The Heart of the Matter
January 04, 2024
Still Feeling Cranky?

Based on my observations over the past six decades, there seems to be a big fat concept that is very common among peace-seeking individuals -- well-meaning, heart-centered people engaged in some kind of "consciousness practice".

When push comes to shove (or namaste comes to the mall) it doesn't seem to matter all that much what path these peace-seeking people walk. The same big fat concept seems to show up everywhere.

And here it is: peace-seeking people should somehow, always be in a state of bliss, oneness, equanimity, and gratitude.

Nice concept, wrong universe.

Yes, of course, all of us are capable of the above -- a most worthy aspiration. But to assume we should always be there (and that there is something wrong with us if we're not) is just a bunch of BS. Even the Dalai Lama gets angry.

Big-time enlightened beings have bad moods and bad days. Shit happens. We are all human beings. And all human beings, no matter how committed they are to experiencing the highest states of consciousness have a tendency to get into their heads from time to time.

This is not a problem. This is life. The problem happens when we think it's a problem and then affect some kind of smiley face, bobblehead doll "beyond it all" persona.

The following story from my own life speaks to this phenomenon.

Two years ago I was invited to be part of a team of people to facilitate online Zoom break out sessions as part of a training program that Prem Rawat was putting together. Our role was a simple one -- to provide a safe haven for participants to express themselves and process what they'd been experiencing after listening to Prem.

The standard protocol for kicking off our weekly meetings was for the coordinator of the project to facilitate a "personal check-in" process -- one that gave each of us a chance, in 30 seconds or less, to let the rest of our teammates know how we were doing.

If you've ever been on a Zoom call, the visual for this should be well-known to you by now -- a few screens of "video thumbnails", along with each person's name, in small type, beneath their image.

At this particular session, I noticed that at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen was Prem Rawat's thumbnail -- a placeholder photo of him and his name. I thought this was a very nice touch and a simple way for everyone on the team to remember who our client really was.

In a way, Prem's photo at the bottom right hand corner of the screen felt like setting a place for Elijah at the Passover table. No one actually expects Elijah to show up, but it is a respectful thing to do and an effective way for everyone to maintain a bigger perspective.

One by one, the project coordinator asked each of us to check in and let the rest of the team know how we were doing. The answers were fairly predictable -- usually something like, "I'm very happy to be here today" or "I'm feeling really grateful" or "I'm so thrilled to be part of this wonderful project."

When it was my turn to respond, my answer surprised me and everyone else.

"I'm feeling cranky," I said -- which was absolutely true, even though I realized it was not the kind of response likely to make my teammates feel all warm and fuzzy.

For some reason, at that specific moment in time, that's exactly how I was feeling. I wasn't feeling blissed out, grateful, happy, appreciative, or peaceful. I was feeling cranky. So that's what I said.

There was a bit of silence after that and then I noticed that the photo thumbnail of Prem at the bottom right hand corner of the Zoom screen was morphing into his actual face. Like the rest of us, he was on the call and, apparently, had been listening to the proceedings for a while.

Noticing this, the facilitator graciously welcomed Prem and gave him the floor.

"Still feeling cranky, Mitch?" was the first thing he said.

"Not at this particular moment," I replied with a laugh.

That moment was a memorable one for me. It confirmed something I had always known in my bones, but didn't always live full out -- that all I needed to do was be myself, that I wasn't here to perform, pretend or be anything I'm not. On the contrary, I'm here to be as real as I am, even if that includes admitting, publicly, my own less-than-ideal state of mind.

Here's the reality: Sometimes I'm blissed out and sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I'm grateful and sometimes I complain. Sometimes I'm savoring each breath and sometimes I'm just blowing my nose.

One of the wonderful things I've learned from my relationship to Prem Rawat over the years is "I am that I am." I don't need to pretend, perform or promote. I don't need to be a model of anything. Too much pressure. Not real.

All I need to do is be myself.

With the practice of Self-Knowledge as my bottom line, I always, eventually, return to my true nature. I may have ups and downs along the way, but I always return to core of my being.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 4, 2024 11:58 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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