The Heart of the Matter
March 31, 2020
LOCKDOWN #10: Be Like Water

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Here is the tenth in a series of Prem Rawat's talks in response to the challenges so many people are facing in this time of the Coronavirus. His request for people to be fluid and adaptive, like water, I found especially helpful.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday
The entire Lockdown series

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2020
Don't Worry, Be Happy!



Big thanks to Susan Gregory for the heads up

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2020
LOCKDOWN #8: Give Everybody Space. Give Everybody Respect

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Prem Rawat's most recent response to what it takes to thrive during these challenging Coronavirus times.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2020
LOCKDOWN #6: An Incredible Reset to Get Back to the Basics

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Here's Prem Rawat's Lockdown #6 talk in response to the Coronavirus challenge we are all facing. Inspiring. Encouraging. Timely. And timeless, too.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2020
20 Questions to Contemplate in the Age of Coronavirus

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Yes, we are all looking for answers these days. For sure. But the answers are more likely to come if we have tuned into the right questions to ask. Check out the 20 below. Maybe there is one here for you to noodle on. One breath at a time. The answers will come...

1. How can I practice self-care during these stressful times?
2. How can I be fully present and accounted for?
3. How can I go beyond the call of duty?
4. How can I remember that life is a gift?
5. How can I be more of support to the people around me?
6. How can I ask for help when I need it?
7. How can I wisely adapt to changing times?
8. How can I be a better, more soulful listener?
9. How can I find ways to live more simply?
10. How can I go beyond worry and stress?
11. How can I more empathetic?
12. How can I maintain a positive state of mind?
13. How can I volunteer my services in a meaningful way?
14. How can I free myself from mental clutter?
15. How can I deliver my services online?
16. How can I boost my immune system?
17. How can I create authentic community?
18. How can I create a new business that makes a real difference?
19. How can I take more time to reflect?
20. How can I learn something I've always wanted to learn?

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On the importance of asking the right questions
The Sanctuary Within
The storytelling at work blog
ILLUSTRATION: Sidney Perry, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2020
PREM RAWAT: Lockdown Talk #4

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Here's the fourth in a series of spontaneous talks by Prem Rawat -- his noble effort to spread some love, inspiration, and perspective at a time when a whole lot of other things are spreading on planet Earth. I had the great good fortune of hearing about Prem in 1971. It is now 49 years later. A lot has changed in my life and in the world since then, but his inspiring message of peace, consciousness, and gratitude remains the same -- perhaps never more needed to be considered than these crazy-making days. Enjoy! And don't forget to wash your hands.

PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2020
PREM RAWAT: Lockdown Talk #3

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Prem Rawat's daily talk in response to the Coronavirus challenge. Words of wisdom, perspective, and one more chance to connect with your own courage and clarity.

PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

LOCKDOWN #2: It's Not What We're Faced With, But How We Handle It

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Here's the second in a series of talks by Prem Rawat in response to the coronavirus calamity we are all facing. Somehow, he's able to step back and see the big picture, providing a healthy perspective for unhealthy times. Enjoy!

PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2020
LOCKDOWN: A Message About Courage & Clarity from Prem Rawat

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Here is a message from Prem Rawat about the need for courage and clarity during these difficult times -- the first in a series of talks he will be giving in support of each and every one of us.

PremRawat.com
PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2020
A Dream about Storytelling

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I had a wonderful dream last night. I was in my hometown (wherever that was) and felt a need to go to the local library. When I walked in, I noticed that Prem Rawat was sitting at a low table with four children and reading them a story. I was very excited to see him, but didn't want to disturb the moment and call attention to myself, so I sat down at a nearby table, doing my best to be casual and not stare in his direction. Prem immediately looked up from his book, smiled, and waved to me. I smiled and waved back, feeling very, very happy, as he continued reading. Then, the four kids he was reading to stood up and started dancing. I stood up, too, joined them, and started dancing as well -- all of us together. Not wanting to tower over the kids, I bent my knees so I would be the same height as the childen, thinking, "I'm really just a big kid."

Then Prem stood up, walked over to me and began showing me the story, page by page. The writing, I could see, was in Italian and I realized it was a children's book he had written six months ago -- one I had never read. I mentioned that to Prem and he just smiled, continuing to turn the pages. Then it was time to go. So I left.

One reason why storytelling matters to children
A six-year old loves outer space
Helping children understand the moral of a story
PHOTO: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2020
The Glass of Water

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I first heard the following story many years ago from Prem Rawat. I loved it then and I love it now, as it brings me back to a simple place of appreciation for life

What follows is my retelling of this tale. If I have messed it up in any way, please forgive me. It won't be the first time. If you enjoy it and would like to know more about my teacher and his message, click here or here or here. If you don't feel like clicking, no problem -- just savor whatever this story evokes in you.

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a young disciple of a great Master who found himself wrestling with a very difficult question -- one that would not go away no matter how much he contemplated it. Though he had asked all the senior monks in the monastery that had been his home for the past 20 years, no one had an answer that rang true to him. And so, one fine Spring day, gathering up all of his courage, he decided to approach the Master himself.

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"Oh Illustrious One," the monk began, "for years I have been listening to your discourses. Time and again, you have referred to something called 'maya' -- the great illusion we are supposedly all bound by, but still I do not understand. Please, sir, can you explain to me what is this maya of which you speak?"

"Oh, my son," the Master replied, "yours is an excellent question. Most penetrating. And timely, too. Yes, I will be happy to provide an answer. But before I do, I have one request. Please bring me a glass of water. I am so very thirsty."

The young monk smiled, nodded his head and, with a simple bow, exited the room to begin his sacred mission.

His first instinct was an obvious one -- to walk to the well in the center of the monastery courtyard and draw the water. Upon reflection, however, he soon realized there was another, better source of water, just a little further up the road from the legendary well of a neighboring village.

"If I am going to get water for my Master," the young monk reasoned, "it has got to be the best."

And so, with a one-pointedness of focus he had never felt as deeply before, he was on his way.

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The neighboring village, known not only for the purity of its water, but also for its breathtaking views, was not far away at all, but the road to it, washed out by a recent storm, was difficult to traverse and so the journey took just a little bit longer than expected. Fortunately, when the monk arrived, just a few minutes before sundown, there were only three people on line at the well and soon he would be on his way.

Thankful for his good fortune, he closed his eyes and turned his attention within, hearing only the sound of his breath -- one after the other -- and then, from who knows where, the sound of feint sobbing.

Surprised, he opened his eyes and noticed that the young woman standing in line before him was crying.

"Dear lady," the monk offered, leaning closer, "what seems to be the problem?"

"It is my father," she replied. "He is so very ill and nothing I do seems to help. I am besides myself with grief."

The monk nodded. "Yes, I understand. The body ages and declines. It is always sad to see our loved ones suffering, especially those who have brought us into the world."

For a moment, the two of them just stood there in silence, both at a loss for what to say. Then the woman spoke.

"Kind sir," she began, "I see, by your robes, that you are a monk. Is it true, as I've heard, that those of your order are masters of the healing arts?"

"Yes, it is true," dear woman. "From a very early age, we are taught many things -- how to chant, how to pray, how to meditate, read the stars, and heal with herbs and balms -- both of which I carry wherever I go."

The eyes of the young woman opened wider as she stepped forward and touched the monk lightly on the arm. "If it is agreeable to you, kind sir, would you, after drawing your water, accompany me ever so briefly to my father's house? Perhaps your healing touch is what he needs to stay alive."

Having been taught, for years, the power of service and compassion, the young monk's path was clear. "Of course!" he replied. "How could I refuse such a heartfelt request? Please, dear lady, lead the way."

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It was only a short walk to her father's house, a small, well-kept cottage on the outskirts of town. One look at the old man was all it took for the monk to see the seriousness of the situation. Clearly, the man was at death's door and, unless the monk began immediately tending to his needs, it was obvious to him that the young woman would be fatherless by morning.

And so, all night, the monk sat by the old man's bedside, administering herbs and teas and balms, rubbing his feet, chanting sacred mantras and, all the while, abiding in a state of deep meditation.

At daybreak, when the young woman woke, she was amazed to see her father smiling, talking with the monk, the color of life having returned to his face. Bowing deeply, she embraced her father, stroked his hair, and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

"Praise God!" she cried. "And praise you, oh holy monk!"

"Thank you, dear woman. I appreciate your kind words, but it is not me that heals. It is the power of life and your father's will to live. But please know this: Your father is not yet healed. Last night was just a beginning. By my calculations, he will need at least three more days of care before he is back on his feet."

Three days. That was the monk's prediction. Not a long time to return from death's door. But on the fourth day, much to the monk's surprise, the father took a turn for the worse and died.

The old man's daughter, of course, was filled with grief. But grief was only part of what consumed her. She was also filled with fear. You see, with her father gone, there would be no one to run his shop of fine textiles in the center of town -- and with no one to run his shop, there would be no money to buy food and firewood, and with no food and firewood, the young woman would not only starve to death, but freeze, with winter fast approaching.

"Oh monk sent to us from God," she exclaimed on the fourth day after her father's passing, "I know what I am about to say is a lot to ask, but would you be willing to mind my father's shop for the next few days so I can get my house in order? The task is really quite a simple one. All you need to do is greet the people who enter the shop, help them find what they want, and sell it to them at a mutually agreeable price. In the meantime, I will fix you a bed in the barn so you will have a comfortable place to rest and meditate upon your return each night."

"I accept your kind invitation, dear woman. Remember, I have been trained to serve ever since I was a small boy. It's off to work I go. May God be with you on this glorious day."

One day turned to two. Two turned to four. And four turned to eight. Not only did the business grow with the young monk's loving care, so did his feelings for the woman. In time, his appreciation turned to fondness, his fondness turned to joy, and his joy turned to love. A year later they married and a few years after that they found themselves the proud parents of two beautiful children -- a boy and a girl -- both of whom the town elders claimed to be incarnations of great spiritual beings.

The young monk, now merchant and father, could not remember a time in his life when he had ever been as happy or as blessed.

Five years passed. Then another ten. In the 16th year of his adventure into love, 80 miles from his home on yet another buying mission in the extraordinary southern region, a sudden summer storm came upon the land. Not just any storm, but a storm whose ferociousness had never been seen before. It rained for days and days and days.

At first, the merchant simply buttoned up his coat, opened an umbrella, and trudged on, committed as he was to bringing home the finest of the region's textiles to his ever-growing store, especially since he had already taken advance orders from some of the town's most influential citizens. But no matter how steadfast he continued to be, the river continued to rise. And as it did, the keen-eyed merchant noticed three large bags of rice floating by him, bags marked with the insignia of his well-respected enterprise.

"This is not good," he said to himself. "Not good at all. It seems as if one of my silos must have been breached by the river. It's time to turn for home."

The rain kept coming. The river kept rising. And as it did, he noticed it carried more than bags of rice downstream. It also carried cows, three of which he recognized as his own.

"Not good, not good at all," he exclaimed again, digging his heels deeper into the side of his trusty steed and quickening his pace once again.

And then, yet another mile closer to home, he saw a sight he couldn't have imagined in a thousand years. There in the river, face up and unmoving, floated his young daughter and son.

"Oh my God," he wailed. "How can this be? My two precious children, gone. GONE!"

The man had never felt this kind of grief before, never such loss -- the only motivation he needed to gallop as fast as he could and return to the love of his life, the one who would be waiting for him, arms open, at home -- his sweet and precious wife.

Yes, he saw her, but far sooner than expected. There, not more than a few yards from where he now stood, he saw her, too, floating down the river, face up, unmoving, body bloated from a watery death.

Devastated beyond belief, he did what any man in his situation would do and threw himself headlong into the raging river. Simply put, he saw no reason to live anymore. Nor did he see, upon throwing himself into the water, a large piece of timber floating by. The impact of his head hitting this unseen piece of wood was strong enough to knock him out, the large piece of timber now a kind of makeshift raft carrying him downstream.

How long he floated no one knows for sure. Nor does anyone know where that miraculous piece of wood came to rest on the far river bank. But come to rest it did. Was he dead or alive? He could not tell. Shivering and stunned, all he could see when he opened his eyes was wet sand everywhere and what appeared to be a pair of feet. Rubbing his eyes, he continued staring at the feet now strangely familiar to him. Raising his head ever so slightly, he saw ankles, then the hem of a robe, and then, looking up all the way, the radiant face of a man looking down at him and smiling.

"Do you have my glass of water?" the Master said. "My son, many years ago you asked me to help you understand the meaning of maya. This... has been just one second of it. Welcome home."

A call for silver lining stories
Aussie interfaith wisdom circles
The sanctuary within

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:36 AM | Comments (2)

March 17, 2020
A Call for Silver Lining Stories

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Mother Teresa once said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

Towards that end, I am inviting you and anyone else reading this post, to send me ONE "silver lining story" you've heard (or been a part of) that relates to the coronavirus outbreak. And by "silver lining story," I'm referring to examples of the unsung spread of kindness, love, neighborliness, selflessness, giving, care, goodness, tenderness, compassion, hope, heroism, and beyond-the-call-of-duty benevolence that is also happening in the world during these difficult times.

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Maybe it's something you witnessed in your town, village, or community. Maybe it's something you read on the internet... or heard about... or saw on television. Maybe it's a project you are a part of or a "good deed" that blew your mind. You decide.

What I'm attempting to do on this blog is feature these kind of stories at a time when we need to balance the bad news with the good.

I'm not suggesting that you ignore the stark coronavirus updates we need to pay attention to or candy coat reality. All I'm suggesting is that we call more attention to inspiring examples of the what's possible when people go beyond fear, reach out, and express the very best of what it means to be a human being -- truth in action.

And one of the simplest ways to do this is via storytelling.

Not fiction. Fact. Real, living, breathing examples of how human beings are rising to the occasion.

If you decide to submit a story, please keep it to 500 words or less and include 1-3 photos or images. Please only send images for which you own the copyright. I am not guaranteeing that I will publish all the stories I receive. But I will do my best to read them and choose some to feature on this blog. NOTE: By submitting your story, you are granting me the right to edit it, as needed, for publication. Wash your hands!

SEND STORY SUBMISSIONS TO: mitch@ideachampions.com

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What story will you tell today?

What kind of stories people want to tell
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2020
How Many Days in a Life?

This is a wonderful video -- entertaining, informative, and inspiring -- about change, mortality, and the preciousness of life. Great use of motion graphics to deliver a powerful message.

PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:27 AM | 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!

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