 17, 2011 11:59 PM

Thank you for sharing this amazing thoughts.

Posted by: Margarida Marmelo [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2011 06:31 AM

Thank you Mitch, for sharing the "real stuff". That's what I always wanted and that's what I got. What a great story about the "real guy".

Posted by: Jim Kuth [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 18, 2011 09:56 AM


Posted by: j bhutu-ji [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2011 11:58 AM

KOOOEL, DUDE! that was fun.

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 22, 2011 12:46 AM

"Joan just used all your best lines." That's great. One thing bothered my pedantic self: "unphased." Then I realised...unfazed. OK.

Posted by: Hamerton [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 14, 2012 05:57 AM

This is great! Made my day!

Posted by: Jon Lloyd [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 15, 2012 12:19 PM

Priceless intimacy, thanks SO much for sharing

Posted by: Dominique [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 17, 2012 01:45 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

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!

   Contact me