The Heart of the Matter
July 19, 2009
The Slide Show and the Sleeping Bag


When I received Knowledge in 1971, my life turned around for the better.

One of the benefits that soon followed was the recognition of just how beautiful it was to serve -- to give from the heart without any thought of return.

The urge to serve was huge for me.

And so, one fine Spring day, I decided to leave my happy home on Martha's Vineyard and drive to an ashram of Maharaji's followers in Concord, Massachusetts where I figured I could "help out" for the day.

Which is exactly what I did.

And then, just before I began my long drive home, my hosts -- seeing how exhausted I was -- invited me to stay the night. In their living room. In my sleeping bag. Just a few feet from the largest framed picture of Maharaji I had ever seen.

I slept like a baby.

That is, until 2am when the lights went on and 20 highly animated people in pajamas came bounding into the room.

Apparently, one of them had just returned from India and wanted to show everyone, on his classic Kodak projector, some never-been-seen-before photos of Maharaji.

I yawned. They oohed and ahhed and oohed again.

This totally baffled me. Though I, too, had received Knowledge, I wasn't feeling anything remotely close to oohing and ahhing.

The more everyone expressed themselves so effusively, the more I felt there must be something terribly wrong with me.

I wasn't oohing. I wasn't ahhing. I wasn't even smiling.

"Maybe this isn't the path for me," I thought. "Maybe I'm not loving enough. Maybe I'm too mental... too Western... too self-absorbed."

At the height of my doubt, a particularly radiant, bald-headed man from India shot me a very powerful glance from across the room. And then, with a simple, downward sweep of his hand, he signaled me to lie down and go back to bed.

I did, waking four hours later when the sun came up -- fully rested, happy, and very much alive.

I realize now, some 38 years later, that I learned a lot that night.

And though my experience may have only been meaningful to me, I think it's possible it may have meaning for you, too.

Here goes:

1. Comparing yourself to others is a total waste of time.
2. There is no one right way to express love.
3. Everyone grows in appreciation of their Beloved in their own sweet time.
4. There is no rush required to feel anything "special" at all.
5. I am who I am and that is good enough.
6. "Devotion" isn't always visible.
7. The practice of Knowledge is a very individual thing.
8. There's nothing wrong with going to sleep when you're tired.
9. Devotion is not emotion.
10. It's always a good idea to keep a sleeping bag in the trunk of your car.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 19, 2009 07:14 AM


did you know Marilyn Ping?? who was the Indian guy? a mahatma? why didn't you mention #11. how much you were impressed by the level of conciousness of the 'Indian' guy who had awareness to tell you to go back to sleep without having to discuss anything with you!!!!!! that's rather remarkable in this world of unconcious, self-centered people!!

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 20, 2009 02:03 PM

p.s. mitch, can you tell me how to change my password here (at Typepad?) i'm a little lost here at the moment.

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 20, 2009 02:12 PM

Nice insight, thanks Mitch

Posted by: wulli [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 21, 2009 06:25 AM

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