The Heart of the Matter
September 26, 2017
Is That So?

ZenRock.jpg

Once upon a time, many years ago, before the invention of Starbucks, Velcro, or Fructose, there lived a humble monk in a remote monastery in China. His name was Wan Loo and he was much beloved by everyone he met, dedicated, as he was to realizing the highest truth with every fiber of his being.

Every morning, he meditated with the other monks in the Central Hall, then ate breakfast, washed his bowl, and worked in the garden for the rest of the day, taking brief moments now and again to read the sutras and teach calligraphy to the younger monks. Life was simple for Wan Loo. And very fulfilling. He couldn't have imagined a better life.

One day, in the 17th year of his monastic life, while cultivating radishes in the upper garden, he found himself being approached by the venerable Abbot and three of the local townspeople -- a husband, wife, and their very pregnant 16-year old daughter.

"That's him!" the girl cried out, pointing to the monk "He's the one who did this to me! Him!"

Wan Loo, still weeding the radishes, looked up slowly, smiled, and uttered just three words: "Is that so?"

And with that, the Abbot, a stern expression on his face, began to speak. "It is time for you to leave the monastery, young man. It is time. You have broken one of our most sacred vows. Now go!"

And just like that, Wan Loo was exiled from the only home he had ever known.

For the next five years, he lived in a small hut far away from the monastery. Each day he woke at 4:00 am, meditated, and then from dawn to dusk, dug graves in a nearby cemetery to make the money he needed to buy milk for the little boy the people of the region had now come to call "the young monk's son."

Wan Loo continued with his life. He never complained. He never took a day off. And he never stopped meditating.

Then, one summer day, in the fifth year of his exile, while cultivating a few tomato plants just outside his hut, he looked up and saw the young girl, her parents, the Abbot, and the now five-year old boy all standing over him.

"Mother and father," began the young girl, in between tears. "The time has come for me to speak the truth. It was not the monk. It was a boy I met in the fish market. He was the one. He is the father of my son."

Big silence. Big, big silence. No one spoke, The young monk just sat there, looking up, a ripe tomato in his left hand.

"Is that so?" he said.

Adapted from an ancient Zen story

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2017
I Take a Few Deep Breaths

Mitch Ditkoff II.jpg

On a good day
I take a few deep breaths
and feel God's primal tide inside me.
A force of nature they are,
coming from who knows where.
They continue, these breaths,
one slow motion wave at a time,
and take everything I have
back into the ocean.
Nothing remains,
nothing at all,
just the blue sky overhead
and the shell of a body
at ease, at rest, at peace,
now thankful for a power
greater than me
hiding in my breath.


Some inspiration for you
My book of poetry

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2017
We Were Made For These Times!

15253564_10154072434786629_7557642758445840114_n.jpg

What follows is an extraordinary call of the heart by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Not only is it worth reading, it's worth reading aloud -- so you hear it and feel it as well as see it. Then, you get to decide who you want to share it with -- and how. This is a piece of deep, soul-inspired, primal writing that deserves to travel to every corner of the Earth.

"My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

pinkola estes.jpg

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."

Clarissa Pinkola Estes: American poet, post-trauma specialist, Jungian psychoanalyst, and author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:44 PM | Comments (3)

September 22, 2017
Peace Quotes for All Time

The International Peace Day was yesterday, September 21st. But guess what? Peace needs to happen every day. And so, in honor of everyday peace, I invite you to enjoy the above slide show, featuring inspiring quotes about peace from well-known luminaries. And while you're at it, check out PeaceCast 2017 and TPRF's Medicine for Peace. Both of them will help you remember why peace needs to be our number one priority.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:15 PM | Comments (1)

September 21, 2017
Honoring International Peace Day

Key to Puzzle.jpg

The UN-sanctioned International Day of Peace Day is happening on September 21st -- an occasion for people, everywhere, to pause and reflect on what they can do help make peace a reality -- for themselves and others. If peace is something you care about, The Heart of the Matter invites you to tune into two inspired organizations and the multi-media they are producing to help get the word out.

The Prem Rawat Foundation
PeaceCast TV

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2017
Alive and Well in Amaroo

120912_AmarooCampground_A_mc_356.png

It is 4:49 am and I am sitting on a wooden bench just a 60-second walk from the tent that has been my home for the past five days here in Amaroo, my most favorite place on planet Earth. Almost able to see my breath, I am wearing four layers of clothes, a ski hat, and a wide smile on my face.

It's the morning after five days of seeing and listening to Prem Rawat hold forth beneath the vast Australian sky and I'm a stunned, bubbling brew of contentment. I am sure that on some planet there are actual words to describe what has happened to me these past five days. I just don't have access to them at this particular moment in time. Would I like to? Yes, I would -- me having lots of wonderful friends, also students of this marvelous man, who were unable to make it down under this time around -- big-hearted people who want a taste, a whiff, a blast of what has transpired here this week.

To all of you, I ask your patience. Please bear with me for just a moment. I'm sure that soon I'll find my bearings and start making some sense, even though I'm not really sure I want to find my bearings, delighted as I am by being so thoroughly rearranged these past five days that longitudes, latitudes, and my curious ability to make long lists of things I need to do hold very little sway with me.

If I was a helium balloon, someone has just let go of the string. If I was a love song, I have just been sung.

Somehow, through an extraordinary alchemy of storytelling, laughter, listening, pauses, jokes, pearls of wisdom, and cutting through the noise of the mind with a smile and a glance, Prem Rawat has done it again -- his work, the great play of life, helping people feel the peace there is to be felt beyond the dramas of our lives -- why anyone, anywhere ever feels the spontaneous impulse to sing or dance or serve.

I'm not talking about a self-centered-turn-your-back-on-the-pain-of-the-world kind of peace. No. I'm talking about the sweet-centered-in-the-self kind of peace that is the grand potential of all 7 billion people who inhabit this beautiful jewel of a world spinning through space.

This peace is our birthright. It is our home. It is what we were born for. All of us: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sufis, Rastas, Jains, Agnostics, and Atheists.

What do I understand about this experience? Precious little. Am I a spokesperson for it? Not in the least -- just someone lucky enough to have entered into the general vicinity of a living Master -- a man on fire with love and dedication... a manifestation of my highest aspirations... a wise one with a deep connection to that which animates us all.

I first met him when he was 13. I was 24. In December, he will turn 60. I turned 70 just last week. And yet, it seems as if no time has passed since we first met. No time, indeed, because the essence of what it is he is here to help us experience is timeless -- the sweet nobility of the human heart and the irrepressible gratitude that comes when a person tunes into the feeling of how utterly amazing it is to be fully alive.

Photo: Courtesy of Timeless Today
TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:56 AM | Comments (5)

September 07, 2017
AMAROO EXCERPTS: 9/19/16

1 Golden.jpg

2 kid nuance.jpg

3 secret.jpg

4 ego comes.jpg

5 no preach.jpg

7 apply.jpg

6 enjoy.jpg

8 wisdom and conscious.jpg

9 sunrise.jpg

10. Here to celebrate.jpg

11. Have a blast.jpg

12. go inside.jpg

13 The good in you.jpg

14 repeatabke.jpg

15, Transform.jpg

9/19 video excerpts on TimelessToday

THE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Michael B Wood
Ira Meyer
Thom Adorney

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:41 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2017
AMAROO EXCERPTS: 9/20/16

1 Celebration.jpg

2 Amphitheatre.jpg

3 transform.jpg

4 Father.jpg

5 No joke.jpg

6 normal.jpg

7 Changing.jpg

8 Thirst.jpg

9 Def Peace.jpg

10. selfdestruct.jpg

11 I am one.jpg

12 I am two.jpg

13. Indesctructible.jpg

14 Simplicity.jpg

15 courage.jpg

16 amphitheater 2.jpg

17 Zero.jpg

TimelessToday
Words of Peace Global
The Prem Rawat Foundation
PremRawat.com
Rawat Creations

Photographers: Michael Wood Thom Adorney
Illustrator: Lisa Dietrich

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2017
Honoring the Soulful Music, Life, and Family of Richie Ingui

richie-ingui-obituary.jpeg

If you are a long-time Heart of the Matter reader, there is a good chance you are familiar with the music of Richie Ingui -- an extraordinarily gifted singer and deep-hearted man who unexpectedly passed away this past winter.

In the entertainment world, Richie was most famous for his iconic 1967 song, with the Soul Survivors -- Expressway to Your Heart. But there was also another side to Richie's music that many in the music marketplace never got to hear -- songs of love, longing, and gratitude inspired by his long-time connection to his teacher, Prem Rawat.

Many of us who knew Richie miss him deeply, but none more than his wife and soul-mate of 50 years, Cheryl, and their two children.

Recently, a few of Richie's Philly friends came up with a beautiful way to honor his memory, provide some much-needed help to his family, and share inspiration with people who have been touched (or will be touched) by Richie's soulful music.

Towards this end, a collection of 17 of Richie's songs, has been put together -- a kind of "Greatest Hits" from back in the day. It's called "Be A Lover To Me" and it is sure to inspire, uplift, and remind you of what the deepest part of you yearns for.

Because of copyright issues, these songs cannot be sold. However, the need is pressing and gifts can be freely exchanged. So, if you feel inspired to be part of this effort, here's how you can participate:

1. Send a gift, in the form of a check, to Cheryl Ingui. (38 Wheatsheaf Road, Shomong, NJ 08088.) Or, you can pay via Paypal: philysoul@comcast.net. All gifts go directly to Cheryl and the Ingui children.

2. Send an email to David Richman (Drichman007@gmail.com), informing him of the gift you mailed to Cheryl.

3. In response to your gift, you will receive a gift in the mail -- a USB drive containing 17 of Richie's songs.

If you are so moved, please consider forwarding this link to friends of yours who have been touched by Richie's music over the years. Your communication to them is likely to be the only way they will hear about this crowdsourced expression of love going out to Richie and his family. We are all in this together.

IMG_1126-1.jpg

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

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   
© MITCH DITKOFF