The Heart of the Matter
October 17, 2023
Fill Your Bucket Now and Drink


Everything on the outside changes -- our lives a kind of time lapse photography from the moment we are born to the moment we exit, stage left.

A seed is planted. It sprouts. It flowers. Bees come. Night comes. The flower closes and eventually its petals fall to earth, nourishment for whatever comes next.

But while we're here (and we are here!), let your flower bloom. Let it open to the sun. Be as beautiful as you are. Enjoy the sky overhead and the ground below. Indeed, enjoying this moment is what it's all about -- not what happened before or what you think will happen next. This is the moment we were born for -- to enjoy it in full glory, to sprout, to bloom, to let go.

Whatever helps you appreciate this moment, embrace it all the way. Whatever doesn't, let it go.

One of the extraordinary services that Prem Rawat provides, as far as I can tell, is ushering people into this moment.

"Step right up, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up! Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth -- YOU!"

No matter where you're from or what your plans might be for tomorrow, this is the moment -- the field beyond right-doing and wrong-doing that Rumi wrote about. The peace that passes all understanding. Or, as a very bald Zen Master once said, "What is there at this moment that you lack?"

HINT: Nothing.

There is nothing that you lack -- especially not the stuff on your bucket list. It's fine, of course, to have a bucket list, but it's also fine for that bucket to be full right now.

It's raining! It's pouring! Fill your bucket now and drink!
The Prem Rawat Foundation

Photo: Lubomirkin on Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2023
Enchanting Song by Cara Tower

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2023
Going Beyond Words


This just in! This morning, after breakfast, I began writing an article about the challenge of communicating anything meaningful via words -- how to give voice to the ineffable, how to give shape to that which has no form, how to evoke the deepest feeling of wonder beyond the limitation of language.

It would be way easier for me to wash the dishes in my sink (which I will get to later today), but I am moved to write this piece -- the ultimate Zen Koan -- trying to see my eye with my eye.

I know it cannot be done, but I am going to do it, anyway -- kind of like John Cage's definition of poetry: "I have nothing to say; I am saying it, and that is poetry."

And yet words, at least sometimes, have value. They do. As does music, art, dancing, photography, and a myriad of other forms of self-expression. Indeed, that is a big part of what it means to be a human being -- to step up to the plate or off the cliff and make the effort to give voice to that mysterious, deep-seated, beyond-language essence of who we are at the core of our being.

What follows are some inspiring quotes I found this morning on this fasinating topic. If you have a few minutes, please take a look and let me know, in the comments box below, which quotes move you the most. Merci! Gracias! And a big thank you from the bottom of what I have no words for.

"Words have no language that can utter the secrets of love." -- Hafiz

"Words are the voice of the heart." -- Confucius

"In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody." -- Aldous Huxley

"Silence hides nothing. Words conceal." -- August Strindberg

"Words are the mind's wings, are they not?" -- Helen Keller

"Prayer is an act of love. No words are needed." -- Teresa of Avila

"True words seem false." -- Lao Tzu

"The reality we put into words is never the reality itself." -- Werner Heisenberg

"Teach me to go the country beyond words and names." -- Thomas Merton

"Experience is the truer guide than the words of others." -- Leonardo da Vinci

"My words itch at your ears until you understand them." -- Walt Whitman

"Your hand is a warm stone I hold between two words." -- Margaret Atwood

"O goddess, bestow on my words an immortal charm." -- Lucretius

"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." -- Rumi

"Men who have much to say use the fewest words." -- Josh Billings

"You had better run from me. My words are fire." -- Rumi

"It is the stillest words that bring the storm." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Enough of words. Come to me without a sound." -- Rumi

"I rarely think in words at all." -- Albert Einstein

"The highest truth cannot be put into words." -- Lao Tzu

"Much wisdom goes with fewest words." -- Sophocles

"It's only words unless they're true." -- David Mamet

"Freeing oneself from words is liberation." -- Bodhidharma

"Where words fail, music speaks." -- Hans Christian Andersen

"Words like nature, half reveal and half conceal the life within." -- Alfred Lord Tennyson

"My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel -- it is, before all, to make you see." -- Joseph Conrad

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." -- Ansel Adams

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost." -- Martha Graham

"None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I have no desires, save the desire to express myself in defiance of all the world's muteness." -- Vladimir Nabokov

"You must forget all your theories, all your ideas before the subject. What part of these is really your own will be expressed in your expression of the emotion awakened in you by the subject." -- Henri Matisse

"Our self-expression is meant to be a manifestation of the silence of our hearts." -- Matthew Fox

"We talk about self-expression, but need to pause and remember that self-expression requires a self to express." -- Julia Cameron

"To the poet fated to be a poet, self-expression is as natural and as involuntary as breathing is to us ordinary mortals." -- Octavio Paz

"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing." -- Marc Chagall

"Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words." -- Rumi

"If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint." -- Edward Hopper

"Most words evolved as a description of the outside world, hence their inadequacy to describe what is going on inside me." -- Hugh Prather

"When words are both true and kind they can change the world." -- Buddha

"We've been given the opportunity to express ourselves -- to paint beautiful pictures with the strengths we have inside. Each new morning, we can choose to be the most fantastic version of ourselves. Ignore the numbers. Paint outside the boxes. Paint what's in your heart. Paint the most dazzling version of who you are." -- Prem Rawat

"Those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know." -- Lao Tzu (PS: This is something he said!)

Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:45 PM | Comments (2)

October 04, 2023
When the Red Sea Parts

A Universe of Stories 3.jpg

Two days ago I had a very interesting experience upon walking into the town of Catskill for my morning coffee and scone. Halfway there, I started feeling like I was on my death bed -- the time of life when I was preparing to leave this world.

Much to my surprise, it was totally blissful. There was no fear, no holding on, no bargaining, and no regrets. Free. I was absolutely free. Gone was the drama of everything. In it's place, only pure being.

Nothing was undone. Nothing needed to be done. There was nothing I had done that I wished I hadn't done. Perfect. It was all perfect, this feeling, that is -- the feeling of just how perfect everything is, was, and will be.

This moment, upon walking into town for my latte and scone, was a great liberation, a moment out of time, a visitation from the other side of sense-making -- not so much a "sneak preview" of what's to come, but the EXPERIENCE, however brief, that behind and beyond the various scenes of my life I've played out with varying degrees of skill, surrender, gratitude, struggle, doubt, drama, and laughter was a place of perfect peace, a realm of existence needing nothing to make it better, different, or more than it already was -- or should I say, IS.

In this moment, no effort was needed, only consciousness -- not the kind of consciousness that had to be attained, accessed, or climbed like some kind of spiritual ladder -- but a consciousness that is everywhere, always, and forever.

Free Parking in Monopoly. Home base in a child's game of tag. An infinite Sunday where not only the Lord is resting, but all of us, including me, are in perfect repose -- a resting most arresting. Yes, there was a sky overhead and ground beneath my feet.

And yes, there was somewhere I was going and somewhere I had come from, but none of it mattered -- not because the sky and the ground and the various longitudes and latitudes of my life didn't matter, but because, in this liberated death bed state of walking into town, they were all just stage props.

"All the world's a stage," wrote Shakespeare. "And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts."

Yes, indeed, Willie, my man! Many parts! And while those many parts are being played, there is the inevitable moment where the Red Sea parts. "Cut" yells the Director. "It's a wrap!"

And so it is. And so it shall be for each and every one of us -- here, on planet Earth, for just a little while even if it often seems like a loooong time.

So many actors! So many scenes. So much popcorn, the audience either clapping, snoring, or wondering where to have dinner when the show is over -- which, of course, is ALSO part of the play.

I'm not exactly sure how this stuff works, but when it comes right down to it, life is a GIFT, a big, beautiful gift. Do we deserve it? I'll leave that question to the pundits. All I know is this: life IS a gift, a precious gift, a holy gift, a divine gift -- and all of us -- you, me, the people you like and the people you don't like, get a chance to open it.

The soy latte, by the way, was quite delicious and so was the scone, no thoughts of "I really should be eating something healthier" anywhere in sight. And with that, my friends, I wish you well no matter what you do or don't do today, no matter where you go or don't. Yes, the journey you are on may be a long one, but know this: each step is also an arrival.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:40 AM | Comments (2)

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!

   Contact me