The Heart of the Matter
July 10, 2017
There's a Saint Louis, Missouri, Why Not a Saint Francis?

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If you happen to be feeling overwhelmed at the moment, unappreciated, neglected, ignored, unloved, unsettled, diminished, disappointed, disillusioned, disgruntled, or just plain dissed, the following words from Saint Francis -- spoken over 800 years ago -- may be just what the doctor ordered.

By the way, you don't have to be a saint to get the value. Just a human being.

THE SAINT FRANCIS PRAYER

"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:13 PM | Comments (3)

June 21, 2017
Chantal Piriz Needs Our Support

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Dear Friends:

Just a brief note to let you know that Chantal Piriz, the extraordinary woman who, along with Roberto Piriz, began the Peace Education Program in Dominquez Prison, in San Antonio, is very much in need of our help. Chantal has some pressing health challenges that will require surgery. It is not an easy time for her. Here is the link to Chantal's GoFundMe campaign. Every little bit helps. Thank you, in advance, for whatever support you can provide.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2017
Love People

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February 14, 2017
Happy Valentine's Day

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December 23, 2016
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.

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

October 28, 2016
Kindness Boomerangs

Whatever path you follow, whatever religion you believe in, whatever your philosophy of life may be, this sweet video is a great reminder for all of us to come from a place of simple kindness.

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October 09, 2016
"I COUNT EVERYDAY AS WASTED IN WHICH THERE HAS BEEN NO DANCING" - Friedrich Nietzsche

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October 01, 2016
The Complexity of Love in 13 Untranslatable Words

Sometimes, we FEEL something deeply, but don't necessarily have words for it. This sweet, four-minute video is all about this phenomenon -- featuring words, in different languages, for hard to communicate feelings about life and love. Can you relate?

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My attempt after seeing Prem Rawat at Amaroo
Big shout out to Scott Cronin for sending me this cool video

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2016
A Feeling That Defies Definition


Premlata from Nic Askew on Vimeo.

TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2016
Soaked!

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I wrote the following upon returning home from one of Prem Rawat's events, in Australia, a few years ago.

People ask me what it was like being with you five days in a row. Here's what I tell them: It was like spinning around in a monsoon, cup in hand, trying to catch the rain. Every time I noticed my cup was full, I opened my mouth to sing, but my mouth filled up with water. I gulped, I drank, I bailed my boat of joy. Somehow, in between the tidal waves of love and my odd little habit of trying to understand what in the world was going on, I heard what you said: "Get wet! Get wet!"

When the Rain Begins
Unspoken Word

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:18 PM | Comments (3)

June 18, 2016
Off the Coast of Love

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Off the Coast of Love

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2016
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 04, 2016
Long Before Words

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Being of the Jewish persuasion, I'm not exactly the kind of person given to confession, but allow me the ecumenical luxury of confessing at least one thing in this first paragraph of what may well turn out to be the Mahabharata of blog postings:

Writing about Prem Rawat and the gift that he offers is not easy.

It's not easy for a few reasons.

First off, what I want to say existed long before words -- long before nouns and verbs and the leaky vessels we construct to float our shaky boats of babble. Secondly, words are approximations of the real thing at best. Like menus, they indicate something's cooking in the kitchen, but they are not the food itself. And thirdly, the dog ate my homework.

I don't know how it works, but there are years of my life I can barely remember, but seconds with Prem that remain a vast eternity, indelibly impressed on my heart like some kind of rock 'n roll Rosetta stone.

I never laugh so hard or cry so long as when I'm in his company. I never feel so good.

The first time I heard about him, I was both ecstatic and afraid -- ecstatic at the thought I might finally experience what I'd been born for -- afraid that somehow, grand impostor that I was, I would be the only person on the face of the Earth not to get it. Forget it. I got it.

Yes, that moment happened -- the moment of oooh -- the moment of aaah -- the moment of finally coming into my own after years of imagining my own was someplace far away -- in a forest, cave, or future lifetime.

What has he taught me? How to wake up -- and stay awake. How to appreciate. How to feel. How to simply be.

What Prem Rawat offers is not so much a teaching as it is transportation to the place we've either been seeking our entire lives or have given up on long ago -- the place of no judgment, the place of no doubt, the place of no worry, no fear, no problem.

Here! The place of remembering. And what we remember here is love -- plain and simple. For love is the name of the game...

PremRawat.com
Words of Peace Global
The Prem Rawat Foundation
RawatCreations

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:46 PM | Comments (3)

October 06, 2015
Peter Buettner Needs Our Support!

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There's a good chance you don't know my friend, Peter Buettner. Peter lives in Woodstock. He is a fabulous musician, composer, and stellar human being who makes his living as a carpenter.

A few days ago Peter was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The tremors associated with this condition make it impossible for Peter to work or play his beloved sax or flute. A few of us have joined together to create a GoFundMe campaign to help raise the $25,000 he will need to make it through the Winter and Spring, pay off the debts he's incurred from not being able to work these past two months, and also pay for alternative treatments not covered by his health insurance.

I am asking you to consider contributing to Peter's GoFundMe campaign, even if you don't know him. I figure there are about 2,000 regular readers of The Heart of the Matter. If even just half of us contributed $10 each, we'd be more than half way there to helping Peter meet his goal. Please contribute what you can. We are all in this together. Thanks!

Peter's Go Fund Me Campaign

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2015
Johnny Simonello Needs Our Love and Support. How Can You Help?

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Dear Friends:

I just received the following message from Johnny Simonello, a beautiful brother of mine and so many others in Los Angeles and around the world. Johnny needs our help. If you can respond to his request please do. We are all in this together!

JOHNNY'S MESSAGE:

"Friends, family and other interested parties, I have a personal request for support, prayer and healing.

In October, 2014, I was diagnosed with Melanoma Cancer and had surgery in December to remove it. Recently, I have been informed that the cancer has returned and is Stage IV, currently located in my lymphatic system.

I have enrolled in a treatment study that will take at least a year, which will leave me pretty much inactive during that time.

I can really use any support, prayer, and healing energy you can send my way. I will need help paying rent and bills while I am in treatment. BTW, It has been my inability to cover my expenses that has been the most stressful and emotional part of this journey for me, even though I know, in my heart of hearts, that all will be provided as needed. It is challenging.

One hundred friends giving $100 dollars each is my hope and goal.

Please send whatever you can via PayPal by using my phone # or my email address: johnny@planetaryvisions.tv

Mail: John Simonello, 17908 Hatton Street, Reseda, CA. 91335

Thank you for your Love and Support, Johnny

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2015
Radiant Being of Light

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2015
Need We Say More?

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2015
The History (and Present) of Valentine's Day

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Most people think Valentine's Day was invented by Hallmark Cards. It wasn't. Valentine's Day is actually a well-documented, historical phenomenon -- its tangled roots winding their way through centuries worth of Christian liturgy, pagan tradition, myth, and an occasional beheading.

The most popular account of its origins date back to a temple priest named, not surprisingly, Valentine, a later-to-be-canonized saint who was executed in 270 A.D. by Emperor Claudius II for performing illegal marriage ceremonies on the Roman battlefield. Back then, as the story goes, the military-minded Claudius believed connubial bliss was bad for war and made it illegal for soldiers to wed.

Imprisoned for his battlefield-betrothing ways, Valentine, a man of many talents, supposedly healed the blind daughter of his jailer while incarcerated and, the night before his execution, gave the newly sighted young lass a hand written card signed -- you guessed it -- "From Your Valentine."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, as in most historical accounts, there is almost an infinite variety of competing legends -- some religious, some pagan, some merely the result of bad translations by poorly educated scribes. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints named Valentine -- each of whom were martyred on February 14th. And to make matters even more Valetiney, the official Roman Catholic roster of saints lists no less than 12 saints named "Valentine."

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Indeed, depending on where you live and what you believe, it is possible to celebrate St. Valentine's Day on six different days of the year -- November 3, January 7, July 25, July 6 being four of them. Me? I prefer February 14, not just because it's an American tradition, but because, where I live, February is ridiculously bleak and chocolate keeps my spirits (and blood sugar) high.

It wasn't until the 14th century, however, that Valentine's Day was associated with romantic love. And it was the English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, who we have to thank for that. Chaucer's opus, Parliament of Foules, was the first ever to link the tradition of courtly love with St. Valentine's day.

Handwritten Valentine's Day cards were the tradition until 1847. That's when Esther Howland, a Mt. Holyoke graduate and budding entrepreneur, got the idea to mass produce them, ordering massive amounts of paper and lace from jolly old England, a country where no less than half the population was in the habit of giving and receiving Valentine's Day cards.

Thirty five hundred miles away, in the not-so-jolly United States, more than 190 million Valentine's Day cards are given each year -- and, if you count the number of cards school children give each other, that number skyrockets to one billion. With US citizens spending approximately $13.1 billion on Valentine's Day gifts each year, it's fair to say this love-themed holiday may be just as good for the economy as war is.

Fortunately, you don't have to be martyred, heal your daughter's jailer, or recite Chaucer's poetry to celebrate your loved ones this year. In addition to sending chocolate, roses, jewelry and cards, you can also send something digital, more specifically, the 5:23 music slide show featuring 23 inspired quotes on love by a selection of movers and shakers, none of whom, I believe, have ever been beheaded, healed the blind, or performed a single marriage ceremony on a Roman battlefield.

Also published in the Huffington Post.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2015
Hungry for Love

The Prem Rawat Foundation is doing some amazing work around the world, spreading peace, dignity, and prosperity to people who really need it. TPRF's Food for People program is groundbreaking. What follows are photos of some of the children on the receiving end. If you are moved to donate, click here -- part of a Valentine's Day-themed independent fundraising effort to support the good work of TPRF.

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The Valentine's Day Love Quote show

Stuart and Mitch's social fundraising page

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:11 AM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2015
The Valentine's Day Show is Here!

For the past hour, or so, I've been trying to find the perfect sentence to begin this blog post but couldn't find it, so I'm beginning with the second sentence.

Love.

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That's it. One word. A very short sentence.

No matter where we live, what we believe, or how we try to experience love, we all want more of it. We're sad when it goes and we're happy when it returns. And yet, curiously, the word means so many different things to so many different people that it often loses its meaning.

Some people say they love their i-phone. Some people say they love sushi. Others say they love pizza, ice cream, or the South of France. But the love I'm talking about is not a consumable. It cannot be consumed. On the contrary, it consumes us -- animating us from the inside out.

As Valentine's Day fast approaches, many of us will undoubtedly search for the perfect gift to give our loved ones. ($13.19 billion was spent last year). We'll give cards (180 million), roses (196 million), chocolate, and all kinds of other goodies.

But cards get tossed, roses wilt, and chocolates disappear all too quickly. Which is why my good friend, Stuart Hoffman, and I have decided to give you something else to consider giving your loved ones -- our hot-off-the-press 5:23 Valentine's Day slide show, featuring 23 inspiring quotes on love an a fabulous song by Jennifer Edwards and Stuart Hoffman, featuring vocals by Daya Rawat.

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Our goal? To put something positive out into the world that will have a shelf life -- something that won't wilt, melt, get stale, stolen, lost, or be returned to the mall.

This Valentine's Day, Stuart and I are going one step further than we usually do. We are stepping up to raise $50,000 for our favorite charity -- TPRF -- an extraordinary organization that helps spread dignity, peace, and prosperity in the world.

OUR IDEA? To send our Valentine's Day show to as many people as possible, inviting them to send it to as many people as possible, and asking everyone who is touched by the show to consider making a donation to our favorite charity via our just created "No Water Buffalo Were Harmed in the Making of Our Independent TPRF Fundraiser Landing Page."

Everybody wins. You get a free gift to give your loved ones on Valentine's Day... your loved ones get inspired... TPRF gets the funding it needs to continue doing it's amazing work... and Stuart and I get to experience that it's actually possible for two friends, using their noodle and creativity, to make a difference in the world.

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If you're intrigued, but need to know more about TPRF before accepting our invitation to donate, click here.

If you like our show, but don't feel like donating to TPRF, feel free to make a donation to the charity of your choice.

If you like our show, but don't want to give to our charity of choice or yours, then consider performing at least one random act of kindness on Valentine's Day. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Give someone a hug. Take someone to lunch. Something!

And finally, if you want to make a donation, but can't decide how much to give, feel free to use our handy...

How-To-Decide-How-Much-to-Give-to-a-Worthy-Cause Calculator

1. 50% of what you saved by giving our show, instead of roses
2. The price of a cappuccino
3. $10.00
4. 25% of what you saved by not buying something your Valentine will exchange on Monday because it doesn't fit.
5. The number of hours you think we put into this show x $2.00
6. $25.00
7. The number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin
8. $50.00
9. The first number that pops into your mind
10. The gross national product of Ecuador

Remember, love is the most powerful force in the universe. It's what the world needs more of. Love, sweet love. Give it! Receive it. Enjoy it!

Click here to accept our invitation to donate to TPRF
Click here if the above invitation doesn't really move you
Click here if you think Mitch and Stuart need therapy
Click here if you need a vacation
Click here if you haven't clicked any of the above
Click here to hear the sound of one hand clapping

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2015
Valentine's Day Show About to Launch!

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The Valentine's Day slide show/YouTube video that Stuart Hoffman and I are creating is just about to launch. Includes 23 awesome quotes on love, an extraordinary song by Jennifer Edwards and Stuart, and vocals by Daya Rawat. It will be posted on this blog and on my FB page and Stuart's. If you want to help get the word out, leave your name and email address below and we'll send you some info on how you can participate. Our goal is one million views and to raise $50,000 for The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2015
A Virtual Love Team is Forming

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If you want to be part of a global team of people, for two weeks, who will be helping spread the word about a 4:23 Valentine's Day show that Stuart Hoffman and I will soon be posting on YouTube, leave your name and email address below or email me directly for further instructions: mitch@ideachampions.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:59 AM | Comments (1)

January 25, 2015
The Beatles on Love

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Here is one more slide from the VALENTINE'S DAY show soon to be released on this blog -- a 4-minute YouTube video featuring 24 quotes on love (and vocals by Daya Rawat) -- something you can send to your loved ones on Valentine's Day. Our goal is for one million people to view the show and either make a donation to TPRF or commit to performing one act of kindness on Valentine's Day. We wlll also be sending the show to several charities, giving them the option of customizing it so it will serve as a fundraiser for THEIR charity.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2015
The First Duty of Love

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Excerpted from the soon-to-be-released VALENTINE'S DAY music video/slide show that Stuart Hoffman and I are collaborating on. If you volunteer for any kind of organization who might be interested in sending it out to their volunteers as a Valentine's Day acknowledgment, leave their name and email address in the comments box below and we'll send it to them.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:59 PM | Comments (2)

January 20, 2015
A Possible Valentine's Day Gift for You

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This is just one of 24 slides to be included in a VALENTINE'S DAY slide show that Stuart Hoffman and I are collaborating on -- great quotes on love and Stuart's music. We will be posting the show here for you to forward to your loved ones on Valentine's Day. Our hope is that at least some of the people who enjoy the show will be willing to make a small (or large) donation to our favorite humanitarian organization (TPRF). We want to see if we can raise $50,000 for TPRF using only our love, creativity, and social media.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2015
Dance!

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April 29, 2014
Dancing on the Inside

All my attempts to describe how I feel when I'm around Prem Rawat are lame compared to what you're just about to see. These guys get it.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:35 AM | Comments (4)

February 14, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day!

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PremRawat.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2013
This Thirst

All of us, at one point in our life, feel the primal thirst for something holy, sacred, and divine -- beyond the commerce and conditions of daily life. This one's for you!

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:58 AM | Comments (3)

November 06, 2013
We Are All Dancing!



Thanks to my sister, Phyllis Rosen, for this link.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:41 AM | Comments (3)

August 30, 2013
The Stillness After Prem Rawat Speaks

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After great performers come to the end of a performance, it is not uncommon for grateful audiences to give them a standing ovation. They clap, they cheer, they focus all their attention on the one who has just opened the door to magnificence. Think Pavarotti. Think Martin Luther King. Think anyone you've ever stood your ground for and loved.

What I find amazing is this is how Prem Rawat's presentations begin.

Before he utters a single word, audiences are on their feet, applauding. And when he's done? Pin drop silence.

Somehow, through his own unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight, he finds a way to bring everyone to a place of perfect stillness, back to the very beginning, where there is nothing left to do, but be.

When Prem Rawat is done speaking, I find myself barely able to move. I am stunned, pinned to the back of my chair by the invisible arrow of love. All dramas in my life disappear and there is no "me" left to applaud the end of the show.

What remains is a feeling.

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Sitting in the afterglow of this man's communication of truth is a complete and total joy. Oh yes, I know I must move from my seat eventually. Oh yes, I know I will soon be walking and talking and asking someone to pass me the grated parmesan in that great little Italian restaurant just down the road, but now -- here in this sacred moment after he speaks -- nothing else matters.

I close my eyes and breathe. Then I open my eyes again.

I see people sitting. I see people standing. I see people wanting to linger just a little bit longer in this extraordinary state of arrival.

Some walk in silence toward the exits, eyes down, not wanting anyone or anything to distract them from the deepest of feelings welling up within them far beyond time.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2013
It's All About the Love

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May 02, 2013
The Phoenix of Love

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A few weeks ago, my wife and I had a huge fight. A doozy. The Superbowl of all fights. If you're married -- or ever were -- I'm sure you've had at least one of these. Probably more.

You think you're right. They think they're right. You attack, they deflect. They attack, you deflect. You get hopeless and weird. They get hopeless and weird.

And both of you -- self-appointed judges in a supreme court of your own creation -- feel diminished, abused, blamed, hurt, ignored, dissed, damaged, and demonized.

The love? Out the window. And the window? Stuck in a half-closed position.

Whenever I'm embroiled in this kind of dynamic and (hallelujah!) manage to make it out the other side, I get majorly humbled -- all concepts of myself as a conscious, loving, evolved human being completely blown to smithereens.

And yet... no matter how painful the experience, something good always comes out of it. A phoenix rises from the ashes. Like the list below, for example -- my wishes for my dear wife, Evelyne, (the day after) and, by extension, you, me, and all the other 8 billion people on planet Earth.

THE PHOENIX OF LOVE: My Wishes for You

1. Gratitude every day
2. Deep inner peace, especially during tough times
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4. Patience
5. Forgiveness

6. The courage to be yourself
7. Rest and renewal
8. The vision to see God in everyone
9. Letting go of self-righteousness
10. Simplicity and ease

11. The willingess to let go of worry and doubt
12. Allowing yourself to be nurtured
13. More fun
14. Plenty of time to do nothing
15. Spaciousness

16. Heartfelt self-expression
17. Health and vitality
18. Moving through the tasks of your life as if you were a dancer
19. Relating to each person you talk to as if they were the only person on earth at that moment

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20. Laughter from your core
21. Appreciation of your family
22. A "live and let live" mindset
23. Waking up each day with gladness
24. Humility
25. The experience of community

26. Full responsibility for your own projections
27. Trust
28. Honoring all of the teachers in your life, past and present
29. Slowing down, going deeper
30. The ability to order a very rich dessert in your favorite restaurant without enrolling someone to share it with you

31. A wi-fi connection whenever you want
32. The end of lower back pain
33. Living the St. Francis Prayer without making a big deal of it
34. Knowing you are loved
35. Good sushi within a five-mile radius

36. Appreciation of other people's "spiritual path" -- with absolutely no judgment
37. Foot massages
38. Fresh air
39. Understanding what Krishna meant when he said: "The world is an illusion, but you have to act as if it's real."
40. Random acts of kindness

41. Nights on the town
42. The ability to be alone, but not lonely
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43. Accepting the aging process with dignity and delight
44. Fabulous dinners with friends

45. Nights in front of the fire
46. Having no regrets
47. Cranking up the music
48. Not judging your kids for texting or being on Facebook
49. Seeing the blessing in every challenge that comes your way
50. Loving yourself when you look in the mirror

51. Not having to look in the mirror to love yourself
52. New adventures
53. Endless learning
54. Giving up complaint
55. A dependable plumber

56. Snow angels!
57. Working smarter, not harder
58. Looking up at the stars
59. Never going to bed angry
60. Being happy for other people's successes

61. Realizing you are everything and nothing both at the same time
62. Unconditional love
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63. Reframing aging as "becoming an elder" instead of "getting old"
64. Weekends in exotic places
65. Someone else to wash the dishes

66. Enjoying the poetry of Rumi, Kabir, and Hafiz
67. Did I mention foot massages?
68. The commitment to immerse in the projects that most fascinate you
69. Deep listening
70. Longer vacations

71. Reaching out to those less fortunate than you
72. Holding hands with someone you love
73. Taking on an impossible project -- and making it happen
74. Really good chocolate
75. Unforgettable celebrations

76. Going beyond your limiting assumptions
77. The discipline that comes from love, not duty
78. Spontaneous generosity
79. One remote for all your electronics
80. A hot bath on a cold night

81. Wonderful surprises

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82. The laughter of children
83. Realizing you have enough
84. Timelessness
85. Understanding this quote: "When you're on the path it's a mile wide, when you're off it, it's razor thin."
86. Giving flowers to absolute strangers

87. A wardrobe you like
88. Resilience
88. Making a clear distinction between longing and desire
89. No fear of death
90. Dancing around the living room for no particular reason
91. Howling at the moon
92. Knowing how to say "no" without being negative

93. Completing what you came here to do
94. Experiencing life as a beautiful play
95. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies
96. Forgiving everyone who has ever wronged you
97. Passion

98. Compassion
99. The peace that passes all understanding
100. Sweet watermelon on a summer day
More

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:24 AM | Comments (2)

March 01, 2013
All is Well!

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:26 AM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2013
A Little Lightheaded

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:04 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2013
Ah.... Kindness!

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2013
Dear Human

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Wonderfully confronting. Found it on Facebook.

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December 17, 2012
All You Need Is Love

No matter what path you walk, it all comes down to this, doesn't it?

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December 11, 2012
When You Walk Into the Room

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Order the book here

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July 31, 2012
Love Is Something You Are

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May 20, 2012
Some Might Call It Dancing

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Some might call it dancing.
I call it stumbling closer to God,
the unrehearsed falling forward
into love
as if the world was tipped.
Operatic in my cells, amazed,
I am taken to the place
where dancing is infinitely less
about movement
than being moved --
for when the world is tipped
and we, drunk to our eyes in
love's ballet, are willing,
there is nothing not dance,
no one not dancer,
no place not stage,
no breath
not a standing ovation before God.

(From the soon-to-be published FULL MOON AT SUNRISE)

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May 13, 2012
Where It All Begins

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April 28, 2012
Taking the Fifth

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April 09, 2012
The One For Whom It All Makes Sense

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I have written a thousand poems for you
that have never left my room.
They fill the pages of notebooks
stacked high on a shelf
no one can reach.
Orphans they are, beggars
afraid they are not
noble enough for the King,
would never make it
past the guards.
I make a vain attempt
to dress them up,
disguise their ridiculous origins,
but still they smell bad.
Even so, there are times, late at night,
when the world has shut down and they think I'm asleep,
I can almost hear them talking to each other,
conjuring ways to make it to your court.

Oh, the arguments they have!
The brawls!
The lunatic moments of staking their ground.
Some of them actually believe
that all they need is a shower and a shave.
Others, unsure of who they are
or might have been,
insist on practicing, all night long,
their perfect way of greeting you.

Of course, there is much to be said
for these backroom bards,
these arm wrestling vagrants from another world.
Indeed, if I was dead,
my slightly deaf biographer, after paying his respects
to my dear, sweet wife,
would borrow them just long enough
to search for pearls,
find the perfect turn of phrase,
the sudden storm of brilliance
even my harshest critics would have to praise.
He'd think of clever little titles for the tome,
describing, in his mournfully halting way,
the "man who left his muse too soon"
or some such thing
that might make you wonder
why I never gave these poems to you --
the one for whom it all makes sense
even when it doesn't.

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March 27, 2012
May I Stay Here Forever

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May I stay here forever in this perfect place of peace with you -- the sacred space between in breath and out, timeless moment before the need for anything has risen, Buddha enjoying his late afternoon nap with no one around to extract any meaning from it. First, there is a breath. Then, there is a second. This is how I begin my long walk with you by the water's edge, cool white sand beneath both our feet.

Painting

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March 22, 2012
The Feeling for the Day

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Quote: Prem Rawat
Graphics: Birger Pohl

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March 19, 2012
Love is the Missing Link

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Quote: Prem Rawat
Graphics: Birger Pohl
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March 12, 2012
Rumi and Kabir Bowling

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Last year, as I understand it, Rumi was the best selling poet in the United States -- 800+ years after he was alive. Kabir, too, is still being widely read -- as is Hafiz, Gibran, and a host of other ecstatic poets from times gone by. Many people assume these guys must have been praying, meditating, and going on pilgrimages 24/7. I don't think so.

This next piece is an homage to Rumi and Kabir -- my fantasy of how the two of them might have spent an evening, in a bowling alley, knocking back some brewskis, if they were alive today.

By the way, if you are willing, this piece is best read aloud.


RUMI AND KABIR BOWLING

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I have been to the place where Rumi and Kabir are bowling all... night... long. They are rolling perfectly round balls down a perfectly polished alley, laughing at the sound of the pins falling down again and again and again.

Every time they bowl a strike even when they miss which is often, their aim wandering in fabulously random ways around this grand interior space.

Rumi orders a shot of Red Eye,Kabir, a Bud Lite, their clinking of glasses some kind of esoteric temple bell ritual neither of them understand.

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They keep drinking and laughing and drinking again, knocking back the elixir of their late night bowling life and muttering under their barely moving breath about the strangers outside returning home from yet another night shift.

Rumi opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out -- Kabir, long beard flecked with foam, orders a second round and then a third as if the world was on fire.

Suddenly Rumi glances over his left shoulder. More pins fall, this time leaving a perfect 7-10 split, Kabir, knowing he never has to write another poem to prove himself whole, leaps from his chair and hurls himself down the perfectly polished alley, arms outstretched, moving at the speed of lite beer.

Bang!

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Both pins fall,like... cedars in Lebanon,like...Adam from Grace, like... trees in a forest with no one close enough to hear whether anything has actually happened or not. No one except Red Eye Rumi swiveling in his chair and pointing to the door.

A small man, in a starched white uniform, enters, many keys hanging from his belt.

"Hey, you two! What are you doing here? This place is closed!"

Rumi smiles, tilts his head back and talks into his empty glass now megaphone for the moment.

"I beg to differ, my good man, this place is not closed. It is open! If it were closed we would not be here. Open it is, I say! Wide open! Like the Red Sea, like a window on a summer night, like the eyes of a young man upon seeing the most beautiful woman in the world walk across the room, her body the perfect mix of spirit and flesh. Open, I say, like a book, like the sky, like the heart of one not yet disappointed in the ways of human love. Go about your business, friend, and leave us here, two happy hieroglyphs of love."

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"We have a perfect game on Lane 23," intones a disembodied voice over the PA system "A perfect game!"

Rumi and Kabir pull over another chair, pour another drink and beckon to the man in the starched white uniform, many keys dangling from his belt.

"Good friend, come closer, come drink with us. Come now! The night is still young."

Illustration

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February 05, 2012
A Message for Dads Who Travel

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Thirteen years ago I found myself standing in my closet, madly searching for clean clothes in a last minute attempt to pack before yet another business trip, when I noticed my 4-year old son standing at the entrance. In one hand, he held a small blue wand, in the other -- a plastic bottle of soapy water.

"Dada," he said, looking up at me. "Do you have time to catch my bubbles?"

Time? It stopped. And so did I.

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At that moment, it suddenly made no difference whether or not I caught my plane -- I could barely catch my breath. The only thing that existed was him and that soulful look of longing in his eyes.

For the next ten minutes, all we did was play -- him blowing bubbles and laughing. Me catching and laughing, too.

His need was completely satisfied. His need for connection. His need for love. His need for knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that absolutely everything was perfect just the way it was.

Next time you're rushing out of your house for your next business trip, remember to STOP and catch the bubbles. Thirteen years later you won't remember the trip, but you will remember the bubbles.

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December 16, 2011
Virtual PeaceCards, Real People

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Tis the season to let people know
you love them,
or at least like them,
or if not like them,
then at least let them know
you're thinking about them.
We're talking free, baby.
Real love (or like)
communicated virtually,
Send a peacecard today.
See what happens.
Or doesn't happen.
One thing is for sure:
we all need to express our love
a lot more than we do.
Shower the people you love with love,
as James Taylor reminds us.

Source

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December 09, 2011
It's Really Very Simple

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December 08, 2011
The Purpose of Life

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Here's a clue

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November 21, 2011
The Joy of Heckling

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If you talk to a thousand people who are (or have been) students of Maharaji, you will get a thousand different impressions of who he is and what he does. Your guess about the accuracy of their perceptions is as good as mine.

But if you really want to know the answer, you will need to have your own experience, while being mindful of the words of Anais Nin, "We don't see things as they are, but as we are." Allow me to be more specific.

ACT 1
When Maharaji was 16, he married -- not to an Indian woman chosen by his parents, but to a 24-year old American. This troubled some of his students -- especially those who, at that time, had chosen celibacy as part of their path to enlightenment. How could Maharaji get married, they reasoned. Marriage was so mundane... such a distraction... so unspiritual.

And so, when Maharaji said "I do," a bunch of these people said "I don't" and split the scene.

Other students of Maharaji had a different response. They thought his marriage was cool -- more proof that he was free of old-fashioned concepts -- a liberated move that only deepened their love and respect for him. His actions, they concluded, were a kind of divine permission to do the same. And so they did. Got married, that is.

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Still others, with no absolutely no desire to stop practicing Knowledge or settle down with a soul mate, had yet a different response. They sent wedding presents. They sent gardenias. They sent roses and cards and effusive telegrams.

Me? I was happy for Maharaji, wondered what kind of gift I should buy, figured I couldn't afford it, and did nothing -- thinking my long distance thoughts would somehow be enough.

ACT ll (three years later)

As far back as I can recall, Maharaji used to conduct "instructor conferences" -- intensive retreats for handpicked groups of his students on how to best represent his message in the world. Like many of his students, I wanted to be invited -- not only for the sheer joy of being with him, but for what I imagined was undeniable proof that I was "getting somewhere" with Knowledge.

Eight years passed. My love for Maharaji and Knowledge continued to blossom. Not once, however, was I invited to attend one of these events.

And then, completely, out of the blue, one unofficial day -- VOILA! -- I got the word. "Get down to Miami. You've been invited to an instructor conference... but not as a candidate -- as a guest."

A guest? Now I was really confused. I mean, Maharaji was inviting me, but he was also not inviting me. Huh?

I went.

For three days I sat in the back of a large conference room and watched Maharaji, like some kind of improv laughing Pied Piper Buddha, in perfectly creased pants, bring everyone to a place of exquisite attention, learning, and relaxation. A magician he was. A conductor of joy. A man on a mission.

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And then, before I knew it, the conference was over. Or at least I thought it was over. It wasn't. There was one more thing still to come -- a "Celebration Dinner".

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the room were the champagne bottles -- one on each table. "This is gonna be interesting," I thought, amused by the fact that 98% of the people in the room hadn't had anything stronger to drink than a smoothie in the past few years.

Someone led me to my table. It was next to Maharaji's.

Feeling suddenly mid-western, I surveyed the room in a noble attempt to figure out what I was supposed to do -- how I should act. Clearly, no one had a clue. Things were just happening. There were no reference points, no sign posts, no correct courses of action -- only the sound of corks popping and a palpable wave of joy.

Good guest that I was, I raised my glass and drank, occasionally sneaking glances at Maharaji like some kind of wide-eyed tourist.

The next thing I know, he's asking if anyone has a good joke.

There's the usual self consciousness... the pregnant pause... then someone stands up, mounts the stage, and begins. The joke isn't funny, but it breaks the ice. In a flash, someone else mounts the stage, only this time the joke is a lot better and X-rated, to boot. I look at Maharaji to see his reaction. He is laughing. Of course he's laughing. The joke is funny! A third person gets up. Then a fourth -- each joke raunchier than the one before -- and everybody crazy with laughter.

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At the telling of the fifth joke, I shout out a heckle like some kind of wise guy from Brooklyn. Irreverent. Unrehearsed. And way funnier than the joke itself.

"Who said that?" Maharaji asks, looking in my direction.

"I did, Maharaji," I say.

Maharaji laughs and points at me, "One point for Ditkoff!"

Now here is where all logic breaks down... where what I am about to say may seem as strange as my son's one-time fascination for Pokemon. I got completely ecstatic. In a blink of the eye, a major concept of mine had evaporated and I felt infinitely lighter.

After years of trying oh so hard -- in oh so many futile ways -- to have my special, timeless, sacred, holy, cosmic, blissful, meaningful moment with Maharaji, I finally have one -- and it's for heckling an aspiring yogi at a dirty joke contest.

Go figure.

ACT lll (18 years later)
Not long ago, I read an account of this very same event by someone who was also there -- someone once very close to Maharaji. This particular fellow described the contest accurately. The only thing different was the conclusion he drew.

For him, the contest was inappropriate, off-putting, poorly timed, and in bad taste. For me, it was perfect, divine, liberating, and transcendental -- exactly what was needed for that particular group of people on that particular night, so focused on the "path" that they had forgotten to smell the roses... or accept themselves for simply being human.

Looking back, it's fair to say that I learned more in those few joke-telling moments about life -- my life -- than I did from years of meditating and reading holy books.

A Red Sea parted. For me, it parted. Not for that other guy. He had a different experience. He tells a different story now. Which, of course, is his right, but does not make him right. That's just one of the amazing things about this life. We all see it differently -- based on where we're coming from at any particular moment in time.

More
The Keys
WOPG blog
Online videos

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August 13, 2011
Kim O'Leary CD Just Released!

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If you are a fan of Kim O'Leary, the fabulous Australian singer/songwriter and former lead singer of One Foundation, you are in for a big treat.

Big, as in very large.

If you are not a fan of Kim O'Leary, you are also in for a big treat.

Kim has just released a new CD, Dreaming Up, which is, a sheer delight.

So log on to Kim's site, matey -- and do that download thing. If you're not sure, you can sample most of the songs.

More music! More dancing! More fun! More love!

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July 30, 2011
Dance in the Dance Just Released!

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I am thrilled to announce that Stuart Hoffman's newest CD, Dance in the Dance, has just been released. It is superb, fabuloso, luscious, deep, and inspiring.

If you like music that opens the heart, this is for you.

Joining Stuart is an all-star crew of awesome musicians and all around great people: Daya, Fuzzbee, Jerry Marotta, Jennifer Edwards, Albert Wing, Pedro Eustache, Lisa Frazier, and Ricardo Hambra.

Click here for a free digital download of "I'm Sure."
Click here to purchase a digital download.
Click here to buy the actual, round silvery CD.

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July 20, 2011
Treat Your Clients Like God

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At least once a week I am approached by a struggling entrepreneur and asked how I market my services.

More often that not, I blurt out any number of MBA-like platitudes.

But when I really stop and think about it, my answer morphs into something much deeper.

"I treat my clients like God."

Yup. That's my marketing plan. Plain and simple. I treat my clients like God.

After the proverbial blank stare, the cash-strapped entrepreneur before me relaxes and smiles.

Deep down in their entrepreneurial bones, what I'm saying makes perfect sense.

Treating your clients like God is the way to go -- not as some kind of clever way to get a competitive edge, but because that is what life is all about: Loving what you do. Being fully present. Seeing the beauty in everyone. Expressing your appreciation. Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. And ultimately, doing great work born of a deep-seated gratitude for the opportunity to serve.

PS: "If God invited you to a party and said, 'Everyone in the ballroom tonight will be my special guest,' How would you then treat them when you arrived? Indeed, Indeed! And Hafiz knows that there is no one in this world who is not standing upon His jeweled dance floor!"
~ Hafiz

Idea Champions

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June 02, 2011
Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make

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Inmates in correctional facilities around the world are listening to Prem Rawat's message of peace... and responding in extraordinary ways. Like this, for example, from a prisoner in Texas:

"Thank you for providing a perspective that has given my life significance, meaning, and most of all, peace applied directly to the wounds of my life that personally, privately, and powerfully give me the direction I longed for."

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May 22, 2011
A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

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People listening to Maharaji speak at an event in Buenos Aires, April 23, 2011.

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April 25, 2011
Any Questions?

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March 22, 2011
Water for the Thirsty

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Here's a real-world innovation that inspires:

More than 180 bloggers from around the globe are uniting today (World Water Day) to raise $10,000 and bring clean drinking water, each year, to 3,600 people in India.

The project is a brainchild of four U.S. bloggers who want to make a difference -- and are doing so via this project.

They note, on their blog, that 1/3 of all hand pumps installed in the last 20 years in developing countries are now broken. Four thousand children are dying every day due to the lack of clean drinking water.

The money raised for World Water Day will not go to drill more wells, but instead will go towards training and employing hand pump mechanics. A brilliant idea.

The mechanics will earn a steady income (getting themselves out of poverty) and will save lives at the same time -- turning water back on for thousands of people in need each year.

And, as an extra bonus, the Prem Rawat Foundation will provide a matching grant for the funds that are raised -- doubling the amount of people who will be receiving clean drinking water.

My request to you? Please donate $20 to this worthy cause today. Click here to find out how.

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February 28, 2011
Any Questions?

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February 05, 2011
For Evelyne On Her 50th Birthday

164333_497968361157_656561157_6229135_6086662_n.jpgThe following is a piece I wrote and performed a few years ago at Evelyne's 50th birthday party. Enjoy!

This woman, my wife, your friend, is a major card in the tarot deck, an archetype, a queen, mythic, delicious, vital, alive. I have seen her in her full glory and lived to tell the tale.

She has her own Kingdom, this woman, and it is everywhere she looks. There are great castles there, fields of wild flowers and delight. Oh, and dragons there no longer needing fire to make their breathing worthy of attention.

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This is a woman who got thrown out of five catholic schools in France. She used to destroy the nun's houseplants -- among other things -- not sufficiently content, shall we say, to wear the plaid uniform and recite some poorly translated catechism when the sun was shining and the world beckoned like an oracle.

Born in France, she grew up in Italy, then moved to America for what she thought would only be a few months -- another plan gone awry in God's great game of coming undone.

Her parents were orphans, her brother died when she was only 9 -- and for years, Evelyne thought she was the cause of his passing, having slipped him chocolates against the wishes of the powers-that-be when he lay dying.

She spent a lot of time alone in her room, looking at pictures, dreaming of places and possibilities neither of her parents, children of the war, could ever hope to entertain.

Yes, she was a dreamer, and still is. An imagineer. A scientist of seeing what remains to be seen.

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Lao Tzu, as the story goes, had a dream he was a butterfly and, upon waking, asked if he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was a man.

Poor Lao Tzu, so much in the flow, but still confused.

I am sure if Evelyne was there she would have simply gotten him to volunteer to be the head of the costume committee for some over the top benefit concert for homeless butterflies. He would have danced until dawn, licking whipped cream off a spoon and changing his accent for the night.

The first time I saw Evelyne it was almost bibilical -- not in the "biblical" sense of biblical. No, it was more umbilical than that -- a kind of revelation, sight to the blind man, a kind of movement to the one who had stopped not because he'd arrived, but because he was afraid of not getting there.

I could not look at her too long. It was a kind of pillar of salt thing -- a pre-verbal, cro magnon, I'll-never-be-the-same-now-that I've-seen-her kind of thing. Why men start wars, wanting something significant to do when, in fact, they are scared shitless of dying into the eyes of a woman.

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Am I making sense here? It was, if I can remember, a kind of higher octave she was on, a high note -- and oh those high heels!

She had a boyfriend, I think. I had a girlfriend. She was a Catholic. I was a Jew. She had a different guru. Pronounced the word "interrupt" interump and when I corrected her, looked at me like I was from Mars.

"Interump!" she would say again, "like when you don't let someone finish their thought."

She liked cats. I liked dogs (though I went to school with a lot of guys named "Katz" who ended up becoming dentists, unlikely candidates to be invited to one of her well known East 7th Street soirees).

I figured she went out with Senators or Ambassadors or Movie Stars. She seemed too cosmopolitan for me. Too fine.

How could I ever watch the Knicks around her -- the Mets? High maintenance, I thought. Her circle of friends circled the world: jazz musicians, artists, designers, dashing people with things to do and places to go.

The Dalai Lama's people asked her to design his poster. The only saving grace for me was knowing she was the one who had designed the Blimpy logo!

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Yes, it's true. Evelyne Pouget, the amazing, gorgeous, multi-lingual, goddess creature before you is the one who created the Blimpy logo!

There was hope, I thought, even though I was certain every guy she introduced me to must have been an old boyfriend.

The Afghani freedom fighters had nothing on me! I knew all about hiding. Oh yeah. I'd been hurt before, ambushed, left to die in the cave of my suburban heart. No vavavoom French goddess was going to have her way with me: Mr. Quasi Buddhist Cool RoboMan Mr. I'm-So Detached You Might Mistake Me for a Retina Man.

Not once during the first two years I knew her did I kiss her. Not once. I liked being a frog.

There was a moment, though, when things... changed. Oh yeah. The transmogrification. Ice into water. Water into vapor. Vapor into the great reign of love. Suffice it to say, the veil lifted and I saw.

Or should I say felt.

I put my hand on her back one day in merry old Brooklyn and felt an electrical charge so strong it could have powered Kabul for the entire first year after the coalition of the willing departed.

Yes, brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and friends and the friends of friends and the children hoping for ice cream soon, I am more in love with Evelyne today than I have ever been.

She has been a great gift to me -- and to all of us -- a gift that forever opens.

Many see her beauty and marvel. I see the many seeing her beauty and marvel at the marveling.

But that beauty, my friends, goes deeper than any of us knows -- even deeper than she knows.

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Muktananda, her Guru, saw who she was and marveled, too. She will deny it, of course, but I know and I will shout it from the rooftops no matter how she might deflect the attention she so richly deserves.

He liked being around her. And he, in his kindness, told her not to worry.

I wish Evelyne that moment now and forever -- the moment when the Master sees deep into your soul and tells you what you need to know and the telling is so charged with truth that you begin to change immediately without even trying.

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Yes, Evelyne, I wish you a life free of worry (even though there are things to worry about). I wish you a life free of doubt, a life free of thinking more than you need to, a life free, a free life, free as the wind, free as the absence of wind, free the way your children run to you and leap into your arms, chanting your name: "Mommy, Mommy, oh my Mommy, Mommy Mommy Mom."

I wish you a life -- the next 50 years of your life -- filled with your art. With your painting and, more than that, the realization that you have the time to paint -- time and the life force beyond all time. The Elan Vital. The joy of life. The vive le France! Freedom kissing! Gigantic wheels of brie. Laughter for no reason. Dancing! Song! Poetry! Wildflowers everywhere! Waking the way our children wake, ready to play, ready for anything.

I wish you everything you forgot to wish for -- a life even grander than what you can imagine. And celebration of all you have, of all you have to give.

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And throughout it all, throughout this holy migration into your 51st year, and the one after that, and the one after that, may you enjoy each breath, one at a time, every single day -- in gratitude and appreciation for the sweet, sweet, sacredness of life.

Evelyne's paintings

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:35 AM | Comments (2)

January 10, 2011
A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words

Here's a beautiful photo from one of Maharaji's events in New Delhi on November 7-8. Just found it on Words of Peace Global. Click and scroll.

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Photo

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2010
Peacecards!

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There's a great new service now available at Words of Peace Global. It's called Peacecards -- a collection of 23 beautifully designed virtual postcards you can personalize and email. Quotes from Prem Rawat, Rumi, Kabir, Einstein, Thomas Merton and others. Check it out.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:18 AM | Comments (3)

November 03, 2010
Outside, On a Break

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On October 22nd, I had the great good fortune to see and listen to Maharaji (AKA Prem Rawat) at an all-day event, at the Jackie Gleason Theater, in Miami Beach.

As always, being with him had great impact on me. Kind of like I was a car being recalled to the factory, not because anything was wrong with the car, but because -- somehow -- I forgot the car could fly.

During the first break, I walked outside to get some air. Everything seemed a bit different than before. The sky seemed bluer. The air seemed sweeter. The breezes, seemed, well... breezier.

Standing there, free of anything to do, I liked how I felt -- buoyant, refreshed, alive -- a moment that could have easily gone on forever and never exhausted its momentousness.

People came and went. Some of them, who knew me from the past, smiled. All of them, including those whose names I couldn't quite remember, were quite happy -- as if they'd just danced at the wedding of their best friend.

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Agents of delight they were -- champagne bubbles popping -- and everybody was thirsty for more.

Two old friends approach me and speak of their unshakable desire to serve -- to express the love they feel so thousands of others, around the world, might have easier access to the experience the three of us were now enjoying.

To my left, I see people beginning to re-enter the hall. The second movement of the morning's symphony is upon us.

I reach into my pocket and find my ticket. There it is! Row PP, seat 28 -- the last row in the theater on this, the first day of the rest of my life.

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By the way, in case you're wondering, the photo on the first screen is from an old American tv show, called the Honeymooners -- staring comedian, Jackie Gleason, the man for whom the Miami theater was named.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:32 PM | Comments (3)

October 02, 2010
Express the Love You Feel

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Well, thanks for
taking the time
out of your busy day
to visit my blog.
I really do appreciate it.
But I believe there is someone
very close to you right now
who could really
use a hug,
or a cup of tea
or, better yet,
a 30 minute foot massage.
So... please gently
back away from the computer,
find the person I am speaking of,
and express
the love you feel.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:02 AM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2010
The One Minute Seeker

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In days gone by, classic seekers had to endure a ton of trials and tribulations to find what they were looking for.

They walked across deserts. They fasted. They hunted for the One in faraway places.

No more. Those days are over. The game has changed. Things have heated up, big time.

Now, that which you are looking for is looking for you. Your inner questing for something timeless, pure, and full of love has been responded to.

Really. Click here to find out more.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:01 AM | Comments (2)

September 26, 2010
Lighten Up!

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More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:28 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2010
The Phoenix of Love

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A few weeks ago, my wife and I had a big fight. A doozy. If you're married -- or ever were -- I'm sure you've had at least one of these. Probably more.

You think you're right. They think they're right. You attack, they deflect. They attack, you deflect. You get hopeless. They get hopeless. And both of you -- self-appointed judges in a court of your own creation -- feel diminished, abused, blamed, hurt, and misunderstood.

The love? Out the window. The window? Stuck in a half-closed position.

Whenever I'm embroiled in this weirdness and manage to come out the other side, I get humbled -- all concepts of myself as a conscious, loving human being now completely blown to smithereens.

And yet... no matter how painful the experience, something good always comes out of it. A phoenix rises from the ashes.

Like the list below, for example -- my wishes for Evelyne and, by extension... for you, me, and the other 6.5 billion people on planet Earth.

THE PHOENIX OF LOVE: My Wishes for You

1. Gratitude every day

2. Deep inner peace, especially during tough times

3. Kindness

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4. Patience

5. Forgiveness

6. The courage to be yourself

7. Rest and renewal

8. The vision to see God in everyone

9. Letting go of self-righteousness

10. Simplicity and ease

11. The willingess to let go of worry and doubt

12. Allowing yourself to be nurtured

13. More fun

14. Plenty of time to do nothing

15. Spaciousness

16. Heartfelt self-expression

17. Health and vitality

18. Moving through the tasks of your life as if you were a dancer

19. Relating to each person you talk to as if they were the only person on earth at that moment

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20. Laughter from your core

21. Appreciation of your family

22. A "live and let live" mindset

23. Waking up each day with gladness

24. Humility

25. The experience of community

26. Full responsibility for your own projections

27. Trust

28. Honoring all of the teachers in your life, past and present

29. Slowing down, going deeper

30. The ability to order a very rich dessert in your favorite restaurant without enrolling someone to share it with you

31. A wi-fi connection whenever you want

32. The end of lower back pain

33. Living the St. Francis Prayer without making a big deal of it

34. Knowing you are loved

35. Good sushi within a five-mile radius

36. Appreciation of other people's "spiritual path" -- with absolutely no judgment

37. Foot massages

38. Fresh air

39. Understanding what Krishna meant when he said: "The world is an illusion, but you have to act as if it's real."

40. Random acts of kindness

41. Nights on the town

42. The ability to be alone, but not lonely

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43. Accepting the aging process with dignity and delight

44. Fabulous dinners with friends

45. Nights in front of the fire

46. Having no regrets

47. Cranking up the music

48. Not judging your kids for texting or being on Facebook

49. Seeing the blessing in every challenge that comes your way

50. Loving yourself when you look in the mirror

51. Not having to look in the mirror to love yourself

52. New adventures

53. Endless learning

54. Giving up complaint

55. A dependable plumber

56. Snow angels!

57. Working smarter, not harder

58. Looking up at the stars

59. Never going to bed angry

60. Being happy for other people's successes

61. Realizing you are everything and nothing both at the same time

62. Unconditional love

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63. Reframing aging as "becoming an elder" instead of "getting old"

64. Weekends in exotic places

65. Someone else to wash the dishes

66. Enjoying the poetry of Rumi, Kabir, and Hafiz

67. Did I mention foot massages?

68. The commitment to immerse in the projects that most fascinate you

69. Deep listening

70. Longer vacations

71. Reaching out to those less fortunate than you

72. Holding hands with someone you love

73. Taking on an impossible project -- and making it happen

74. Really good chocolate

75. Unforgettable celebrations

76. Going beyond your limiting assumptions

77. The discipline that comes from love, not duty

78. Spontaneous generosity

79. One remote for all your electronics

80. A hot bath on a cold night

81. Wonderful surprises

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82. The laughter of children

83. Realizing you have enough

84. Timelessness

85. Understanding this quote: "When you're on the path it's a mile wide, when you're off it, it's razor thin."

86. Giving flowers to absolute strangers

87. A wardrobe you love

88. Resilience

88. Making a clear distinction between longing and desire

89. No fear of death

90. Dancing around the living room for no particular reason

91. Howling at the moon

92. Knowing how to say "no" without being negative

93. Completing what you came here to do

94. Experiencing life as a beautiful play

95. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies

96. Forgiving everyone who has ever wronged you

97. Passion

98. Compassion

99. The peace that passes all understanding

100. Sweet watermelon on a summer day

More

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:01 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2010
Free Floating Contentment

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Lots of people talk about a phenomenon known as "free floating anxiety" -- a known medical disorder characterized by worry and doubt that seem to come from nowhere. Well, there is also another phenomenon -- which you won't find in the medical literature -- which I call "free floating contentment" -- the feeling of being happy for no apparent reason. And yes, it's possible to experience.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2010
Falling in Love?

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There's a phrase in the English language that makes no sense to me even though I've used it hundreds of times: "Falling in love."

Falling? Really?

Certainly there must be a better way to describe one of the sweetest feelings a human being can have. Falling isn't exactly the word we associate with great experiences.

The stock market falls. The temperature falls. Civilizations fall. Adam fell from grace. Nobody in their right mind really wants to fall.

Falling is all about coming down, descending.

Love, on the other hand, is an elevation, a rising, a being uplifted.

Then again, if you stop to think about it, the phrase "falling in love" makes some sense -- because the act of falling ends in "hitting bottom."

The phenomenon is all too recognizable. You meet someone special. Your heart opens. You're flying, you're free, you're feeling no pain -- not unlike the feeling of weightlessness that comes from falling.

Eventually, however, the falling ends. You land. Hard. The object of your devotion, proves less than unconditional. Their attentions drift. Their flaws become apparent. And so begins the painful process of falling out of love.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

There IS a love that is unconditional. There is a love that only gets better with time -- a love that neither disappoints or disillusions.

Human beings have been searching for this love from the beginning of time.

That's what Maharaji talks about. And that's what he reveals to those who truly thirst to experience it.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:31 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2010
The Only Game in Town

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2009
HO! HO! HO! Give Everything You Have

Give everything you have, and after you have given, give what's left. After you give what's left, give what remains. After giving that, give the feeling of having given. After giving the feeling of having given, give what you get for having given. Then give again, never stopping, always giving. And should it come to pass that you forget, forgive yourself immediately. Then begin again, giving everything you have, and after you have given, give what's left.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2009
What Is Love?

One minute's worth of straight-to-the-heart inspiration.

More

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:10 AM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2009
TPRF & America's Giving Challenge

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America's Giving Challenge has launched a very cool contest on Facebook -- one that gives TPRF an opportunity to win $50,000 (if it receives the most donations of $10 or more by 11/6).

The contest is simple: Each day the Cause that gets the most donations of $10 or more wins $1,000. At the end of the contest, $50,000 is awarded to the Cause that has received the most donations, with smaller awards for 2nd through 7th place.

Each person is encouraged to make multiple contributions toward the challenge, but only one contribution per day is allowed. (Please note that a "day" in this contest starts at 12 noon PST and ends at 12 noon PST the following day).

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If you are already a Facebook member, you can go to the TPRF Food For People Cause. But you do not need to be a member of Facebook to make a donation. You can go straight to the Cause and make a contribution of $10 or more.

To find out more, don't miss the new Food For People story on the TPRF website.

58 second video on how it works
Video about Food for People

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2009
Be Happy! Savor the Moment!

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:53 AM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2009
International Day of Peace

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The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981.

In 2002, the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this goal.

What can YOU do to celebrate this day?

PS: Some readers of this blog are celebrating by posting the WORDS OF PEACE website address on the bulletin board of their local Starbucks (or less well-known coffee shop) -- a way to help thousands of people learn more about Maharaji's message of peace.)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2009
It's Never Too LATTE for Peace!


Dalit Fresco likes coffee. But she likes something even more -- and that is the feeling of peace inside herself made sweetly accessible by her teacher, Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji).

And so, in honor of the feeling Dalit is enjoying (and in celebration of the International Day of Peace), YOU and everyone else on planet Earth are invited, on September 21, to visit a Starbucks and post a note (on the bulletin board there) with the following message:

WORDS OF PEACE: www.wopg.org.

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Small, Tall, or Vente, the millions of coffee lovers who will frequent Starbucks on 9/21 will see this message and SOME of them will log on and feel the kind of buzz that goes far beyond cappuccino.

It's simple: You write your note. You go to Starbucks. You post your note. That's it. (If you live too far from a Starbucks or have issues with their business practices, post your note at the coffee shop of your choice.)

PS: Feel free to take a photo of your note and email it to me on 9/21. I'll choose ten and post them on this blog faster than you can say "caffeination."

PPS: This was Dalit's cool idea. I'm just helping to get the word out there.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2009
It's a Real Love

Thanks to Kim O'Leary for many years of extraordinary music...and to David Klamph for posting this on Heart of the Matter FB (where there are another 86 very inspiring videos).

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

September 15, 2009
Things Are Headed in the Right Direction

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:02 AM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2009
In Remembrance of 9/11

In honor of all the people who lost their lives on 9/11... and all the people who lost loved ones then... and all the people who felt that great loss in their hearts, here is a beautiful reminder of love, remembrance, and the preciousness of human life.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2009
eBook Soon Coming!

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I am happy to announce that a PDF version of The Heart of the Matter will soon be available for downloading.

Response to the blog has been very favorable since its launch 16 months ago and I want to give readers another way to access the material - especially since a lot of the content is now buried in the archives.

My other reason for producing an ebook is to make it easy for Heart of the Matter readers to print it out and/or forward it to friends.

If you have a blog or website and are willing to post a link to the ebook, let me know and I will keep you posted.

If you have any other ideas for getting the word out, lay them on me.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:34 AM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2009
Facebook's Most Popular Blog on Love!

This just in!

The Heart of the Matter is now Facebook's most popular blog on LOVE. Really. Like #1. Numero Uno.

And so, in honor of this very cool distinction, here are some sweet reminders...

"Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." - Aristotle

"I become a waterwheel, turning and tasting you, as long as water moves." - Rumi

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love." - Mother Teresa

"You should love one another and behave lovingly because when love comes, everything comes. You should speak to one another with love and humility. Love is the essence." - Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji)

More on love

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2009
Only You

Who are love songs REALLY written to?



Thanks to Diego de Alzaga for the link.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2009
52 Reasons Why People Like Being with Maharaji

A year ago, on this blog, I posted 34 reasons why I like being with Maharaji -- my attempt to communicate some of the impact that seeing him, real-time, has on me.

At the end of the post, I asked readers to add their own reasons. Eleven people responded.

What follows is my original list and the additional comments of the readers who responded.

Feel free to add your own...


34 Reasons Why I Like Being with Maharaji

1. I breathe more deeply
2. It becomes very easy to savor every moment
3. I stop judging myself and everyone else
4. Time slows down
5. I listen from a still place inside me
6. I feel like I'm dancing when I walk -- or at least, gliding
7. I laugh uncontrollably
8. I cry tears of joy
9. I stop worrying
10. I like what I see when I look in the mirror
11. I have a lot more fun than usual
12. I experience timelessness
13. Everything seems perfect just the way it is
14. I let go of being self-conscious
15. I feel like I'm being massaged from the inside out
16. I move in tune with a hidden music
17. I see how peace is possible for the entire planet
18. I feel like he's talking just to me
19. I am grateful for everything
20. I want to serve
21. I feel whole and complete
22. I feel a vast spaciousness
23. I live in the present moment
24. Everything is profoundly simple
25. I rededicate myself to the practice of Knowledge
26. I stop trying to improve myself
27. I lose my need to gain anyone's approval
28. I am content
29. I come from my heart, not my head
30. Life feels like a party
31. I let things come to me -- and they do
32. I feel more authentic
33. I realize I have no problems
34. I feel like I'm totally home

Why HEART OF THE MATTER readers like being with Maharaji

35. I always leave loving myself a little more. - Candice Wilmore
36. It's incredibly great being around a lot of other people who are also feeling 1-34. - Steve Kowarsky
37. I feel my Heart come alive. - Mka
38. I wake up from the core of my being. - Alan Roettinger
39. I feel like the luckiest person on earth. - Alan Roettinger
40. I realize how much I've missed him. - Alan Roettinger
41. I forget about everything I've missed out on. - Alan Roettinger
42. I get to spend some time with the best friend I will ever have. - Alan Roettinger
43. I am in awe at consciousness & clarity. - Chris Tardieu
44. I am transported back into the ocean of joy, love and strength dwelling within me. Fearlessness presides as magic filled with gratitude resumes as my guide. - Amy S.
45. Magic fills the air and my heart and the hearts of others! I love seeing the Light in their eyes and the smiles on their beatific faces! -Jon Lloyd
48. The silence within me is breathtaking. - Asiebhan
49. I get cleansed of the dirt of the mind. - Asiebhan
50. I get to laugh a lot. - Asiebhan
51. Sometimes, I am completely overwhelmed by an awareness of the possibility of what it means to be a human being and how far short of that potential I fall in my life. Then to hear him beckoning me to join him on this journey of self-fulfillment despite my shortcomings is almost too much to take. Is this what friendship and unconditional love are about? Is this how gratitude unfolds to heal the wounds of a broken heart? Is this the recognition of how fortunate I am to have witnessed the Master and felt the touch of his love in my life? Words are poor substitutes to describe what I am trying to express. - G.S.Smith
52. He has given me 20/20 vision of the heart. - Gaz

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:56 AM | Comments (17)

April 09, 2009
Watercolor

Today I wrote the most beautiful poem in the world,
something so pure I wouldn't mind dying --
the perfect song of praise
hewn from the dark forest of my secret heart.

Not a wasted word it was,
rhythmic, elegant, and holy,
poetry for the ages,
why sages dance,
timeless in its pauses,
with a long white beard and a thousand Santa Clauses
ringing their bells for love.

Yes, I wrote this poem today
or rather, it wrote me,
flooding through my body
onto a singular white page,
which I, amazed at having said it all
and having signed my name,
left, for a moment, on my favorite chair
beneath the willow tree,
then turned inside again and took my leave
to celebrate this unexpected visitation of my muse
by listening, with great respect,
to Mozart in the living room.

I did not hear the rain.
Not a single drop.

It was only later, after dinner, I discovered
the many ways ink drips down a white page
in a sudden, summer shower.
I could see, I think, small patches of blue,
a cloud, a flower, a silhouette,
perhaps a word or two,

my perfect poem now watercolor --
the many colors of my love for you.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2008
The Whole World Is Dancing!

Take a look at what one person, with a good idea and a lot of chutzpah, can do. It's MATT, a self-described "32 year old deadbeat from Connecticut" who travelled to 42 countries on 7 continents in 6 months and got thousands of people dancing and laughing with him. What seemingly outlandish idea of YOURS is it time to unleash?

About Matt

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008
The Letter

I found this very touching -- a letter from Maharaji, in 1992, to someone whose wife had just passed away. Timeless wisdom. Deep compassion. So much love and caring...

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

November 21, 2008
It's All About Love

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2008
Love in 60 Seconds

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2008
Thirst Quench Thirst

Hello... You can hear nothing but the sound of my voice.

You are lovingly placing your cursor over the hotlinked phrase below, clicking once and buying at least one copy of my new book of poetry, Thirst Quench Thirst.

Do not concern yourself about whether or not you actually like poetry, read poetry, or have ever heard of me. Those concerns, while certainly understandable, are beside the point. Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts. Like now, for instance.

Some of the poems in this blog are excerpted from the book, so if you're still not sure, simply scroll around and read.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the book is only $15.00. At 72 pages, that's only $20.8 cents a page (1/18th the cost of a Starbuck's Frappucino). Such a deal!

Still need proof it's worth the money? Click below and check out the reviews:

Thirst, Quench Thirst evokes a memory of the deepest longings of the soul. Reading Mitch's poetry reminds me of what I already know, but often forget." -- Joan Apter

"This poetry has touched the deepest recesses of my heart." -- Dermott Philpott

"Mitch's poetry touches a universal human longing; the ache for internal connection to the divine. He speaks in a personal, simple, accessible way about things that are ancient and deep." -- Erika Andersen

"Most great love poetry baffles the mind, but delights the heart. And great love poetry cannot be written without great love. Mitch Ditkoff's poems are intoxicating." -- John Adorney

"This is the kind of nourishment that penetrates to the core of Divine Love, and if deeply imbibed, its sweet nectar can be savored for a lifetime." -- Jamie Delay

"Mitch mixed the most profound -- almost indescribable -- with the kind of simplicity that somehow manages to capture a feeling. Lovely stuff!" -- Candice Wilmore

"This book of poetry, delightful and charming, takes me right to the heart of the matter gently, often with wonderful humor! I read and re-read these poems just to take the ride." -- Kim Greene

"Not bad, but buy this book anyway so I can get a higher allowance." -- Jesse Pouget Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2008
The Temple of Your Heart

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I just came across these inspiring words from Maharaji on innerlink.tv. A timeless message, indeed...

"Look in you. Look in your heart. And you will find the truest essence of your existence. Look within you and you will find the most beautiful waters. Look within you and you will find your solutions. Look within you and you will find your answers. Answers to which you don't even have questions to yet.

The holiest of all scriptures that ever will be, will be in the temple of your heart."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2008
What You've Liked So Far...

Since the launching of this blog on April 1, 2008, I've posted 168 items that have been viewed thousands of times. Of these, ten have risen to the top as the most viewed. Here they are:

1. When You Walk Into the Room

2. Maharaji in Albany, NY

3. Six Pack of Kabir

4. Home Base

5. Off the Coast of Love

6. Radiant Being of Light

7. This Thirst

8. Make Each Day Count

9. Remember This Feeling?

10. Someone to Call

If you have other favorite postings or would like me to address specific topics not yet addressed in this blog, please let me know. Your feedback helps. Thanks!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2008
At the Threshold

A few years ago I found myself standing in my closet, madly searching for clean clothes in a last minute attempt to pack before yet another business trip, when I noticed my 4-year old son standing at the entrance.

In one hand, he held a small blue wand, in the other -- a plastic bottle of soapy water. "Dada," he said, looking up at me, his eyes wide open, "do you have time to catch my bubbles?"

Time? It stopped. And so did I. At that moment, it suddenly made no difference whether or not I caught my plane -- I could barely catch my breath. The only thing that existed was him and that soulful look of longing in his eyes.

For the next ten minutes, all we did was play -- him blowing bubbles and laughing. Me catching and laughing, too. His need was completely satisfied. His need for connection. His need for love. His need for knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that absolutely everything was perfect just the way it was.

He is almost 15 now. His bubbles are digital. But his need is still the same. And so is mine -- and yours, I would venture to say. Scratch the surface of our differences, remove the cultural masks, and all of us -- regardless of age, religion, politics, gender, or astrological sign -- are seeking the same thing.

And this "thing" is a feeling -- a feeling of contentment, a feeling of peace, a feeling of deep freedom, fearlessness, and joy. Spiritual practitioners have been attempting to name this feeling for centuries, but ultimately it doesn't matter what it's called.

This sweetness is the place all journeys end. My son's took him across the living room to the threshold of a closet. Yours will take you other places. But no matter where it takes you, one thing is for sure -- what's moving you has moved millions of others since the beginning of time. Yours is an ancient quest. Primal. Tidal. Pure. As basic as breath itself.

For the moment, let's call this driving force "thirst" -- the innate quest each of us has for meaning, love, and fulfillment. Why poets wait beneath a moon for words. What dancers feel before they leap. Why birds fly halfway around the world to the place where they were born.

This thirst is not the same thing as "desire." Desire is wanting what you don't have. Thirst is wanting want you do. Desire assumes the emptiness you feel can be filled by getting -- as if the world was a giant puzzle and all you needed were the pieces. Thirst assumes nothing. It's all about being -- not getting or having.

The good news? You don't have to go to the Himalayas to find what you're looking for. You can start today, wherever you are. The pilgrimage you need to take is actually quite short -- merely the distance between your head and your heart. That's the so-called path.

Your guide on this journey? Thirst. All you need to do is feel it. And if you don't, then at least want to feel it. And if you still don't, then at least want to want to feel it.

Pretty simple, huh?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:56 PM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2008
The Gift

The gift I bought for you today
is not inside the box.
It's in the opening.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2008
Remember this Feeling?

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2008
HEART OF THE MATTER Readers Chime In!

On June 18th I posted my "34 Reasons Why I Like Being With Maharaji."

At the end of the list, I invited Heart of the Matter readers to add their own reasons -- why they like being with Maharaji. Nine people responded.

Thanks!

Click the link below to see what was added to the original list...

WHY YOU LIKE BEING WITH MAHARAJI

35. I always leave loving myself a little more.
36. I feel my heart come alive.
37. I wake up from the core of my being.
38. I feel like the luckiest person on earth.
39. I realize how much I've missed him.
40. I forget about everything I've missed out on.
41. The silence within me is breathtaking.
42. I get cleansed of the dirt of the mind.
43. I get to laugh a lot.
44. I get to spend some time with the best friend I will ever have.
45. I am in awe at consciousness and clarity.
46. Feeling unconditional love.
47. Feeling in my heart what is divine.
48. Feeling the Master's grace and bliss.
49. Even my physical pain goes away.
50. Feeling how, in our hearts, we're all the same.
51. I am transported back into the ocean of joy, love, and strength dwelling within me. Fearlessness presides as magic, filled with gratitude, resumes as my guide.
52. Magic fills the air and my heart and the hearts of others! I love seeing the Light in their eyes and the smiles on their beatific faces!
53. It's incredibly great being around a lot of other people who are also feeling 1-52.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:11 PM | Comments (2)

June 28, 2008
A Stroke of Insight

This 20 minute video is extraordinary. It's the story of a brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, who had a severe stroke and, in the process, experienced the true essence of who she was. She makes a compelling case for the choice we all have -- separateness or unity, struggle or peace. Well worth watching. In the words of an old song whose name escapes me at the moment, "You are not your body, you are not your mind..."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:46 AM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2008
The Book I Wanted to Buy My Mother

For many years I wanted to buy a book for my mother -- a book that would explain everything... what I hadn't or couldn't explain since I had been old enough to notice my mother wasn't all that happy and, Lord knows, I wanted my mother to be happy and if not "happy" per se, then at least aware of what it was that made me, her son, happy -- the "thing" that for so many years she thought was a phase I was going through and, even worse, some kind of heartless rejection of her and her way of life.

Yes, I wanted to buy my mother a book that would explain it all -- the whole "New Age thing," the whole "Guru thing," the whole "it's OK that I don't eat your veal parmagiana any more because I'm a vegetarian thing." Somebody must have written it. Somebody must have noticed the market niche of "mothers over 60 who worry why their high performing sons have gone spiritual."

And so, I went looking for this book. Like some people look for God. And though I never found it, I did find some reasonable facsimiles -- cleverly titled books displayed by the check out counter, conceived by marketing geniuses who somehow knew my need -- the need a son has to make his mother smile and nod her head approvingly... the book that would keep my mother company during those long nights when her husband was working late and her children were asleep and there was nothing good on TV. The ultimate self-help book that would remove her worries, her doubts, and her exponentially growing fears of thinking her son had gone off the deep end for "receiving Knowledge" from that young boy from India.

I wanted my mother to know how beautiful life was and how simple it could be to experience that beauty. I wanted her to know there was something timeless within her, something beyond the stress of aging and the clipping of coupons.

Maybe it was selfish of me, but I wanted to buy my mother a book that, like the tooth fairy, would deliver some proof that love was the name of the game... and that (bite your tongue and spit three times) the act of "receiving Knowledge" from Maharaji was as natural and healthy as chicken soup.

Eight years ago my mother died from a four-year bout with emphysema. During my six-day stay with my father after the funeral, I discovered the books I had given her all these past years. Most of them had never been opened. Like some strange mix of Stonehenge rubble, they lay in piles all around... on her night table, on her desk, stuffed behind cookbooks, in the garage. Some, when you opened them, still had that new book crackling sound. All of them had this fortune cookie like quality -- like no matter what page you turned to, some kind of bite sized wisdom was waiting.

I don't think I was sad she didn't read them. Just disappointed. Or maybe it was more like resignation -- the kind teenagers feel when they realize their parents just don't get it.

Looking back, I realize now that no book would have been sufficient to have given my mother. No. I wanted her to have the experience the books were describing, not the description of the experience. As my teacher, Maharaji, has said many times, if you are thirsty, you need water to drink, not the description of water.

Ultimately, that's what Maharaji's offer is all about: helping people find the water -- the naturally occurring well of well-being inside us all. It's something my dear, sweet, canasta playing, veal parmagiana making mother would have definitely appreciated.

Photo by Weeping Willow

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:53 AM | Comments (1)

April 29, 2008
Time Out for Love

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Ta da! Introducing Jesse (13) and Mimi (11), my two kids.

When Jesse was four, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. "Everything!" he replied, without missing a beat. And then there was the time when Mimi mounted the living room table, raised both hands high overhead and declared, as if kicking off some kind of invisible Olympic ceremony: "Babies... and gentlemen!"

When it snows, they think snow angels. I think shovel.

Thomas Edison had it right: "The greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2008
The Big Game

A few weeks ago, I watched the NY Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 23-20 in an NFL championship football game. I watched it with eight friends. As always, we had a fantastic time -- an experience that our wives (no matter how wonderful they may be) have never been able to fathom. Our viewing behavior, to them, is a merely a parody of the American male: two-dimensional, woefully predictable, and absurd.

That assessment, however, was not my experience as I watched the BIG GAME. No way. On the contrary, my experience was noble, ecstatic, tribal, and divine. Beyond the pretzels, popcorn, chips, and beer something else was happening.

At the risk of making a mountain out of a football game, allow me to share a few observations about the experience and, by extension, the experience of millions of men huddled together before the Big Game. In that sacred act of viewing, NOTHING ELSE WAS HAPPENING! Zero. Nada. Zilch. No work. No bills. No back taxes. No car repairs. No war in Iraq. No recession. No primaries. No relationship issues. No cholesterol. No this and no that. Only THE GAME. Pure immersion it was. Spontaneous expression. Presence. Unbridled emotion. Liberated laughter. And the kind of concentration most yogis would gladly trade their third eye for.

What, you may ask, has any of this to do with love, longing, and letting go -- the supposed topic of this supposed blog? Plenty. The state of mind (no, make that state of being), of the BIG GAME-watching, pretzel-munching men noted in the paragraphs above is exactly the state of being required of anyone wanting to have even the slightest chance of experiencing something glorious.

OK. Let's go to the slow motion, video replay of that last sentence: I'm talking focus, friends. I'm talking compelling goal. I'm talking feeling, humor, fun. The experience of uncensored delight. And the realization that anything is possible.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about the common garden variety trance experience induced by watching TV or a movie. No. I'm talking about the BIG GAME. The "All In" moment. The Full Monte. The No Turning Back. The This Is It. The There's No Tomorrow. And all of it sprinkled with a healthy dose of pepperoni and celebration even before anyone knows the final score.

Yes, I admit, the eight of us didn't deliver anything as a result of watching the BIG GAME -- no output, no product, no proof that we had used our time well. But so what? When you're eating chips and experiencing the Unified Field of Consciousness on the day the Lord rested and time stops as your team huddles in the freezing cold, against all odds, to gather together one more time, focused on the goal and absolutely free of constraint, doubt, and delusion, what is there left to say except:

Giants 23, Packers 20. (And in overtime, yet!)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:09 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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