At a Loss for Words
Last week, I flew from Newark to Australia to attend, along with 4,300 other people, a five-day celebration event with Prem Rawat. As always, it was a memorable adventure. Energizing. Inspiring. Enjoyable. And totally worth the effort -- me being once again reminded of how simple it was to experience the joy of life. What wasn't simple was describing my experience when I got home.
"What did he say?" my friends asked. "What was it like?"
Two understandable questions, for sure -- ones that deserved an understandable response. But that's where I became totally cro-magnon.
Despite my love for the English language and the fact that I've been trying to answer those same two questions since 1971, I found myself at a complete loss for words.
Let's start with the first question: "What did he say?"
I tried to remember what Prem said in Amaroo, but my retelling sounded way too much like a lame 11:00 news report.
Efficient? Yes. Comprehensible? Sure. But something was definitely lost in translation. I was conveying the words, but not the mojo that animated the words -- which is something that Prem Rawat has in spades.
Mojo. Major mojo. I know my friends' request was a simple one, but simple isn't always easy.
Then of course, there was their second question: "What was it like?"
What was it like?
What... was... it... like? Hmmm...I could feel my mind dutifully trying to access its hard disk of metaphors, but the little clock icon, on my desktop, just kept spinning.
What's being with him like? Well, it's like nothing else I know. It's in a league of its own. It's unique, singular, incomparable.
Try as I might, I can't compare it to anything else and, even if I could, I'd only be feeding people words too easily misunderstood. False impressions. Idols. Fool's gold to the treasure hunter.
And so, out popped the only thing left for me to say: a phrase that left a lot to be desired: "You had to be there."
As they say in the old country,"Oy vey!"
For me, the whole thing with Prem and his message is all about being. Being and feeling. Feeling and appreciating. Appreciating and enjoying. And even more than that, savoring. Savoring what? This! The present moment! As if it were my last. Or my first.
Prem Rawat, quite simply, has a way of making it easy for people to access the experience of deep fulfillment -- a way to take people to a place where the past is gone... where the future is pure fiction and the only thing that remains is the present -- the sweet, sweet moment of remembrance -- the kind of present, like a rose, that keeps opening and opening and opening the more he speaks... and the more I listen... and the more he pauses and just sits there beaming.
It's a moment I find impossible to describe with anything but a smile... or a nod... or a few laughable pirouettes around my living room when no one is watching.
Photo: Ira Meyer
Beneath the Tree
Lots of people think that if you have a Master all your love goes there -- leaving not much left for the other people in your life. This is not true. The love a Master awakens in a human being is overflowing. There's plenty for everyone.
The old routine of focusing only on the "Divine Beloved" and treating the other people around you as if they were second class citizens is a sure sign you haven't understood a single thing.
Anyway, in celebration of 25 years of marriage to the exquisite Evelyne Pouget (today is our anniverary!), here is a poem I wrote to her a few years ago. The feeling only deepens as time goes by and I continue to realize how precious this life is -- and how fleeting. PS: It is best read aloud...
BENEATH THE TREE
This is a piece of paper.
It used to be a tree.
Birds lived in its branches and sang.
In the winter it stood naked
just like you and me.
If I had known you then before we both had lives
we called our own,
I would have kissed you more than once
beneath its cool September shade,
I would have read you poetry, the songs of saints
who longed for God and nights
when darkness was the sword they carried by their side.
Small deer would come and stare at you,
wondering in their strange and silent way
how you became so much like them,
living in the city as you did.
You would turn to me and smile,
half here and somewhere else,
heart about to open like the mouth of one whose mother's breast was near.
I'd suckle you, but don't know how,
feed you berries cooled in snow,
wipe the sadness from your brow,
and just when you were thinking it was time to go,
take your hand and hold it --
proof again that even if we had to die
the time we loved was all we ever had to know.
(the place no man had ever been,
the prayer you are, your Master's twin)
would fly and I would meet you there
beneath the tree,
drunk with love and majesty,
knowing you were sent to me
by the only one who loved us both.
Unsure of who I was or what you were about to feel,
you'd pull your knees against your chest,
lean further back against the trunk,
moving as you always were towards roots
and the endless possibility that called to you
beyond the man now child at your breast.
I'd want to tell you everything, the ache, the need,
the quaking God within my bones
that like a sudden thunderstorm from Mars
releases me at once from all my loneliness and pain.
What shall I do with my hands here?
Pluck something from the sky
that you might recognize the feeling
most men hide from you in fear they'd never love again?
Could you take it -- my looking at you -- the adoration
that moved me to hold you in the first place?
Would you look the other way or wish I'd leave
so neither you or I were left to interrupt eternity,
the refuge of a perfect life beneath a perfect tree?
I'd do my best to take my cue and look beyond your eyes,
but seeing nowhere in this world to rest my gaze,
I'd circle round and round until I met you once again
beneath the shade of my eternal longing.
a pilgrimage away from you,
the one in human form who called me here
and wasn't sure and isn't clear and doesn't know
and cannot say what both our hearts have understood.
Was there a nest above our heads, a cloud, the moon?
Was the light reflected in that lover's sphere
once stolen from the sun?
I take your hand,
I kiss your lips,
I hold you and am gone.
A small deer speaks, the Master grins,
the dance of love begins again.
Excerpted from Thirst Quench ThirstSeptember 27, 2016
I Exist As I Am
September 26, 2016
Prem Rawat in Amaroo: Day Two
September 25, 2016
The Paradox of Total Enjoyment
Have you ever watched a really great movie and, as you're watching it, you are saying to yourself "I can't wait to watch this again", even though you are watching it NOW. Moved by how absolutely awesome the movie is (but not having the words to describe what you're feeling), you translate your WOW experience into thinking to yourself that you can't wait to see it again. Sounds crazy, no?
I am having a similar experience here in Amaroo.
Listening to Prem Rawat has been astounding these past few days and often challenging to take in all at once, massive as the scope of his communication is.
The little frame I put around his message is the "capsule", as he's been saying, of a much deeper story going on -- a story that has a lot to do with going beyond limitations and opening up to a much more glorious life, one that can never be understood with the mind, only the "heart" -- a kind of internal divining rod much less about describing things than it is about dancing. Not yearning for freedom, but enjoying the freedom that is already there.A 2-Minute Amaroo Video Excerpt
Click here for a two-minute video excerpt from Prem Rawat's opening talk at Amaroo. The full video can be rented and streamed for 30 days.September 24, 2016
When the Fog Lifts
September 23, 2016
AMAROO 2016: A Comprehensive Report From the Field
September 22, 2016
Amaroo Excerpts on TimelessToday
Just a brief note to let you know that excerpts of Prem Rawat's Amaroo talks will be posted on TimelessToday, not Heart of the Matter. Also, on TimelessToday, you will be able to access the video from the first night of the Amaroo celebration. Other Amaroo videos may be posted on TimelessToday at a later date. If you are not already on the TimelessToday mailing list, simply click this link, scroll down to the bottom, and enter your contact info in the "Stay in Touch" section. Enjoy!
PLUM TREE (written in Amaroo)
Today, I imagined everything I owned had reduced itself down to a singular plum tree -- the kind an 85-year old Japanese poet, sipping sake, likes to tend at the end of the day. This plum tree, this solitary plum tree, has suddenly become the still, ripe center of my life -- the axis around which all my desires dissolve, stunned as I am, ALIVE, purple fruit everywhere.September 20, 2016
In Honor of the Amaroo Rain!
It's raining in Amaroo, right now, so here is a song to celebrate the rain and the source of love within us all. Exquisite new song and slide show by Stuart Hoffman and Jennifer Edwards. Vocals by Stephen Rivera.September 19, 2016
Amaroo Update Corrected
Good news! Video excerpts of Prem Rawat's first Amaroo event will be posted very soon on TimelessToday. Please note that this video will not be available for downloading, but will be pay-per-view. The pricing structure will be defined in an email blast that will be sent out to the Timeless Today mailing list -- an email that will announce when the Amaroo event is available for viewing.September 18, 2016
Greetings from Amaroo
September 14, 2016
What a Wonderful World! September 13, 2016
A PeaceCast of Millions!
The news industry has a mantra -- one that most of its customers are not all that familiar with -- "if it bleeds, it leads." Translation? Bad news sells. Which is why the average online, click-through rate these days on negative headlines is a staggering 63 percent higher than positive headlines.
But just because bad news sells doesn't mean that good news should be ignored. And by "good news", I'm not referring to the token article about a cat being rescued from a tree by a smiling fireman. No. I'm talking about the kind of good news that has the capacity to change lives for the better -- not just what people do, but how they experience life.
That's why the International Peace Day has become such a big deal in recent years. It has focused people on the good news. And one of the most dedicated groups of people to amplify this focus are the good people of PeaceCast TV -- a 48-hour livestream.
You might call what they do "programming." I don't. I call it deprogramming, because it helps pull the plug on the "dark side" and provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to see things in a new light.
This year's PeaceCast TV livestream, in honor of the International Day of Peace, begins at 8:00 am on September 20th and continues for 48 hours. Available at fine laptops and smart phones everywhere. Give peace a chance!September 11, 2016
HAFIZ: Becoming Human
"Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about 'His great visions of God,' he felt he was having.He asked me for confirmation, saying 'Are these wondrous dreams true?'
I replied, 'How many goats do you have?'
He looked surprised and said, 'I am speaking of sublime visions and you ask about goats?'
And I spoke again, saying, 'Yes brother -- how many do you have?'
'Well, Hafiz, I have sixty two.'
'And how many wives?'
Again he looked surprised, then said, 'Four.'
'How many rose bushes in your garden? How many children? Are your parents still alive? Do you feed the birds in winter?'
And to all he answered.
Then I said, 'You asked me if I thought your visions were true. I would say that they were if they made you become more human, more kind to every creature and plant that you know.'"
-- HafizSeptember 07, 2016
A Six Pack of Kabir
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive. Jump into experience while you are alive! Think... and think... while you are alive. What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your rope while you are alive, do you think ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic just because the body is rotten -- that is all fantasy. What is found now is found then. If you find nothing now, you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death. If you make love with the Divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is, believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work. Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.
(Translated by Robert Bly, from Kabir, Ecstatic Poems)
The Tao of the Man Bun