The Heart of the Matter
November 16, 2015
Be Who You Are

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When I heard about Prem Rawat's message of peace in 1971 and, soon after, received Knowledge, my life took a major turn for the better.

One of the things that opened up for me was the recognition of 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 in Concord, Massachusetts where I figured I could "help out" for the day.

All day long I did whatever was needed, happy to have the chance to give of myself from a place of total gratitude. And then, just before it was time to return home at the end of the day, my hosts, noticing how exhausted I was, invited me to stay the night in their living room in my sleeping bag.

Blissfully tired from a long day of service, I slept like a baby. That is, until 2:00 AM when the lights, in the room, suddenly 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.

Their super-enthusiastic response to the slide show totally baffled me. Though I, too, had received Knowledge, I wasn't feeling anything remotely close to oohing and ahhing.


The more everyone continued expressing themselves so effusively, the more I felt like 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 this or too that."

At the height of my rapidly escalating bout of doubt, a particularly radiant, saffron-robed, 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 and a smile, he signaled me to lie down and go back to sleep, which I immediately did, hearing nothing more of the slide show which probably continued for another hour or so.

I woke up four hours later as the sun rose -- fully rested, quietly happy, and feeling very much alive.

I realize now, some 44 years later, that I learned a lot that night. And though my experience was a personal one, I think it's possible that it may have some resonance for you, too, whoever you are, wherever you live, and whatever path you follow or don't.


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.
Words of Peace Global
The Prem Rawat Foundation

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at November 16, 2015 10:03 AM

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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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