The Heart of the Matter
August 28, 2016
A Laundry Room at Amaroo


This piece was written three years ago. I will not be going to Amaroo this year, but would love to post some excerpts. If YOU are going and are willing to take verbatim notes and email them to me that same day, let's talk. I'm looking for three people to do this.

When I was a young man, I had a big desire to have cosmic experiences. The more cosmic they were, the better.

My assumption? That what I was experiencing, in my everyday life, wasn't quite "it" and I needed something more -- kind of like there was an extremely cool party happening somewhere else that I hadn't been invited to.

I am happy to announce that those days are over -- not because amazing experiences aren't still a good thing, but because I am coming to understand that everything is amazing, even the simplest, most mundane situations. That is, if I am in the right place to appreciate it.

Take this past week, for example, in a laundry room just 30 yards from the tent I was living in at Amaroo.


It's a place I found myself inhabiting for hours each day since it was the only place I could find with the outlets I needed to charge my computer so I could post excerpts of Prem Rawat's talks on my blog.

It was a small room, maybe 8 x 14, with two washing machines, two dryers, a wall phone, table top, half a refrigerator, and a bunch of Australian outlets.

At first, I was cranky at having to set up shop there.

After all, I had just traveled 27 hours to experience something profound at this five-day retreat and here I was in a cold and crowded laundry room, hunting daily for an unused outlet, surrounded by people folding underwear, blow drying their hair, and asking if they could plug their iron into my already maxed out adapter.

Not exactly the scene that a younger, God-seeking version of my self would have called "cosmic."

But it was. Very much so. Allow me to explain.

You know the experience when you walk into a dark room from the outside, can't see a thing, and assume it's empty?

But if you pause a little and let your eyes adjust to the light, you soon realize that there are all kinds of things there. What seemed, just a few minutes ago, to be nothing, now reveals itself to be something. You can see.

This was precisely my experience in the laundry room.

For the first hour, it was just your basic laundry room, me impatiently waiting for my laptop to charge and enduring the sounds of somebody else's spin cycle.

But then, a curious thing happened: the laundry room became divine -- not because angels with trumpets were flying around. They weren't. But because the laundry room had morphed into something super animated, inspired, and delightful -- a classic scene out of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera where everyone was perfectly playing their part.

Each day, for five days, when I wasn't listening to Prem Rawat, schmoozing, or eating, I was in the laundry room. Everything that I needed -- to know, to learn, to feel, or to see -- was happening there. Plus a hundred random acts of kindness.

Not because the room, itself, had any magical properties, but because the impact of my teacher's talks were so transforming that my experience of the room was changing before my eyes.

The first thing I noticed was that almost every person who entered the room was uncommonly at ease and relaxed, carrying out their seemingly mundane tasks with playfulness, focus, and grace.

If this had been a scene from New York, New Delhi, or Barcelona, it would have been a very different story, but it was none of those places. It was Amaroo -- the "Beautiful Place".

Spain was in the house. Italy, too. And Slovenia And Croatia. And Australia, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Brazil, and America -- all with different detergents, but the same twinkle in their eye.

The sweet feeling in the laundry room had nothing to do with what we knew about each other, but what we knew about ourselves -- the experience of what it is that all people share in common: love, gratitude, and the possibility of peace.

Yes, the washing machines were spinning and so were the dryers, but something else -- at the center of it all -- was very, very still.

laundrymat 2.jpg

Excerpts will look something like these from 2015

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at August 28, 2016 02:29 AM


Brought back wonderful memories from 2009
in The Swagman Laundry room.
Thank you for all your efforts via Amaroo onto your your site, so anyone could read and feel a little connected to the Event.

Posted by: Orla Forrest [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2012 06:38 PM

mitch in the cosmic laundry room :)
love it , well said *

Posted by: janice [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2012 10:52 PM

Delightful and charming - Amaroo in the spring - Rubbing and scrubbing out the stains in the laundry room of love. Stillness amidst the swirling and twirling. A vivid portrait of life at Amaroo with tents, people from far and wide, and sacred meetings in of all places the laundry room. Mitch conveys the feelings behind the story line with aplomb and playfulness. Many thanks

Posted by: Jiya [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2012 12:12 AM

I love what you have shared! Thanks!

Posted by: Mike Yepes [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2012 07:30 PM

thanks mitch, the laundry room was quite a theme for the entire event. your efforts in the laundry room went far and wide. thanks for the daily quotes!

Posted by: joan Apter [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 21, 2012 12:14 PM

I came one day at about 3 am to that room and met a gray field mouse that was partying on some English muffins remains left by a French? lady... wanted to send its thanks to this lady and wanted to apologize to someone who left his/her mobile connected. He said the cable looked so tasty and he had an uncontrolled urge to nibble on it... Please pass it on.

Posted by: Alon [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2012 10:54 AM

Thanks Mitch. I remember this posting, and the laundry place. In morning great to get warmed up. The Dryers made it cozy and warm....
I forgot something for my tea (very important part the hot water boiler), some one would offer the sugar or some milk......

Posted by: Henry Wyman [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 2, 2015 12:52 AM

......and I heard Daya singing in my ear "And he said "Don't you know there's a secret there...' " There is that golden thread...

Posted by: Dbirdey [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2016 10:17 PM

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