The Heart of the Matter
February 25, 2022
The "D" Word

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Most people who accomplish anything extraordinary in their life usually put in a lot of hard work towards that end. =They know, from experience, that going beyond the status quo requires effort -- lots of effort.

Entrepreneurs, for example, often work seven days a week. They put in long hours, every day, to follow their dream and build something of value. Writers and artists spend countless hours, in solitude, in service to their muse. Moved to create something meaningful, they put in the work -- knowing, as they do, that the time they invest in themselves is time well-spent.

And the list goes on and on: Single mothers. Teachers. Nurses. Athletes. Long-haul truckers. Inventors. Recovering alcoholics. Monks. Immigrants. Each, in their own way, know that perseverance is required if they are ever going to realize their dreams.

Or, as Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

Each and every one of us, at some time in our lives, has had a dream -- an inspired aspiration -- something well beyond the status quo that called to us.

Maybe it was a book we wanted to write or a school we wanted to start. Maybe it was a business we wanted to launch or a cause we wanted to support. Maybe it was a pilgrimage we wanted to go on or a difference we wanted to make.

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Often, our aspirations seemed to be "against all odds". And, quite likely, other people -- even those closest to us -- doubted our intentions and sanity.

Obstacles, frustrations, and disappointments came with the territory. Patience was needed. Clarity. And holding strong to the vision that moved us to make effort in the first place.

It took Tolkien 16 years to write the "Lord of the Rings". Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years. And countless monks spend countless years meditating in monasteries hoping to experience enlightenment, often with nothing to show for their effort than a sore back and a begging bowl.

Most people with bold dreams bail out along the way. Of every 100 aspiring authors who begin writing a book, only three complete it.

If you ask the average person trying to accomplish something extraordinary what quality they wish they had more of in order to put them over the top, almost always you'll hear the same thing: discipline. Indeed, when push comes to shove, that's what most people think is missing from their lives. The lack of discipline, they will confess, is their Achilles heel.

Logically speaking, this makes sense. The ability to be organized, focused, and persevering is essential to achieving results. No one, in their right mind, would dispute this. Discipline is required. Sustained discipline.

But here's where things get interesting.

When people bemoan the lack of discipline in their lives, their lament is often tinged with a dose of heaviness and dread -- how high school students often feel on a Sunday afternoon when they realize they haven't yet done their geometry homework. They know they have homework to do. They know it's important. But they just can't get up for it.

"You've got to be more disciplined," their parents tell them.

But no matter how hard those teenagers try to get their act together, the same drama plays out the next weekend and the one after that.

Yes, discipline is important. But discipline, per se, is not the really question. The question is: "What is at the root of discipline?" Or, put another way, "How can we access the kind of discipline that truly works for us?"

The dictionary definition of discipline sheds light on why so many of us bridle at the word: "The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience."

Ouch! Oof! Ugh! Who really likes obeying rules? Who looks forward to being bound by codes of behavior? Who enjoys being punished for disobeying?

The root of the word "discipline," curiously, comes from the Latin word for pupil -- "discipulus" -- a word that translates as "someone who wants to learn" -- the same root from where the word "disciple" originated.

Think about it for a minute. People who become disciples are people who are deeply committed to learning something. On fire with purpose, their subsequent actions towards that end are behaviors they commit to in response to what it is they want to learn. Their motivation is intrinsic. It comes from within. Their actions spring from their deep-seated recognition that there are is a specific kind of effort they need to make that will lead to the results they're looking for.

In other words, their discipline is rooted in choice, aspiration, and love -- not guilt, heaviness, and dread. Should is not their driver. Need is. Heartfelt need. They are, quite simply, responding to an inner calling and understand that the effort they need to make is a genuine effort -- one that is supported by the path they are on and the teacher or guide they are learning from.

Social scientists who study human potential have come to the conclusion. that intrinsic motivation, is the ultimate driver of extraordinary performance -- not carrots and sticks.

When a person is moved from the within to experience a particular outcome, their motivation is self-generated, authentic, and sustainable. They are not doing geometry homework. They are following what is calling them. And though, to outside observers, they may seem to be disciplined, their actions are inspired by fascination, will, and trust in the process they have embraced.

How much discipline does it take to eat when you're hungry? How much discipline does it take to look up when you see a rainbow? How much discipline is required to hug someone you love? Not much. And why not? Because you are intrinsically motivated to perform those actions. You are moved from the core of your being. Something inside of you is going for what it loves. Your effort is not forced. There are no shoulds, no guilt or self-recrimination -- just the natural expression of what genuinely moves you.

Is effort required to practice the knowledge that Prem Rawat offers? Yes, most definitely -- a daily effort -- one that requires focus, attention, and sustained commitment. Just like athletes train to master their sport, people who take Prem up on his offer to experience personal peace also need to make their effort. But it is not a heroic effort that's required, or a bang-your-head-against-the-wall kind of effort.

Prem understands the kind of effort it takes for people to plumb the depths of the experience he reveals. And, accordingly, he doesn't just talk about it or teach techniques for accessing it. He sees the big picture. He's in for the long haul. And he knows that he has a vital role to play for those who find value in his assistance -- encouraging, inspiring, and reminding people what it is that moved them, in the first place, to discover their true nature.

12 Ways to Learn More About Prem Rawat's Message of Peace
PEAK: Prem Rawat's Online Course on How to Discover Personal Peace
Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2022
A Word to the Wise

"I can help you know yourself like you have never known yourself before." - Prem Rawat

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2022
On Gratitude

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Today, during Prem Rawat's Gather for Peace live stream, he asked a very powerful question: "Are we becoming better human beings?" Soon after, he went on to mention that "a better person was a person who is full of gratitude."

Definitely worth contemplating.

In the world today, there are more inner practices than ever before, more self-help books, podcasts, pundits, and paths. But if a human being doesn't end up in a state of gratitude, what's it all for?

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." Meister Eckhart

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues." - Cicero

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present
and not giving it." -- William Arthur Ward

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." - Willie Nelson

"The best way to show gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy." - Mother Teresa

"When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself." - Tecumseh

"Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all." - William Faulkner

"Gratitude is the most admirable of traits and qualities in that it is usually not enough to simply decide to be grateful -- we must actively practice it to cement its place in our lives." - Molly Ackerman

"Be grateful for your life, every detail of it, and your face will come to shine like a sun, and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful. Persist in gratitude, and you will slowly become one with the Sun of love, and Love will shine through you its all-healing joy. The path of gratitude is not for children; it is the path of tender heroes, of the heroes of tenderness who, whatever happens, keep burning on the altar of their hearts the flame of adoration." - Rumi

"Be thankful for what you have. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." - Oprah Winfrey

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink." - G. K. Chesterton

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." - Buddha

What are YOU grateful for?

PremRawat.com
Photo: Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

A Valentines Day Gift for You

If you are looking for a Valentines Day gift to send your loved ones (or even your liked ones), here it is. Includes beautiful quotes on love, vocals by Daya Rawat, lyrics by Jennifer Edwards, and music by Stuart Hoffman. Pass it on. (What if 7 billion people had a chance to see this show?)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2022
Quotes on Longing

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All of us long for something -- the almost insatiable thirst of the spirit for union, expression, and the experience of love beyond words. What do you long for?

"There is a space between man's imagination and man's attainment that may only be traversed by his longing." - Kahlil Gibran

"This hunger is better than any fullness; this poverty better than all other wealth." - C.S. Lewis

"We are homesick most for the places we have never known." - Carson McCullers

"Feeling and longing are the motive forces behind all human endeavor and human creations." - Albert Einstein

"Is there anything better than to be longing for something, when you know it is within reach?" - Greta Garbo

"Longing is the core of mystery. Longing itself brings the cure. The only rule is, suffer the pain. Your desires must be disciplined. And what you want to happen in time, sacrificed." - Rumi

"If some longing goes unmet, don't be astonished. We call that life." - Anna Freud

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind." - Bertrand Russell

"It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them." - George Eliot

"Only longing can fill with more of itself." - Virginia Woolf

"Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great." - Roger de Bussy-Rabutin

"We all have an old knot in the heart we wish to untie." - Michael Ondaatje

"Longing is like a seed that wrestles in the ground." - Emily Dickinson

"The act of longing for something will always be more intense than the requiting of it." - Gail Godwin

"You must long for freedom as the drowning man longs for air. Without sincere longing, you will never find God." - Paramahansa Yogananda

"Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth." - Cicero

"Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God." - Ramakrishna

"The longing for light is the longing for consciousness." - Carl Jung

Photo: Billy Williams on Unsplash
The Beautiful Sadness of Longing
PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2022
The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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This just in from Carmen Queitsch, a woman who was given a copy of Hear Yourself, a few weeks ago by her friend, Kirk Laidlaw, when she lived on Salt Springs Island -- one of the Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea between mainland British Columbia, Canada and Vancouver Island.

Prem Rawat has changed me for the better. I noticed my behavior shift in a healthy direction after reading his book, "Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World". Each time I read even just a page or two paragraphs, I felt joy from his words. I felt energized and motivated.

Reading Prem's words, to me, was like having a slice of cheese cake. One bite fills your mouth with a sweet richness that's so cool and smooth you just want to put down the fork and roll your tongue around your mouth.

So, too, are his words.

I began to pick up Prem's book whenever my life was feeling hectic. I would go to my couch, red-faced with frustration, and open it. I would make my self read a paragraph or so just to see if I could calm down. And it worked. I was going through a time in my life when I knew I had to make some big life changes and reading Prem's words gave me the support I needed.

I took Prem with me to the airport recently. The airport was chaos and my travel companion was stressed. Prem's words had the same effect as they did at home. In fact, I had a moment of clarity then and there at the airport and I quickly became moved to tears. I pulled out a pen and a scrap of paper to write down what I had read.

"The journey to peace begins with the appreciation of the simplest, but most important thing we have -- our existence."

Wow!

That trip was an emotional roller coaster for me and having Prem's book in my purse gave me comfort -- a sense of security. Now I keep my notes in my purse and my book at home (smaller purse).

I am forever grateful.

My favorite Prem words are "from gratitude to peace, from peace to gratitude", describing the connection with self. But I have so many juicy Prem nuggets to reflect on. They are written on different scraps of paper spread among my things. And whenever I come across one, I make myself pause long enough to read it and it resets my perspective.

Prem's words are so impactful for me that even a whiff, just a sniff of them, can bring me peace -- much like the smell of sweater of a loved one can bring you comfort and familiarity.

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I am so very lucky that one brave and generous man decided to graciously and spontaneously give me Prem's book. Because it truly means everything to me. So thank you, Kirk. You have given me this amazing gift that keeps on giving and it changed my life. It certainly supported me while I changed my life. Thank you friend!

More about "Hear Yourself"
PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

The Hall of Regret?

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This just in from Alla Rogers:

In Egyptian mythology, there is a moment when a soul passes from this world into the next. In the Hall of Final Judgment, the soul stands before the God Osiris, the ruler of the Netherworld, who was also god of vegetation and the annual Nile flood and was closely associated with death, resurrection and fertility.

The soul stands before a tribunal of 42 judges and asked about good and bad deeds. The Book of the Dead offers spells and suggestions on how to pass the test. As the soul stands before the God Osiris, the final test, it is asked to lay its heart on a scale to be weighed before the god.

The counter weight on the scale is a single feather. If the soul is light as a feather, it passes into the next world.

The allusion to the heart as the final arbiter of Truth is a very powerful statement. What is my heart's Truth?

Will my Hall of Judgment be a Hall of Regret as I make an accounting of my life, or will my heart be as light as a feather? At this moment I weigh my own heart.

As I recall distant memories as well as benchmark and breakthrough moments on my journey, there is one truth for me -- it all had purpose and meaning. My heart felt delight, wonder, awe, sadness, loss, despair, desire, yearning, longing, joy, kindness, exhilaration, gratitude, acceptance, peace, love, the sacred within me, and no regrets.

Light as feather!

Photo: Pedro Vit, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Power of Your Next Breath

You know what is really extraordinary about being alive? We are never more than a breath away from being totally in the zone -- and by "zone" I am referring to the state of being that is full of joy, gratitude, fulfillment, ease and peace.

Yes, we all have dramas in our lives -- ones that often take us for a ride and spark a weird stew of worry, doubt, fear, anger, and judgment. Humbling stuff, indeed. But no matter what ride our mind takes us on, we are never more than a breath away from returning to our true home within our own beautiful selves.

It doesn't require a pilgrimage, spiritual retreat, or change in diet -- just knowing how to let go and return to the safe haven of our own inner being.

PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2022
Success is Enjoying Life

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Here is a remarkable piece by Sushila Wood, her recent update on her husband, Michael's GoFundMe page. Last year, Michael had a stroke. Since then, he and his family have been in the process of adapting, adjusting, and recovering. As you can imagine, it has not been easy, but a lot of progress is being made. If there is a way for you to contribute to Michael's campaign, please do. No contribution is too small. And now, Sushila's update...


"Do you think if you've done something that many times you're likely good at it? 15,131. That's almost how many days I've been alive. That many reliable sunrises and sunsets. How many breaths is that? Heartbeats?

When do you start feeling good at it, this day by day of this gorgeous life?

I think children are really good at living. Then, for some of us, we could spend the rest of our lives trying to get good at life. We might not succeed. It might feel like a carousel ride where we just don't seem to get anywhere.

Define success, you say?

Success is enjoying life.

I think this guy is succeeding, despite recently having to learn to walk again. Around 26,300 days so far, him breathing. He is approaching the threshold of exceeding his life expectancy of 27,776 days.

HE'S WALKING!!!

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A car wash is known as a hairy monster around here and I don't need a castle to want servants. The day to day upkeep is both satisfying and boring. Lo and behold, I found a definition of boring that I love:

"Boredom is your imagination calling to you." - Sherry Turkle

Thank God. Because chores and keeping up with it all is very far from my idea of joy. There is joy in order, I can see it, but the order is an illusion, like a bird who collects blue objects for their nest just because. And once things are ordered, boom! Things start to unravel immediately. Yet boredom comes as a gift, awakening imagination. It's like waiting for good surf. Then waiting for the right wave. Boom. What a ride.

When I was a kid, I would occasionally empty the linen cupboard and re-fold everything because it brought me great satisfaction to have control over the all mess, in the confines of one or two cupboards. So yeah, I do still order things for some semblance of control.

Suddenly I did a lot more ordering when Michael was in rehab for his stroke. Grappling for control of a sustainable daily life, working and with three home-schooled kids. Now I'm ready for my own space again, beyond the 2-4 am typing with one finger or two thumbs. I'm ready to get better at my own joy again.

So the house might revert back to a state where I once again declare it off limits for visitors. Being visitor-ready was never my aspiration. It was just necessary with all the therapists coming to the house. Success is not having friends who visit, and this time of COVID has just given me poetic license to say that no visitors is normal (it's how I grew up, so it's normal to me).

Success is nothing to do with order, unless the order is finding joy in my heart.

To do lists be damned. The pile of books I want to read is calling me, as are the horses, the trails, the clarity. But I made a promise to myself to catch up on paperwork and all the things. Paperwork, the obstacle to buying a house and having a passport. Wanted things, not needed, wanted.

Printed, stamped, drawn, torn, shredded, burned, origamied. Paper is good for so many things. How do you look on paper? It's not a request for a self portrait. Ha! Financial stuff. Useful.

I loop around on that carousel. Back to the part where I pass the ocean at dusk, and struggle to find the words to capture phosphorescence..

It glows.

It's unpredictable.

Always look for it.

You never know where it will surprise you.

It is hope.

Michael's GoFundMe campaign
Video: 25,500 days
Michael's website

A sampling of Michael's photographs:

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1 Golden.jpg

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Michael's GoFundMe campaign

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:02 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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