The Heart of the Matter
December 29, 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 Catskill 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.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:40 AM | Comments (2)

December 23, 2021
Giving the Gift of Ourselves

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Every year, about two days before Christmas, I experience something I am not particularly proud of.

Thinking about the gifts I've bought for my wife and kids, I get the feeling that I don't have enough for them. This feeling has almost nothing to do with how many gifts I've bought or how "good" the gifts are.

Beyond the quantity and quality of my offerings is the sense that my efforts to express my love for them is lame and doesn't really measure up to how I feel -- and that, somehow, they will be disappointed.

Indeed, there have been some "nights before Christmas" where I've left the cozy warmth of my home to return to the mall, looking for the perfect gift. It's humbling to witness this kind of behavior in me. And it's humbling to admit it. But it's also healing.

In time, with some reflection and a deeper dive into selfhoood, I've come to realize that it's not about fixing my flaws, patching up the quirks in my personality, or compensating for some imagined black hole.

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It's about being.

The deep love we feel for the people in our lives begs to be expressed and yet the mind will never be satisfied with the form of its expression. No poem, no song, no diamond, no trip around the world will ever be enough.

In the end, the only thing we have to give -- is ourselves. And that is plenty.

TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:26 AM | Comments (3)

December 21, 2021
12 Ways to Learn More About the Message of Prem Rawat

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If you or someone you know are looking for ways to learn more about Prem Rawat and his message of peace, all you need to do is click this link. Once done, you'll find yourself on a newly created landing page on his website -- one that provides you with access to a wide variety of videos, websites, books, podcasts, and live streams that feature his message.

Bottom line, there are many ways to tune further in to what Prem's message of peace is all about (and how it might be of value to you).

PremRawat.com
Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2021
What Does Peace Mean to You?

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A few days ago, I emailed this slide show to some friends of mine and asked them to let me know what "PEACE" means to them. Many responded to my request -- each with their own unique description of peace. Below is the response I received from Steven McHugh, in Longmont, Colorado:

"I am at peace in my creative, spiritual flow. Inner peace, for me, is when my many inner selves are of a piece, aligned, tranquil and resonating -- speaking with one voice, resonating, at peace. Tranquility in the face of setbacks. Engine purring, no sputter, no backfire. Feeling joy in a cup of tea and delight in my divinity. Inner peace heals the soul.

Peace is also an exterior thing -- feeling the support and love of family and friends. Affiliation with like-hearted souls. Reveling in the beauty of nature, the magnificence of all creation. Dancing in the groove. Merging with the moment, external peace and inner peace are one.

PEACE

Waiting for water to boil,
I experience
the joy of a lifetime.

13 brief videos and audios of Prem Rawat talking about peace

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2021
Season's Greetings from Ira Meyer

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And now for something a little bit different from The Heart of the Matter: Two days ago, in my inbox, I received Ira Meyer's 2021 Holiday card and letter. I found it so inspiring that I asked Ira if I could republish it here. What follows are some excerpts, along with five extraordinary photos from Ira's world class portfolio. Enjoy!

On my morning walk yesterday, I found myself wondering how many days I have been alive. Upon getting home, a quick calculation came to 27,178. That's 652,272 hours or 39,136,320 minutes. My guess was that each respiration encompassed around four seconds. Google affirmed this reasonable estimate.

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Do you believe in miracles? I have experienced about 600 million of them.

For what are the odds of elements coming together to enable human life and then sustain it?

How fortunate we are to have this opportunity!

I'd not seen my longtime teacher, Prem Rawat, since shortly before COVID-19 became a worldwide concern. Having the opportunity to attend three special events with him in just over a month this past summer was a breath of the freshest air. For as has been the case for the past half-century, he managed to direct my focus to that which I understand to be the essence of my life: the peace, joy and clarity which dwell within my (and every human) heart.

In just over seven months I will have been alive for three-quarters of a century. This seems incomprehensible, for I feel ageless. And life continues to be extraordinarily kind to me. Somehow, time has smoothed out many of the rough edges of my existence, leaving me increasingly content. This is a gift I never might have imagined in my restless, confused youth. But I believe it suits me to a T.

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I suspect this well-being to be everyone's birthright, and I'm saddened by the discontent which often seems prevalent in others. I am sure this is unnecessary. If only people could understand how simple life can be, absent of the complexities we bring upon ourselves.

Along with 600 million previous ones, experiencing the miracle of this breath brings me a deep sense of gratitude. In the vastness of the cosmos, against all odds, everything has come together perfectly not only for us to be, but to be cognizant of our being. To know the joy. To see the beauty. To taste the sweetness. To feel the richness. To experience the wonder of human life.

Miraculousness to the nth degree.

May the holiday season and new year bring you the best of all things good in your lives and an ever-increasing awareness of how fortunate we all are.

Stay safe and healthy, always!
Ira

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IraMeyer.com
About Ira
Ira's National Geographic cover

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2021
How the Peace Education Program Helped a Heroin Addict Get His Life Back on Track

In this powerful 11-minute documentary, Billa Nanra shares his story of incarceration and how the Peace Education Program empowered him to kick a 22-year heroin addiction and get his life back on track. Now free from crime and substance use, Billa has become a volunteer facilitator of the Peace Education Program for at-risk youth and other groups.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2021
The Practical Peace Library

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This is the first of an 18-part series to be published over the next few months on this blog. Each post will feature a different set of short, topical videos and audios featured in the Practical Peace Library on PremRawat.com. Today's post focuses on choice.

Please free to forward this link to any friends or family of yours who might be interested in learning more about Prem's message of peace. The next post in this series will focus on the topic of clarity.

How do you want to live? (Video - 1:59)
36500 (Audio - 6:13)
Choices (Audio - 2:36)
Have you made your choices? (Audio - 5:53)
Make your life shine (Audio - 3:16)
The cost of distraction (Audio - 7:51)
The power of PEP (Video - 3:59)
We are the doers (Audio - 3:10)
You choose (Audio - 3:03)
Your day, your life (Audio - 3:30)

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:00 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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