The Heart of the Matter
April 18, 2022
New and Improved FAQs Just Published on PremRawat.com

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If you have questions about Prem Rawat and the inner knowing he helps people discover, the new FAQ section on his website will be a good resource for you.

If you still have questions or want to send him a message, it is easy to do.

"What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question." -- Jonas Salk

PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)

One Thing at a Time

Here is a lovely six-minute video of Prem Rawat, posted just two days ago on his official YouTube channel. The theme? The importance of doing just one thing at a time. The video is one of many on his increasingly popular YouTube channel. To date, there are 79,600 subscribers. If you know anyone who might be interested in watching brief videos of Prem (most are less than 7 minutes), feel free to forward them the link.

Prem Rawat's official YouTube channel

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2022
Quarantining the Mind

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The practice of quarantine began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit, at anchor, for 40 days before landing. This word for this phenomenon harkens back to two Italian words, "quaranta giorni", which translate as "40 days".

OK. I get it. Quarantining makes sense. When someone or something is infected and contagious we remove it from society. We protect the whole, by isolating the parts.

But the body is not the only part of us that gets infected. So does our mind -- what the dictionary defines as "the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences -- the faculty of consciousness and thought."

On a good, uninfected day, our mind is a capable of many glorious things: wonder, gratitude, focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, generosity, appreciation, and wisdom, just to name a few. But when it gets infected, watch out, my friends, watch out. The game changes quickly. All hell breaks loose.

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The symptoms of the body's contagion are relatively easy to recognize, especially these days with all the coverage Covid-19 is getting: fever, chills, sneezing, coughing, body aches, and fatigue.

The symptoms of the mind's contagion? Not quite as easy to detect. Why not? Because, like pollution and hidden bank charges, we've become so accustomed to them, we barely notice anymore. But just because we don't, it doesn't mean the contagion isn't wreaking havoc. It most definitely is.

The symptoms of an infected mind? Take your pick: worry, doubt, fear, stress, anger, blame, confusion, panic, powerlessness, loneliness, hopelessness, irritation, frustration, hypochondria, lethargy, and overwhelm -- and that's just for starters.

Simply put, our body gets physically infected and our mind gets metaphysically infected. And when it does, its contagion begins spreading exponentially. Other people are affected -- our families, our friends, and our communities.

These days, I have never been more aware of my mind's infection.

No longer in lock down or quarantine, but still with more time on my frequently washed hands than usual, I am acutely aware of the condition I have. I've caught something. I have something. But the thing that I've caught and have doesn't need to catch and have me. It doesn't. Nope. No way. I'm in charge. Not it.

That's where choice enters the picture -- to quarantine the infected part of my mind before it gets out of hand.

What does this so-called quarantining look like? For me, it begins with a kind of peeing around my soul's territory and then choosing not to engage, not to react, not to fight back, and not to take a single bite from the seeming infinite supply of poisoned cookies my mind tosses my way.

Instead, I take a breath, return to the place of peace inside me, and send the feral monkeys of my mind back to their room for a long time out. And if they refuse my directive, as often they do, I simply turn and walk away, their nervous chattering now fading background noise in the soaring symphony of my life.

Does it always work? No. But sometimes it does. And the more I practice quarantining my mind, the flatter the curve.

Covid-19 is just a dress rehearsal, folks, an opportunity for each and every one of us to see through the illusory nature of the world and all we've constructed -- our identities, personas, possessions, accomplishments, systems, institutions, civilizations, and distractions. None of them are real. All of them come and go in the blink of an eye.

What remains when they skedaddle out of town? Now that's the 279 trillion dollar question, isn't it? What remains?

For now, let's keep it real simple. You and I and the other 7.7 billion people on planet Earth have a choice -- the choice to choose life over death, light over dark, love over hate, now over later, and presence over absence. And, perhaps above all else, the choice to pay attention to that which is truly worthy of our attention. You know what it is. I know you do. No matter what name you call it or how you invoke it, I invite you to pay more attention to that during these crazy Coronavirus days of change.

Photo: Courtesy of TimelessToday
The Two Wolves
Ending Violence with Chopsticks
Is That So?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:12 AM | Comments (3)

April 11, 2022
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 (3)

April 09, 2022
RUMI AND THE DODGE DART

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One of the amazing things about life is that every moment has, contained with it, the potential to spark an awakening -- a meaningful, memorable, life-changing insight about ourselves with the potential to take us to higher ground.

And to make things even more interesting, we never know WHEN these surprise moments will occur and what impact they will have on us.

Which brings us, I guess, to the following story -- a kind of "as above, so below" moment for me back in Denver, Colorado in 1979 -- something I learned that I am still plumbing the depths of (even if, technically speaking, I am not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition).

Back then, having taken a vow of renunciation and living in one of Prem Rawat's ashrams, I was (at least in my own mind) on the high road to happiness, having left "the world" behind like a too heavy bag of rocks.

My day job at that time? Being the Community Coordinator of Prem's Denver operations -- a role that required me to attend to a wide range of often unglamorous tasks: event planning, fundraising, meeting facilitation, administration, bill paying, troubleshooting, and tending to the needs of our out-of-town guests.

And while the opportunity to be of service was almost always a thrill, it was also very demanding -- requiring a lot of attention to detail -- the kind of attention that took up most of my bandwidth.

After a day of dealing with details, my preferred routine, upon returning home, was to sequester myself in my room and read the poetry of Rumi -- a dependable way to leave the density of the day behind and connect with a timeless realm. It was, at least for me, a kind of homeopathic dose of divine sanity -- a dependable antidote to the mundane and a chance for me to renew, restore and rejuvenate.

So, there I was on my couch, Rumi book in hand, when the phone rings. It's Dennis, the Community Treasurer.

"Hey Mitch," he begins. "I need you to dig into your files and tell me what the vehicle identification number is of the Dodge Dart.

"What?" I manage to say. "WHAT do you need?"

"I need you to dig into your files and tell me what the vehicle identification number is of the Dodge Dart. You have the folder. I know you do. It's in your files."

"Oh, I reply. "OK. Give me a minute."

Looking through my files to find the vehicle identification number of a 1974 Dodge Dart was not, shall we say, high on my list of things to do after a day of having more things to do than I preferred.

But Dennis, God bless him, was on a mission and, for some reason, known only to him, absolutely needed the Dodge Dart vehicle identification number. And he needed it now.

Finding my way to my desk, I opened the file draw and located the Dodge Dart folder.

"OK, Dennis, I got it. Here you go: AZR5903432TGL79642A."

"Great, Mitch, thanks. Let me read it back to you to make sure I got it right, AZR5903432TGL79642A."

"Bingo!" I reply, you got it. Glad I could help."

And with that, I hang up the phone, return to my couch, pick up my Rumi book and begin reading again, chuckling at the play of it all and realizing how important it was for me to let go of my preferences from time to time in order to REALLY be of service -- even if letting go of my preferences was the last thing I wanted to do.

"OK, lesson learned," I think to myself, diving back into Rumi.

"Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there."

Three minutes into Rumi, the phone rings again. It's Dennis.

"Hey Mitch, sorry to bother you, but the number you gave me is wrong or maybe I wrote down the wrong number. Here's what I have: AZR5903432TGL7964A. Is that right?"

Laying down my Rumi book one more time, I retrieve the Dodge Dart folder and take another look at the vehicle identification number, comparing it to the one Dennis had just read to me.

They are not the same numbers. Somehow, Dennis had omitted the final "2" --the one just before the final "A".

"Hey bro, I think you left out a number towards the end. Let me read you the vehicle identification number one more time: AZR5903432TGL79642A. Now read it back to me."

There is a bit of silence on the other end.

"My bad," Dennis says... "I left out the final '2'. Sorry about that. Enjoy your evening."

And with that, I return to the couch, my Rumi book open to page 74:

"Don't run around this world
looking for a hole to hide in.
There are wild beasts in every cave!
If you live with mice,
the cat claws will find you.
The only real rest comes
when you are alone with God.
Live in the nowhere you came from
even though you have an address here."

PS: I shit you not, just as I posted this story a few minutes ago, my landlord called me and asked if I would go down to the basement and check to see if the sump pump was working. See you later after I return from the basement. The story continues...

PremRawat.com
Photo: Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2022
THE FINGER SNAP, part 2

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Here is a 4:20 excerpt from my forthcoming audiobook about a life-changing encounter I had with Prem Rawat a few years ago. I learned a lot from him (and myself) in that brief exchange -- something deep, timeless, and very familiar. One of the things I love about my connection with Prem is the way in which being around him amplifies my access to a greater sense of knowing and being.

His new book: Hear Yourself
PremRawat.com
My audio story excerpted from Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2022
Beacon in the Storm

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Wonderful new song by Stuart Hoffman, Jennifer Edwards, and Tony Cardo. Vocals by Stephen Rivera. Fuzzbee Morse on bass and guitar. Jerry Marotta on drums and percussion.

Available on Bandcamp for downloading.

And while you're at it, learn more about Anthems on the Rise, an innovative new music production company that writes, arranges, and produces songs for all occasions.

Photo: Joshua Hibbert, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Peace Comes to Street Gangs of Ecuador

Wow. All I can say is wow.

More about this here -- an interview with Paul Murtha, the out-of-the-box gent who played such a vital role in helping The Bloods and Latin Kings of Ibarra find common ground, go beyond violence, and become contributing members of their communities.

TimelessToday
TPRF
PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2022
Unchained Melody

Here's an inspiring piece of music for your delight -- Steve Kowarsky, on the Ewi, playing Unchained Melody -- a song made popular, decades ago, by the Righteous Brothers. See below for lyrics. Enjoy!

Woah, my love, my darling
I've hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me
Lonely rivers flow
To the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea, yeah
Lonely rivers sigh
"Wait for me, wait for me"
I'll be coming home, wait for me
Woah, my love, my darling
I've hungered, hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me

PremRawat.com
TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:46 PM | 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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