The Heart of the Matter
May 27, 2021


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May 24, 2021
I'll Carry the Torch

Beautiful tribute to Richie Ingui, from his brother, Charlie. Richie, we miss you and we thank you for all the love and devotion you embodied for so many years. Until we meet again...

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May 12, 2021

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These days, I am doing a lot of reflecting. "Unhurried consideration," is how the dictionary defines it. "To think deeply or seriously about," which, I might add, is not the same thing as being "nostalgic" as some people might assume.

When a person looks at their self in a mirror, they see their reflection -- their appearance. Our reflection, however, only reveals our body. The reflection I am talking about reveals another part of us -- that which is beyond the body. And though, this kind of reflection isn't always accurate, filtered as it might be by perception, bias, and faulty memory, it is an important element of what makes us homo sapiens -- "the ones who know."

Reflection helps us learn, grow, and become more self-aware. And while it is always possible that reflection can devolve to nostalgia or obsessive analysis, done consciously it is a great boon -- a wonderful opportunity to wake further up.

From what I can tell, one of the silver linings of Covid-19 has been the opportunity for billions of us to reflect more deeply on our lives. With more time on our hands than ever before and many of our life patterns disrupted, opportunities for reflection abound. And I count myself as one of those billions, having used at least some of my socially distanced, quarantined, all-bets-are-off time to take a good, long look into the mirror of my life.

Sometimes I like what I see. Sometimes I don't. But I always learn something -- however subtle, an insight with the potential to help me live a more conscious life.

Two days ago, deep in reflection mode, I remembered something about my past that I had not thought about for many years -- a curious behavior of mine that has much application to my life TODAY, some 40 years later.

Here goes:

As a young student of Prem Rawat, in the 1970's, I did my best to attend as many of his events as possible -- large group gatherings where, for a weekend, sometimes as many as 10,000 of his followers, having traveled long distances, would convene to listen to him speak.

At some of these events, on the second day, there would be an opportunity to get on line and come before him -- a kind of receiving line -- known, back then, as a "darshan line". This experience, for me, was always astounding in a way that compared to nothing else in my life. Always it was radiant, deepening, soulful, timeless, renewing, and very much beyond words.

With thousands of people in the audience wanting to enjoy this experience, some kind of logistics were required -- a way to facilitate the "people moving" process. And so, whoever the ushers were, at the time, would signal a section of the audience to stand and make their way to the back of the line that had already formed. The rest of the people in the hall would simply remain in their seats, looking forward to the moment when their section would be called.

Now, here's the curious thing -- the memory that, two days ago, surfaced for me as I was reflecting on my life. More often than not, when my section was called, I would move to ANOTHER section in the hall -- a section that had not yet been called. Logically speaking, one would think I'd be "chomping at the bit", or "raring to go" -- thrilled for the opportunity to make my way closer to Prem. But logic was not the driving force at that moment. Something else was. And for me, that particular moment always brought with it an accompanying feeling that I WASN'T QUITE READY to approach Prem -- that I needed to be deeper... or more receptive... or more devoted... or more whatever.

And that's why, when my section was called, I would move to ANOTHER section of the hall that had not yet called. You see, I wanted to be sure I was REALLY "in the right place" to have my special moment with him.

And while, as I look back at that time, I can appreciate that my intentions were "good", now, many years later, there is something very revealing about that particular behavior of mine that has great resonance with my life today. Just like some people believe they never enough degrees... or money... or time... or friends -- the ruling experience that something is lacking -- I, too, back in the early days of my soul's aspiration, was coming from a place of lack -- my assumption being that somehow I wasn't READY to fully appreciate the brief moment I was about to have with Prem.


I am happy to report that those days are over. It took a while, but I finally got there -- the understanding that life is a "come as you are" party -- that there is no special way to be... or act... or think... or feel... and that each and everyone of us are perfect as we are in THIS moment.

Indeed, one of the extraordinary gifts I have received from Prem Rawat is precisely this recognition -- what sometimes has been referred to as "I am that I am." Selfhood. Pure being. Presence. In other words, whoever we are in THIS moment is enough. The imagined "perfect self" that we dangle in front of ourselves like some kind of spiritual carrot is not only a waste of time, it is totally unnecessary.

As Lao Tzu once said, "he who knows he has enough has enough." And it's corrolary is also true, "He who knows he IS enough, is enough."

Not only do I have enough, I AM enough. And not only am I enough, I AM, which is, basically, the whole deal.

No matter what path we walk, skip, hop, run, leave, return to, or write about, we are here, now, alive, and well. AS WE ARE. Yes, we are enough -- you, me, and the other 7.7 billion people on planet Earth. AS IS. In THIS moment, breathing one breath at a time. Rich, poor, young, old, single, married, known, unknown and everything in between.

Indeed, this is one of the great teachings I have received from Prem Rawat. Even more than a teaching, it is an EXPERIENCE -- that THIS moment, right here, right now, today, wherever I happen to be, regardless of the circumstances of my life and how I stack up in relationship to my concepts of what would be better, is the PERFECT MOMENT. God is here now. Life is here now. Breath is here now. Love is here now. Gratitude is here now. Freedom is here now.

And there you have it, my friends, no matter what section of the audience you are sitting in.

Ready to stand?

Photo: courtesy of TimelessToday

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May 10, 2021

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May 09, 2021
Be Free of Expectations

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Alive and Well in Amaroo


Written three and a half years ago in Australia. The feeling continues...

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 Earth. Almost able to see my breath, I am wearing four layers of clothing, 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 am a totally stunned, bubbling brew of YES. I'm sure that on some planet there are actual words to describe what has happened to me these past five days, but I just don't have access to them at this particular moment in time. Would I like to? Sure, 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 would love a taste, a whiff, a blast of what has transpired here these past five days.

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 begin making at least a little bit of sense, even though I'm not really sure I want to find my bearings.

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, jokes, laughter, pauses, pearls of wisdom, and cutting through the noise of the mind with a smile and a glance, Prem Rawat has done it once again -- helping people feel the peace there is to feel beyond the dramas of our lives -- why anyone, anywhere, anytime would ever feel the 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. Nope. I'm talking about the sweet-centered-in-the-self-overflowing-with-love kind of peace that is the grand potential of every single person who inhabits this beautiful jewel of a world spinning through space.

This peace is our birthright. It's our home. It's 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? Only a 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 wise one with the deepest of connections to that which animates us all.

I first met him when he was 13. I was 24. And yet, it seems as if no time has passed since that day. No time, indeed, because the essence of what he's here to help people experience is timeless -- the sweet nobility of the human heart and the irrepressible gratitude that arises when a person tunes into the feeling of how utterly amazing it is to be completely alive.

Photo: Courtesy of Timeless Today

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May 08, 2021
The Heart's Embrace

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May 06, 2021
When the Red Sea Parts

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Two days ago I had a very interesting experience upon walking into the town of Woodstock for my morning coffee and scone. Halfway there, I started feeling like I was on my death bed -- the time of life when I was preparing to leave this world. Much to my surprise, it was totally blissful. There was no fear, no holding on, no bargaining, and no regrets. Free. I was absolutely free. Gone was the drama of everything. In it's place, only pure being. Nothing was undone. Nothing needed to be done. There was nothing I had done that I wished I hadn't done. Perfect. It was all perfect, this feeling, that is -- the feeling of just how perfect everything is, was, and will be. This moment, upon walking into town for my latte and scone, was a great liberation, a moment out of time, a visitation from the other side of sense-making -- not so much a "sneak preview" of what's to come, but the EXPERIENCE, however brief, that behind and beyond the various scenes of my life I've played out with varying degrees of skill, surrender, gratitude, struggle, doubt, drama, and laughter was a place of perfect peace, a realm of existence needing nothing to make it better, different, or more than it already was -- or should I say, IS. In this moment, no effort was needed, only consciousness -- not the kind of consciousness that had to be attained, accessed, or climbed like some kind of spiritual ladder -- but a consciousness that is everywhere, always, and forever. Free Parking in Monopoly. Home base in a child's game of tag. An infinite Sunday where not only the Lord is resting, but all of us, including me, are in perfect repose -- a resting most arresting. Yes, there was a sky overhead and ground beneath my feet. And yes, there was somewhere I was going and somewhere I had come from, but none of it mattered -- not because the sky and the ground and the various longitudes and latitudes of my life didn't matter, but because, in this liberated death bed state of walking into town, they were all just stage props. "All the world's a stage," wrote Shakespeare. "And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts." Yes, indeed, Willie, my man! Many parts! And while those many parts are being played, there is the inevitable moment where the Red Sea parts. "Cut" yells the Director. "It's a wrap!" And so it is. And so it shall be for each and every one of us -- here, on planet Earth, for just a little while even if it often seems like a loooong time. So many actors! So many scenes. So much popcorn, the audience either clapping, snoring, or wondering where to have dinner when the show is over -- which, of course, is ALSO part of the play. I'm not exactly sure how this stuff works, but when it comes right down to it, life is a GIFT, a big, beautiful gift. Do we deserve it? I'll leave that question to the pundits. All I know is this: life IS a gift, a precious gift, a holy gift, a divine gift -- and all of us -- you, me, the people you like and the people you don't like, get a chance to open it.

The soy latte, by the way, was quite delicious and so was the scone, no thoughts of "I really should be eating something healthier" anywhere in sight. And with that, my friends, I wish you well no matter what you do or don't do today, no matter where you go or don't. Yes, the journey you are on may be a long one, but know this: each step is also an arrival.

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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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