The Heart of the Matter
May 27, 2021


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May 24, 2021
I'll Carry the Torch

Beautiful tribute to Richie Ingui, from his brother, Charlie. Richie, we miss you and we thank you for all the love and devotion you embodied for so many years. Until we meet again...

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May 12, 2021

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These days, I am doing a lot of reflecting. "Unhurried consideration," is how the dictionary defines it. "To think deeply or seriously about," which, I might add, is not the same thing as being "nostalgic" as some people might assume.

When a person looks at their self in a mirror, they see their reflection -- their appearance. Our reflection, however, only reveals our body. The reflection I am talking about reveals another part of us -- that which is beyond the body. And though, this kind of reflection isn't always accurate, filtered as it might be by perception, bias, and faulty memory, it is an important element of what makes us homo sapiens -- "the ones who know."

Reflection helps us learn, grow, and become more self-aware. And while it is always possible that reflection can devolve to nostalgia or obsessive analysis, done consciously it is a great boon -- a wonderful opportunity to wake further up.

From what I can tell, one of the silver linings of Covid-19 has been the opportunity for billions of us to reflect more deeply on our lives. With more time on our hands than ever before and many of our life patterns disrupted, opportunities for reflection abound. And I count myself as one of those billions, having used at least some of my socially distanced, quarantined, all-bets-are-off time to take a good, long look into the mirror of my life.

Sometimes I like what I see. Sometimes I don't. But I always learn something -- however subtle, an insight with the potential to help me live a more conscious life.

Two days ago, deep in reflection mode, I remembered something about my past that I had not thought about for many years -- a curious behavior of mine that has much application to my life TODAY, some 40 years later.

Here goes:

As a young student of Prem Rawat, in the 1970's, I did my best to attend as many of his events as possible -- large group gatherings where, for a weekend, sometimes as many as 10,000 of his followers, having traveled long distances, would convene to listen to him speak.

At some of these events, on the second day, there would be an opportunity to get on line and come before him -- a kind of receiving line -- known, back then, as a "darshan line". This experience, for me, was always astounding in a way that compared to nothing else in my life. Always it was radiant, deepening, soulful, timeless, renewing, and very much beyond words.

With thousands of people in the audience wanting to enjoy this experience, some kind of logistics were required -- a way to facilitate the "people moving" process. And so, whoever the ushers were, at the time, would signal a section of the audience to stand and make their way to the back of the line that had already formed. The rest of the people in the hall would simply remain in their seats, looking forward to the moment when their section would be called.

Now, here's the curious thing -- the memory that, two days ago, surfaced for me as I was reflecting on my life. More often than not, when my section was called, I would move to ANOTHER section in the hall -- a section that had not yet been called. Logically speaking, one would think I'd be "chomping at the bit", or "raring to go" -- thrilled for the opportunity to make my way closer to Prem. But logic was not the driving force at that moment. Something else was. And for me, that particular moment always brought with it an accompanying feeling that I WASN'T QUITE READY to approach Prem -- that I needed to be deeper... or more receptive... or more devoted... or more whatever.

And that's why, when my section was called, I would move to ANOTHER section of the hall that had not yet called. You see, I wanted to be sure I was REALLY "in the right place" to have my special moment with him.

And while, as I look back at that time, I can appreciate that my intentions were "good", now, many years later, there is something very revealing about that particular behavior of mine that has great resonance with my life today. Just like some people believe they never enough degrees... or money... or time... or friends -- the ruling experience that something is lacking -- I, too, back in the early days of my soul's aspiration, was coming from a place of lack -- my assumption being that somehow I wasn't READY to fully appreciate the brief moment I was about to have with Prem.


I am happy to report that those days are over. It took a while, but I finally got there -- the understanding that life is a "come as you are" party -- that there is no special way to be... or act... or think... or feel... and that each and everyone of us are perfect as we are in THIS moment.

Indeed, one of the extraordinary gifts I have received from Prem Rawat is precisely this recognition -- what sometimes has been referred to as "I am that I am." Selfhood. Pure being. Presence. In other words, whoever we are in THIS moment is enough. The imagined "perfect self" that we dangle in front of ourselves like some kind of spiritual carrot is not only a waste of time, it is totally unnecessary.

As Lao Tzu once said, "he who knows he has enough has enough." And it's corrolary is also true, "He who knows he IS enough, is enough."

Not only do I have enough, I AM enough. And not only am I enough, I AM, which is, basically, the whole deal.

No matter what path we walk, skip, hop, run, leave, return to, or write about, we are here, now, alive, and well. AS WE ARE. Yes, we are enough -- you, me, and the other 7.7 billion people on planet Earth. AS IS. In THIS moment, breathing one breath at a time. Rich, poor, young, old, single, married, known, unknown and everything in between.

Indeed, this is one of the great teachings I have received from Prem Rawat. Even more than a teaching, it is an EXPERIENCE -- that THIS moment, right here, right now, today, wherever I happen to be, regardless of the circumstances of my life and how I stack up in relationship to my concepts of what would be better, is the PERFECT MOMENT. God is here now. Life is here now. Breath is here now. Love is here now. Gratitude is here now. Freedom is here now.

And there you have it, my friends, no matter what section of the audience you are sitting in.

Ready to stand?

Photo: courtesy of TimelessToday

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May 10, 2021

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May 09, 2021
Be Free of Expectations

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Alive and Well in Amaroo


Written three and a half years ago in Australia. The feeling continues...

It is 4:49 am and I am sitting on a wooden bench just a 60-second walk from the tent that has been my home for the past five days here in Amaroo, my most favorite place on Earth. Almost able to see my breath, I am wearing four layers of clothing, a ski hat, and a wide smile on my face.

It's the morning after five days of seeing and listening to Prem Rawat hold forth beneath the vast Australian sky and I am a totally stunned, bubbling brew of YES. I'm sure that on some planet there are actual words to describe what has happened to me these past five days, but I just don't have access to them at this particular moment in time. Would I like to? Sure, I would -- me having lots of wonderful friends, also students of this marvelous man, who were unable to make it Down Under this time around -- big-hearted people who would love a taste, a whiff, a blast of what has transpired here these past five days.

To all of you, I ask your patience. Please bear with me for just a moment. I'm sure that soon I'll find my bearings and begin making at least a little bit of sense, even though I'm not really sure I want to find my bearings.

If I was a helium balloon, someone has just let go of the string. If I was a love song, I have just been sung.

Somehow, through an extraordinary alchemy of storytelling, jokes, laughter, pauses, pearls of wisdom, and cutting through the noise of the mind with a smile and a glance, Prem Rawat has done it once again -- helping people feel the peace there is to feel beyond the dramas of our lives -- why anyone, anywhere, anytime would ever feel the impulse to sing or dance or serve.

I'm not talking about a self-centered-turn-your-back-on-the-pain-of-the-world kind of peace. Nope. I'm talking about the sweet-centered-in-the-self-overflowing-with-love kind of peace that is the grand potential of every single person who inhabits this beautiful jewel of a world spinning through space.

This peace is our birthright. It's our home. It's what we were born for. All of us: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sufis, Rastas, Jains, Agnostics, and Atheists.

What do I understand about this experience? Only a little. Am I a spokesperson for it? Not in the least -- just someone lucky enough to have entered into the general vicinity of a living Master -- a man on fire with love and dedication -- a wise one with the deepest of connections to that which animates us all.

I first met him when he was 13. I was 24. And yet, it seems as if no time has passed since that day. No time, indeed, because the essence of what he's here to help people experience is timeless -- the sweet nobility of the human heart and the irrepressible gratitude that arises when a person tunes into the feeling of how utterly amazing it is to be completely alive.

Photo: Courtesy of Timeless Today

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May 08, 2021
The Heart's Embrace

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The Benefits of Self-Knowledge

"Gaining knowledge about the self is a process of discovery, of uncovering who we are." - Prem Rawat

Since the age of 13, Prem Rawat has been traveling the world and letting people know about an exquisite experience of life that is available to them -- something he calls "Self-Knowledge" -- simple techniques for turning one's attention to the source of peace within themselves.

The experience, Prem explains, is available to everyone, regardless of their nationality, religion, or lifestyle and it's been available since the beginning of time. Prem, however, doesn't just talk about it. He has the ability to spark the experience of it in others. And for those people who value the service he provides, he makes himself available for the long haul -- inspiring, encouraging, and guiding people on their way to the full exploration of their own magnificence.

What are the benefits of Self-Knowledge? Well, if you ask a thousand people, you will likely hear a wide variety of responses. Each person will have their own way of describing their experience. One size does not fit all. Nor does one word, phrase, or metaphor. Still, there are some commonalities in the way people describe how the practice of Self-Knowledge has improved their lives.

1. A Sense of Well-Being: People who receive and practice Knowledge report a deep sense of inner contentment -- an undeniable state of all-pervading gladness for no particular reason. This sense of well-being, people report, is independent of their life circumstances. "Unconditional love" is how some people describe it.

2. Gratitude: One of the outcomes of Self-Knowledge is an increased sense of appreciation for life. And while most people who receive Knowledge from Prem Rawat are extremely grateful to him for the role he plays, the gratitude they feel goes beyond him to the source of what he is also grateful for -- the living experience of what it means to be a conscious human being.

3. Clarity: Metaphorically speaking, receiving Knowledge is a way to take the "blinders" off, so you can more clearly see who and what you are. This increased clarity is an effective antidote to confusion, doubt, and hopelessness -- a lit candle in a dark room -- a light that helps you navigate your way through life's challenges with confidence, discernment, and wisdom.

4. Peace: If you google the phrase "definitions of peace", you will immediately have access to more than 1.4 billion descriptions of it. Clearly, "peace" is a word that is variably defined. For some people, it is a synonym for an absence of war. For others, it is something to find on a mountaintop, monastery, or cave. For Prem, peace is much simpler than that -- not something we do (or don't do), but our natural state of being that only needs to be experienced.

5. Perspective: It is fair to say that the quality of life Prem helps people experience results in a refreshing perspective about their own existence -- the ability, as the old saying goes, to "see the forest for the trees". Simply put, the practice of Self-Knowledge helps people maintain a fresh perspective about life -- increasing their ability to understand what's worth paying attention to and what's not.

6. Self-Worth: One reason why "self-help" is such a big industry these days is because so many of us have drifted away from who we truly are -- lost in the game of trying to make something of ourselves or achieve societally defined markers of success. People who practice self-Knowledge understand that who and what they are is already good enough just the way it is and that the source of the success they've been seeking is already within them.

7. Presence: As the very hyperactive White Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland fame once said, "I'm late for a very important date. No time to say hello goodbye. I'm late, I'm late, I'm late" -- an experience all too many of us can identify with, our "to do" list way longer than our "to be" list. People who experience the Self-Knowledge Prem Rawat reveals are much less susceptible to the White Rabbit syndrome. Centered in themselves, rooted in their heart, they report a greater ability to be be in the moment -- enjoying the fullness of life right here and now.

8. Becoming a Better Person: While there is no single definition of what it means to be a better person, people who practice Prem Rawat's techniques of Self-Knowledge often report that they are becoming a better person as a result. By whatever criteria they use to define what being a better person means to them, they invariably point to Prem's positive influence as a key catalyst to helping them get there.

"In my experience, the techniques are best passed on from person to person. They are something precious that should be learned from someone who truly understands them." -- Prem Rawat

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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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