The Heart of the Matter
April 28, 2019
Being Human


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April 24, 2019


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April 14, 2019
The Gift of Passion

passion and compassion.jpg

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MD at amaroo amphitheater.jpg

Every once in a while, something happens in my life that blows my mind, opens my heart and brings me back to square one -- though I am not all that sure about the geometry. Maybe it's a circle or a trapezoid I am being brought back to. Like the birth of my two children, for example. Or the time I almost drowned. Or just about any interaction I have with Prem Rawat.

I'm not exactly sure HOW this stuff works, but whenever I'm around him, everything gets amplified. The playing field expands and the experience I have takes on a proportion way beyond the normal scope of things. You know, "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."

Anyway, two weeks before the recent Amaroo event in Australia, I received an email -- along with everyone else on the Amaroo mailing list -- informing me that Prem was going to be answering some questions at the event and that if I wanted to submit one, all I had to do was respond to the email. Simple.

My first thought was "ain't gonna happen."

First of all, I didn't have any questions. And second of all, even if I did, the chances of Prem choosing my question were slim to none, given all the other questions likely to be submitted. Probably thousands. That rather arbitrary conclusion of mine lasted about a day. That's when a question, bubbling up from inside me, made it's way to the surface. "What are the three most important things you have learned about people -- and yourself -- since the time you first began sharing your message of peace?"

"Hmmm," I thought to myself. Good question. Me like. There was something about the SPECIFICITY of it that captured my attention, wondering, as I was, how he might boil down everything he had learned in 50+ years to just three things. Game on!

So I submitted my question and went on with my life. I really didn't think about the question any more. I had other things to do.


On the first day of the Amaroo event, in the amphitheater, Prem responded to some questions, the words flashing on the big screen, along with the name and country of the question submitter. Cool. It wasn't MY question on the screen, but who cared -- Prem was having fun, answers were forthcoming, and life was good.

On the second day, in the afternoon, the question answering dealie began again, the first one having been submitted by my tent mate, the Very Honorable, Jean Paul Peretz. Prem answered in a playful way and then another question flashed on the screen -- one that I quickly noticed was MINE -- an observation which immediately put me through some changes -- even before he said a single word. CHANGES, as in "Uh oh, I think that's a dumb question." And "Whoo hoo! It's looking like Mitchie Boy is gonna get some face time with Mr. Rawat."

It took less than five seconds to realize he was going to have some fun with me, as he began questioning my question and wondering, aloud, why I was LIMITING him to only being able to talk about THREE things and not FOUR -- which would, unfortunately, leave him in the difficult position of having to decide which of his answers he would have to leave out. Then he started laughing, as did everyone else. I was not yet laughing -- half deer-in-the-headlights, half koala bear shitting outside my metaphorical tent.

Then he shifted gears and started riffing about nostrils, as in which one should he breathe through if he wasn't allowed to breathe through them both -- another funny way of answering my question which, unknowingly to me, had actually superimposed limits on the vast space from which his answers were emerging.

More laughter followed. Hearty laughter. Buddha belly laughter, as I toggled back and forth between being his foil and wondering if it was now OFFICIAL, here in the Amaroo amphitheater, in front of 3,500 people, that I was on the idiot/moron/fool spectrum.

This, of course, was not a thought I wanted to entertain, knowing all too well where that would lead (been there, done that), so I kept leaning into the moment. I'm guessing I heard about 90% of what Prem had to say, the other 10% of me doing the hoky poky on Pluto.

All of this, of course, was merely his entertaining PRELUDE to his answer to my questionable question.

"Patience... compassion... love... and clear understanding," he went on to say. THOSE were the four most important things he had learned about people and himself since he first began sharing his message of peace. Bingo! Houston, we have lift off! Then he went on to talk about RECIPROCITY between Master and devotee, which I wasn't quite sure was the FIFTH thing he had learned or whether he was now onto a whole other tangent.

One thing was becoming very clear to me at the time -- there was absolutely no need to limit Prem by laying down any kind of arbitrary constraints on him -- my funky, suburban ice cube tray carefully positioned beneath his Amazonian waterfall. Prem wasn't teaching me the box step. He was teaching me to dance to the rhythm of life, MY life, footless, free, and muy fabuloso.

Program over, I stumbled up the steps of the amphitheater onto the path going down to the Pavillion. I was definitely in an altered state, but so was everyone else -- as least as far as I could see. I really didn't want to talk to anybody. I didn't want to engage, explain, make sense, report in, answer questions, interpret, or be the focus of anyone else's attention. All I wanted to do was savor the moment and breathe. Good luck with that. Apparently, my stock had just shot up up and it was now clear I was in the "15 minutes of fame" zone. Indeed, THAT was the most popular comment I got as people saw me -- "How does it feel to be famous?" they asked, though others, concerned it may have been too much for me to be Prem's foil for such a long stretch were asking "If I was alright" -- which, looking back, was a curious question, because, at the moment, my grasp of "I" was a bit tenuous.

Fast forward to the next day. My 15 minutes of fame seemingly over, I sat down in Row T, Seat 3 and waited for the event to begin -- which for me, is a more enjoyable experience than just about anything else in my life -- the recognition that in a few minutes Prem would be holding forth. For the little boy in me, it always felt like Christmas morning and the present I was being given was me.

You might say I was taken by surprise when, early in Prem's opening remarks, he asks "Where's Mitch?" So I stand up and let him know ("Here I am!"). Then he proceeds to further elaborate on his responses to my question from yesterday. He has a lot to say.

And then, completely out of the blue, he kindly acknowledges me as a writer and poet, while, at the same time, letting me know that he doesn't always understand WHY I choose to write about the topics I write about. Hmmm... Interesting... I'm noodling on that one.

It's now seven months later and I'm STILL taking all of this in, wary of an old tendency of mine to prematurely define, explain, interpret, and quantify when really all that's needed is to let go, savor, and enjoy.

In the end, it's not about being perfect. Its about being PRESENT.

For now, suffice it to say, I am a happy camper, feeling the full blast of Prem's kindness, humor, love, wisdom, playfulness, irreverence, presence, tenacity, precision, and mastery. And lo, I say unto you, "IT IS GOOD!"

PHOTOS: Courtesy of TimelessToday

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2019
I Used to Write Love Poems

Used Write Love Poems.jpg

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:32 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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