The Heart of the Matter
June 30, 2008
Excerpts from Maharaji's Talk Today in Palermo, Italy

What follows is an in-the-moment report from Jule Kowarsky, who just attended an event with Maharaji, in Palermo, Italy.

Jule notes that Maharaji addressed 1,200 people in a magnificent historic opera house. She goes on to say that several local dignitaries spoke and a book about Palermo and another award were bestowed upon Maharaji.

Click below for selected highlights of Maharaji's talk as remembered by Jule (not a verbatim transcript of his words).

"I go around this world saying that Peace is Possible, and people give me all the reasons why it's not. Some people have three reasons, or 7, or 10. Others, who are really smart and have thought about this a lot, might even have 100 reasons. Let me tell you that I have 6.7 billion reasons why there should be peace -- one for every person on the planet."

"I listen to good ideas wherever they come from. If they come from a Muslim or Hindu or a Christian or an atheist, if it is a good idea, I will listen to it."

"And this I heard and this I believe: If you are strong, you should be kind. If you are smart you should be simple and if you are wealthy you should be humble."

"I am pilot. There was a time when I was not a pilot. And there will be a time when I will be old, too old to be a pilot (God willing). But I was and I will still be, a human being.

"As I human being, I cannot bear to know that someone, somewhere in the world, goes to sleep thirsty. There are more educated people in the world now than there have ever been. Human beings can solve this problem. Human beings can solve the problem of war. They can."

"People think the skies will open up and something will come down, some angel will come down with answers to end these problems.

I am telling you that the angel is in your heart.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:45 PM | Comments (1)

I'm Moving to a Blog Cabin* in the Woods

I see the future.

Everyone will have a blog. Every blogger's pet will have a blog. Every blog will have a blog. Every blog's blog will have a blog. No one will be reading any of these blogs because everyone will be too busy writing blogs. Bloggers will occasionally visit other blogs, but only for the purpose of leaving comments that will direct readers back to their own blog. Letter writing will become popular once again, gaining a new lease on life after the internet crashes repeatedly because of the profusion of blogs and youtube videos created by 5-year olds and terrorist groups.

Why all the blogging?

Because people want to connect. And WHY do people want to connect? Because there is a fundamental need inside each of us to feel connected.

"Connected to WHAT?" is the question. Connected to ourselves.

Bottom line, for each of us to feel truly wired, we need to connect with ourselves. Then, and only then, does it make sense to connect with others.

Otherwise, all our efforts to connect will be fundamentally flawed -- tinged with the slightly neurotic need for approval and completion -- neither of which are really necessary once we master the fine art of tapping into who we really are in the first place.

And speaking of the future -- high rises are out. Blog cabins are in.

* NOTE: Thanks to Cary Bayer for turning me on to the phrase "blog cabin." I had never heard it before Cary mentioned it in a conversation. It was the inspiration for this little piece.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:42 PM | Comments (3)

June 29, 2008

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.


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


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
"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." (Helen Keller)

Feeling a little off today? Cash flow problems got you down? Relationship a bit shaky? Wondering how you're going to pay the rent?

If so, you may want to reflect on the above words of Hellen Keller, the inspiration behind The Miracle Worker, and the first deafblind person ever to graduate college.

Hey, you can SEE! You can HEAR! You can SPEAK! She couldn't -- and still she found her way through the obstacles to become a prolific author and a leading supporter of women's suffrage and worker's rights.

Hellen Keller was right. Security IS mostly a superstition. Life IS a daring adventure or nothing. The key, for all of us, is to stay conscious of this, make our little effort, and have some faith.

Everything happens for the best! Enjoy the adventure!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:20 PM | Comments (2)

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 18, 2008
PASSAGES: A Video Retrospective of Maharaji's Message


Billy Fairchild just sent me this link to a fabulous series of eight online videos (repackaged for the internet from the original PASSAGES video produced by Kate McGowan and John McNelly in 2001 to celebrate Maharaji's 30th anniversary in the West). These 9-10 minute videos capture the essence of Maharaji's message, his spiritual roots, and the evolution of the way in which he's communicated his message since arriving in the West in 1971.

Includes engaging interviews with some of the people who were on the scene in the very beginning: Ron Geaves, Joan Apter, Charananand, Glen Whittaker, Peter Lee, Tim Gallwey, John Hampton, and others.

(And if you haven't had a chance to respond to the recent Heart of the Matter poll click here. Will take you three minutes.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2008
TA DA! Results of the June 14th Heart of the Matter Poll

One of the good things about life, the universe, and blogging is that they are all interactive. Or at least, they're supposed to be. No man is an island; neither is he an isthmus, peninsula, or archipelago.

Which is precisely why, a few days ago, I asked readers of this blog for their feedback on WHAT, specifically, they'd like to see featured here. 46 people have responded to the poll so far.

Click on the link below for the results.

(on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest possible rating)

4.38 Interviews with Maharaji
4.31 Stories of my interactions with Maharaji
4.17 Excerpts of Maharaji's talks
4.13 Short videos (less than 4 min.) of Maharaji
4.04 Wisdom from selected Masters/Teachers
4.02 Reflections about life, death and everything in between
3.95 Humorous essays
3.93 Updates on Maharaji's travels
3.91 Poetry of Kabir, Rumi, Hafiz and other ecstatic poets
3.91 Links to useful resources on the web
3.88 My poetry
3.80 Inspiring quotes from a variety sources
3.79 Jokes
3.75 Average for All Questions
3.65 Inspiring images (with little or no text)
3.61 Interviews with students of Maharaji
3.54 Techniques on how to think more creatively
3.48 Long videos of Maharaji (more than 4 minutes)
3.16 Guest postings from Heart of the Matter readers
3.15 Book reviews
2.81 Polls/surveys

Going forward, I'll do what I can to honor your input. (Hmmm... maybe I should begin by trying to get an interview with Maharaji...)


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2008
Open Window

Alone in my room
at the end of the day,
I open my window and
release my breath like a dove
that it may find its way
to you, oh precious one.

It leaves the shell of my body,
carried by an unseen wind,
small wings beating
against a very big sky.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2008
I AM LISTENING TO YOU: Please Respond to This Simple Poll

Dear Heart of the Matter Reader:

Now that this blog is a few months old, I'd like to get some feedback from you. Simply put, I want to find out what aspects of the blog are most compelling to you so I can continue to create it in a way that has the most impact.

If you are willing to participate, all you need to do is click here. The whole thing will take you no more than three minutes.

I'll post the results here some time next month. And thanks for all your support so far. It's been a fun ride.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008
Rhythm of Light

Here's a new musical collaboration from Stuart Hoffman and Tara Liz Driscoll celebrating the words of Maharaji and the magnificent images of light in our universe:

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2008
MAHARAJI: Albany, NY -- 6/07/08


"Here's a new definition of life: Your opportunity to spend time with the best friend you ever had... with the ultimate kindness... with the infinite... with the ultimate joy."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:17 AM | Comments (2)

June 05, 2008
How to Listen to the Master

First of all,
give up everything you know
about listening --
it has nothing to do with your ears.
That kind of listening
will only take you so far.
If you really want to hear,
you will need to leave your ears at the door
and while you're at it,
your head.
Then, take a seat,
breathe deep,
and become, if you can,
a flower opening to the sun.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

Peace Is Possible


Peace Is Possible is the first complete biography of Prem Rawat. It documents his extraordinary life, from growing up with a father who was a revered master, to the day he first addressed audiences at age three, to being discovered by hippies at his home in the Himalayan foothills when he was a child, to his dramatic arrival in the West at 13 -- right up until today.

The book is very well written, cites plenty of fascinating stories about his life, and gives the reader a clear picture of who Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji) is, what his work is all about, and how he has benefited the lives of thousands of people from just about every country in the world.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2008


Have you ever felt that nothing you do actually matters -- that all your efforts, no matter how selfless, inspired, or persevering are merely finger paintings in the void?

Ultimately, it's not so much what we do, but how we do it. Even if you win an Oscar, how long does that moment of acknowledgment really last? Simply put, we've got to enjoy the ride just as much as the destination.


The kitchen is dirty,
There is dust between the floor boards,
The harder I sweep,
the more bristles break off.
Dust flies and settles again.
I have swept up the broom.

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

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)

June 01, 2008
Shameless Self-Promotion

AATW cover.jpg

Dear Heart of the Matter reader:

If you are enjoying this blog, chances are good you will also enjoy my new book, Awake at the Wheel.

Part fable, part creative thinking toolbox, the book is a simple way to radically increase your chances of manifesting your most inspired ideas.

Although there are people who will say that "ideas are a dime a dozen," the fact of the matter is: your most inspired ideas are priceless. Indeed, they are often clues that there is something you are here to do.

Maybe it's an idea for a book you want to write. Maybe it's an idea for a business you want to start... or a change you want to make... or a way to serve in a new and exciting way.

Whether your idea is big small or big, it's yours and you cannot get it out of your head.

Why? Because it's trying to get your attention.

You may want to consider honoring this idea, instead of characterizing it as "mind" or "ego" or a bothersome thought distracting you from your "inner life." You may even want to follow the yellow brick road to it's ultimate manifestation.

If you do, Awake at the Wheel can help -- in a fun, entertaining, and useful way.

Intrigued? Then click here to find out more. Want to read what others have said about the book? Then click here. And if you want to read two recent reviews on the web, click here and here.

Oh... if you've already decided you want to buy the book, click here.

"If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." -- Rollo May

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

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