The Heart of the Matter
October 09, 2021
What Has Already Happened


Every once in a while, something happens in my life that leaves me totally stunned, amazed, and electric with life. All of us have had these moments, somewhere along the line -- small, medium, and large. Sometimes we remember them, years later, and sometimes we don't. And sometimes, when we remember them, like glancing at an old photo of a friend, we remember that which was behind and beyond that particular moment --the core of who we are, that which abides at the eternal essence of our being.

I had one of these moments, in 1988, backstage at an event with my long-time teacher, Prem Rawat.

If I was going to tell the full story of that moment, it would stretch back a long, long time ago, before I was "Mitch", before there was a somebody to tell the story, before there was language -- and so, in honor of the fact that I know you have a lot on your plate and may even feel late for a very important date, I will do my best to cut to the chase to the pearl inside the oyster of that moment.

Prem hands up.jpg

Here goes:

I had traveled to the Miami Beach Convention Center from New York City two days earlier, with only one thing in mind and that was to sit in the audience and enjoy Prem Rawat hold forth, fifth, and sixth for two days -- sharing his deeply inspiring message of peace with 10,000 people, me being one of them sitting in the balcony, super grateful to be there. That was it. And that was plenty.

Somehow, someway, on the second day of the event, while I was standing in the lobby not doing much of anything, one of the event coordinators approached me and explained, with very little segue, that Prem has picked my name from a list of "potential speakers" for the following night and I was to show up at the hall, tomorrow morning, at 8:00 am for a brief meeting with him and the other two speakers, Joan Apter and Charanand.

Huh? What? Really?

What I was hearing at that moment I found totally impossible to process. Dumbfounded. I was dumbfounded, stunned, and about as disoriented as I have ever been in my life. WHAT?

Not wanting to dwell on my state of mind for very long (knowing all too well where that would take me), I just went with the proverbial flow and showed up at the hall bright and early the next morning, was ushered backstage by someone with a badge, and taken to a room backstage. Standing there was Prem, Joan, and Charanand. After some welcomes, laughter, and a few words of encouragement, Prem handed each of us a vomit bag.

"Just in case", he laughed, as he exited the room.

And with that, my day began.

Fast forward, 11 hours later. I am now sitting back stage, on an aluminum folding chair, next to Joan and Charanand, sound and lighting technicians moving briskly all around us -- doing my best to figure out what in the world was happening. The best I could come up with was this: I was the warm-up act. Yes, I was definitely the warm up act. Clearly, of the three of us, I was the least experienced at public speaking and the last substantial. I mean, it was Charanand who had accompanied Prem to the West in 1971. And Joan was one of the first Westerners to have ever met Prem, playing a huge role preparing the way for him to come to America. And then... um... er... there... was... me -- the other guy.

As I had been accustomed to doing my entire life, I quickly found myself doing the hokey pokey, trying to figure things out -- trying to get clear about WHAT WAS HAPPENING, and, in a nano second, I did. I got it. I mean, it was not all that difficult to do. I was the warm up act. Yes, I was the warm up act -- the "man of the people". Yes, I would speak first. Then Joan would follow. Then Charanand. And then Prem would take the stage. Voila! It made perfect sense and I had absolutely no problem with any of it. Fine with me. Whatever worked.

But that was not what happened.

Joan was asked to speak first, which left just two of us sitting there. Mahatma-Ji and me. It was precisely at that moment that I realized I had two choices. I could either sit there, scrambling around in my head, trying to figure things out or I... could... just... let go and be in the moment.

It was not that difficult a choice.

And so I closed my eyes and turned my attention inward, doing my best to find my way back to the placeless place within me where I could rest and renew -- the oasis where I could be free of distraction, thought, and projection.

About a minute later, I heard someone whispering in my left ear. It was Prem. And what he whispered is something I will never forget.

"Hey Mitch," he said, "Joan just used all your good lines."

Bingo! It was so true! Joan did just use all my good lines. Because even as I sat there, eyes closed, doing my best to find the place of peace inside me, I was ALSO making an effort to conjure up my opening line -- you know, the first thing I would say when I walked out on stage in front of 10,000 people -- a beginning... some way to be prepared.

In just one sentence -- and a very funny one at that -- Prem popped my little bubble of self-preservation. A kind of psychic surgery was performed. A magic carpet had pulled out from beneath my feet. Mastery at work.

With nothing left to lean on in my repertoire of shtick, I was now completely present. And then, Prem whispered the following to me:

"You don't have to talk about what's SUPPOSED to happen. All you have to talk about is what's ALREADY happened."

And with that, he turned and walked away.

Badaboom! Badabing! It was all so simple! I didn't have to be profound. I didn't have to inspire an audience. I didn't have teach, uplift, be wise, or be amazing. All I had to do was talk about what had ALREADY happened to me -- the experience I had been enjoying since the moment I first received Prem's gift of Knowledge. That was it. Just talk about that -- what was REAL for me. All stress left my body. All nervousness. All need to prepare for "my big moment".

And then, I heard my name being called, rose from my chair, mounted a few steps, and walked onto the stage.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at October 9, 2021 03:47 AM

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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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